Japanese Carriers of World War II.
Ten Carriers at the time of Pearl Harbor


The First Year

NameType Dec'41 Jan'42Feb Mar AprMay June JulyAug Sep Oct Nov Dec'42
Hosho CVLtrainingship TrukMidwayTruk
Akagi CVPH RabaulPalausJavaCeylon homeMidway
KagaCVPH RabaulPalausJavarepairhome Midway
SoryuCVPH,WI MoluccaDarwinJavaCeylon homeMidway
Hiryu CVPH,WI MoluccaDarwinJavaCeylon homeMidway
ShokakuCVPH RabaulhomeKendariCeylon CoralSeahomehome E.SolTrukSanCrhome home
ZuikakuCVPH RabaulhomeKendariCeylon CoralSeahome,KiskaKiskaE.Sol TrukSanCrhomehome
Ryujo CVLP.I.Java JavaJavaBengal(16) DutchH(37)KiskaE.Sol
Zuiho CVLP.I.Java MidwayKiskahomeferrySanCr Guadalcanal
Taiyo CVEP.I.Java TrukTrukhome ferryferry
Shoho CVL 26Jan CoralSea
Junyo CV 5May DutchH KiskahomehomeSanCrGuadalcanal
UnyoCVE 31May ferryferryferryferryferryferry
Hiyo CV 31July homehome TrukGuadalcanalhome
ChuyoCVE 25Novferry
RyuhoCVL 28Novdamaged
Key: red=sunk , blue=damaged, green=commissioned .
    From the time of the naval battles around Guadalcanal in November 1942 until the Marianas campaign in June 1944, there were no fleet to fleet engagements of consequence. During this period, Japan produced a new big carrier, Taiho, and converted two seaplane tenders and a submarine tender to light carriers, three passenger liners to escort carriers, two battleships to handle aircraft, and neared completion of the world's largest aircraft carrier, Shinano . In the same period, the United States commissioned 10 Essex class large fleet carriers, 9 Independence class light carriers, and 39 Casablanca class escort carriers (Kaiser produced, though many of these served in the Atlantic).

Japanese Aircraft Carriers

Name Type(a/c) Tons Commis SunkBy Where Comments
Hosho CVL (21) 7,500 27Dec22--Kure Training ship
AkagiCV  (63)36,000 25May27 04June42 CV  Midway
KagaCV  (72)36,80021Mar28 04June42 CV Midway
Ryujo CVL (46)10,5009May33 24Aug42CV EastSolomons
SoryuCV  (63)17,50029Sep37 04June42CV Midway
HiryuCV  (63)17,5005July39 05June42CV Midway
Zuiho CVL (24) 11,20027Dec40 25Oct44CV CapeEngano
ShokakuCV  (72)27,000 08Aug41 19June44SS-244 Marianas
Taiyo CVE (27) 16,70015Sep41 18Dec44SS-269 off Luzon
ZuikakuCV  (72)27,000 25Sep41 25Oct44CV CapeEngano
Shoho CVL (30) 11,20026Jan42 07May42CV Coral Sea
Junyo CV  (45) 24,10005May42 09Dec44 SS off Sasebo
Unyo CVE (27)16,700 31May4216Sep44SS-220 S.ChinaSea
HiyoCV  (45)24,100 31July42 20June44CVMarianas
Chuyo CVE (27)16,70025Nov42 04Dec43SS-192 off Honshu
Ryuho CVL (31)13,40028Nov42 -- Kure
Hyuga BBV (22) convert01Oct43 24July45CV Kure
Ise BBV (22) convert08Oct43 28July45CV Kure
ChiyodaCVL (24)11,20031Oct43 25Oct44CV CapeEngano
Kaiyo CVE (24) 15,40023Nov43 24July45CV Beppu Bay
Shinyo CVE (27) 17,50015Dec43 17Nov44SS-411 S.YellowSea
ChitoseCVL (24)11,20001Jan44 25Oct44CV CapeEngano
TaihoCV  (62)29,30007Mar44 19June44SS-218Marianas
Unryu CVL (57) 17,30006Aug44 19Dec44SS-395EastChinaSea
Amagi CVL (57) 17,10010Aug44 28June45air Kure
ShinanoCVB (70)62,00019Nov44 29Nov44SS-311 Inland Sea world largest
KatsuragiCV17,30015Oct44 Not service
Kasagi CVL17,300incomplete 85%
IbukiCVL14,500incomplete 80%
AsoCVincomplete 60%
Ikoma CVincomplete 60%
Alternate spelling and names found.
Jinyo, Shingo   Junyo, Haytaka   Unyo, Un'yo, Otaka
Hiyo, Haytaka   Taiyo, Toiyo, Utaka

