Shinano Maru in 1905
|Empire of Japan|
|Ordered||1904 Fiscal Year|
|Builder||W. Henderson Co, Glasgow|
|Launched||31 January 1900|
|Displacement||6,388 long tons (6,491 t)|
|Length||135.635 m (445 ft 0 in) |
|Beam||14.996 m (49 ft 2.4 in)|
|Draught||7.89 m (25 ft 11 in)|
|Speed||15.4 knots (28.5 km/h; 17.7 mph)|
|Armament||2 × 6 in (152 mm) guns|
Shinano Maru (信濃丸) was a 6,388 GRT merchantman operated by the Nippon Yusen K.K Shipping Company (NYK). She was built by W. Henderson Co in Glasgow, for the express purpose of serving NYK's Japan to Seattle route. NYK originally intended that she be built at the Mitsubishi Nagasaki shipyards in Japan; however, Mitsubishi had experienced problems in the completion of Hitachi Maru, which had led to considerable delays. NYK chose not to wait, and Shinano Maru was ordered to Scotland. She was completed in April 1900. During the Russo-Japanese War Shinano Maru was converted into an armed merchantman. She has the distinction of discovering the Russian Fleet near Tsushima Strait on the eve of the Battle of Tsushima. After the war Shinano Maru reverted to civilian use, being scrapped in 1951.
Early civilian service
Shinano Maru, with a length of 135.6 metres (444 ft 11 in), was designed to carry 238 passenger (26 first class, 20 second class, 193 third class), and her accommodations were regarded as modern and comfortable at the time of her completion. Initially, Shinano Maru was placed in service on Nippon Yusen routes between Australia and Japan.
Later in her early service with Nippon Yusen, Shinano Maru was reassigned to North Pacific routes to North America, making regular voyages between
Battle of Tsushima
With the start of the Russo-Japanese War in February 1904, Shinano Maru was one of the first ships requisitioned by the
On the night of May 26–27 Shinano Maru,
At 6:05 Shinano Maru reestablished visual contact with the Russian fleet, and continued shadowing it at 4 to 5 miles (6.4 to 8.0 km) distance.
In the aftermath of the battle Shinano Maru and Dainan Maru located the sinking
Post-war civilian service
Shinano Maru returned to civilian service in 1906, on Nippon Yusen's routes to
Pressed back into service as a transport in the
Shinano Maru was so obsolete and rusted that noted manga artist Shigeru Mizuki wrote in his diary that the iron of the hull was so rusted and thin that he considered it miraculous that the ship remained afloat, and that even the wake of a torpedo would be enough to sink it. After the surrender of Japan, it was used as a repatriation vessel bringing back Japanese former prisoners-of-war from Siberia. One of those returning to Japan on Shinano Maru was the future novelist Shōhei Ōoka. At the beginning of the Korean War, the ship was used as a mother ship for landing operations of the U.S. Navy. Shinano Maru was sold for scrap in 1951.
- ISBN 1-55750-129-7.
- Field, James A. (1962). History of United States Naval operations: Korea. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office.
- Wilson, H. W. (1999) . Battleships in Action. Scholarly Press. ISBN 0-85177-642-6.