Japanese ironclad Ryūjō

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For other ships of the same name, see Ryūjō.
Name: Ryujo
Builder: Alexander Hall and Company, Aberdeen
Laid down: 1868
Launched: 27 March 1869
Completed: 11 August 1869
Decommissioned: 2 December 1893
Fate: Scrapped 1908
General characteristics
Displacement: 2,571 long tons (2,612 t) standard
Length: 64.5 m (211 ft 7 in) p/p
Beam: 12.5 m (41 ft 0 in)
Draught: 6 m (19 ft 8 in)
Propulsion: 1-shaft reciprocating; 800 hp (600 kW)
Speed: 6 knots (6.9 mph; 11 km/h)
Complement: 275
Armament: • 6 × 64 lb Krupp guns
Armour: Belt: 115 mm (4.5 in)
Battery: 100 mm (3.9 in)

The Ryūjō (龍驤?) or Jo Sho Maru, was a steam ironclad warship of the Imperial Japanese Navy, designed by Thomas Blake Glover and built in Scotland for the private navy of the fief of Kumamoto, where it was called the Jo Sho Maru. It was delivered to the new Imperial Japanese Navy on 8 May 1870, and sailed from Nagasaki to Yokohama with a British captain. Until the commissioning of the ironclad Fusō in 1878, she was the flagship (and the most powerful ship) of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Ryūjō was honored by a visit by Emperor Meiji in 1871, and formed part of the escort of Russian Crown Prince (later Emperor) Nicholas II, when he visited Japan in 1872. The ship participated in the battles of the early Meiji Restoration, including the Saga Rebellion, Seinan War and the first Taiwan Expedition of 1874.

On 26 October 1877, Ryūjō ran aground in high winds off Kagoshima, but she was successfully refloated the following year and brought to Yokosuka for repairs. From February—July 1881, she made port visits to Sydney, Melbourne in Australia and a circumnavigation of Tasmania. The following year, the ship visited Honolulu, Hawaii.

Naval gunnery trainees on the Ryūjō, around their English instructor, Lieutenant Horse (ホース中尉), in early 1871

On 15 September 1873, 169 crewmen (of a crew of 378) were stricken with food poisoning, of which 23 died. This incident led to the use of bread as the main diet of the Japanese navy. From February through September 1872, Ryūjō made a training cruise from Shinagawa to Singapore, Batavia, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland. Although formally decommissioned on 2 December 1893, the ship's guns were replaced with the latest Krupp cannon, and she continued to be used as a naval gunnery training vessel based at Yokosuka until 1908.


  • Chesneau, Roger; Kolesnik, Eugene M., eds. (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. Greenwich, UK: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-8317-0302-4. 
  • Jentschura, Hansgeorg; Jung, Dieter; Mickel, Peter (1977). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869–1945. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. ISBN 0-87021-893-X. 
  • Scottish Samurai: The Life of Thomas Blake Glover by Alexander McKay (Canongate Books, 1993) ISBN 0-86241-455-5

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