Kankō Maru (1852)

Drawing of Soembing before she was handed over to the Japanese in 1855. Original in the collection of the Het geheugen van Nederland.

Ship Class
Ship Type

Launched in 1852, Soembing was a Dutch side-wheel steamer. Completed later the same year, she was sent to the Dutch East Indies, but the Japanese began seeking modern warships to protect its coasts from foreign powers, and they turned to the Dutch, which had been the only European power permitted trade in Japan for several centuries. Soembing was sent to Japan as a gift in 1854, in an effort to preserve Dutch trading positions in the aftermath of the Perry Expedition. Handed over to the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1855, she was renamed Kankō Maru, and used for training. Armed with one 60-pounder and three thirty pounder guns, she was the first steam warship owned by Japan. Following the Meiji Restoration, Kankō Maru was inducted into the Imperial Japanese Navy on 28 April, 1868, and continued in her training role until 1876, when she was scrapped.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: A replica of Kankō Maru was built in the Netherlands in 1987, and has since been used for tourist cruises off Japan.