Fleet Seaplane Carriers, 1942

NameDec  JanFebMarAprMayJune JulyAugSepOctNov
ChitoseP.I.P.I.CelebesJavaMidW(20)E.Solom GuadC
KamikawaIndoCPMoresbyMidW(12)Agattu E.Solom
SanukiP.I.BalikpapanMakassarSP.I. Solomons Solomons
NisshinMidW(ms)NewBritain GuadC
    Agutta = near Attu, Aleutians.   ms = midget subs.

    Chronology of Japanese Carriers and Seaplane Carriers.


    6Dec41. Yacht Isabel (PY-10) is sighted by floatplane from Japanese seaplane carrier Kamikawa Maru of Indo China. Later in the day, Isabel receives orders to return to Manila.

    8 Dec41. Seaplane tender (destroyer) William B. Preston (AVD-7) is attacked by fighters and attack planes from Japanese carrier Ryujo in Davao Gulf, P.I.
    14Dec41. Submarine Seawolf (SS-197) torpedoes Japanese seaplane carrier San'yo Maru off Aparri, P.I.; one torpedo hits the ship but does not explode.
    16Dec41. Japanese Pearl Harbor Attack Force detaches carriers Hiryu and Soryu, heavy cruisers Tone and Chikuma, and two destroyers to reinforce second attack on Wake Island.
    21Dec41. Planes from carriers Soryu and Hiryu bomb Wake Island.
    22Dec41.Japanese bombers and attack planes, covered by fighters from carriers Soryu and Hiryu, bomb Wake Island .
    23Dec41. Planes from carriers Hiryu and Soryu, as well as seaplane carrier Kiyokawa Maru provide close air support for the invasion of Wake Island. 


    27Jan42. USAAF B-17's bomb and damage Japanese seaplane carrier Sanuki Maru off Balikpapan, Borneo.

    10Feb42. USAAF LB-30s bomb and damage Japanese seaplane carrier Chitose in Makassar Strait south of Celebes.
    15Feb42. ABDA striking force (RAdm Doorman, RNN) is attacked by Japanese naval land attack planes as well as carrier attack planes from carrier Ryujo.

    1 Mar42. Japanese heavy cruisers Myoko, Ashigara, Haguro and Nachi engage three Allied ships fleeing Java, sinking British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter and destroyer HMS Encounter. Destroyer Pope (DD-225), escapes the cruisers but is located and bombed by floatplanes from seaplane carriers Chitose and MizuhoPope is then located by carrier attack planes from Ryujo and bombed. Scuttling is in progress when Myoko and Ashigara deliver the coup de grace with gunfire.

    10Mar42. Two US carriers attack Japanese invasion fleet off Lae and Salamaua, New Guineas sinking three and damaging ten ships including seaplane carrier Kiyokawa Maru.

    6Apr42. Indian Ocean, Central Group, formed around carrier Ryujo attacks shipping.
    Akagi, Soryu, Hiryu, Shokaku, Zuikaku attack British fleet at Ceylon.

    9Apr42. PT-34 is bombed and strafed by floatplanes from Japanese seaplane carrier Sanuki Maru and destroyed off Cauit Island, P.I.

    2May42. Submarine Drum (SS-228) torpedoes and sinks Japanese seaplane carrier Mizuho off south coast of Honshu.

    7May42 . Battle of Coral Sea. Small carrier from the invasion support force, Shoho, sunk.  "Scratch one flattop."
    8May42 . Battle of the Coral Sea concludes as Japanese Carrier Strike Force formed around carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku is located and taken under air attack.  SBD's from Lexington (CV-2) and Yorktown (CV-5) damage Shokaku and force her retirement. Zuikaku's air group suffers heavy losses. Damage to Shokaku, as well as to Zuikaku's air group, prevents the use of those two carriers for several months, thus making them unavailable for Battle of Midway.

