Chichibu Maru

The Chichibu Maru (秩父丸) was a Japanese passenger ship which, renamed Kamakura Maru, was sunk during World World II, killing 2,035 soldiers and civilians on board. The Chichibu Maru was built for the Nippon Yusen shipping company by the Yokohama Dock Company in 1930. She had a beam of 22.6 meters, a length of 178 meters and a tonnage of 17,498. Cruising speed was 19 knots, with a maximum of 21 knots. The ship could carry 817 passengers. She differed from her half-sisters, the Asama Maru and the Tatsuta Maru, in her propulsion system, and in having one (rather than two) funnels. Before the war, the ship carried passengers between Yokohama and San Francisco. Prince Takamatsu and Princess Takamatsu also traveled on this ship. She had her name altered twice: first re-spelt Titibu Maru in 1938, following the adoption of Kunrei-shiki romanization; then - upon realizing the name's resemblance to "tit" (a vulgar English term for the female breast) - renamed Kamakura Maru in 1939. In 1942 she was requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese Navy to serve as a troop transport ship, and also as hospital ship. On April 28, 1943, the Kamakura Maru, sailing from Manila to Singapore and carrying some 2,500 soldiers and civilians, was torpedoed by the US submarine USS Gudgeon. The ship was hit by two torpedoes and sank within 12 minutes. Four days later, 465 survivors were rescued from the sea by Japanese ships, meaning some 2,035 people were killed.


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