Japanese cruiser Akashi

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In 1894
Career Japanese Navy Ensign
Name: Akashi
Ordered: 1893 Fiscal Year
Builder: Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, Japan
Laid down: August 1894
Launched: 18 December 1897
Completed: 30 March 1899
Struck: 1 April 1928
Fate: Expended as target, 3 August 1930
General characteristics
Class and type: Suma-class cruiser
Displacement: 2,657 long tons (2,700 t)
Length: 93.5 m (306 ft 9 in)
Beam: 12.3 m (40 ft 4 in)
Draught: 4.6 m (15 ft 1 in)
Propulsion: 2-shaft VTE reciprocating engines; 9 boilers; 7,890 hp (5,880 kW)
Speed: 19.5 knots (22.4 mph; 36.1 km/h)
Range: 11,000 nmi (20,000 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h)
Complement: 256
Armament: • 2 × 152 mm (6 in) quick-firing guns
• 6 × 120 mm (4.7 in) quick-firing guns
• 12 × 47 mm (1.9 in) quick-firing guns
• 4 × Maxim guns
• 2 × 450 mm (18 in) torpedo tubes
Armour: Deck: 50 mm (2 in) (slope), 25 mm (1 in) (flat)
Gun shield: 115 mm (4.5 in) (front)

Akashi (明石?) was a Suma-class protected cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was a sister ship to the Suma. The name Akashi comes from an ancient name for a portion of coast near modern Kobe in Hyōgo Prefecture.


The Akashi was designed and built at Yokosuka, as part of the Imperial Japanese Navy program to end its dependence on foreign powers for modern warships. While more lightly armed and armored than many of its contemporaries, its small size and relatively simple design facilitated its construction and its relatively high speed made it useful for many military operations.

Service life

Completed too late for service in the First Sino-Japanese War, the first overseas deployment of the Akashi was from June-July 1900, to escort marines and supplies during the Japanese occupation of Tientsin during the Boxer Rebellion.

The Akashi was then assigned to escorting the Japanese cable laying vessels laying the first submarine telegraph cable between Sasebo and Incheon in Korea.

The Akashi was based in Korea at the start of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, and took part in the Battle of Chemulpo Bay, and the naval Battle of Port Arthur as part of the Japanese 2nd Fleet. In 1905, it was reassigned to coastal patrol duties, but as part of the Japanese 1st Fleet it was present at the final crucial Battle of Tsushima, where it played a major role in the sinking of Russian armored cruiser Dmitri Donskoi.

From 1908-1909, future Prime Minister of Japan Suzuki Kantarō served as captain of the Akashi.

In World War I, the Akashi was part of the Japanese 2nd Fleet in combat against the Imperial German Navy at the Battle of Tsingtao. It was later assigned to patrol the sea lanes from Borneo to the Malacca Straits, as part of Japan's contribution to the Allied war effort under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, and was based at Singapore.

Rear-Admiral Sato Kozo commanded the "Second Special Squadron" with the Akashi, 10th and 11th Destroyer Units (eight destroyers) from Malta from 13 April 1917. He was reinforced by the 15th Destroyer Unit with four more destroyers from 1 June 1917 to carry out on direct escort duties for Allied troop transports in the Mediterranean.

After the war, the Akashi was re-designated as a "Second-class Coastal Defense Vessel" from 1 September 1921. It was removed from the active list on 1 April 1928. Deemed obsolete, it was expended as a target for dive bombers south of Izu Ōshima on 3 August 1930.

The main mast of the Akashi is preserved at the Japan Maritime Self Defense Academy at Etajima, Hiroshima.



  • Evans, David. Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941. US Naval Institute Press (1979). ISBN 0870211927
  • Howarth, Stephen. The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The Drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895-1945. Atheneum; (1983) ISBN 0689114028
  • Jane, Fred T. The Imperial Japanese Navy. Thacker, Spink & Co (1904) ASIN: B00085LCZ4
  • Jentsura, Hansgeorg. Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945. Naval Institute Press (1976). ISBN 087021893X
  • Schencking, J. Charles. Making Waves: Politics, Propaganda, And The Emergence Of The Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868-1922. Stanford University Press (2005). ISBN 0804749779

ja:明石 (防護巡洋艦)