The Tokyo Nautical School training ship “Taisei Maru”, 1906.

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Cadets learning to use nautical telescopes during a training voyage on board the Tokyo Nautical School training ship “Taisei Maru”, 1906. The Nautical School originated in 1875 as the Mitsubishi Merchant Navigation School established in Nagasaki by the Mitsubishi Shokai, predecessor of the NYK (Nippon Yusen Kaisha) shipping company. It was converted seven years later into a government-run institution. Graduates of the Nautical School became merchant marine officers of the highest caliber educated in both nautical engineering and in the art of navigation, and also served in the Naval Reserve.

See also:
Tokyo Nautical School, Etchujima, Tokyo, c. 1910.
Imperial Japanese Navy training cruise, 1924-1925.

“Before a candidate is accepted as a cadet at the Tokyo Nautical School he has to pass an examination … [and] are received into the college between the ages of 17 and 21. In the shore establishment they spend 2-1/2 years, where they are educated in navigation up to the stage necessary for a master mariner, and they are then drafted to the Taisei Maru, the four-masted steam auxiliary barque which is employed by the college as an ocean-going training ship.

“In this ship two years are spent, and then the young seamen are sent for six months’ service in a trading steamer. Following this comes a further period of six months in a naval gunnery training ship . This makes 5-1/2 years in all .

Map: Tokyo Nautical School, 1910.

“After completing their full course of 5-1/2 years the cadets are ready to sit for their second mate’s examination, and should have no difficulty in obtaining certificates in that grade.

“… The sea-going training ship Taisei Maru is a steel vessel of 2,439 gross and 1,741 net tons, launched in May, 1904, at Kobe, by the Kawasaki Drydock Company, Ltd. She is 277 ft. long, 43 ft in breadth, and 24 ft. deep, and fitted with duplicate sets of triple-expansion steam engines of 150 n.h.p., driving twin screws, and taking steam from two boilers. The Taisei Maru is one of the few sailing vessels fitted with wireless telegraphy apparatus. When at sea she carries a large number of cadets, who are berthed on the upper and main decks; they occupy the poop.

“… [T]he steam power of the Taisei Maru is only used when the ship is entering or leaving port. At sea she is run as a four-masted barque. The ship has made a voyage of about 17 months’ duration, but as a rule her voyages average six months … Strict discipline is maintained both in port and at sea. In port, half the cadets are allowed ashore at a time – but only in uniform. Before leaving the ship the liberty cadets are paraded, and they are inspected upon their return.”

“The Training of Japanese Officers”, Shipping and Shipping Record, May 24, 1917

Film from 1916 showing training on board the “Taisei Maru”.

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  1. Pingback: Imperial Japanese Navy training cruise to Hawaii, the U.S. and Canada, 1914. | Old TokyoOld Tokyo

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