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Japanese minelayer Yaeyama
Japanese minelayer Yaeyama 1932.jpg
Yaeyama during trials, 1932
Career (Japan) Japanese Navy Ensign
Name: Yaeyama
Ordered: fiscal 1927
Builder: Kure Naval Arsenal
Laid down: August 2, 1930
Launched: October 13, 1931
Commissioned: August 31, 1932
Struck: November 10, 1944
Fate: Sunk in action, September 24, 1944
General characteristics
Type: minelayer
Displacement: 1,135 long tons (1,153 t) standard, 1380 tons normal
Length: 85.5 m (281 ft) pp,
89 m (292 ft) waterline
Beam: 10.65 m (34 ft 11 in)
Draught: 2.84 m (9 ft 4 in)
Propulsion: 2-shaft steam engine, 2 boilers, 4,800 hp (3,600 kW)
Speed: 20 knots (23 mph; 37 km/h)
Range: 3,000 nmi (5,600 km) at 14 knots
Complement: 180

2 x 12 cm/45 Type 10 naval guns
2x Type 93 13 mm AA Guns

185 x Type 6 naval mines
Armour: none

Yaeyama (八重山?) was a small minelayer of the Imperial Japanese Navy, which was in service during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. She was named after the Yaeyama Islands in the Ryukyu Islands chain. She was the first Japanese warship built with an all-welded hull.[1]


The Imperial Japanese Navy budget for Fiscal 1927 include a small minelayer for coastal and river service to complement its larger minelayers, the former cruisers Aso, and Tokiwa. Yaeyama was launched by the Kure Naval Arsenal in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan on October 15, 1931, and was commissioned into service on August 31, 1932.[2]

Operational history

On completion, Yaeyama was assigned to the Sasebo Naval District. In August 1937, following the Marco Polo Bridge Incident and the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, Yaeyama was assigned as flagship for Admiral Umataro Tanimoto’s 11th Gunboat Division, at Shanghai and was responsible for patrols on the Yangzi River. Yaeyama covered the landing of Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF) reinforcements in the Battle of Shanghai, and participated in the evacuation of 20,000 Japanese civilians and non-combatants from the city back to Japan. She was then placed on the reserve list on December 1, 1937.[3]

Yaeyama was reactivated on May 25, 1938 and assisted in covering the landings of more Japanese troops in Tianjin and along the Yangzi River in July. She was then assigned to Amoy from September 26, 1939 until her transfer to Palau on December 1, 1941.

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Yaeyama was assigned to “Operation M” (the invasion of the southern Philippines) deploying from Palau to mine the Surigao Strait. On January 3, 1942, she became flagship for Admiral Rokuzo Sugiyama’s Third Southern Expeditionary Fleet and covered landings at Subic Bay, and was based at Manila from July 1942 under the overall command of the Southwest Area Fleet.[4]

Yaeyama was refit as an anti-submarine convoy escort ship in December 1943, with all minelaying rails removed and replaced by 36 depth charges, and was reassigned to the First Southern Expeditionary Fleet. She escorted a convoy of transports from Manila to Singapore in January 1944, and a convoy from Manila to Halmahera Island in May 1944.

On the early morning of September 24, 1944 Yaeyama was sunk by air attack by 96 Grumman F6F Hellcat and 24 Curtiss SB2C Helldiver aircraft from the carriers USS Intrepid and USS Lexington and the light carrier USS Cabot while anchored in Coron Bay, Busuanga Island, off Palawan Island in the Philippines. 12°15′N 121°00′E / 12.25°N 121°E / 12.25; 121. Most of the crew survived, including her commanding officer, Captain Michizo Tsutsumi.[5]

Yaeyama was removed from the navy list on November 10, 1944.



  1. Watts, Anthony J (1967). Japanese Warships of World War II. Doubleday. ASIN B000KEV3J8. 
  2. Nishida, Hiroshi. "Materials of IJN". Imperial Japanese Navy. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  3. Monograph 144 Chapter II
  4. Nevitt, Allyn D. (1999). "IJN Yaeyama: Tabular Record of Movement". Long Lancers. 
  5. Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X. 


  • Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X. 
  • 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. US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-893-X. 
  • Watts, Anthony J (1967). Japanese Warships of World War II. Doubleday. ASIN B000KEV3J8. 

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