Friday, April 3, 2015

M. S. Tatsuta Maru [1930s] -- Skywatch -- and More

From our collection of old postcards ... M. S. Tatsuta Maru ...

The Tatsuta Maru postcard from 1930s - perhaps early 40s.
17,000 Gross Tons
Orient - California Service
N. Y. K. Line

Back of the unused card.

Enlargement of the information on back of card.

Ship history ... from Wikipedia ...

The Tatsuta Maru, also known as Tatuta Maru, was a Japanese ocean liner owned by Nippon Yusen Kaisha (N.Y.K. Line). The ship was built in 1927-1930 by Mitsubishi Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. at Nagasaki, Japan.

The Tatsuta Maru was built for the trans-Pacific Orient-California fortnightly service. Principal ports-of-call included Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kobe, Yokohama, Honolulu, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

In December, 1941, the liner was part of an elaborate Japanese deception plan to mask the unannounced attack on the US Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor. She sailed from Yokohama on 2 December bound for San Francisco with the task of exchanging American evacuees from East Asia for Japanese nationals in the United States. She was scheduled to reach the US on 14 December and despite rumours of war the American press wrongly concluded that meant nothing was likely to happen for some time.

The master of the ship had sealed orders to turn around at midnight on 7 December and return to Japan while maintaining radio silence. Subsequently, the Tatsuta Maru was requisitioned as a troopship for the Imperial Japanese Navy.

On February 8, 1943, Tatsuta Maru was torpedoed and sunk by the enemy submarine (USS Tarpon) 42 miles east of Mikurajima. Some 1,400 Japanese soldiers on board were killed.

Recent Skywatch ...

Sunshine streaming through the cherry blossoms.
March 26th.
Linking up today with Skywatch Friday.  Thanks to Skywatch hosts!

A flower we couldn't pass up.
Do you know what it is?

In Port this week ...

Northern Hawk fishing vessel
at Pier 91

We love ship names.

Bulk carrier "Chris" departing Elliott Bay
on March 28.
Thank you for stopping by John's Island.


  1. Isn't that an open tulip? Or is it something else? :-)

  2. John, I'm not good at flowers, but I'd guess this is in the tulip family. Love the ships as well, and what a sad story of the one at the top. War leaves so many sad stories. Thanks for sharing the pictures with the lovely blue water. And have a great Easter weekend.

  3. Interesting postcard! So many men died during the Pearl Harbor attack. War is awful. And your skywatch and blossoms are pretty. Have a happy Friday!

  4. Today blogger was a bit quicker ;)
    What a tragedy that happened to that ship!
    I hate wars! The big guys who want that
    war should fight against themselves like
    boxing or what ever. Then nobody else gets hurt.
    And thank you for the beautiful pictures with
    bright blue water :))
    Have a wonderful day

  5. ahhh...the pretty pictures didn't make up for the sad mention of the war. Sigh

  6. A sad link of cherry trees, associated with Japan, and Japanese naval warfare. But it's a beautiful photo that you've taken.

  7. I love the tulip!

    Thanks for this interesting words about this ship. War is terrible.

  8. I love the flower photo but couldn't guess at all what it is. I've been reading the comments and they say it's tulips. But I could only identify a tulip bloom from side but not the top view. What a pity!

    I've saved your e-mail address and would definitely nice to meet up at that original Starbucks in Seattle, WA. I am very much looking forward into it!

  9. I really like this postcard, John, and your photos are beautiful. I don't know what that flower is, but if I saw it at a different angle I MAY know. My guess is either a tulip or a poppy, but most likely a tulip.

  10. Thank you for the history lesson John. I recognized the name from the far reaches of memory but you cleared the fog. Let's hope that the world will one day live in peace, and I live in hope.

  11. Beautiful cherry blossoms and I think the other flower is a fully open Tulip.

  12. Beautiful blossoms. The vintage card of the ship is great too. I like vintage things. Wishing you a blessed Easter weekend John.

  13. That's a very surprising and interesting story of one ocean liner.

  14. I would say a tulip too.
    Thanks for the history lesson. : )

  15. The tulip is beautiful! You have so much flowering already. Nothing here yet.

  16. Beautiful photos of the flowers and great shots of the ships in port. I did a study on Pearl Harbor, but never came accross the story of the Tatsuta Maru as far as I can remember. It was an awful day in history (as FDR said, "A day that will live in infamy"), but I am glad to have a gap in my knowledge filled. Thanks!

  17. Just caught up with this interesting blog that is personally meaningful to me. I recently learned through ancestry records that my father was a passenger on the Tatsuta Maru in 1937. He was born in Ogden, Utah, and moved to Japan with his family when he was 12 years old in 1926. He returned to the U.S. on the Tatsuta Maru on May 14, 1937. He was 23 years old. The ship was a luxury liner then, and was one of two that boasted the fastest cruising on the Pacific route. "Yokohama to San Francisco, for example, took 15 days. Fares by the late 1930s started from $190 in second class and from $315 in first class. Their passenger areas were of the highest quality, much of it in traditional European style. There were highly polished woods, stained glass skylights, fine dining rooms, lounges, a library, a gift shop, hair salon, comfortable cabins, and a swimming pool on deck. This was luxury cruising at its finest." The luxury liner was requisitioned for the war in 1941. In 1942, my father and mother, both American citizens of Japanese ancestry who lived in Los Angeles, were interned in Manzanar Relocation Center for the duration of the war, where two of my sisters were born. After the war my parents relocated to Shasta, and eventually returned to Los Angeles. A sad and interesting commentary on the history of a ship meant to bring pleasure, and the destructive nature of war. Thank you for sharing the postcard and beautiful photo of the sakura flower.

    1. Hello M. Chan, Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment. Your kind words are much appreciated. I hope to see you again on John's Island and would love to see you as a new follower. Very best regards to you!


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