MV Tatsuta Maru

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Tatstua Maru postcard.jpg
Tatsuta Maru, c. 1931
Civil naval ensign ([Hinmaru])Japan
Name: MS Tatsuta Maru
Operator: NYK Line house flag.svg Nippon Yusen (NYK)
Builder: Mitsubishi Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Nagasaki, Japan
Yard number: 451
Laid down: 3 December 1927
Launched: 12 April 1929
Completed: 15 March 1930
In service: 1943
Out of service: 9 February 1943
Renamed: 1938, Tatuta Maru[citation needed]
Fate: lost in war
Status: torpedoed and sunk by submarine
General characteristics
Tonnage: 16,975 gross register tons (GRT)
Length: 583 ft (178 m)
Beam: 71 ft (22 m)
Propulsion: 4 Sulzer diesels, quadruple screws
Speed: 21 knots
Notes: Steel construction

Tatsuta Maru (龍田丸 Tatsuta maru?), also known as Tatuta Maru after 1938, was a Japanese ocean liner owned by Nippon Yusen Kaisha. The ship was built in 1927-1930 by Mitsubishi Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. at Nagasaki, Japan.

Tatsuta Maru was built for the trans-Pacific Orient-California fortnightly service.[1] Principal ports-of-call included Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kobe, Yokohama, Honolulu, Los Angeles & San Francisco.[2]

The vessel was created as a twin of Asama Maru; and both ships were named after important Shinto shrines.[3]


The shipyard number of the first passenger liner built by NYK was 450 (Asama Maru)[4] and 451 was the yard number of her sister ship, Tatsuta Maru.[5]

View of the ship's first class dining room.
View of the ship's first class reading and writing room.

Both vessels were built by Mitsubishi at Nagasaki on the southern island of Kyushu. Tatsuta Maru was launched on April 12, 1929. She undertook her maiden voyage on March 15, 1930,[5] sailing from Yokohama to San Francisco.[2]

The 16,975-ton vessel had a length of 583 feet (178 m), and her beam was 71 feet (22 m). The ship had four diesel motors, quadruple screws and a service speed of 21-knots.[5] Asama Maru was the second Japanese passenger liner to be propelled by diesel engines.[2]

Pacific War[edit]

Tatsuta Maru, marked with symbols of safe passage while working as a repatriation ship as seen through the periscope of the U.S. Navy submarine USS Kingfish (SS-234) in October 1942.

In December 1941 the liner was part of an elaborate Japanese deception plan to mask the unannounced attack on the US Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor. She sailed from Yokohama on 2 December bound for San Francisco with the task of exchanging American evacuees from East Asia for Japanese nationals in the United States. She was scheduled to reach the US on 14 December and despite rumours of war the American press wrongly concluded that meant nothing was likely to happen for some time.

The master of the ship had sealed orders to turn around at midnight on 7 December and return to Japan while maintaining radio silence. Subsequently, Tatsuta Maru was requisitioned as a troopship for the Imperial Japanese Navy.[2]

On February 8, 1943, Tatsuta Maru was torpedoed and sunk by the American submarine Tarpon[5] 42 miles east of Mikurajima.[2]

Some 1,400 Japanese soldiers on board were killed.

See also[edit]



External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°00′N 140°00′E / 34.000°N 140.000°E / 34.000; 140.000