The nut of the story:
An amateur historian has unearthed compelling evidence that the first Australian maritime foray into Japanese waters was by convict pirates on an audacious escape from Tasmania almost two centuries ago.
Fresh translations of samurai accounts of a “barbarian” ship in 1830 give startling corroboration to a story modern scholars had long dismissed as convict fantasy: that a ragtag crew of criminals encountered a forbidden Japan at the height of its feudal isolation.
The “samurai accounts” listed above included watercolor sketches made by Makita Hamaguchi, who was sent to investigate the interlopers and their “unbearable stench.”
What really gets me, though, is the detail of the dog in this sketch, which Hamaguchi noted “did not look like food. It looked like a pet.”