Imperial Japanese Navy Cruiser “Soya”, c. 1910.

1910sGovernmentHistoric EventsPatriotism/Military
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IJN cruiser "Soya", c. 1910.

Imperial Japanese Navy Cruiser “Soya”, c. 1910. The Russian cruiser Varyag was taken as a war prize during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05). Raised and repaired (and reconfigured with four stacks from its original two), it was rechristened IJN light cruiser Soya (center) and commissioned into service with the Imperial Japanese Navy, where it saw its most service as a training ship (1907-1916). Inset at upper-right shows the “twin-stack” Varyag at anchor.

See also:
Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905
Imperial Japanese Navy training cruise, 1924-1925.

Soya was a protected cruiser in the Imperial Japanese Navy, acquired as a prize-of-war during the Russo-Japanese War from the Imperial Russian Navy, where it was originally known as the Russian cruiser Varyag.

Varyag was built in the United States by William Cramp and Sons of Philadelphia for the Imperial Russian Navy. It was stationed in Korea in 1904, and involved in the opening Battle of Chemulpo Bay of the Russo-Japanese War. After suffering heavy damage from the unequal battle against nine Japanese cruisers, Varyag was scuttled by its crew on 9 February 1904.

“After the war, the Japanese raised the badly damaged wreck from Chemulpo harbor, repaired it, and commissioned it into the Imperial Japanese Navy as the 2nd-class cruiser Soya on 9 July 1907. Its new name was taken from the northernmost cape of Hokkaidō: Soya Misaki.

“After being placed into Japanese service as a 3rd-class cruiser, Soya was used primarily for training duties. From 14 March 1909 to 7 August 1909, it made a long distance navigational and officer cadet training cruise to Hawaii and North America. It repeated this training cruise every year until 1913.

“During World War I, when Russia and Japan became allies against the Central Alliance (Germany/Austria-Hungary/Turkey), the Soya (along with several other captured vessels) was transferred back to Russia at Vladivostok on 5 April 1916, and its original name, Varyag, was restored.”


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