    27May42.  Navy Day ceremony Inland Sea: Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, and Hiryu.

    3Jun42. As part of the overall Midway plan, Japanese Second Strike Force bombs Dutch Harbor, Alaska; with planes from carriers Ryujo and Junyo.

    4 June42. Concentrating on the destruction of Midway air forces and diverted by their torpedo, horizontal, and dive bombing attacks, the Japanese carriers are caught unprepared for the carrier air attack which began at 0930 with the heroic but unsuccessful effort of Torpedo Squadron 8, and were hit in full force at 1030 when dive bombers hit and sank the carriers Akagi, Kaga, and Soryu.  In the late afternoon, U.S. carrier air hit the Mobile Force again, sinking Hiryu, the fourth and last of the Japanese carriers in action.

    5June42. Planes from Japanese carriers Ryujo and Junyo reprise their attack on installations at Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

    3July42. USAAF B-24's bomb and damage Japanese seaplane carriers Kamikawa Maru and Kimikawa Maru off Agattu Island.

    24Aug42. Battle of the Eastern Solomons. With a force of 58 ships, including three carriers and eight battleships, the Japanese attempt to reinforce Guadalcanal. Planes from Saratoga sink the Japanese light carrier Ryujo, damage seaplane carrier Chitose, and destroy 90 enemy planes causing that force to withdraw.

    1 Sept42. USAAF B-17's bomb and damage Japanese flying boat support ship Akitsushima

    24Sep42. USAAF B-17 damages Japanese seaplane carrier Sanuki Maru off Shortlands Island, Solomons.
    Submarine Trout (SS-202) torpedoes Japanese escort carrier Taiyo east of Truk.

    28Sep42. Submarine Sculpin (SS-191) torpedoes Japanese seaplane carrier Nisshin east of Kokoda Island

    11Oct42. Battle of Cape Esperance. Japanese transport force, formed around seaplane carriers Chitose and Nisshin and six destroyers, reaches Tassafaronga, Guadalcanal, to disembark elements of the Japanese Army's 2d Infantry Division.

    15Oct42. Off San Cristobal, Solomons, planes from Japanese carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku sink the destroyer Meredith.

    26Oct42. Battle of Santa Cruz Islands. The U.S. victory does not come cheaply in this fourth major carrier battle of 1942, for Enterprise (CV-6) is damaged by planes from carriers Junyo and Shokaku.   Hornet (CV-8) and Porter (DD-356) are lost to planes from Junyo, Shokaku, and Zuikaku.  South Dakota (BB-57) and San Juan (CL-54) are damaged by planes from Junyo.  SBD's from Enterprise damage carrier Zuiho.  SBD's from Hornet damage carrier Shokaku.


    Seaplane carriers Chitose and Chiyoda rebuilt as light aircraft carriers.

    7 April43. Operation I-Go: last Japanese air offensive in the Solomons off Lunga Roads. Carrier bombers (VAL) strike U.S. and Allied shipping near Tulagi, Solomons, sinking destroyer Aaron Ward (DD-483) and New Zealand corvette HMNZS Moa and damaging oilers Kanawha (AO-1) and Tappahannock (AO-43) and tank landing ship LST-449.

    29May43. Submarine Scamp (SS-277) sinks Japanese seaplane carrier Kamikawa Maru north of Kavieng, New Ireland,

    10June43. Submarine Trigger (SS-237) damages Japanese carrier Hiyo 18 miles off Irozaki, Honshu.
    23June43. Submarine Harder (SS-257) damages Japanese seaplane carrier Sagara Maru off southern Honshu.

    4 July43. Submarine Pompano (SS-181) sinks Japanese seaplane carrier Sagara Maru, previously damaged by Harder (SS-257).
    10July43. Submarine Steelhead (SS-280) damages Japanese escort carrier Un'yo., near Truk in the Carolines.
    23July43. Three waves of Navy and USAAF planes, including B-17's and B-24's, attack Japanese resupply convoy off Cape Friendship; SBD's and TBF's sink seaplane carrier Nisshin.

