(NOTORO by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of
IJN Seaplane Tender KIYOKAWA MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement
© 1998-2007 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, Allan Alsleben and Peter Cundall.
16 February 1937:
21 October 1936:
Kobe. Laid down by Kawasaki Shipbuilding.
Launched and named the KIYOKAWA MARU.
15 May 1937:
Kobe. Completed as a cargo liner with some refrigerated capacity for the Kawasaki Kisen K.K Line.
Departs Yokohama for a cruise to San Francisco and return.
19 August 1937:
Seto Inland Sea, SW of Nakanose. Receives slight damage as a result of a collision with the small train ferry UKO MARU No. 1.
28 September 1941:
Yokosuka Navy Yard. The KIYOKAWA MARU is requisitioned by the IJN. Begins conversion to a 6,863-ton seaplane carrier/tender.
5 October 1941:
Completes conversion and is registered (commissioned) in the Yokosuka Naval District. Captain (Retired) Nakamura Shinobu (34) is assigned as the Commanding Officer.
The KIYOKAWA MARU’s aircraft complement is six Type 95 Kawanishi E8N “Dave” two-seat reconnaissance floatplanes with two in reserve and three Type 94 Kawanishi E7K2 “Alf” two-seat reconnaissance floatplanes with one in reserve. The KIYOKAWA MARU’s aircraft code is “R-xx” and her call sign is JNZL.
10 November 1941:
Reassigned to Headquarters, Fourth Fleet.
27 November 1941:
Departs Yokosuka for Saipan.
2 December 1941:
Arrives at Saipan.
8 December 1941: Operation “Z” – The Attack on Pearl Harbor:
Truk. The KIYOKAWA MARU is attached to Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Inouye Shigeyoshi's (former
CO of HIEI) Fourth Fleet South Seas Force in Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (former
CO of KONGO), Second Fleet, Southern Force.
9 December 1941: Operation “G” – The Seizure of Guam:
The KIYOKAWA MARU's aircraft, with those of the 17th Naval Air Group from Saipan, attack Guam.
10 December 1941: The Invasion of Guam:
The Invasion Force lands 5,500 troops of MajGen Horii Tomitara's South Seas Detachment. The tiny American and Guamanian garrison is overrun. The Governor of Guam, Captain George J. McMillin, USN, surrenders the island to ComCruDiv 6 Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Goto Aritomo (former CO of MUTSU).
14 December 1941:
Assigned to the Wake Island Attack Force.
21 December 1941: The Second Invasion of Wake Island:
Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi's (former CO of KISO) Attack Force is joined
by CruDiv 18's KIYOKAWA MARU, Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Goto Aritomo's (former
CO of MUTSU) CruDiv 6's AOBA, KINUGASA, KAKO and the FURUTAKA and DesDiv 29's ASANAGI
and the YUNAGI. The greatly reinforced Attack Force, now consisting of two fleet carriers, a seaplane tender,
six heavy cruisers, two light cruisers and 11 destroyers, sorties from Roi in support of the second invasion's
23 December 1941:
After a magnificent, but hopeless stand, Wake's grossly outnumbered American garrison is overwhelmed and forced to surrender.
24 December 1941:
KIYOKAWA MARU departs Wake for Truk.
17 January 1942:
Near Lamotrek Island. KIYOKAWA MARU and Rear Admiral Kajioka's light cruiser YUBARI and four destroyers join MineDiv 19’s TSUGARU and OKINOSHIMA and two destroyers escorting transports that left Guam on 14 January.
That same day, Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi’s Carrier Striking Force departs Truk consisting of CarDiv 1’s AKAGI and KAGA, CruDiv 5’s SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, BatDiv 3/1 HIEI and KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 8’s TONE and CHIKUMA and DesRon 1’s light cruiser ABUKUMA with DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE, URAKAZE, TANIKAZE, HAMAKAZE, DesDiv 18's ARARE, KASUMI, KAGERO, SHIRANUHI and unattached AKIGUMO.
20 January 1942: - Operation "R" - The Invasions of Rabaul and Kavieng:
N of New Ireland. CarDivs 1 and 5 launch 100 bombers and fighters to attack Rabaul, New Britain and Kavieng, New Ireland. That evening, CarDiv 5 is detached and moves to a position in the Bismarck Sea.
20 January 1942:
CarDiv 1's AKAGI and KAGA launch air strikes against Rabaul and Kavieng. That same day, KIYOKAWA MARU begins air operations over Kavieng.
21 January 1942:
CarDiv 1 launches another strike on Rabaul and CarDiv 5 launches attacks on Madang, Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea. After CarDiv 5 recovers her aircraft, she departs the Bismarck Sea area that evening to rendevous with CarDiv 1.
22 January 1942:
CarDiv 1 launches a 45-plane strike against Rabaul. After the launch, CarDiv 5 rendevouses with CarDiv 1. When CarDiv 1 completes recovery of her strike aircraft, Nagumo heads north to Truk.
22/23 January 1942:
New Britain. Soon after midnight, OKINOSHIMA lands invasion troops at Blanche Bay, Rabaul. The invasion forces swiftly overcome light Australian opposition and occupy both Rabaul and Kavieng.
1 February 1942:
KIYOKAWA MARU participates in actions off Rabaul.
9 February 1942:
KIYOKAWA MARU covers the occupation of Gasmata, New Britain.
10 February 1942:
Returns to Rabaul.
19 February 1942:
Participates in actions off New Guinea.
20 February 1942: Aborted American Raid on Rabaul:
Vice Admiral Wilson Brown Jr’s (later President Roosevelt’s Naval Aide) Task Force 11 (USS LEXINGTON, CV-2), is en route to attack Rabaul. At 1030, the task force is spotted by a Type 97 Kawanishi H6K “Mavis” flying boat of the Yokohama Naval Air Group. Since surprise is lost, the American attack is cancelled.
At 1430, a Jake from the KIYOKAWA MARU's Air Unit takes off from Rabaul. At 1815, its crew sends a sighting report that places TF 11 470 miles NNE of Rabaul. TF 11 is attacked off Bougainville by the 4th NAG’s land-based bombers, but the Japanese are beaten off with heavy losses.
At 2000, the Jake signals it is returning to Rabaul, but fails to arrive.
5 March 1942: Operation “SR” – The Invasions of Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea:
Departs Rabaul with Rear Admiral Goto's CruDiv 6’s AOBA, KINUGASA, KAKO and the FURUTAKA, Rear Admiral Marumo Kuninori's CruDiv 18’s light cruisers TENRYU and TATSUTA and DesRon 6’s light cruiser YUBARI and six destroyers.
8 March 1942:
Provides air cover for the invasion of Lae and Salamaua.
10 March 1942:
Lae. Rear Admiral (MOH-‘14/later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher's (former CO of VERMONT, BB-20) Task
Force 17’s (USS YORKTOWN, CV-5) Douglas SBD “Dauntless” dive-bombers and TBD “Devastators"
attack the anchored invasion IJN task group.
Salamaua. F4Fs of VF-3 strafe gun positions and shipping in the harbor. An E8N2 Dave from the KIYOKAWA MARU's Air Group attacks a flight of TDBs enroute to Lae. In turn, the Dave is chased by four SBD's of VS-2, but evades them.
Lae. The armed merchant cruiser KONGO MARU is sunk. The light cruiser YUBARI and two minesweepers are damaged. An E8N2 challenges a flight of F4F Wildcats and is promptly shot down.
25 miles E of Lae at sea. TBDs from the YORKTOWN find the KIYOKAWA MARU and bomb her from 13,000 feet. They score one or more hits. She is heavily damaged.
11 March 1942:
Returns to Rabaul. The KIYOKAWA MARU offloads her floatplanes and undergoes repairs.
18 March 1942:
Departs Rabaul leaving her planes ashore.
8 April 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. The KIYOKAWA MARU’s aircraft complement is updated to six Type O Mitsubishi F1M2 “Pete” two-seat reconnaissance float bi-planes with two E8N2 in reserve and three E13A1s with one in reserve.
13 April 1942:
Transferred to Yokohama and dry-docked.
29 April 1942: Operation “MO”- The Invasion of Tulagi and Port Moresby (The Battle of Coral Sea):
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Shima Kiyohide’s (former CO of OI) Invasion Force departs Rabaul for the seizure of Tulagi, Florida Island, British Solomons.
30 April 1942:
The KIYOKAWA MARU's Air Unit's floatplanes that she left behind at Rabaul, when she returned to Japan, participate in the capture of Tulagi.
3 May 1942:
Rekata Bay, San Isabel Island. The KAMIKAWA MARU with the SEIKO MARU and NIKKAI MARU set up a seaplane base. The KIYOKAWA MARU’s Air Unit provides cover over Tulagi and Guadalcanal.
4 May 1942:
100 miles S of Guadalcanal. Task Force 17's Rear Admiral Fletcher receives a signal that IJN transports are disembarking troops and equipment at Tulagi.
At 0701, the YORKTOWN (CV-5) launches her first surprise strike of 18 Grumman F4F-3 "Wildcats" fighters of VF-42, 12 Grumman TBD-1“Devastator” torpedo-bombers of VT-5 and 28 Douglas SBD-3 “Dauntless” dive-bombers from VS-5 and BY-5 on the Invasion Force.
The YORKTOWN's SBD dive bombers and Grumman TBD "Avenger" torpedo-bombers of VB-5, VS-5 and VT-5 supported by Grumm/an F4F "Wildcats" of VF-42 also torpedo and sink the destroyer KIKUZUKI, minesweeper TAMA MARU Maru and auxiliary minesweepers Wa-1 and Wa-2 and four barges.
The YORKTOWN's planes also damage the destroyer YUZUKI, minelayer OKINOSHIMA, transport AZUMASAN MARU and cargo ship KOZUI MARU for the loss of three planes.
The KIYOKAWA MARU's Air Unit at Makambo Island in Tulagi harbor, suffers the loss of two of her F1M2 Petes and loss or damage to an E8N2 Dave. The KAMIKAWA MARU also suffers the loss of two of her three F1M2s to VF-42 and the third is damaged. The YORKTOWN’s losses are two F4F's and one TBD.
5 May 1942:
Rekata Bay. The KIYOKAWA MARU's Air Unit replenishes the KAMIKAWA’s aircraft losses, then the KAMIKAWA MARU departs for Deboyne Island in the Louisades.
26 May 42:
The KIYOKAWA MARU departs Yokosuka for Rabaul.
6 June 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul. Thereafter, participates in actions in the Rabaul, area.
2 July 1942:
At Rabaul with CruDiv 6.
14 July 1942:
Reassigned to Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi's (former CO of KIRISHIMA) Eighth Fleet at Rabaul. Her aircrafts’ tail code is changed to “RI-xx.”
KIYOKAWA MARU is assigned to escort a convoy in preparation for operation "RI”.
20 July 1942:
21 July 1942:
Arrives at Buna, New Guinea.
24 July 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.
5 August 1942:
Embarks the 41st Infantry Regiment, less its 1st Battalion. Departs Davao with MYOKO MARU.
16 August 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul via Palau.
19 August 1942:
Departs Rabaul with MYOKO MARU for Basabua.
21 August 1942:
Arrives at Basabua, disembarks the 41st Infantry Regiment.
22 August 1942:
Departs Basabua with MYOKO MARU.
24 August 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.
Participates in actions off Port Moresby with six F1M2s and three E13A1s.
18 September 1942:
Departs Rabaul for Yokosuka.
26 September 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.
30 September 1942:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Higuchi Ko (40) (former CO of Tainan NAG) assumes command.
2 October 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Rabaul.
11 October 1942:
St George's Channel, near Rabaul New Britain. An RAAF No. 6 Squadron Lockheed "Hudson" light bomber, based at Port Moresby, attacks the KIYOKAWA MARU being escorted by destroyer at 05-40S, 152-53E. The crew claims two direct hits from 900 feet with 250-lb bombs and a near miss. The ship swings hard through 180 degrees and loses way. Dense smoke rises from her decks. The Hudson's crew reports she was carrying a deck cargo of "at least 12 Zeros".
Later, the KIYOKAWA MARU participates in actions off Rabaul while she is based there.
1 December 1942:
The KIYOKAWA MARU is re-rated a converted transport (Misc.) of the Navy Ministry’s Supply Force at Yokosuka. Her planes are allocated to the 958th NAG.
7 December 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.
13 December 1942:
Recalled Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Hara Seitaro (35) assumes command.
20 December 1942:Operation "HINOE-GO No.2"
Allocated to the movement from Yokosuka to Wewak of the remaining planes and personnel of the IJAAF's 208th Squadron originally based in Manchuria. Departs Yokosuka.
12 January 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.
21 January 1943:
23 January 1943:
Arrives at Shanghai, China.
26 January 1943:
Departs Shanghai for Sasebo.
28 January 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.
3 February 1943:
5 February 1943:
Arrives at Tsingtao, China. The KIYOKAWA MARU embarks men and equipment of the IJA's 41st Infantry Division,
7 February 1943: Operation "C-3" (HINOE-GO No. 3) - The Reinforcement of New Guinea:
14 February 1943:
Arrives at Palau.
21 February 1943:
24 February 1943:
Arrives at Wewak. Disembarks troops and departs.
25 February 1943:
Arrives at Palau.
13 March 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.
18 March 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka, later transferred to Yokohama for repairs.
1 April 1943:
Re-rated a transport. Reassigned to Southwest Area Fleet, Second Southern Expeditionary Fleet.
12 April 1943:
Captain-Retired Fujisawa Takuo (33) is a given a special assignment as the new CO. Captain Hara is reassigned as the CO of the KAMIKAWA MARU on which he is later KIA.
24 May 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for the Nansei Shoto area.
15 July 1943:
16 July 1943:
Arrives Singapore. That same day, KIYOKAWA MARU departs Singapore in fast convoy "L" with oiler OTOWASAN MARU an an unidentified escort..
23 July 1943:
At about 1240, arrives at Takao, Formosa.
26 July 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.
3 August 1943:
4 August 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.
8 August 1943:
9 August 1943:
Arrives at Mutsure Island.
12 August 1943:
1 September 1943:
Reassigned directly to the Southwest Area Fleet Headquarters.
11 September 1943:
Off Makassar, Celebes. Damaged in an air attack.
1 October 1943:
Rerated a special transport.
6 November 1943:
Departs Penang escorted by torpedo boat KARI to Mergui, Burma.
8 November 1943:
Returns to Penang still escorted by KARI.
22 November 1943:
KIYOKAWA MARU and torpedo boat KARI are again en route to Mergui.
26 December 1943:
At Truk. Captain-Retired (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Otsuka Miki (39) (former CO of FURUTAKA) assumes command.
8 January 1944:
At 0900, departs Port Blair.
28 January 1944:
At 1400, departs Singapore escorted by the minesweeper W-7.
30 January 1944:
At 1800, arrives at Sabang.
11 April 1944:
30 miles SE of Zamboanga, Mindanao, Phillipines. The KIYOKAWA MARU is in a convoy escorted by the destroyer AKIGUMO. LtCdr Marshall H. Austin's REDFIN (SS-272) attacks the convoy and sinks the AKIGUMO at 06-43N, 122-23E, but the KIYOKAWA MARU escapes without damage.
14 July 1944:
At 0730, departs Singapore for Moji via Manila in convoy HI-68. The convoy initially consists of transports KIYOKAWA and MANILA MARUs and tankers TOA, SHIMPO, NICHINAN No. 2, TOHO and OTORISAN MARUs. The ships are escorted by the minelayer SHIRATAKA and kaibokans KURAHASHI, HIRADO and CDs No. 13, 20 and 28.
20 July 1944:
At 1300, arrives at Manila. Later that same day, the KURAHASHI is detached to go to the aid of the light cruiser OI torpedoed the previous day by the USS FLASHER (SS-249) at 13-12N, 114-52E. The escort returns to Manila the next day.
24 July 1944
At 0600, departs Manila for Moji still in convoy HI-68. The convoy had been expanded to 14 ships to include some ships previously from the Manila leg of HI-69 and MOMA-01. The convoy sails in three columns consisting of the landing ship MAYASAN MARU, oilers OTORISAN MARU and NICHINAN MARU No. 2 and the aircraft carrier TAIYO in column no. 1; landing ship TAMATSU MARU and transports TOSAN, KASHII, NISSHO and AKI MARUs in column no. 2 and the KIYOKAWA MARU and oilers TOA, TOHO, SHIMPO and ITSUKUSHIMA MARU in column no. 3. The escorts include carrier KAIYO, kaibokans HIRADO (F), KURAHASHI, ISHIGAKI, KUSAGAKI, MIKURA, CD Nos. 11 and 20 and the torpedo boat HIYODORI. The ships steam at 11.5 knots, the average speed for HI series convoys.
A three-submarine wolf pack of Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Rueben T. Whitaker’s USS FLASHER (SS-249), LtCdr Franklin Hess’s ANGLER (SS-240) and LtCdr Francis D. Walker’s CREVALLE (SS-291) attacks the convoy.
25 July 1944:
Off NW Luzon. At 1540, the CREVALLE launches an attack on the AKI and TOSAN MARUs that is succesfully evaded.
26 July 1944:
Off Luzon. At 0211, in a night surface radar attack, the FLASHER closes first. Cdr Whitaker fires three torpedoes at the AKI MARU and his last three torpedoes at the OTORISAN MARU. One torpedo hits the AKI MARU amidships, another strays and hits the TOSAN MARU. The OTORISAN MARU blows up and illuminates the night. The TOSAN MARU, AKI MARU and the OTORISAN MARU all sink.
At 0458 (JST), in a visual attack on the surface, Hess’s ANGLER fires six torpedoes. A torpedo hits the KIYOKAWA MARU's No. 1 hold and blows her bow off at 18-15 N, 118, 00E. At 0655, the ship leaves the convoy and heads for Takao, Formosa.
27 July 1944:
Arrives at Takao. Undergoes temporary repairs.
15 August 1944:
Departs Takao. Arrives at Mako, Pescadores the same day.
17 August 1944:
18 August 1944:
Arrives at Keelung, Taiwan.
20 August 1944:
Departs Keelung for Kure.
28 August 1944:
Arrives at Kure. Undergoes additional repairs.
7 October 1944:
15 October 1944:
Captain Otsuka is promoted Rear Admiral.
14 November 1944:
Imari Bay, Kyushu. At 0600, the KIYOKAWA MARU departs in Eighth Escort Convoy's Rear Admiral Sato Tsutomu's fleet convoy HI-81 for Manila and Singapore. HI-81 includes oilers MIRII, ARITA, HASHIDATE, TOA, OTOWASAN and AKITSU MARUs, landing ships MAYASAN, KIBITSU and SHINSHU MARUs and the escort carrier SHINYO. The escorting screen includes destroyer-escort KASHI and frigates ETOROFU (F), TSUSHIMA, DAITO, KUME, SYONAN and kaibokan CD Nos. 9 and 61.
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. That same day, Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, ComSubPacFlt, receives information on the convoy from the USN's code-breakers and dispatches "Ultra" signals to two of his wolfpacks on patrol in the Yellow Sea.
Lockwood's signal is received by Cdr Gordon W. Underwood in the USS SPADEFISH (SS-411) leading a wolfpack with LtCdr Edward Shelby's SUNFISH (SS-281) and LtCdr Robert H. Caldwell's PETO (SS-265).
The Ultra signal is also received by Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles E. Loughlin's QUEENFISH (SS-393) with LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Eugene B. Fluckey's BARB (SS-220) and LtCdr Evan T. Shepard's USS PICUDA (SS-382).
Off Goto Island, near Nagasaki. Convoy HI-81 makes an overnight stop.
15 November 1944:
HI-81 departs Ukishima Channel off Goto Island.
At 1156, the aircraft ferry AKITSU MARU is hit port side aft and amidships by a torpedo from Loughlin's QUEENFISH. Her magazine explodes and she sinks in three minutes with some 2,150 men aboard. The SHINYO's Nakajima B5N "Kate" torpedo-bombers attempt unsuccessfully to find the QUEENFISH. To avoid further American submarine attacks, HI-81 detours along the Korean and Chinese coasts under cover of the SHINYO's planes.
16 November 1944:
Anchors temporarily at Reisui Wan (Yosu Bay). Departs at noon. At 1600, arrives at the anchorage near Chin To (Chin Do).
17 November 1944:
At dusk, the SHINYO's planes start landing on the carrier. About 1815, Shepard's PICUDA fires three torpedoes at the MAYASAN MARU loaded with 4,500 troops of the IJA's 23rd Division from Manchuria and over 200 horses and material. Two torpedoes hit her in the engine room and an aft hold. The MAYASAN MARU capsizes and sinks in a matter of seconds taking down 3,437 men (3,187 soldiers, 194 gunners and 56 sailors).
At 2303, Cdr Underwood's USS SPADEFISH (SS-411) running on the surface, fires a full spread of six bow torpedoes at the carrier SHINYO. Four hit her starboardside. The first hits her stern and she quickly loses power and stops. Other hits cause the carrier to burst into flames and she begin to list to starboard and settles by the stern. Planes start rolling off the SHINYO's decks into the sea. She sinks at 33-02N, 123-33E. Very few of the SHINYO's engine rooms' crew escape. Her casualties are likely over 700 men.
In all, Lockwood's wolkpacks sink eight ships of HI-81.
21 November 1944:
E of Shanghai. The remainder of HI-81 arrives at Raffles Island anchorage.
21 November 1944:
HI-81 departs for Mako.
25 November 1944:
After all survivors arrive off Mako, HI-81 splits into two sections, one bound for Singapore and the other for Manila. The KIYOKAWA MARU is in the Manila-bound section.
26 November 1944
Arrives at Takao.
30 November 1944:
At 2104, convoy TAMA-33, consisting of the SHINSHU and KIBITSU MARUs, departs Takao for Manila escorted by kaibokans DAITO, TSUSHIMA, CD Nos. 14, 16, 46 and 134 and Minesweeper No. 101.
1 December 1944:
At 2205, TAMA-33 anchors at Pamoctan.
2 December 1944:
At 0630, departs Pamoctan. At 2240, arrives at Manila.
15 December 1944:
Arrives at Kure.
23 December 1944:
7 January 1945:
Returns to Kure.
10 January 1945:
29 January 1945:
At 0730, departs Moji in fleet convoy HI-93 consisting of the KIYOKAWA MARU and oilers TOA and TOHO MARUs escorted by kaibokans CD Nos. 61, 63 and No. 207. The convoy hugs the continental coast stopping each night at a different anchorage.
1 February 1945:
Arrives at Kuroushi Bay.
2 February 1945:
Arrives at Taiseiyo Santo.
4 February 1945:
Kaibokan CD No. 53 joins HI-93 as an additional escort.
5 February 1945:
Arrives at Yulin, Hainan Island.
7 February 1945:
10 February 1945:
Arrives at Kure.
22 February 1945:
23 February 1945:
Off Sijiao-shan. At 0800, joins convoy TAMO-44 that departed Kirun (Keelung), Formosa the previous day. TAMO-44, at this point, consists only of the transport NISSHO MARU escorted by kaibokans CD Nos. 14, 16 and 46.
25 February 1945:
At 0220, departs Sijiao-shan.
28 February 1945:
At 1430, arrives at Moji.
3 March 1945:
A new, but now unknown, Captain assumes command of the KIYOKAWA MARU. Rear Admiral Otsuka is reassigned to the Yokosuka Naval District. Later, he is the CO of the NAGATO on which he is KIA.
16 March 1945:
At 0900, departs Moji in convoy MOTA-43 for Keelung. The convoy consists of the KIYOKAWA MARU and the transports HAKOZAKI, TATSUHARA, NIKKO escorted by the kaibokans CHIKUBU, CD Nos 40, 102 and 106.
