SITE ESTABLISHED AUGUST 2008.
THIS SITE IS BEST VIEWED USING THE FIREFOX BROWSER.
WELCOME TO THE INTERNET'S YAMATO & MUSASHI BATTLESHIP PHOTO ARCHIVE!
PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING NAVIGATION INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE TRYING TO OPEN UP ANY PHOTOS ON THE SITE.
THE PAGE LINKS ARE THE SMALL NUMBERS ON THE LEFT, JUST ABOVE THE INDEX PHOTOS. TO ENLARGE PHOTOS, CLICK ON THE THUMBNAIL YOU WANT TO SEE, THEN CLICK ON THE ENLARGED PHOTO IN THE LOWER RIGHT-HAND CORNER OF THIS PAGE AND FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS.
All of the archive photos in this gallery were obtained by various researchers from the National Archives of the United States, and the US Navy Archives, and are in the Public Domain.
These will be of interest to all Yamato, Musashi, IJN, & warship fans:
THE ROBERT LUNDGREN HISTORICAL RESOURCE For a serious historical Pacific War discussion site, run by renowned historian Anthony Tully, co-author of "Shattered Sword - The Untold Story of The Battle of Midway", go here: Finally, there are 3 indispensable books for any Yamato enthusiast: A good reconstruction of Yamato as she appeared during her Final Sortie in April 1945 can be found at:
For a serious historical Pacific War discussion site, run by renowned historian Anthony Tully, co-author of "Shattered Sword - The Untold Story of The Battle of Midway", go here:
Finally, there are 3 indispensable books for any Yamato enthusiast:
A good reconstruction of Yamato as she appeared during her Final Sortie in April 1945 can be found at:
I am a former US military officer with a life-long love for history, instilled in me by my father who fought against the Germans behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied Europe for 3 years. He was a History professor, too.
Anyhow, I was always fascinated by the war in the Pacific as a kid - thinking that I would have wanted to be one of the carrier pilots alighting from the decks and engaging the enemy over that vast expanse of open blue ocean.
In time I got a BA in history as well.
A few years back, after seeing some photos of a model of the Yamato, I briefly put my other hobby-modeling on hold and spent about 1500 hours building a 1945 Operation Ten-ichi-go 1/200 scale version of Yamato.
Anyhow, I found so many rare photos during my research into the ship (for one cannot do a model of this ship justice without first examining all resources and plans that are available in detail).
In an impulsive moment I vowed to create the Internet's only comprehensive Yamato photo library (which was then expanded to include Musashi as well).
Though I did not follow my father into academia, I think that he would have enjoyed this gallery, which captures my passion for the story of Yamato and her doomed crew.
This gallery is a labor of love, meant to open up archival resources to the many Yamato fans world-wide, educate them about the battles these two ships participated in, and perhaps help the Yamato/Musashi ship modeler to improve the accuracy of the kits they are building.
I hope that you will get as much enjoyment out of viewing these photos as I have gotten from finding them.
And now a few random thoughts I penned on Yamato - spread out over the next few pages:
ESSAY ON THE YAMATO - PART I:
The Battleship Yamato only saw battle three times during the entire Second World War (or two times, if you don't count being torpedoed once by the submarine USS Skate in 1943).
Recent in-progress research (as of 2010) comparing USN and IJN accounts of the Battle of Leyte Gulf indicates that contrary to long-held belief, Yamato was actually the most effective Japanese ship that day, scoring multiple hits on a several USN warships. When the results of that research are finally published, I intend to link to them on this page. (Battle of Leyte Gulf is described later on under accompanying photos).
None-the-less, Yamato and Musashi were strategically obsolete the day each was launched, for a mere week and a half ahead of Yamato's launch in December 1941, the Japanese had themselves exploded the myth of the battleship during their daring attack on Pearl Harbor with carrier-borne aircraft.
This was to be a war dominated by carrier-borne aircraft, not huge battleships.
Despite going down in just over 2 hours of bombardment by US Navy planes off Okinawa on April 7th, 1945, this gigantic ship still captivates the mind and inspires tens of thousands of ship modelers around the world to build the literally dozens of models of this ship, in all scales.
As a Japanese historian once noted - "once you learn the story of the Yamato, it becomes an obsession."
And, I might add, you need not be Japanese to share that obsession.
Why? After thinking about it for a few years, I concluded that the answer is exceedingly simple.
The story of Battleship Yamato touches on some of the most admired traits in human character - traits that cut across the ages, and across cultures. Honor. Courage. Selflessness. Sacrifice.
Two millennia ago, King Leonidas and his Spartans fell to a man blocking the pass of Thermopylae long enough for the Greek armies to escape from the Persian onslaught. In ancient times, a tablet was erected there reading: "Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obedient to their laws, we lie."
Similarly, the Jewish defenders of Masada who held out for over a year against the Roman armies of Titus, before dying to a man, are remembered to this day for their heroism.
Likewise the defenders of the Alamo who fell during the Texan Revolution against Mexico.
Jesus said that love has no higher example than to sacrifice oneself for one's brother.
In historical terms, willingly sacrificing oneself for one's country when there is no hope of victory - or personal survival - is to earn what Theodore Roosevelt called "Deathless Fame."
So it was with the Men of Yamato - whose actions earned for themselves, and for their ship, the same "Deathless Fame" as the defenders of Thermopylae, Masada, and the Alamo earned before them.