    6 Aug43. Submarine Pike (SS-173) unsuccessfully attacks Japanese aircraft carrier Taiyo east of Marianas.

    Ise rebuilt as aircraft carrier.

    24 September. Submarine Cabrilla (SS-288) disables Japanese carrier Taiyo northwest of Chichi Jima.

    18Oct43. Submarine Flying Fish (SS-229) attacks Yokosuka-bound Japanese escort carrier Chuyo, in the Marianas. Although Flying Fish claims one hit, the enemy flattop bears a charmed life, having survived an attack by Mingo (SS-261) on 16 October 1943 as well, and continues on to her destination on schedule.

    5Nov43. Submarine Halibut (SS-232) damages Japanese carrier Junyo in Bungo Channel of southern Japan; heavy cruiser Tone tows the damaged ship to Kure.
    30Nov43.  Submarine Skate (SS-305) attacks Japanese carrier Zuiho, in the Mariana Basin, which, along with carrier Un'yo and escort carrier Chuyo and escort vessels, is proceeding back to Japan from Truk. Although Skate claims one damaging hit, none of her four torpedoes strikes home.

    4Dec43 . Submarine Sailfish (SS-192) torpedoes and sinks Yokosuka-bound Japanese escort carrier Chuyo southeast of Honshu. Unbeknown to Sailfish, Chuyo is carrying survivors from sister ship Sculpin (SS-191).
    Japanese seaplane carrier Sanuki Maru is damaged by mine, off Pomelaa, as she sails for Singapore.
    27Dec43. Submarine Tautog (SS-199) damages Japanese seaplane carrier Kimikawa Maru off Shionomisaki, Honshu.


    19Jan44. Submarine Haddock (SS-231) damages Japanese carrier Un'yo 140 miles east-southeast of Guam.

    17Feb44. TF 58 aircraft raid Truk and damage Japanese destroyers Shigure and Matsukaze, submarines I-10 and RO-37, target ship Hakachi, repair ship Akashi, ammunition ship Soya, seaplane tender Akitsushima, and auxiliary submarine chaser Cha 20.

    14Mar44. Japanese seaplane carrier Sanuki Maru is damaged by mine off Thailand.
    16Mar44. Submarine Lapon (SS-260) carries out unsuccessful attack on Japanese seaplane tender Kunikawa Maru, NW of Philippines.

    19June44. Battle of the Philippine Sea. The Japanese lose at least 300 aircraft in what U.S. Navy pilots call the "Marianas Turkey Shoot." Submarine Albacore (SS-218) sinks Japanese new carrier Taiho, 180 nautical miles north-northwest of Yap. Submarine Cavalla (SS-244) sinks Japanese carrier Shokaku, 140 nautical miles north of Yap Island.
    20June44. TBF's from Belleau Wood sink damaged carrier Hiyo northwest of Yap Island. TF 58 planes also damage carrier Zuikaku, small carriers Junyo, Chiyoda and Ryuho, fast fleet tanker/seaplane carrier Hayasui, battleship Haruna, heavy cruiser Maya and 5 lesser ships. VAdm Mitscher orders the ships of TF 58 to show lights in order to guide returning strike groups home.

    26July44. Submarine Angler (SS-240) damages transport (ex-seaplane carrier) Kiyokawa Maru in convoy in South China Sea.

    18Aug44. Submarine Rasher (SS-269) encounters Japanese convoy off west coast of Luzon.  Rasher sinks escort carrier Taiyo, transport Teia Maru, cargo ship Eishin Maru, and oiler Teiyo Maru southwest of Cape Bojeador.
    19Aug44. U.S. submarines continue attacks on Japanese convoy begun the previous day as Bluefish (SS-222) sinks fast fleet tanker/seaplane carrier Hayasui, 80 nautical miles northwest of Cape Bolinao.

    17Sep44. Submarine Barb (SS-220) sinks Japanese escort carrier Un'yo and tanker Asuza Maru, 220 nautical miles southeast of Hong Kong.

