Mongol ship unearthed in Japan


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The Independent Online

Researchers in Japan have unearthed a sunken shipwreck from one of the country's most legendary episodes – the ill-fated 13th Century invasion by the forces of Mongol ruler Kublai Khan.

The12-metre section of a Mongolian ship will help historians understand more about one of the world's most fearsome armies, said Archaeology Professor Yoshifumi Ikeda, whose team made the discovery. "We're going to try to raise the ship," pledged Professor Ikeda, who said the first job was to preserve it from further deterioration.

The Mongols, who at the time ran an empire that stretched from the Pacific to the Urals, launched two invasion fleets against Japan in 1274 and 1281. The second was reportedly 4,400-strong, carrying 140,000 soldiers.

But both fleets were hit by storms that sank most of the ships, an episode from history dubbed the Kamikaze ("Divine Wind") story, because of the notion Japan was saved by divine intervention.