(ASAKASAN MARU, prewar)
Tabular Record of Movement
© 2012-2016 Bob Hackett
30 January 1937:
Tama. Laid down by Mitsui Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. as Yard No.
227, a 8,702-ton passenger cargo ship for the Mitsui Line.
27 June 1937:
Launched and named ASAKASAN MARU..
7 September 1937:
Completed. She can accommodate nine 1st class
passengers and carries a crew of 46.
ASAKASAN MARU departs Yokohama for Los Angeles (San Pedro),
California and New York.
22 January 1938:
Arrives at Penang, Malaya.
25 January 1938:
Arrives at Singapore, Malaya.
28 January 1938:
11 March 1938:
Arrives at New York via the Panama Canal.
Arrives at Singapore.
24 November 1938:
Arrives at New York via the Panama Canal.
5 October 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJA. Alloted IJA No.840 and converted to a troop transport.
Ujina. Loads troops and departs in a convoy for Samah,
Hainan, Island, China.
4 December 1941:
At 0600, ASAKASAN MARU departs Samah in a convoy
consisting of 18 transports carrying LtGen Yamashita Tomoyuki's ("Tiger of Malaya") 25th Army to the Gulf of Thailand escorted by light cruiser SENDAI, DesDivs 12’s MURAKUMO, DesDiv 19's AYANAMI, ISONAMI, SHIKINAMI and URANAMI, DesDiv
20’s AMAGIRI, ASAGIRI, YUGIRI and SHIRAKUMO, minelayer HATSUTAKA, MinSwpDiv 1’s W-1, W-2, W-3, W-4, W-5, W-6 and W-8 and subchaser CH-9.
The convoy carries the Kra Isthmus, Singora, Patani and Kota Bharu Invasion Units. Distant cover is provided by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kurita Takeo's (38)(former CO of KONGO) CruDiv 7’s MOGAMI, MIKUMA, SUZUYA and
KUMANO and destroyers FUBUKI, SHIRAYUKI and HATSUYUKI. Air cover is provided from seaplane tenders SANYO, SAGARA and KAMIKAWA MARUs. En route the convoy and its escorts split into the respective Invasion Units and head for their
assigned landing and covering points.
7 December 1941:
At 2340, ASAKASAN MARU arrives at Singora (Songkhla), Siam (Thailand) with the Singora Invasion Unit consisting of transports ATSUTASAN, AZUMASAN, KANSAI, KASHII, KYUSHU, NAKAO, SADO and SASAKO MARUs and
landing craft depot ship SHINSHU (RYUJO) MARU escorted by DesDivs 12’s MURAKUMO, 19 and DesDiv 20’s AMAGIRI, ASAGIRI, YUGIRI and SHIRAKUMO, minelayer HATSUTAKA (F), MinSwpDiv 1’s W-1, W-4, W-5, W-6 and W-8. Air cover is provided by seaplane tenders KAMIKAWA, SAGARA and SANYO MARUs.
The Invasion Unit lands elements of Yamashita’s 25th Army and LtGen Matsui Takuro’s 5th Infantry Divison's 9th and 21st Infantry Brigades. The transports also land 20 Type 97 medium tanks and 37 Type 95 light tanks.
E 8 December 1941:
Departs Singora for Samah.
E 11 December 1941:
Arrives at Samah.
24 December 1941:
ASAKASAN and RYUJO MARUs departs Camranh Bay, Vichy French Indochina, escorted by light cruiser SENDAI and DesDiv 20’s SHIKINAMI.
30 December 1941:
Lands troops at Kota Bharu, Malaya.
23 April 1942:
ASAKASAN MARU is attached to Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi's (39) (former CO of KISO) Port Moresby Attack Force.
4 May 1942: Operation “MO” – The Invasions of Tulagi and Port Moresby:
At 1600, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Koso's (former CO of HIEI) Transport Force's departs Rabaul towards the Jomard Pass, Louisiade Archipelago
consisting of IJA transports CHINA, HIBI, MATSUE, MITO and DAIFUKU (TAIFUKU) MARUs and IJN transports AKIHASAN, AZUMASAN, CHOWA, GOYO, MOGAMIGAWA and SHOKAI MARUs, repair ship OJIMA and escorted by DesRon 6's light cruiser YUBARI,
DesDiv 29’s ASANAGI, OITE, DesDiv 30’s MUTSUKI, MOCHIZUKI and YAYOI, minelayer TSUGARU, minesweeper W-20 and auxiliary minesweepers HAGOROMO MARU, NOSHIRO MARU No. 2,
FUMI MARU No. 2 and SEKI MARU No. 3 and fleet salvage and repair tug OJIMA (OSHIMA). 
The Transport Force is carrying the bulk of the 3rd Kure Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF), the 10th Naval Construction Unit and the South Seas Detachment consisting of MajGen Horii Tomitaro’s 144th Infantry Corp HQ, 55th Cavalry Regiment (3 Companies), 55th Engineer Regiment (1Company) and the 47th Field AA Gun Battalion (1 Company).
ASAKASAN MARU’s departure from Rabaul is delayed.
5 May 1942:
At 1600, ASAKASAN MARU departs Rabaul and chases after the Transport Force.
9 May 1942: The Battle
of Coral Sea.
After the Battle of Coral Sea, the Attack Force returns to Rabaul.
2 July 1942:
ASAKASAN MARU departs Manila in the "E" convoy also consisting of HIROKAWA, SADO, SAGAMI, SHOHO, YAMAZATO and YAMAZUKI MARUs escorted by destroyer MOCHITZUKI.
6 July 1942:
Arrives at Mako and departs that same day.
8 July 1942:
Arrives at Ujina.
8 August 1942:
At 2200, ASAKASAN and SADO MARUs depart Moji for Rabaul with an unknown escort.
13 August 1942:
The convoy arrives at Palau. Embarks troops.
16 August 1942:
At 1600, departs Palau.
20 August 1942:
At 0900, the convoy arrives at Truk.
24 August 1942:
ASAKASAN and SADO MARUs depart Truk escorted by Rear Admiral Hashimoto Shintaro’s (41) DesRon 3 light cruiser SENDAI, DesDiv 20’s AMAGIRI, ASAGIRI, YUGIRI and SHIRAKUMO.
26 August 1942:
At 0900, the convoy receives orders from the IJA 17th Army to rush 600 soldiers of MajGen Kawaguchi Kiyotaki’s Brigade directly for Guadalcanal, Solomons. At noon, in mid-ocean, 600 men of the 2nd Battalion,
124th Infantry Regiment are transferred to DesDiv 20’s four destroyers and head for Guadalcanal as ordered.
27 August 1942:
The convoy arrives at Rabaul, New Britain. The
remainder of Kawaguchi’s brigade are disembarked.
27 February 1943:
Indian Ocean. 95 miles SE of Rangoon, Burma (Yangon,
Myanmar). ASAKASAN MARU is bombed and sunk by USAAF 10th Air Force B-24
“Liberator” heavy bombers at 15-53N, 97-40E.
 Supporting oilers HOYO and IRO MARU are anchored at
Shortlands area with destroyer UZUKI.
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany and the late John Whitman.
- Bob Hackett