Niitaka (1902)

Niitaka moored at Sasebo in 1918. Photo in the collection of the Mikasa Memorial Museum.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

Niitaka was a protected cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Laid down in January, 1902, she was the lead ship of her class, and completed 24 January, 1904. Barely a week later, Niitaka was in action against the Russians, fighting the Varyag at Chemulpo Bay, then participating in the siege of Port Arthur. Niitaka continued in her successful anti-cruiser activities during the Battle of the Yellow Sea, and again at Tsushima the next year. Niitaka spent the next decade patrolling off China and in Manila, guarding Japanese interests and citizens abroad. She was part of the force that captured the German naval base at Tsingtao in 1914, and helped suppress the 1915 Sepoy Mutiny against the British. From mid-1915 to the end of the Great War, Niitaka was based at Cape Town, patrolling for commerce raiders and U-boats. In 1920-22, Niitaka was assigned to support Japanese operations in Kamchatka during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. On 26 August, 1922, sudden typhoon-force winds drove Niitaka onto rocks off the southern coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula. The only survivors were fifteen men ashore at the time, and the ship was a total loss. A concrete obelisk was erected ashore in 1923, with part of her mast, as a memorial.