NOTE: Not to be confused with the notorious Pacific War-era POW “hell ship” of the same name, launched in 1891 for the Clan Line (UK) and christened the SS Clan Mackay. Sold along the way to various other shipping companies, the “hell ship” did not come into Japanese possession until 1941 – five years after the scrapping of the Shinyo Maru described below.
“On Sunday morning, at five o’clock, the ‘Shinyo-Maru’ left the harbour for consumption trials, to test compasses, etc., and returned shortly after three o’clock in the afternoon after a successful trip. From 3.30 to 6 a reception was held on board, a large number of residents foreign and Japanese having been invited by Mr. Hara, the superintendent of the Toyo Kisen Kaisha [TKK].
On arrival the guests were welcomed by officers and then allowed to wander about at their pleasure, inspecting the cabins, saloons, etc. The bulk of the cabin space is devoted to first-class requirements and no trouble has been spared to make the traveller comfortable … The berths were made by a London company and are more roomy than those usually found on steamers. An electric reading lamp is attached to each berth in addition to the usual cabin lights.
“The first-class dining saloon, as is usual with the latest type of ocean liners, contains only small tables each seating six or eight persons … The grand stairway entering into the saloon is decorated in magnificent style. A large brocade panel forms the principal decoration, the subject being Cherry Blossom, significant of the Spring and emblematic of the steamer’s nae ‘Shinjyo’ or ‘Spring Ocean’.
“Immediately above the dining saloon is the drawing-room which is decorated and upholstered in excellent taste. It abounds in easy chairs and cozy corners. A grand piano, made in Japan, by the way, and said to possess a splendid tone, suggests pleasant musical evenings and concerts.
“… On what is known as the A deck – the boat deck – there is a beautiful palm house, with beautiful palms and ferns, forming a pleasant observation saloon.”
– “The Shinyo-Maru, the Toyo Kisen Kaisha’s New Pacific Greyhound”, The Far Eastern Review, October 1911
“Toyo Kisen Kaisha is the largest steamship company operating between San Francisco, Japan, and the Orient. It maintains fast and frequent service across the Pacific, following the Pathway of the Sun along the semi-tropic route.
“This is one of the most delightful ocean voyages in the world, as it carries the passenger over smooth seas and, by touching at Honolulu, affords a pleasant break in the journey.
“The steamers of this line are of the very most-advanced types, having been built especially for this service. The present fleet of the North American line consists of the following: Shinyo Maru, triple-screw, [displacing] 22,000-tons ; Siberia Maru, 20,000-tons, twin-screw; Tenyo Maru, triple-screw, 22,000-tons; and Korea Maru, twin-screw, 20,000-tons.
“The Tenyo and Shinyo Maru are sister ships of 22,000 tons displacement. They are driven by triple-screw turbine engines which account for an utter absence of vibration, and a speed of 21 knots per hour .These ships are as finely equipped in every detail as the best first-class hotels on shore, and leave nothing to be desired in service or table. The total length of the deck area measures almost a mile, giving ample opportunity for exercise and promenade.”
– “Toyo Kisen Kaisha”, Japanese-American Trade Year Book, 1918