Japanese cruiser Tsukuba

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In an old postcard
Career (Japan) Japanese Navy Ensign
Ordered: 1904 Fiscal Year
Laid down: 1905-01-14
Launched: 1905-12-26
Commissioned: 1907-01-14
Struck: 1917-09-01
Fate: Explosion, Yokosuka Bay 1917-01-14
General characteristics
Class and type: Tsukuba class battlecruiser
Displacement: 13,750 tons (normal); 15,400 tons (max)
Length: 134.11 metres (440.0 ft) waterline;
137.11 metres (449.8 ft) overall
Beam: 22.80 metres (74.8 ft)
Draught: 7.95 metres (26.1 ft)
Propulsion: Two Shaft Reciprocating VTE steam engine; 20 boilers, 20,500 shp (15,290 kW)
Range: 5,000 nautical miles (9,000 km) @ 14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement: 879
  • 4 ×12-inch (305 mm) guns
  • 12 ×6-inch (152 mm)
  • 12 ×4.7-inch (119 mm)
  • 4 ×3-inch (76 mm)
  • 3 × 450 mm torpedo tubes

  • belt: 100-180 mm
  • barbette & turret: 180 mm
  • conning tower: 200 mm
  • deck: 75 mm

Tsukuba (筑波?) was the lead ship of the two-ship Tsukuba-class of heavy cruisers in the Imperial Japanese Navy. Tsukuba was named after Mount Tsukuba located in Ibaraki prefecture north of Tokyo. On 1912-08-28, Kurama and its sister ship Ikoma were re-classified as battlecruisers by the Japanese navy.


Tsukuba class was intended to be a replacement of Fuji and Yashima battleships[1]. As construction began before the end of the Russo-Japanese War, construction progressed at a rapid pace, and contemporary American military observers were surprised (and concerned) that Japan had learned to build such large and powerful warships so quickly, and in such a short time. However, with rapid advances in naval technology and with increasing budget constraints on the Imperial Japanese Navy in the period immediately after the end of the Russo-Japanese War, the project was scaled back, and in the end, only Tsukuba and Ikoma were built.

Service record

Shortly after commissioning at Kure Naval Arsenal in 1907, and with Admiral Goro Ijuin on board, Tsukuba was sent on a voyage to the United States to attend the tricentennial celebrations marking the founding of the Jamestown Settlement. It then traveled on to Portsmouth, England and returned to Japan via the Indian Ocean, thus circumnavigating the globe.

After its return to Japan, Tsukuba was assigned to the escort fleet during the visit of the United States Navy’s Great White Fleet through Japanese waters on its around-the-world voyage in October 1908.

Tsukuba participated in numerous missions in World War I in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean as part of Japan's contribution to the Allied war effort under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, protecting the sea lanes from German raiders. Tsukuba was also at the Battle of Tsingtao.

On 1915-12-04, Tsukuba was in an Imperial Navy Fleet Review off of Yokohama, attended by Emperor Taishō in which 124 ships participated; a similar Navy Fleet Review was held again off Yokohama on 1916-10-25.

On 1917-01-14, Tsukuba exploded while in port at Yokosuka, and sank with a loss of 305 men. The cause was later attributed to a fire in its ammunition magazine.

Afterwards, the hulk was raised, as used as a target for naval aviation training. It was formally removed from the navy list on 1917-09-01 and broken up in 1918.



  1. Robert Gardiner (editor): Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1906-1921. Annapolis: US Naval Institute Press, 1985, p. 233. ISBN 0-87021-907-3
  • Evans, David (1979). Kaigun : Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-192-7. 
  • Howarth, Stephen (1983). The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895-1945. Atheneum. ISBN 0-68911-402-8. 
  • Jentsura, Hansgeorg (1976). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-893-X. 

External links

ja:筑波 (巡洋戦艦) pl:Tsukuba (1907) zh:筑波號戰列巡洋艦