Takashima islands

13th century Mongolian wreckage discovered off Japanese seabed

Japanese samurai boarding Yuan ships in 1281Japanese samurai boarding Yuan ships in 1281


By Julian Ryall - The Telegraph


The wreck of a Mongolian ship presumed to have been part of a 13th century invasion fleet has been discovered beneath the seabed off southern Japan.

The vessel is the first of its kind to have been discovered relatively intact and dates from a series of attempts by Kublai Khan, emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, to subjugate Japan between 1274 and 1281. 

Researchers have previously only been able to recover anchor stones and cannonballs from the scattered wrecks of the Mongol fleets and they believe that this latest find will shed new light on the maritime technology of the day. 

The warship was located with ultrasonic equipment about 3 feet beneath the seabed at a depth of 75 feet.

The archeological team, from Okinawa's University of the Ryukus, had been carrying out a search of the waters around Takashima Island, in Nagasaki Prefecture, because the area had yielded other items from Mongol ships.

Historical records suggest that some 4,400 ships carrying 140,000 Mongol soldiers landed in Japan in 1281 and skirmished with samurai in northern Kyushu.


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