Japanese Navy Warship Sake Cup: America Dispatch

I just found a wonderful IJN warship cup from the early 20th century, specifically 1907. Here is the cup:

Three things make this cup very rare: it is dated, it is named to a specific warship, and it has the American flag in the design. Of course, a cup like this would never have been made in the 1930s, when tensions were high between Japan and America, but this was from a more peaceful time, at least for these countries. First, a translation of the inscription: ‘Meiji 40 [1907] Warship Chitose, Dispatch to America Commemorative.’

This warship was actually American-made, at the Union Iron Works in SanFrancisco. It arrived in Japan in 1898. After service in the Russo-Japanese War, she went around the world, stopping in the USA to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the Jamestown Settlement. For this event was the cup made. No doubt there were parties and other celebratory events that the sailors could enjoy. This cup was probably paid for by the Japanese government (but commissioned by the ship officers) for the sailors who went on the trip. I imagine that they would have gotten this cup after returning to Japan, but it is possible that they received them aboard ship.

Read more about the warship Chitose on the Wikipedia page, which also has a short video of its launching filmed by Thomas Edison! Fascinating!



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