By A. B.
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
YEREVAN — An event titled “Tokei Maru: the Salvation of Armenian and Greeks in Smyrna” took place in the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Foundation conference hall on February 18. It was one of the events organized on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Smyrna fire and extermination of the Armenians and Greeks of the city in 1922. It was organized in cooperation with the “ARMENIA-NIPPON” Armenian-Japanese Scientific and Cultural Union NGO.
The event, which was dedicated to the friendship between the Armenian and Japanese peoples, was attended by Jun Yamada, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Armenia, Rika Onodera, Second Secretary of Japanese embassy in Armenia, Mnatsakan Safaryan, head of the Asia-Pacific Division of the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other guests.
Japanologist Anna Vardanyan, senior lecturer at Armenian State University of Economics, who has studied in Japan, stated that coming across a picture of “Tokei Maru” Japanese ship anchored in the port of Smyrna led her to continue her research in Japan and Greece in order to find out more information about Armenians who have been saved by Japanese ship. Vardanyan revealed particularly: a) the exact name of the captain (Ryu), b) his Japanese origin, c) an evidence proving that the Japanese captain has threw out his valuable cargo and rescued about 825 Armenians and Greeks, d) the meeting of an Armenian musician kemancha player Ruben Karakhanyan with the captain in 1930`s, e) an addition was made to the biography of Diana Abgar, Armenian writer and public figure in Japan, who met the captain.
AGMI Senior researcher Tehmine Martoyan presented a talk about the Smyrna Great Fire holocaust and a few testimonies of people who were saved by Japanese ship.