Chichibu Maru, Tokio - Mystery Solved
(Click on photo to see enlargement.)
On board Chichibu Maru going to Japan, June 1931
Priests in top left corner from top down: Fathers Leo Joseph Berard, CP, Linus Lombard, CP, and Denis Fogarty, CP. Seated left to right: Fathers Ernest Cunningham, CP and Timothy McDermott, CP.
In the center are Prince and Princess Takamatsu who were returning from a world tour.
They had been married in 1930.
This photo was found in the Archives and the identification was a mystery. The name of the ship, Chichibu Maru was found on the life preserver as was Tokio, identifying it as a Japanese ship. In the left corner there are a few priests which we presumed might be Passionists and in the center of the photo are two dignitaries
Br. Laurence Finn, C.P. gave us the clue we needed to begin identification with a link to some information on the ship:
http://shiplover3.stormpages.com/Japan/ChichibuMaru.html. From this we learned that the photo must have been taken between 1930 when the ship was built and 1938 when the ship's name was changed. Using Sign Magazine we were able to find that 3 new priests went to China on this ship on May 28, 1931. They were Fathers Leo Joseph Berard, CP, Linus Lombard, CP, and Denis Fogarty, CP. Other documentation showed that 3 others who had been on leave returned to China with the new priests. They were Fathers Ernest Cunningham, CP, Timothy McDermott, CP, and Flavian Mullins, CP.
We found letters written from the ship which indicated that the "Prince and Princess" were on board. A little research on the Web turned up a Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kikuko,_Princess_Takamatsu) which says that the couple returned to Japan after a world tour in June 1931. That indicates that these are indeed Prince and Princess Takamatsu.
Notice that Fr. Flavian Mullins, CP is not in the picture. Two letters were found indicating that he got off the ship in Honolulu. One is from Timothy McDermott, CP on May 29th to his family saying that Fr. Flavian will leave them in Honolulu and the other is from Fr. Flavian on June 18th saying that his visit to Honolulu is over. Apparently the photo was taken after he left.