JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.65

COLUMN

Memorial Ship Mikasa
- The Pride of Meiji Japan -

Photo Credit: Kanazawa City

In 1902, Japan welcomed the battleship Mikasa to Yokosuka after it was built at a Vickers Shipbuilding in the U.K.

In 1905, the Mikasa, serving as the flagship vessel for the Combined Fleet led by Admiral Heihachiro Togo, Commander-in Chief of the Combined Fleet, battled the Russian Baltic Fleet, considered to be among the strongest in the world at the time, and contributed to Japan’s victory.

Later, the Mikasa was decommissioned. Amid calls to preserve this important vessel, the City of Yokosuka established Mikasa Park where the vessel would be preserved. Yokosuka was previously home to a steel mill (shipyard), and under the guidance of French engineer Léonce Verny Japan's first large stone-made dry dock was constructed there. This dry dock continues to be used today at United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka some 140 years later. This year is the 110th anniversary of the Sea of Japan Naval Battle and the City of Yokosuka has held a commemorative ceremony and performance by the MSDF Tokyo Band. Additionally, every June Mikasa Park and MSDF Yokosuka District play host to the popular Yokosuka YY Norimono Festa (transportation festival), where MSDF vessels are open to the public for tours. Yokosuka is approx. an hour from Tokyo by train.

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