The first Japanese expedition to Antarctica in early 1911, on the Kainan Maru, was led by Lieutenant Nobu Shirose. It was launched when the Norwegian expedition, under Roald Amundsen, and the British expedition, commanded by Robert Falcon Scott, were also in Antarctica. The Japanese explorers visited Wellington on their way to Antarctica and caused consternation, as apparently none could speak English and no interpreter could be found. There were, however, claims in the press that some could speak good English, but for possibly suspect reasons had chosen not to. The Kainan Maru visited Wellington again in March 1912 on its return voyage to Japan.
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