SS Kiche Maru

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The SS Kiche Maru was a Japanese steamship[1] that sank during a typhoon on 22 September 1912.

Although more than 1,000 died, the disaster has long been overshadowed by the earlier loss (on 15 April 1912) of the RMS Titanic, and by the fact that Kiche Maru was one of hundreds of naval calamities caused by a tropical storm in Southern Japan.[2] The sinking of the ship was swiftly reported, though confusion about its name became apparent (it was referred to as the Kieko Maru,[3] the Keiko Maru,[4] the Kioko maru,[citation needed] and the Kickermaru[5][6] in later accounts).[7][3] Kiche Maru,[8] a passenger ship, foundered off the island of Honshū, with the loss of all souls aboard.[9]

Although the sinking of the Japanese passenger ship was reported in the Western press as part of the news of the 1912 typhoon, and the information has been repeated in English-language lists of historic disasters, no contemporaneous Japanese accounts have been found to describe either the shipwreck, or the ship itself.


  1. ^ Hendrickson, Robert A. (1992). The Ocean Almanac. London: Hutchinson Reference. p. 278. ISBN 0-09-177355-5. 1912 - Kiche Maru. Over 1,000 were lost on 28 September, when this Japanese steamship sank off the Japanese coast in a storm
  2. ^ McKenna, Robert W. (2003). The Dictionary of Nautical Literacy. Camden, Me: International Marine Publishing. p. 193. ISBN 0-07-141950-0. Kiche Maru, Japanese Steamship that sank off the coast of Japan in a storm on 28 September 1912, with the loss of more than a thousand lives. News of the tragedy was overshadowed by the loss of the RMS Titanic months before
  3. ^ a b "Ruin in Wake of Typhoon" (pdf). The New York Times. 27 September 1912. p. 4. The Kieko Maru foundered off Enshu and the whole of her crew and passengers were lost. At Osaka 20,000 houses were ruined and all the breakwaters and the harbor piers were washed away. At Nara the thousand-year-old Kasuga Shrine collapsed into ruins
  4. ^ "Typhoon in Japan". Otautau Standard and Wallace County Chronicle. 24 December 1912. p. 1. Of the merchant marine the loss is reported of the Umegaka Maru, a vessel of some 3,000 tons, of the Shimonoseki Fusan Line. The water entered her whilst she was anchored outside Shimonoseki. ... The Keiko Maru Foundered off Nagoya, with 38 men on board ...
  5. ^ Hoffman, Mark S. (1923). The World Almanac and Book of Facts. Newspaper Enterprise Association. p. 167. Retrieved 2008-05-26. 1912 Sept. 28. Japanese steamer Kickermaru sunk off coast of Japan: 1,000
  6. ^ Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute. United States Naval Institute. p. 1239.
  7. ^ "Hurricane Sweeps Japan" (pdf). The New York Times. 26 September 1912. p. 4. A hurricane swept over Japan on the night of Sept. 22. There was much loss of life and heavy damage to property and shipping. All communications are badly interrupted. A torpedo boat and the destroyers Tachibana and Fubuki were sunk in Ise Bay
  8. ^ Corey, Melinda; Ochoa, George (2001). Facts about the 20th century. New York: H.W. Wilson Co. ISBN 0-8242-0960-5.
  9. ^ "Hundreds of People Perish in Typhoon". The Daily Northwestern. Oshkosh, Wisconsin. 26 September 1912. p. 1.