Stories of the IJN's Hospital Ships

11 November 2018

By Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

Discussion & Questions

(Hospital ship by Takeshi Yuki)

The Japanese never constructed purpose-built hospital ships, but before and during the Pacific War, they requisitioned 19 merchant ships and had them converted. The IJN also captured and subsequently employed a former Dutch hospital ship.

The Japanese declared these ships as hospital ships in accordance with the Geneva Convention. As such, they were painted white overall and bore large red crosses on their decks and funnels that were illuminated at night. They also bore large red crosses amidships on both their port and starboard sides. Additionally, a green band was painted around the full length of their hulls.

Four hospital ships survived the war. Later, three of these provided much-needed transport capability for the Allied Repatriation Service. Today, the last former IJN hospital ship serves as a restaurant and museum in Yokohama.

Shortcut to Special Features related to Japanese Hospital Ships

"Last Days of the USS PERCH (SS-176)" by Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
Rev 5/4/13

Japanese Hospital Ships: Tabular Records of Movement (TROMs)

(Classes link to specifications summaries)

Hikawa Maru No. 2 Class

Hikawa Maru No. 2 (revised 11/11/2017)

Hikawa Maru Class

Hikawa Maru <(revised 11/11/2017)

Asahi Maru Class

Asahi Maru (revised 11/11/2018)

Takasago Maru Class

Takasago Maru (revised 6/2/2018)

Kiku Maru Class

Kiku Maru (revised 4/17/2017)

Muro Maru Class

Muro Maru (revised 2/22/2015)

Tachibana Maru Class

Tachibana Maru (revised 11/11/2018)

Bibliography of Sources

About the Authors

Mr. Robert Hackett is a military historian and researcher. Retired from the United States Air Force and later from the aerospace industry, he resides in Florida.

Mr. Sander Kingsepp, a native of Estonia, is also a military historian and researcher. A talented linguist, Sander's translations of Japanese source materials have greatly enhanced these TROMs.

Mr. Peter Cundall is a historian and researcher who works in the harbour towage sector of the maritime industry. He specialises in merchant ships and resides in Australia.

Questions to the authors concerning these TROMs should be posted on the Discussion and Questions board.