Tatsumaru Incident (辰丸事件)

The "Tatsumaru Incident" is a famous incident which triggered the anti-Japanese campaign in China. It is an incident in which Dai-ni Tatsumaru, a Japanese ship, was captured off the coast of Macao on February 5, 1908.


A stream ship Dai-ni Tatsumaru, carrying 49 boxes of firearms, 40 boxes of ammunition and coal, etc. ordered by a Portuguese weapons merchant in Macao, left Kobe, was captured by four patrol boats of 拱北関, Qing in the water area before Macao, deprived of the Japanese (rising sun) flag and taken to Guangdong, on a charge of smuggling arms. Japan, disregarding the act of smuggling, negotiated with China in hard-line manners under plea of the issues of territorial sea and of the Japanese (rising sun) flag, and demanded an apology and compensation for damage of a hundred thousand yen. The Qing government, however, did not readily accept the condition offered by Japan because they were suffered by the problem of Revolutionary Party. On the other hand, the first Saionji Cabinet in Japan, which was suffered by various domestic circumstances and under pressure from the Imperial Diet, the military and the financial world, mobilized the Southern-Qing Fleet and threatened the Qing government with the intention of recovering from the difficult position. As a result, on March 15, the Qing government accepted Japan's five demands including release of Tatsumaru, compensation for damage, ceremonial fire of bombshells and purchase of arms. But the residents of Guangdong, where the incident had happened, got indignant, held a meeting for commemorating the national shame on March 19, when Tatsumaru was to be released, and decided on expulsion of Japanese products. This movement expanded not only within the Guangdong Province but also in South China and the South Seas, gravely damaging Japan under depression.