Chris Reed and the Anime Raiders

Ehime Maru (えひめ丸)


In southern Japan is the coastal town of Uwajima. It is the home base to many fishing boats, including a boat called The Ehime Maru. This is actually the second ship of this name Ė the first was sunk in an accident off the coast of Hawaii in 2001.

The ship was used by Uwajima Fisheries High School in Ehime as a training vessel to teach the ways of the sea to teenagers who would become the next generation of fisherman for the area. Nine people including several students died when the commander of the U.S. Submarine USS Greenville was showing off for some guests who were onboard. The commanderís career was ended, and for a short while the relationship between the U.S. and Japan became somewhat strained.

I have read many accounts of the accident, and have read conspiracy theories that the sinking wasnít accidental. I donít know the truth and donít purport to know. I do think that the U.S. bungled a lot of this, although the final recovery efforts were done fairly well. My heart goes out to the families of those who lost loved ones that day, and I feel a special note should go to Onishi Hisao, the captain of the Ehime Maru, who surely didnít expect his boat to be sunk under him.

But for me, there is something more important that gets glossed over: the fact is that the people on board the Ehime Maru are a great example of attempting to preserve a way of life that seems to many of us in America as old-fashioned. Preserving the life and way of life of fishermen and fishing villages. I mean, Uwajima has a HIGH SCHOOL devoted to fishing!

I love the sea. From shortly before I turned 18 and on through today, I have always lived within a couple of miles of the ocean. Iím the kind of person who can stare at the waves for hours and never get bored. If I hadnít become a musician I would have become an oceanographer. While I do not know if I could ever be a good fisherman (Iím a city kid and probably always will be) I do love the ocean and I understand wanting to preserve that way of life.

To me, itís heroic.

One day when practicing the song ďRunaway/ThoughtĒ, which has been a staple in my practice routine for many years now, I started imagining an extended ending for the song. It is what you hear on the album. Itís about struggle and victory Ė picture a small fishing ship on the high seas and this is what I hear. And thatís why I named the song after the Ehime Maru.

Not as a tribute just to those who died, but as a tribute to all those who struggle to maintain that way of life, from long before the accident to the crew and students of the new Ehime Maru. 頑張って下さい


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