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Asama Maru file photo [10214]

Asama Maru

CountryJapan
Builder NameMitsubishi Heavy Industries
Laid Down10 Sep 1927
Launched30 Sep 1928
Commissioned15 Sep 1929
Sunk1 Nov 1944
Displacement16,975 tons standard
Length583 feet
Beam71 feet
MachineryFour Sulzer diesels, four screws
Speed21 knots
Crew330
Passenger Capacity822 (222 first class, 96 second class, 504 third class)

Contributor:

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.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

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.

Photographs

Japanese passenger liner Asama Maru, circa late 1929Japanese passenger liner Asama Maru, circa 1931




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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Phil T says:
11 Oct 2015 03:35:31 AM

October 1942 Asama Maru loaded 1400 Allied POW's for Nagasaki to work as slave labourers My father was shackled by the ankles in hold like an animal as they were taking animals to Nagasaki Zoo at the time in cages...the POW's wondered what the very big Monitor lizards would taste like....as they were starving

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Japanese passenger liner Asama Maru, circa late 1929Japanese passenger liner Asama Maru, circa 1931


Famous WW2 Quote
"We no longer demand anything, we want war."

Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939