Nick Russell took a close look at contemporary samurai accounts of a strange ship that landed at Mugi port in 1830, and found it corroborated the celebrated legend of convict pirate William Swallow, who led an escape from Tasmania via a mutiny on the brig ship Cyprus.
The pirates, some of whom were later hanged, claimed they had encountered samurai, giving a number of details, but no one believed their story. Via The Guardian:
Russell, after almost three years of puzzling over an obscure but meticulous record of an early samurai encounter with western interlopers, finally joined the dots with the Cyprus through a speculative Google search last month.
The British expatriate all but solved what was for the Japanese a 187-year mystery, while likely uncovering vivid new detail of an epic chapter of colonial Australian history.
"If you'd said I was going to go hunt and find a new pirate ship, I'd have gone, 'you're crazy'," Russell told Guardian Australia. "I just stumbled on it. Boom. There it was on the screen in front of me.
"I immediately knew and as soon as I started checking, everything just fitted so perfectly."
(The Guardian via MetaFilter)