Masabumi Hosono


Recently Mr. Hosono's memoirs have surfaced. They seem to indicate that he escaped by jumping into boat 10, rather than in boat 13 (which was assumed from Colonel Gracie's book listing a "Japanese" man in boat 13). Somehow his family feels that this exonerates him from charges of cowardice that ruined his career. I don't understand: If he had entered boat 13, it would have been perfectly allowable (as was the case with Beesley, Dr. Dodge, and many others). Instead, he jumped into boat 10, which was reserved for women and children only, and was later forced to row. In what way does this exonerate him? It actually seems to put him his escape in a somewhat questionable light. Or have I overlooked something?
I don't understand their logic either. I believe some of it stems from a "report" that the Asian in boat 13 behaved poorly, rushing the boat or some nonsense. Steward F.D. Ray, in his U.S. testimony, commented that he remembered a Japanese in the boat, but made no mention of his conduct. I myself haven't seen any actual sources saying the man (probably one of the Chinese sailors) acted badly.
Hosono, as it seems, leapt into boat 10 after seeing another man do so. While don't have a problem with the man's determination to survive, I can see how others may still say he acted cowardly.
Chris Dohany
He was Masabumi Hosono, travelling as a passenger in 2nd Class. Because he left Titanic in a lifeboat he was branded a coward in his native Japan, and both he and his family arguably suffered more as a result of his survival than if he had died.

In Walter Lord's book "A Night to Remember" he says that a lifeboat found a "Japanese" steerage passenger tied to a door. I looked on the website here but there were no Japanese steerage passengers. Who could this passenger have been? Please tell me if anyone knows. Thanks.

Inger Sheil

This would be the man found by the crew of lifeboat 14. He was very probably one of the 8 Chinese sailors from Hong Kong travelling in steerage.

There was a Japanese passenger on board - Masabumi Hosono. His story can be found here in an article by Margaret Mehl.

Btw - Welcome to the board, Zachary!
Last edited by a moderator:

Jason D. Tiller

Staff member
Sadly, Masabumi Hosono was branded a coward in his own country and died a broken man in 1939.

Just to add to the link that Inger provided, here is also his biography, right here on this site:

Masabumi Hosono

Welcome aboard, Zachary!
Last edited by a moderator:
The "Japanese" derives from the libelous account of Lowe's activities by Charlotte Collyer and her ghost writer. This appeared in The Semi-Monthly Magazine after the sinking. However, Collyer was never in a position to see what Lowe did. It's more than time for her tale to be laid to rest.

It's often said that the passenger was the Chinese seaman, Fang Lang, but I've never seen a primary source for this.

Inger Sheil

I think we largely agree on the veracity of Collyer's account in this and some other regards, Dave
. That one of the men rescued by Boat 14 was Asian is supported by George Crowe's evidence:

...a Japanese or Chinese young fellow that we picked up on top of some of the wreckage - it might have been a sideboard or table - that was floating around.
Lowe had a copy of the story - it was given to him by Marjorie Collyer many years after the disaster. Lowe apparently made some comment on this aspect of the article, or of the rescue, as his wife mentioned to their son something that Lowe had remarked about the rescue of the Asian passenger. Regretably, Harold W. G. did not recall the exact nature of the comments his father made. One is tempted to infer that it was an expression of disbelief at how the rescue was depicted in the article (especially given the respect Lowe had for the Chinese sailors he had worked with in his career), but that is speculative.​
Re: "Masabumi" Hosono.

Are we 100% confident over the spelling of Mr. Hosono's first name? Back in 2001 I was working with a young woman from Tokyo. When I showed her his bio, her first comment was, "Oh, it must be "Masafumi." Just curious.


Inger Sheil

Might be an interesting angle to follow up, Roy. Margaret Mehl was working from Japanese sources and was in touch with with Takahisa Furukawa, a professor at Yokohama City University and
descendant of Hosono Masabumi, so I'd tend to go with her preferred spelling, but I suppose it's possible for errors to creep into the record (certainly wouldn't be the first time it happened with Titanic passenger and crew names).
G'day, Inger!

I agree, it would be worth following up and here are a couple examples of why.

I worked with a Vietnamese friend whose married last name is Quach. One day she received a piece of mail addressed to Mrs. "Quack". (Aarrgh!)

If I had a friend named Chuck and someone told me his name was "Cluck", I'm sure my ear would tell me the person was in error.

One incorrect letter can make a world of difference, can't it? '-)