T. Yamamoto (1881- )

Yamamoto was the Japanese captain of the Komagata Maru, an experienced sailor, but apparently in his first command. Previously he had served on Japanese merchant ships on the Yokohama to Sydney, Australia, and the Yokohama to Seattle routes. He had taken over the Komagata Maru in Kobe, Japan, when the ship docked there on its way to Canada. According to Yamamoto—who spoke about this to H.H. Stevens in Vancouver—the owners had been angry with the previous captain for his dealings with the German shipping agency, A. Bune of Hong Kong. It was Bune who hired the ship and helped recruit the passengers. Gurdit Singh got along with the previous captain very well and he objected vigorously to his replacement by Yamamoto, whom he later called a snob and a shirker. In Vancouver, Yamamoto went ashore regularly, at times spending the night there, and talked many times to Canadian officials, the Japanese consul in Vancouver, and C. Gardner Johnson, the owners’ shipping agent there. He was not someone that Gurdit Singh and the passengers trusted. He was in command of the ship’s crew on the return journey and following the arrest of the ship by Indian police after the Budge Budge riot, he was detained in Calcutta until after the Komagata Maru Committee of Inquiry completed its work in mid-January 1915. He and his chief officer and chief engineer, Shiozaki, were among the many witnesses interviewed by the Committee. By the end of 1916 he was back at sea, serving as the wireless operator on the Chosen Maru on the run from Osaka to Sydney.

Vancouver City Archives: Stevens Papers, Conversation between Mr. Reid and Captain Yamamoto, 4 July, 1914; Library and Archives Canada, Borden Papers, H.H. Stevens to Sir Richard McBride, 10 Dec., 1914.