    08Oct44. Submarine Becuna (SS-319) damages Japanese seaplane carrier Kimikawa Maru in South China Sea.
    23Oct44. Submarine Sawfish (SS-276) sinks Japanese seaplane carrier Kimikawa Maru west of Luzon.
    25Oct44. Battles of Leyte Occupation.  The Fast Carrier Force met the Northern Force in the Battle Off Cape Engano, sinking the heavy carrier Zuikaku and light carriers Chiyoda, Zuiho, and Chilose, the latter with the assistance of cruiser gunfire.

    17Nov44. Submarine Spadefish (SS-411) sinks Japanese escort carrier Shinyo 140 miles northeast of Shanghai, China, in Yellow Sea.
    29Nov44. Submarine Archerfish (SS-311) sinks Japanese supercarrier Shinano, 71,000 tons, built on a superbattleship hull.  She was sunk in Tokyo Bay traveling between her launch site and training base. 

    09Dec44. Submarine Sea Devil (SS-400) and Redfish (SS-395) damage Japanese carrier Junyo a few hours apart.
    19Dec44. Submarine Redfish (SS-395) sinks new Japanese light carrier Unryu 200 nautical miles SE of Shanghai, China.


    28Jan45. Submarine Spadefish (SS-411) attacks Japanese convoy in the southern Yellow Sea and sinks transport (ex-seaplane carrier) Sanuki Maru.

    06Feb45 . Japanese battleship/carrier Ise is damaged by mine, Singapore.

    19Mar45. TF 58 (VAdm Mitscher) pounds airfields on Kyushu, and shipping at Kure and Kobe, Honshu, destroying incomplete Japanese submarine I-205 in drydock, and damaging battleships Yamato, Hyuga and Haruna; carriers Ikoma, Katsuragi, Ryuho and Amagi; small carrier Hosho; escort carrier Kaiyo; heavy cruiser Tone, light cruiser Oyodo, submarines I-400 and RO-67, auxiliary submarine chaser Cha 229 at Kure; and escort destroyer Kaki at Osaka.

    9Apr45. Submarine Tirante (SS-420) damages Coast Defense Vessel No.102. Transport (ex-seaplane carrier) Kiyokawa Maru tows the damaged ship to safety.
    29Apr45. Transport (ex-seaplane carrier) Kumikawa Maru is damaged by mine laid by RAAF Catalina off Balikpapan, Borneo.
    30Apr45. USAAF B-24's sink Kunikawa Maru previously damaged by Australian mine.

    24May45. B-29 laid mine damages transport (ex-seaplane carrier) Kiyokawa Maru

    14July45.  TF 38 planes damage Japanese carriers Amagi and Katsuragi, and battleship Haruna at Kure, Japan.
    24July45. Aircraft from TF 38 launch two-day attack on the Inland Sea area, Japan, striking Kure Naval Base and airfields at Nagoya, Osaka, and Miho. TF 38 planes sink battleship-carrier Hyuga in Hiro Bay, Kure; heavy cruiser Tone (she is pushed aground to facilitate salvage)  off Eta Jima; target ship (ex-battleship) Settsu at Kure;  and damage carrier Ryuho and battleship-carrier Ise at Kure; battleship Haruna and light cruiser Oyodo off Eta Jima; heavy cruiser Aoba at Kure Navy Yard; transport (ex-seaplane carrier) Kiyokawa Maru, and 12 lesser ships. Carrier Amagi is hit by a rocket off Kurahashi Jima, Kure.
    24July45. Japanese escort carrier Kaiyo is damaged by planes from British carriers
    HMS Formidable, HMS Indefatigable, and HMS Victorious. Kaiyo's travails, however, do not end there. She is damaged by mine laid by a B-29 off Beppu.
    28July45. Aircraft from TF 38 of the Third Fleet (Adm Halsey) strike Inland Sea area, between Nagoya, and Northern Kyushu; principally targeting the Kure Naval Base. TF 38 planes sink battleship Haruna, battleship-carrier Ise, heavy cruiser Aoba,, light cruiser Oyodo, and 19 lesser ships.
    28July45. TF 38 planes damage carrier Katsuragi and training carrier Hosho.
    29July45.  USAAF B-25's (5th Air Force) damage Japanese escort carrier Kaiyo in Hiji harbor.