Japanese ironclad Ryūjō

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For other ships with the same name, see Ryūjō.
Japanese Ironclad warship Ryujo.jpg
Name: Ryūjō
Builder: Alexander Hall and Company,[1] Aberdeen
Laid down: 1868[1]
  • 27 March 1869[1]
  • or January 1864[2]
Decommissioned: 2 December 1893[3]
General characteristics
Displacement: 2,530 long tons (2,571 t) standard[4][5][6][7]
  • 211 ft (64 m)[7]
  • or 64.5 m (211 ft 7 in)[5]
  • or 65.9 m (216 ft 2 in)[6]
  • 12.5 m (41 ft 0 in)[5][7]
  • or 12.8 m (42 ft 0 in)[6]
Draught: 6 m (19 ft 8 in)[5]
Propulsion: 1-shaft reciprocating;[5] 800 hp (600 kW)[5][6][7]
Speed: 6 knots (6.9 mph; 11 km/h)[5]
Complement: 275 people capacity in October 1873[8]
Armament: 6 × 64 lb Krupp guns, other[4][5]

Ryūjō (龍驤?), 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.[1] It was delivered to the new Imperial Japanese Navy on 8 May 1870, and sailed from Nagasaki to Yokohama with a British captain, and named Ryōshō (龍驤 りょうしょう?), later called Ryūjō (龍驤 りゅうじょう?).[2][4] 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,[4][9] and formed part of the escort of Russian Crown Prince (later Emperor) Nicholas II, when he visited Japan in 1872. Although completed too late for the Boshin war, the ship participated in the battles of the early Meiji period, including the Saga Rebellion, Seinan War and the first Taiwan Expedition of 1874.

From February through September 1872, Ryūjō made a training cruise from Shinagawa to Singapore, Batavia, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland. 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.

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 to July 1881, she made port visits to Sydney, Melbourne in Australia and a circumnavigation of Tasmania. The following year, she made a second long-distance navigational training voyage to Wellingtion, Valparaíso, Callao and Honolulu. In 1895, she was dispatched to Korea as part of a Japanese show of force following the Gapsin Coup. In 1888, she made third long-distance navigational training voyage to Singapore, Batavia, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland.[2]

She was derated to a third-class warship in 1890.[2]

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

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.



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