Military Wiki
Japanese cruiser Yaeyama
Yaeyama in the 1880s
Career Naval Ensign of Japan.svg
Name: Yaeyama
Ordered: 1885 Fiscal Year
Builder: Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, Japan
Laid down: June 1887
Launched: March 1889
Completed: 15 March 1890
Fate: Scrapped 1 April 1911
General characteristics
Type: Unprotected cruiser
Displacement: 1,584 long tons (1,609 t)
Length: 96.9 m (317 ft 11 in) w/l
Beam: 10.5 m (34 ft 5 in)
Draught: 4 m (13 ft 1 in)
Propulsion: 2-shaft, 6 boilers (8 after 1902), 5,630 hp (4,200 kW), 350 tons coal
Speed: 20.75 knots (23.88 mph; 38.43 km/h)
Complement: 200
Armament: • 3 × QF 4.7 inch Gun Mk I–IVs
• 8 × QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss guns
• 2 × 457 mm (18 in) torpedo tubes

Yaeyama (八重山?) was an unprotected cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The name Yaeyama comes from the Yaeyama Islands, the southernmost of the three island groups making up current Okinawa prefecture. Yaeyama was used by the Imperial Japanese Navy primarily as an aviso (dispatch boat) for scouting, reconnaissance and delivery of high priority messages.


Yaeyama was designed under the supervision of French military advisor Emile Bertin, and built in Japan by the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, with its engine imported from Hawthorn Leslie and Company in England. With a small displacement, powerful engines, and a 20.75-knot (38.43 km/h) speed, the heavily armed and lightly armored Yaeyama was an example of the Jeune Ecole philosophy of naval warfare advocated by Bertin.[1] Due to its small size it is sometimes classified as a corvette or gunboat.


Yaeyama was the second domestically-produced steel hulled vessel in Japan. It retained a full barque rigging with two masts for auxiliary sail propulsion in addition to her steam engine. Yaeyama was armed with three QF 4.7 inch Gun Mk I–IVs guns and eight QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss guns. In addition, she carried two torpedoes, mounted on the deck.[2]

Service record

Yaeyama was active in the First Sino-Japanese War, protecting troop transports to Korea, and covering the landing of Japanese forces at Port Arthur. She was subsequently involved in patrols of the Yellow Sea and was present at the Battle of Weihaiwei. In 1895, Yaeyama took part in the invasion of Taiwan, and saw action on 13 October 1895 at the bombardment of the Chinese coastal forts at Takow (Kaohsiung). During this campaign, ‘‘Yaeyama’’ precipitated a diplomatic incident when her captain intercepted the British-flagged merchant ship Thales in international waters on the morning of 21 October 1895. Thales had departed Taiwan the previous day with 800 passengers en route to Amoy. The search of a neutral vessel in international waters provoked a diplomatic protest from the United Kingdom.

After the war, Yaeyama was transferred to the reserve fleet.

Yaeyama was recalled to duty to assist in escorting transports supporting Japanese naval landing forces which occupied the port city of Tianjin in northern China during the Boxer Rebellion, as part of the Japanese contribution to the Eight-Nation Alliance.

On 11 May 1902, she ran aground during a storm in Nemuro Bay, Hokkaido and could not be refloated until 1 September of that year. She remained at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal for repairs until June 1903. During this time, her locomotive-type cylindrical boilers were replaced with eight Niclausse boilers, and an extra smoke stack was added.[2]

During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, Yaeyama participated in the naval Battle of Port Arthur and subsequent blockade of that port. Despite her small size and obsolescence, she was also present at the Battle of the Yellow Sea and the final decisive Battle of Tsushima, as well as the Japanese invasion of Sakhalin, where its high speed made it useful to carrying sensitive orders and messages between ships and from ship to shore.

After the war, she was used as a test ship for new boiler technologies.

The advent of wireless communication made the use of dispatch vessels obsolete, and Yaeyama was scrapped on 1 April 1911.[2]


  • Chesneau, Roger (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1860–1905.. Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-133-5. 
  • Evans, David C.; Peattie, Mark R. (1997). Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941. Annapolis, MD: 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 0-689-11402-8. 
  • Jentsura, Hansgeorg (1976). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-893-X. 
  • Paine, S.C.M. (2003). The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895: Perception, Power, and Primacy. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-61745-6. 
  • Roberts, John (ed). (1983). 'Warships of the world from 1860 to 1905 - Volume 2: United States, Japan and Russia. Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Koblenz. ISBN 3-7637-5403-2. 
  • Roksund, Arne (2007). The Jeune École: The Strategy of the Weak. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-15723-1. 
  • Schencking, J. Charles (2005). Making Waves: Politics, Propaganda, And The Emergence Of The Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868-1922. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4977-9. 

External links


  1. Roksund, The Jeune École: The Strategy of the Weak;
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Chesneau, Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1860–1905, p. 234. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Conway" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Conway" defined multiple times with different content

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