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Kii Oshima

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  • Japanese: 紀伊大島 (Kii Ooshima)

Kii Ôshima is an island in Wakayama prefecture, administered as part of the town of Kushimoto. The island is known as the site of two notable early Meiji period shipwrecks: those of the British cargo ship Normanton and of the Ottoman naval vessel Ertuğrul. At that time, the island was home to some 400 households, divided into three villages.

The British cargo ship Normanton crashed there in 1886. Four years later, the Ertuğrul, carrying an official mission from the Ottoman sultan, became shipwrecked just off the coast of the island; over 500 men died, and 69 were rescued and cared for by the people of the island until they were able to be sent home to Turkey. A monument and museum associated with the Ertuğrul tragedy stand on the island today.

The Kashinozaki lighthouse on Kii Ôshima, already standing at the time of the 1890 Ertuğrul shipwreck, was the first modern stone lighthouse in Japan, and the first to employ a revolving, flashing, beacon. It was erected in 1870, and was one of twenty-six such lighthouses in Japan designed by Scottish engineer Richard Brunton.

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