Sightseeing in Japan Me, James, my son, Aden, and my wife, Eriko toured the memorial.
Mikasa (三笠?) is a pre-Dreadnought battleship of the Imperial Japanese Navy, launched in Britain in 1900. She served as the flagship of Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō during the Battle of the Yellow Sea on 10 August 1904, and the Battle of Tsushima on 27 May 1905 during the Russo-Japanese War. The ship is preserved as a museum ship at Yokosuka. Mikasa is the last remaining example of a pre-dreadnought battleship anywhere in the world. She was named after Mount Mikasa in Nara, Japan.
Her main guns, grouped in armoured turrets in a central position, allowed for the rest of the ship to be evenly protected with the heavy Krupp protective steel plates. Thanks to this design, Mikasa was able to withstand a large number of direct hits: she received around twenty hits during the Battle of the Yellow Sea on 10 August 1904, and around thirty hits during the Battle of Tsushima, with only limited damage. The firepower and the longer range of the guns of Mikasa were also fully exploited by highly trained and effective Japanese gunners, who were equipped with state-of-the-art rangefinders provided by Barr and Stroud of Glasgow.
At Tsushima, Mikasa led the combined Japanese fleet into one of the most decisive naval battles in history. The Russian fleet was almost completely annihilated: out of thirty eight Russian ships, twenty one were sunk, seven captured, six disarmed, 4,545 Russian servicemen died and 6,106 were taken prisoner. On the other hand, the Japanese only lost 116 men and three torpedo boats. But note that the Japanese navy was a highly professional organisation based upon the British Royal Navy; by contrast the Russian navy was ill prepared to fight and crewed largely by landsmen, not seamen. Admiral Togo, the ‘Japanese Nelson’, himself spent several years with the Royal Navy in Britain.
The performance of the Japanese fleet was observed and analysed by Western powers, and played an important role in the definition of the next generation of battleships (the Dreadnoughts), since the conflict “confirmed the greater efficiency of heavy guns and the importance of long-range gunfire.” (“The Battleship Dreadnought” Conway Marine).