A 13th century Mongol shipwreck has been found off the coast of Japan.

This is the second vessel to be discovered in recent years, and is confirmed to be part of Kublai Khan‘s massive Mongol invasion fleets launched to invade Japan in 1274 and 1281.

Kublai Khan – Paint and ink on silk 1294. National Palace Museum in Taipei. (Public Domain)


Both of Kublai Khan’s fleets sent to invade Japan were devastated by typhoons – the Japanese term “kamikaze”, or “divine wind”  was coined from these winds that saved the Japan from the Mongols.

Mongols Invasion (Japanese: Mooko shuurai), by Kikuchi Yoosai, 1847. Ink and water colors on paper. Tokyo National Museum. Shows the destruction of the Mongol fleet in a typhoon. (public domain)


This 2nd. shipwreck was found near Matsuura around 75 feet beneath the surface, covered by a relatively thin layer of silt.

The Telegraph: Porcelain that was made in China was found around the remarkably well-preserved wreck, including a vase and a white bowl, Atsuyuki Nakata, the head of the cultural properties division of the Matsuura city board of education, told The Telegraph.

“One thing that we hope to learn from the wreck is the kind of materials that were used by the Mongolians 730 years ago, as well as the techniques used in the construction of the ship,” he said.

Archaeologists say they may have located three more sites that may be the wrecks of Mongolian ships, and are convinced that many more will be found. Read more from The Telegraph here…


by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee