(SS Margaret Coughlan loading lumber, prewar)
IJA KYOKUSEI MARU:
Tabular Record of
© 2017 Bob Hackett
Kobe. Laid down at J. Coughlan & Sons Ltd., Vancouver, B.C., Canada as a Yard No. 15, a 5,493-ton cargo ship for Canadian Western Steamship, Ltd., Vancouver.
Launched and named MARGARET COUGHLAN.
Sold to Atlantic SS Co. Ltd., Vancouver.
Sold to Sheridan SS Co. Ltd., London. Renamed CHILCOP.
Sold to Chile Steamship Co. Inc., New York.
Sold to T. K. King, Cheefoo, China. Renamed SHUN HWA.
Sold to Asahi Shoji, Tokyo. Renamed KYOKUSEI MARU.
Sold to Daoru merchant ship of Tokyo.
After a merger, transferred to Daido Shipping of Kobe.
31 October 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJA and converted to a troop transport. Allotted Army No. 776.
19 February 1942: The Invasion of Eastern Java:
Jolo, Philippines. At 0800, the Eastern Java Invasion Convoy (Toho Koryaku Butai) consisting of 39 troop transports departs
the anchorage carrying the IJA’s 48th Infantry Division in seven sections:
1st Section consisting of: KONAN, HAGUE, YAMAGIKU, KENKON, NANKO and ADEN MARUs,
2nd Section consisting of: KYOKUSEI, HOLLAND, JOHORE, TAKAOKA, HOKKO and TAEI MARUs,
3rd Section consisting of: KENZAN, HIMALAYA, HAVRE, ARIZONA, ANZAN and CHOKO MARUs (6783/20),
4th Section consisting of: YONEYAMA, NISSHU, BIYO, ITALY, ASAKA and KASHU MARUs,
5th Section consisting of: HAKUSHIKA (HAKUROKU), TEIYO, HAMBURG, DENMARK, ARABIA and TOKUSHIMA MARUs,
6th Section consisting of: MIYADONO, JINZAN (JINSAN), WALES, SUEZ, TAMON and YASUKAWA MARUs, and the
7th Section consisting of: SATSUMA, MINRYU and HOZUGAWA MARUs.
The convoy is escorted by Rear Admiral Nishimura's heavy cruisers NACHI and HAGURO, DesRon 2's light cruisers NAKA and JINTSU and DesDiv 16's YUKIKAZE, TOKITSUKAZE,
AMATSUKAZE and HATSUKAZE and DesDiv 7's USHIO, SAZANAMI, YAMAKAZE and KAWAKAZE and DesRon 4's light cruiser NAKA, DesDiv 2's YUDACHI, SAMIDARE, HARUSAME,
DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO, MURASAME, MINEGUMO and NATSUGUMO.
E 21 February 1942:
Makassar Strait. SAGAMI and SASAKO MARUs join the main convoy and steam with it.
22 February 1942:
At 1200, LIVERPOOL and EHIME MARUs join the Eastern Java Invasion Convoy north of Aru Bank. The same day, HITERU and TEIRYU MARUs depart Palau
carrying elements of the Sakaguchi Detachment.
23 February 1942:
HITERU and TEIRYU MARUs join the Eastern Java Invasion Convoy.
1 March 1942: Operation "J" - The Invasion of Java, Netherlands East Indies:
At 0120, 100 miles W of Surabaya, Java. The Eastern Java Invasion Force now consisting of 43 transports
enters the roadstead off Kragan village, East Java.
Just before dropping anchor, the ships suffer a fierce air attack. JOHORE MARU is hit and suffers many KIA and WIA. TOKUSHIMA MARU is also hit and has to be beached at 0200.
Despite the air attacks, at 0015, the convoy lands the 48th Infantry Division at Kragan village, East Java. Their main objectives are the Surabaya Naval Base on the eastern coast and Tjilatjap
harbor on the southern coast.
2 April 1942:
Cruiser KASHII, kaibokan SHIMUSHU and destroyers SHIKINAMI and HATAKAZE depart Singapore escorting 45 transports including KYOKUSEI, ALASKA, AYATOSAN, CELEBES,
CHILE, KAMO, KYOKUSEI, KOFUKU, KUNITAMA, LONDON, MACASSAR, MAEBASHI, MANJU, MIDORI, MIIKESAN, NAGATO, RYOGA, RASHIN, RAKUYO, SINGAPORE,
SHINYU, SHINYO, SHINKYO, TAMAHOKO, WAKATSU, WAL ES, YAMAFUJI and YASUKAWA MARUs and DAIGEN MARU No. 3, SHINSEI MARU No. 1 and YOSHIDA MARU No. 3
and fifteen unidentified ships carrying the IJA's 18th Infantry Division. Meanwhile at 1825 HATSUTAKA departs Penang returning there at 2322.
3 April 1942:
At 0700, HATSUTAKA departs Penang returning there at 1022.
4 April 1942:
The convoy arrives at Penang. At 0730 escort duties are taken over by HATSUTAKA, SHIMUSHU and three destroyers of DesRon 5. KASHII is detached from the convoy and returns to
Singapore the same day.
7 April 1942:
At 1138, the convoy arrives at the Rangoon rivermouth.
17 May 1942:
KYOKUSEI MARU departs the port of Belawin Deli at Medan, Sumatra for Victoria Point, Burma in a convoy with CELEBES, ENGLAND and KYOKUSEI MARUs
and an unidentified minesweeper. ENGLAND and KYOKUSEI MARUs are carrying British and Dutch POWs. Steams northwards up the Malacca Straits. 
20 May 1942:
The convoy arrives at Victoria Point. Dutch POWs are disembarked from KYOKUSEI MARU and one Australian battalion of 1,017 men is disembarked from
24 May 1942:
Arrives at Mergui, Burma. Another battalion of about 1,000 POWs is disembarked.
27 May 1942:
Arrives at Sinbyubyin, the quarantine port for Tavoy, Burma. The remaining battalion of 983 men is disembarked. Despite heat, disease, and deprivations
aboard CELEBES MARU, all the POWs survive the voyage. They are put to work repairing and constructing an airfield, and later, building the Burma-Siam (Thailand) railway. Many die.
1 June 1942:
At 0925, KYOKUSEI MARU departs Sinbyubyin, Burma for Singapore in an unescorted convoy consisting of CELEBES, ENGLAND and TOYOHASHI MARUs.
4 June 1942:
Malacca Strait. SW of Phuket, Malaya. At 0335, British Lt E. F. Balston's submarine HMS TRUSTY torpedoes TOYOHASHI MARU at 07-14N, 98-06E. At 0400 she sinks. One crewman
and 16 gunners are KIA. The survivors are rescued by KYOKUSEI MARU.
5 June 1942:
At 1120, the convoy arrives at Penang, Malaya.
8 June 1942:
The convoy arrives at Singapore.
21 December 1942: No. 6 Go Transportation Operation:
Convoy No. 35 assembles at Shanghai to transport the IJA’s 6th Infantry Division via Truk to Guadalcanal (after the decision is made to evacuate Guadalcanal, the convoy’s
destination is changed to New Guinea). The convoy consists of troop convoy Parts A, B and C.
Part A departs Shanghai for New Guinea consisting of TEIYO, MYOHO MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 escorted by second-class destroyer HASU.
Part B departs Shanghai for New Guinea consisting of KYOKUSEI, OIGAWA, KENKON, and PANAMA MARUs escorted by second-class KURI.
25 December 1942:
Part C departs Shanghai consisting of MEIU, SOMEDONO, SURABAYA and SHINAI MARUs escorted by second-class destroyer TSUGA.
5 January 1943:
Parts A and B arrive at Mako, Pescadores. The old China Area Fleet second-class destroyers are detached and replaced by the Southwest Area Fleet’s destroyers HOKAZE and
NAGATSUKI tasked to escort the convoy to 136 degrees E longitude. The escort is further augmented by destroyer SHIRAYUKI, subchasers CH-2 and CH-11 and auxiliary gunboat CHOAN MARU No. 2.
15 January 1943:
Part A departs Truk for the Shortland Islands anchorage. The escort is further augmented by destroyer SHIGURE.
17 January 1943:
Part B departs Truk for Buin, Bougainville.
19 January 1943:
Part C departs Truk. NNE of Buin, Bougainville, LtCdr Jack H. Lewis’ USS SWORDFISH (SS-193) attacks Part A of the convoy. USS SWORDFISH sinks MYOHO MARU at
05-38S, 156-20E. Of the 922 IJA troops and 35 Navy passengers she was carrying, 61 and 3 crewmen are KIA.
20 January 1943:
286 miles from Truk. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Creed C. Burlingame’s USS SILVERSIDES (SS-236) attacks Part C of the convoy. USS SILVERSIDES sinks MEIU MARU
and damages heavily SURABAYA MARU at 03-52N, 153-56E. MEIU MARU was carrying 2,997 men of the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 6th Division. 401 men are KIA. CH-11 and
gunboat CHOAN MARU No. 2 rescue survivors. Later, destroyer ASAGUMO arrives from Truk and scuttles SURABAYA MARU.
The same day, Part A arrives at Shortland Islands anchorage.
21 January 1943:
At about 1800, LtCdr Robert J. Foley’s USS GATO (SS-212) attacks Part B of the convoy. USS GATO torpedoes and sinks KENKON MARU carrying a battalion of 734 men of the
IJA 45th Infantry Regiment, 6th Division. The attack causes a fire and a magazine explosion. Seven crew, 36 troops and an unknown number of "passengers" are KIA. Destroyer
SHIRAYUKI rescues survivors.
22 January 1943:
The remaining ships of Part B arrive at Buin.
28 February 1943: Operation 81-Troop reinforcements to Lae-Salamaua area:
At 2300, a transport convoy consisting of KYOKUSEI, TEIYO, OIGAWA, AIYO, SHINAI, TAIMEI and KENBU MARUs and Naval Special Service Ship NOJIMA assembles outside Rabaul harbor.
At 2330, convoy departs assembly point escorted by Rear Admiral Kimura Masatomi’s destroyers SHIRAYUKI (F), ASAHIO, ARASHIO, TOKITSUKAZE, URANAMI,
SHIKINAMI, YUKIKAZE and ASAGUMO and set course along the northern coast of New Britain, north-west from Rabaul before turning west and then south. The transports
and destroyers are carrying 6,004 troops of the IJA’s 51st Division and 600 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) troops.
The convoy is divided into two Divisions. No. 1 Division (starboard column) consists of AIYO, KENBU, SHINAI and TEIYO MARUs.
No. 2 Division (portside column) consists of KYOKUSEI, OIGAWA, TAIMEI MARUs and NOJIMA.
2 March 1943: Battle of the Bismarck Sea:
Off Lae, New Guinea. At 0800, USAAF and RAAF planes bomb the convoy. USAAF B-17 "Flying Fortress" heavy bombers attack Army cargo ship KYOKUSEI MARU. She receives
two direct bomb hits and sinks at 0926 at 06-40S, 147-10E (NNW of Cape Gloucester, New Britain).
On board is Major Nishikawa and the 115th Infantry Regiment, 51st Division. Also on board are infantry guns and mortars, trucks, landing craft, 2,000m3 of ammunition
and fuel drums. One crewman and 485 troops of are KIA. Destroyers YUKIKAZE and ASAGUMO rescue 800 men and 110 drums, steam to Lae and disembark them, then rejoin
 KYOKUSEI, CELEBES, ENGLAND, FUKKAI and TOYOHASHI MARUs were considered to be "Hell Ships" by the Allied POWs.
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.
to IJA Transports
The remaining ships of Part B arrive at Buin.