September, 2017

This page is written monthly
by Harumi Okochi.
Sometimes Harumi's friends join.
We'd be happy if you look at
our previous issues.


Water color painting of SS Bolton Castle
by Charles E. Turner
The Return of the Ship
The cargo Ship Bolton Castle

 Hello, friends. How are you?
I want to introduce you Mr. Keiji Iwasaki, age 77. He lives in Karatsu.
He worked as an engineer for a ship yard, and later, played an important part in a rising enterprise.
Model ship making has been his life time hobby. And since his retirement, he is doing it with all his passion and energy.
One of the ships he made is the Bolton Castle.
What is Bolton Castle? and why did he make this?
This is the story of this month.
 The Panama Canal was completed in 1914.
Through this canal, the two Oceans, the Atlantic and the Pacific were connected for the first time.
Ships from Europe sailed for Asia.
The big port-towns in Japan were waiting for the western ships to come in. To which port would the first ship come?
Kobe? Yokohama? Tokyo?
No. The first port which received a ship from Panama was this small port Karatsu.
Panama Canal
 The ship was the SS Bolton Castle, a cargo ship of England.
The second ship also came into Karatsu.

This picture is believed to be Bolton Castle passing Panama Canal
 Japanese people were really surprised.
Why Karatsu?
The port of Karatsu was just a small port, and the city of Karatsu was also a small, less attractive country town.
Picture post card of Karatsu Port at that time
 What is there to attract foreign ships?
The answer is the "coal".
Railway was made to carry the coal to the port of Karatsu.
 At that time the port of Karatsu was shipping out much coal to everywhere in Japan, also even to Asia.
The ships needed coal, and also the location of Karatsu, being near to other Asian ports, must have attracted them to come into this small port.
Karatsu located near to China and Korea
 In 2014, Karatsu celebrated the 100 years anniversary since the Bolton Castle came.
A monument was made at the port.
At the same time, Mr. Iwasaki made the model of Bolton Castle, which you can see now at the lobby of the former Karatsu Bank. This bank was at its highest time because of the economy of coal.
The 100 years celebration monument
 Then, what happened to the cargo ship Bolton Castle?
There seems to be three Bolton Castles in England. One was before our Bolton Castle, and another was after.
Our Bolton Castle was sold and its name was changed. The last name of this ship was Fidelitas.
At the time of the World War Ⅱ, this ship was seized by Germany.
During its service as German convoy, it was attacked by English aircrafts and was lost in the Arctic Ocean.
Other two Bolton Castles were also lost in the war.

Mr. Iwasaki's model The Bolton Castle
 Mr. Iwasaki has made many more model ships, foreign or domestic, existing or lost, most of them have some kind of relationship with the port of Karatsu.  
Mr. Iwasaki's work Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ
 When my husband and I went to Yorkshire two years ago, we could not visit the old Castle "Bolton". Only by photos, we could see it, still beautiful and serene.
I thought of Queen Mary, who was once enprisoned in this castle. The tragedy of the history.
The old Castle, the Ship. and the Queen. These three overlapped in my mind as one destiny, and it brought tears to my eyes when I look at the model of the ship Bolton Castle.
The Bolton Castle
 Mr. Iwasaki is 77 years old now, but he is still planning his next model.
He is a real 'captain' of a Dream Ship.
'Captain' Iwasaki
Thank you for joining me again.
I wish you a safe and happy voyage in your long life! 

Thank you for your visit.
Looking forward to seeing you next month again.
Harumi Okochi
mail to: info@yoyokaku.com