|Builder Name||Mitsubishi Heavy Industries|
|Laid Down||10 Sep 1927|
|Launched||30 Sep 1928|
|Commissioned||15 Sep 1929|
|Sunk||1 Nov 1944|
|Displacement||16,975 tons standard|
|Machinery||Four Sulzer diesels, four screws|
|Passenger Capacity||822 (222 first class, 96 second class, 504 third class)|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseJapanese ocean liner Asama Maru, operated by the firm Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), was originally built for passenger travel between Asia and the west coast of the United States; she was the first ship built for NYK and was Japan's first diesel-powered passenger ship. She had one sister ship Tatsuta Maru, which was launched only a few months behind her. Her maiden voyage saw her departing Yokohama, Japan on 15 Sep 1929 for California, United States. Prior to the war, she made often visits to Hong Kong; Shanghai, China; Kobe, Japan; Yokohama, Japan; Honolulu, United States; Los Angeles, United States; and San Francisco, United States. On her fourth voyage from Yokohama to San Francisco, she broke the previous record for the short amount of time needed for the trip.
ww2dbaseOn 21 Jan 1940, Asama Maru was intercepted by British light cruiser HMS Liverpool 56 kilometers from the coast of Niijima, which was 163 kilometers south of Tokyo, Japan. The British sailors boarded the ship and removed 21 passengers suspected of being German sailors aboard the previously scuttled German liner Columbus before letting Asama Maru go. The government of Japan condemned this action as Japan and the United Kingdom had not engaged in war at the time.
ww2dbaseIn 1941, prior to the start of the Pacific War, Asama Maru was called into Japanese Navy service as a troop ship. Aside from troop transport missions, she also ferried Allied prisoners of war. On 1 Nov 1944, she was torpedoed by American submarine USS Atule in the South China Sea about 160 kilometers south of Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands). Her civilian captain Ryozaburo Agawa was assumed to have been killed during the sinking.
Last Major Revision: Jul 2010
Asama Maru Operational Timeline
|15 Sep 1929||Asama Maru was commissioned into service.|
|21 Jan 1940||Asama Maru was intercepted by British light cruiser HMS Liverpool 56 kilometers from the island of Niijima south of Yokohama, Japan. British sailors boarded the ship and removed 21 passengers suspected of being German sailors from the previously scuttled German liner Columbus before letting Asama Maru go. Britain and Japan had not yet entered a state of war at this time.|
|22 Jul 1942||Japanese ship Asama Maru landed 800 Americans civilians at Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), Mozambique; 377 of them had been most recently held at the Stanley Internment Camp in Hong Kong. On the same day, Italian ship Conte Verde also arrived at Lourenço Marques, landing 600 American civilians from Shanghai, China. They were part of an internee exchange program with the United States.|
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939