19 March 1945:
225 miles NNE of Shanghai. At 0258, at 33-07N, 122-05E, LtCdr Robert K. Worthington's USS BALAO (SS-285) attacks the convoy and torpedoes the TATSUHARA MARU in hold No.2 and the HAKOZAKI MARU in Nos. 2 and 4 holds. Another torpedo just misses kaibokan No. 40.
The HAKOZAKI MARU is torn apart by internal explosions as her cargo of gasoline, shells and torpedoes ignites and blows off her stern. She quickly sinks, but her forward section stays afloat blazing until finally sinking at 0320. The combination of fire, explosions and 5 degree centigrade water means that almost all aboard perish: 928 passengers, 51 gunners, and 139 of the crew are killed, a total of 1118 lost.
The torpedo strike on the TATSUHARA MARU kills 149 military personnel, but the ship remains afloat and later is able to make Shanghai.
The CHIKUBU and No. 102 launch an unsuccessful depth charge counter-attack on the BALAO and then return to rescue 130 survivors.
26 March 1945:
Arrives at Keelung.
1 April 1945:
At 0615, departs Keelung in convoy TAMO-53 to Moji. The convoy consists of the two survivors of MOTA-43, the NIKKO and KIYOKAWA MARUs and kaibokans CD Nos. 40, 102 and 106. Both merchant ships are loaded with sugar needed for conversion to aviation fuel and butane and evacuees from Formosa, mostly women and children.
9 April 1945:
Yellow Sea. LtCdr (later MOH/Captain) George L. Street III’s USS TIRANTE (SS-420), alerted by an “Ultra” signal based on code-breaker’s intelligence, stalks convoy TAMO-53 enroute from Shanghai to Japan. Street fires three Mark 18-2 electric torpedoes at each of two targets at 36-50N,123-55E. One spread misses, but the other hits the transport NIKKO MARU in the bow and the engine room. She sinks taking down 563 passengers, 14 gunners, 16 guard force soldiers, two signallers and 73 crewmen.
The convoy’s escorts counter-attack the TIRANTE. Street fires a Mark-27 "Cutie"acoustic homing torpedo at Coast Defense Vessel No.102. The TIRANTE’s crew hears "breaking-up noises," but the kaibokan does not sink. CD No. 102 loses seven men blown off the fantail when the Cutie hits. The CHIKUBU tows the damaged CD to safety and rescues some of the NIKKO MARU's survivors.
The KIYOKAWA MARU evades the TIRANTE.
10 April 1945:
Departs Keelung for Moji, carrying a cargo of sugar and evacuees from Formosa.
13 April 1945:
Arrives at Moji. Shortly before arrival, while off Mutsure, kaibokan No. 106 hits a mine and is immobilised.
20 May 1945:
Arrives at Kure.
24 May 1945:
Off Motoyamamisaki. Thirty B-29s of the USAAF’s 20th Air Force mine the Shimonoseki Straits. The mines sink a number of ships and damage the KIYOKAWA MARU at 33-55N, 131-20E.
3 June 1945:
20 July 1945:
The KIYOKAWA MARU is attacked by aircraft from Vice Admiral (later Admiral) John S. McCain's (former CO of RANGER, CV-4) Task Force 38. She is hit by bombs and heavily damaged. The KIYOKAWA MARU is beached off Shida beach, N of Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture to avoid sinking.
15 August 1945:
At the end of hostilities, the KIYOKAWA MARU is in the western part of the Inland Sea.
22 November 1945:
Off Shida beach, N of Kaminoseki. Capsizes in heavy weather and sinks.
30 November 1945:
Removed from the civilian vessels registry.
10 August 1946:
Removed from the Navy List.
9 December 1948:
Refloated and later repaired.
The KIYOKAWA MARU departs Kobe for Bangkok.
Makes a voyage from Kobe to New York. After her return, she is assigned to the South America passenger lines.
Decommisioned and scrapped.
There were four more vessels sharing the name KIYOKAWA MARU.
Special thanks for assistance in developing this TROM go to Mssrs. Andrew Obluski of Poland and Jean-Francois Masson of Canada. Thanks also go to reader Dave Vincent of Australia.
- Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, Allan Alsleben and Peter Cundall.
Seaplane Tender Page