Today in Philippine History, June 20, 1899, Nonubiki Maru leaves Nagasaki for the Philippines loaded with rifles and ammunition

Tuesday June 19, 2012 ()

On June 20, 1899, the Japanese vessel Nonubiki Maru left Nagasaki for the Philippines loaded with 10,000 rifles, 6,000,000 rounds of ammunition, and other war supplies purchased by Mariano Ponce.

Mariano Ponce   
(Mariano Ponce)   

Ponce with the aid of the Chinese revolutionary leader Dr. Sun Yat-sen, in his mission to Japan, obtained sufficient support from the Japanese military and a few Japanese politicians to enter into agreement to purchase arms and ammunition in the Spring of 1899. At the same time, arrangements were made for "retired" Japanese officers to go to the Philippines as advisors to the Filipino army against the Americans. These officers actually served with the Filipino forces but the attempt to ship arms to the islands was a complete failure.

The Nunobiki Maru carrying the rifles and ammunition, and other military supplies was sunk in a typhoon, and a second attempt was stymied by the threat of the effective American blockade.

After the second shipment attempt failed, Ponce gave the arms to Sun who believed that if his revolution in China was to succeed, aiding the Philippines in return would be made easier. Sun would later be credited with the founding of Republic of China and the collapse of dynastic China.

The Japanese contributed little to the Filipinos in its war against the Americans. The Japanese officers arrived at a time when regular warfare was proving impossible, and no substantial shipments of weapons ever arrived. The Japanese government, not willing to alienate the Americans, gave no formal support to Aguinaldo's government or the nationalist cause.

References:

  1. The United States Army in the Philippines, 1898-1902, John Morgan Gates, 1937
  2. Pambansang Komisyong Pangkasaysayan
  3. Research School for Southeast Asian Studies, Xiamen University

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