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24.4.11

Only a Japanese Ship Accepted the Armenians

Japan, the country of the rising sun, and its people have charmed Artsvi Bakhchinyan, an Armenian Studies scholar who has been engaged in studying Armenian-Japanese historical-cultural relations for the past few years.
In December, Bakhchinyan had a chance to visit Japan. According to him, Japan was considered a closed country for centuries, but Armenians were able to develop some relationship since late eighteenth century. Of course, relations primarily trace back to 1915 when hundreds of Armenians found themselves in Siberia after the genocide and then left for the United States, he told the Armenian news agency A1+.
A wealthy Armenian by the name of Diana Apcar helped the survivors of the 1915 Armenian Genocide reach the United States via Japan.
Diana Apcar was born in Burma. She was the offspring of a wealthy family from New Julfa and got married to a wealthy Armenian from India. "They toured the East and settled in Japan as traders. Her tombstone is located at the cemetery for foreigners in the Japanese city of Yokohama."
Bakhchinyan also attaches importance to the fact that when Kemalists forced Christian residents --Greeks and Armenians-- to leave the city of Smyrna in 1922, the Armenians approached the ships on the foreign harbor of Smyrna looking for help. "All the ships denied help, except for one Japanese ship that accepted the Armenians' request for refuge."
There are nearly 100 Armenians living in Japan. "The small community was mainly established by Armenian girls who got married to Japanese."
Artsvi is charmed and startled by the courteous manners of the Japanese. As for the devastating earthquake that took place in Japan on March 11, Bakhchinyan said he admired how the Japanese get along. "They are very reserved and dignified. I talked to some Japanese and they said they relied on their government."
Touching upon the case mentioned in the press according to which an old Japanese had preferred to kill himself rather to leave his native village, Backhinyan said: "The Japanese always have a dignified way of getting along with loss and sorrow, and even have the quality of keeping a smile on their faces."
In the end, the scholar declared his support for the Japanese. "They have always been able to get out of any difficult situation with honor. I am sure that they will find the right way of getting their country out of the current situation. Armenians have a lot to learn from these people who have reached the peak of civilization."

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