A Shipwreck Community

Shipwrecks forge the most unlikely communities. The Bangor Daily News recently reported on one shipwreck community that spans half the globe and has endured for more than a century.

When the Bath, Maine-built ship Cheseborough (pictured left) wrecked off the Japanese coast in 1898, residents of Shariki village launched a daring rescue effort that saved four Americans. Villagers built a memorial in honor of the victims and to this day they leave pears (which washed ashore by the thousands after the wreck) on the graves of the sailors who lost their lives. (They also hold a yearly run-swim relay in honor of the rescuers’s efforts.)

As the article explains: “many of them [Shariki townspeople] developed an interest in this place called Bath, Maine … [and] A relationship between the Japanese prefecture and the American state grew — and persists.”

In 1994, Shariki, Japan and Bath, Maine became “sister cities.” Just last week another cadre of Japanese delegates visited Maine to share ideas about fisheries, sustainable energy, and food production. The highlight of their trip — the entire group of business leaders, government officials, and university faculty wrapped up their visit with a trip to the Maine Maritime Museum!

Shipwrecks — ties that bind.

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