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Smithson Media is now investigating opportunities for the publication of the research material associated with HIJMS Ibuki — Japan’s Forgotten Link to the ANZAC Legend.

Model of HIJMS Ibuki ; Maker unknown; Japan; about 1920; Gift of the Government of Japan; 1925; NS000012, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. (Used with permission by Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa)

Japan’s link to Anzac legend — published in Albany Advertiser, March 10, 2009.

Albany media consultant Denise Smithson is on a mission to piece together the mystery of a Japanese battleship and its part in the Anzac legend. The research project, Japan’s Forgotten Link to the Anzac Legend, has been partially funded by the Australia Japan Foundation, part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Mrs Smithson’s consultancy, Smithson Media, is researching the Japanese ship, His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Ship Ibuki, which had been part of the naval escort of the Australian and New Zealand Expeditionary Forces to the Middle East at the beginning of World War I in 1914.

After sailing from Japan, via New Zealand, HIJMS Ibuki played a pivotal role in the protection of the convoy of troop ships assembled from around Australia and New Zealand, and on November 1, 1914 sailed from Albany in Western Australia, Mrs Smithson said.

Smithson Media is seeking information about the role the Ibuki played in the protection of the ANZEF fleet as the troop convoy made its way to Egypt and eventually Gallipoli. “It would be a difficult task, as records and sources of information were sparse,” Mrs Smithson said. “But I like a challenge. I know how important the Anzac legend is to Albany, and this is a chance to fill out the story,” she said.

Albany has a profound and continuing connection with the Anzac legend.

Uncovering more information about the Ibuki would add to Australia and Japan’s knowledge and understanding of each

other’s place in world history. It was also significant given the growing economic ties Albany had established through export to Japanese markets.

Smithson Media will research in Australia, Japan and New Zealand and publish findings in a report to the government and project partners when it is completed in April next year. Smithson Media is still seeking funding partners for this project and would welcome discussion with interested parties.

HIJMS Ibuki (foreground) and HMS Minotaur (background) at anchor in Wellington Harbour, New Zealand, 1914. (Photo courtesy of Royal New Zealand Navy: Public Relations).