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Xu Fu's Sailing to Japan

The sitting statue of Xu Fu in Xu Fu Temple
In 219 BC, when Emperor Qin Shihuang arrived in Langya (today's Zhucheng in East China's Shangdong Province) during a sea cruise, Xu Fu (a man of the Qi State) and others, claiming there were three divine mountains in the sea, submitted a request to the emperor, asking him to send children to search for the elixir of life. The emperor, believing what the group said, sent thousands of little boys and girls to accompany Xu on the voyage. However, several years passed and a great deal of money was spent without any results.

In 210 BC, when Emperor Qin cruised Langya again, Xu Fu, fearing to be blamed, lied to the emperor, saying there were many sharks in the sea and so the Imperial Court should send archers to get rid of them. This time, Emperor Qin sent 3,000 little boys and girls, together with hundreds of artisans, to accompany Xu.

According to research, it was probable that Xu Fu followed such a route: He started

Possible sea route taken by  Xu Fu to arrive in Japan
off from the Shangdong Peninsula; then, via the Bohai Valley, he arrived at the Liaodong Peninsula before moving on along the coastal area of the Korean Peninsula to reach the Tsushima Strait; finally, he arrived in Kitakyushu via Okinawa Island.

Xu Fu's achievements in reaching Japan by sea show the ancient Chinese people had a good mastery of the technologies and knowledge on oceangoing navigation. Today, Xu Fu's tomb can still be found in Wakayama (Japan), with the inscription of "Tomb of Xu Fu of the Qin Dynasty (221-206BC)."

Xu Fu's voyage to Japan marked the beginning of Chinese people's ocean ventures and expeditions.

Author: Jessie