Honor, duty, and shame are the three features that have been deeply rooted in Japanese culture for centuries – think of a samurai warrior who is losing his honor.
He can regain it only if he takes his life in a fairly brutal way, by performing hara-kiri. This kind of act is perceived as a heroic way of dying, allowing the warrior to remove all the traces of shame associated with his name.
The concept of shame lies in the very core of the Japanese culture and cannot disappear until a person does what the community expects from him to do. This expectation often consists of drastic measures such as taking away person’s own life.
This fact brings us to the case of Masabumi Hosono, whose shame in the context of his native culture was that he found himself on the Titanic the night when the boat sank. As the data says, Hosono was the only traveler from Japan on the Titanic and he managed to survive one of the greatest maritime tragedies of all time.
Masabumi Hosono worked in the Japanese Ministry of Transport and arrived in England after working in Russia, where his task was to study the way this country manages the railways. Masabumi bought a second-class ticket in the famous Titanic and planned to return home.
On the night of this tragedy, Hosono was in a deep sleep. The loud knock on the door woke him up from the dream, after which he quickly run out. The crew took him to some of the lower decks of the ship, which were far away from the rescue boats.
The frightening experience is described in a letter which he wrote to his wife, and in the excerpts that are published in the Encyclopedia for Titanic, he writes that at one point he “could not overcome the feeling of fear”.
In his letter, Masabumi stated that he was mentally preparing for the last breath, hoping that “as Japanese leaves nothing embarrassing behind him.” But he did not give up and like all the others he was looking for a way to save his life.
Then, at one point, one of the officers who was in charge of the rescue said there were two more free seats. Masabumi noticed how one man jumped into the ship, and immediately after him, he jumped too.