It’s a hollow part
A painting, made in the Edo period, illustrates a strange event that occurred on February 22, 1803, when a strange boat arrived at a beach called Hara-yadori, of the Tokagawa Yogunate.
According to the investigator Kazuo Tanaka, some sailors approached her and towed her to the sand. It was a small, round nave –barely 3.3 m high by 5.4 m in diameter– whose upper part was made up of large windows and whose lower part was reinforced by something they described as metal plates.
Inside there were a series of signs that were unknown. Through the windows, the witnesses could see that inside was a woman with strange features, with red hair and eyebrows and pink skin, about 20 years old, who spoke a strange language and who was holding with force a wooden box that seemed to have a lot of value for her, because she did not let anyone get close.
Who was this girl? What did she keep in the box? Is it just a story from Japanese folklore or is it something else?
The origin of this mysterious story, which are two books published in Japan in 1825 and 1844, entitled “Toen Shosetsu” and “Ume no Chiri”, and which are fictions based on Japanese folklore. The two books tell the same story, in the same year and in the same province of Japan. It is already known what is said about the legends, that they have something true.
In the first book, Toen Shosetsu, the story takes place on February 22, 1803. Some sailors find a strange object and drag it to the Hara-Yadori beach. The ship was round and resembled a kind of Kou-Hako (box used to burn incense). Its diameter was about three meters, the upper part of the ship was made of a kind of glass provided with lattice side windows, protected by a waterproof putty of pine rubber. The lower part was reinforced by separate iron plates. Since the glass was transparent, people could see inside the ship, where they found a woman with strange features. Her hair and her eyebrows were red and her face was pink. She looked like her long white hair was not dyed.
The story told in the second book, the Ume no Chiri, is practically similar.
On March 24, 1803, a drifting ship reaches Haratono-hama beach. The ship was hollow and shaped like a rice cooker. The upper part was painted black and had four small latticed windows on the sides. The bottom of the ship was reinforced with steel bars. The height of the ship was about three and a half meters by almost six in diameter.
Inside the boat was found a woman who appeared to be in her twenties and about five feet tall, and her skin was as white as snow. Her long hair hung vividly down her back. Her facial features were of incomparable beauty. Her clothes were unrecognizable and strange and her language was not understood by anyone. In her hands she carried a wooden box that she jealously took care of, not letting anyone get close to her.
The episode of the mysterious wooden box is also repeated in the first book, in addition to some more descriptions, such as that inside the boat there was some food and water, and that it was also full of strange inscriptions that no one was able to understand.
Interesting and mysterious story. Although possibly, everything has a reasonable explanation. In Russia, ancient writings recount the customs and laws that some peoples of the most eastern areas had, one of these customs spoke about what was used to be done when a woman was unfaithful to her husband. These ancient legends tell that the custom was to expel this woman from the town, embarking her alone in a small boat and entering the sea to her fate, despite how cruel it may seem, the lover had no better luck, since it is said that he was decapitated and that his head was placed in a box which, in turn, was given to the woman to keep him company on his journey.
Given that the distance from the Russian eastern shores are quite close to Japan, and if the story told in these books is true. It is more than likely that this red-haired, white-skinned woman, speaking a strange language and carrying a wooden box in her hands, was one of these poor Russian expats.
But everything does not stop being one more explanation to a mystery of which we will never know the answer to her.