Mishima City, Shizuoka Prefecture
Eight destroyers, including Asashimo, and the light cruiser Yahagi
accompanied battleship Yamato on a special (suicide) attack mission from
Japan's Seto Inland Sea toward Okinawa on April 6, 1945. Yamato,
Yahagi, and four escort destroyers, including Asashimo, sank the next
day as hundreds of American carrier-based aircraft dropped torpedoes and bombs on the
Japanese ships. All 329 men aboard Asashimo lost their lives in the
attack. The destroyer was one of 70 unfortunate ships in the Japanese Navy that
had no survivors when the ships went down during the Pacific War .
The Destroyer Asashimo Association selected the temple grounds of Myohokkeji
in Mishima City to erect the Destroyer Asashimo War Dead Monument in 1956. A
plaque erected in 1990 to the rear of the monument summarizes the war record of
the destroyer Asashimo:
Destroyer Asashimo's War Record
During the Greater East Asia War, the destroyer Asashimo was part of the
Imperial Japanese Navy 2nd Fleet, 2nd Torpedo Squadron. The ship
participated and fought hard in major operations of the Pacific area.
On April 6, 1945, Asashimo became part of the Surface Special
Attack Force made up of the battleship Yamato and nine other ships. The fleet
departed from the sea off Mitajiri toward Okinawa in order to stop the
invasion of the island by the American military. On April 7 at about noon on
the sea southwest of Kyushu, the ship fought hard against numerous enemy
aircraft coming in from all directions. The following telegraph message was sent to the
flagship battleship Yamato: "We are engaged in battle with 30 enemy planes."
Finally at about 12:10, the ship sank in the same area where enemy planes
were encountered. The entire crew of 329 men bravely met their end together
with the ship.
Here we erect this monument to extol the ship's great deeds and to
remember all the men who died in battle. In this connection, we present the
history of the destroyer Asashimo.
Completed: November 27, 1943
Place: Fujinagata Shipyards (Osaka)
2. Main Characteristics
Displacement: 2,077 tons
Total Length: 117 meters
Width: 10.8 meters
Draft: 3.76 meters
Main machinery: 2 steam turbines with 2 shafts each
Power: 52,000 horsepower
Top speed: 35 knots
Main guns: 12.7-cm guns in 3 twin mounts
Torpedoes: 61.0 centimeters with 2 quadruple mounts
3. War History (principal operations that ship participated in)
Operation A-Go (Naval battle off Mariana Islands)
Operation Sho Ichi-Go (Naval battle off Leyte Island)
Operation Ta-Go (Ormoc convoy operation)
Operation Rei-Go (Operation off Mindoro Island)
Operation Ten Ichi-Go (Okinawa attack operation)
The back of the plaque has the following words:
The "Destroyer Asashimo War Dead Monument" was erected in 1956 in order
to remember all crewmen who shared the same fate as their warship
when she sank.
The "Destroyer Asashimo War Dead Monument" was made possible through extraordinary efforts of the Asashimo Association, local volunteers, and Mr.
As a home place at this monument that we erected in this sacred place of Tamazawa in Mishima City,
the Asashimo Association, made up of bereaved family members and former
crewmen, gathered here once each year to deepen our friendships and to
encourage each other, and we were able to overcome postwar hardships.
On this occasion, through volunteer efforts of Ms. Kinuko Morimoto, a
bereaved family member who lives in Nanae Town of Kameda District, Hokkaido,
this war history plaque for the monument was contributed as an offering to
spirits of the war dead.
April 7, 1990
Destroyer Asashimo Association
Asashimo Monument (left)
and Atago Monument (right)
At the right side of Asashimo Monument, there is a similarly-shaped monument
dedicated to the war dead of the heavy cruiser Atago. On October 23,
1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Atago was hit by four torpedoes
launched from the submarine USS Darter (SS-227) and sank about 20 minutes later. According to
the Atago Monument plaque, 484 out of 1,197 total crewmen lost their lives. The
destroyer Asashimo rescued 492 Atago crewmen, and the destroyer Kishinami
rescued another 221 men.
Myohokkeji also has a monument to the destroyer Ume
just a few yards away from the Asashimo Monument and Atago Monument. On January
31, 1945, Ume
sank in Bashi Channel, between the Philippines and Taiwan, after attacks by
about 30 enemy aircraft and hits by three bombs on the deck. Over 80 crewmen
lost their lives.
Destroyer Asashimo when completed
on November 27, 1943 
1. Abe 2005, 103.
2. Ibid., 102.
Abe, Saburo. 2005. Tokkou Yamato Kantai (Yamato Special
Attack Fleet). Tokyo: Kojinsha.