I’m back after a long hiatus. First I’d like to wish William Shatner a belated Happy Birthday. He turned 84 years of age on March 22nd. I hope that he has a lot more to go!
But the really important find is that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and his research team have located the wreck of the IJN Musashi! It was found in the Sibuyan Sea off the Philippines. The Battle of the Sibuyan Sea is when the Musashi was sunk back in October 24, 1944. He used a remotely piloted underwater vehicle that was controlled and dispatched from his yacht the Octopus.
The IJN (Imperial Japanese Navy) Musashi is the sister ship tho the famous IJN Yamato. They are the two largest, heaviest and most powerfully armed battleships of WW II. Only two were ever built. The third the IJN Shinano was turned into an aircraft carrier partly through her construction phase. The Shinano was sunk by the Balao class submarine U.S.S. Archerfish on November 28th, 1944. At 74,000 tons, the Shinano remains the largest ship ever sunk by a submarine to date.
The Yamato and Musashi each displaced 74,000 tonnes and were armed with nine 46 cm (18.1 inch) Type 94 guns. The U.S. Iowa class battleship (all which still survive) displaced 45,000 tons and were armed with nine 16 inch (405 mm)/50-caliber Mark 7 naval guns. The Iowa was the most advanced battleship that the US had at the time and it remains so to this day.
The Yamato has even inspired a science fiction anime. The famous Space Battleship Yamato ( Uchuu Senkan Yamato, a personal favorite). The Kure shipyards where the Yamato and her sister were built has a 1/10 scale model of the WW II battleship in the Yamato museum, housed there. It also has a section dedicated to Uchuu Senkan Yamato as well.
The Yamato and Musashi have always had a notable presence on the Japanese culture. Both ships were the pinnacle of Japanese naval engineering at the time. Their sinking has also been portrayed many times in Japanese modern culture. The Yamato’s last mission is a symbol of heroism and selflessness that shows the sailors futile attempt to protect their country. The name Yamato is the ancient name for Japan. So it takes on a more important relevance. The destruction of the Yamato can be seen as a symbolic end of Japan itself.