Yard Number: 261
Cost: £46,032

Engine details: Steam by screw, direct acting, horizontal, cylinders 53" diameter, 280 horsepower.

Description: 3 decks, 3 masts, ship rigged, screw steam ship, round stern, carvel built, no galleries, no figurehead.
[Gross tonnage, being register tonnage, if a sailing ship, 1459.46 tons. If a steamer, deduct allowance for propelling power as per other side, 467.03 tons. Registered tonnage if a steamer, 992.43 tons.]
(Source: Aberdeen Shipping Register (Aberdeen City Archives))

Screw-corvette built for the Japanese Navy at the order of Thomas Blake Glover (1838-1911). Launched 27th March 1869 and fitted out at Blaikie's Quay at a cost of £42,032, at her fastest sailed 264 miles in one day. Left Thurso for Nagasaki on 11th August 1869.

James Hall, the shipyard owner, died during an incident shortly after the launching of the JHO SHO MARU. The vessel was being fitted out at Provost Blaikie's Quay when a wood yard opposite caught fire and the wind threatened to set light to the ship. The vessel was saved but the excitement caused the yard's owner to drop down dead.

"JHO SHO MARU" (William Hall Jnr.)
Japan's first warship was built in 1869 by Messrs Alexander Hall & Company, Aberdeen. Her dimensions ... Length B.P. 210'0", Breadth Extreme 38'0", Depth to Main Deck 23'0" and to Spar Deck 30'0". Fitted with round stern and ram bow and armour plated round the water line with armour plate 4 1/2" thick, five feet broad, in two breadths and having a weight of 130 tons. Propelled with a single screw and fitted with two horizontal engines, direct acting. Diameter of cylinders 53 inches and N.H.P. 280. Coal bunker capacity 280 tons. Ship rigged, iron lower masts and three lower yards and a fidding bowsprit. Carried six boats and a steam launch 36 ft. x 9 ft. x 4 ft. Equipped with 10 guns, viz:- 8-64 pounders and 2-100 pounders, all of the muzzle loading tupe, and carried 30 tons of shot. When ready for sea, with 450 tons of coal, guns, ammunition, stores, etc., her draught was 18'6" forward and aft.
"The ship has been an unfortunate ship for us, through his anxiety for it Uncle James lost his life while assisting at putting out a fire near it and all together she has been a disagreeable job although she it a credit to Aberdeen."

The JHO SHO MARU sailed from Thurso for Nagasaki, Japan, on the 11th August, 1869.

Additional details from Sumihiro Sano:

Jho-Sho-Maru was transferred to Higo clan and formally named Ryujyo [Prancing Dragon]. The Higo clan then presented the Ryujyo to the Emperor. Ryujyo went into commission on 8th May 1870, as a major warship of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

When Ryujyo commissioned she was the strongest war ship in the Imperial Japanese Navy, so she was often assigned as the Imperial Ship.

Emperor Meiji sometimes embarked on Ryujyo and she took part in every domestic and foreign incident in the 1870s. From 1881 Ryujyo took part in training cruises for cadets three times and sailed to Australia, Chile, Peru, Hawaii, and South East Asia.
In September 1888 her engine was removed, and she was assigned as a training ship of the gunnery training school.

2nd December 1893 she was decommissioned, but continuously assigned as non manned training ship of gunnery training school.

12th Sep.1894 she was commissioned again and moored at the harbour entrance of Yokosuka, as a floating battery with 127 crew (for Sino Japanese War).

17th Feb 1895 decommissioned again.

September 1906 gunnery training on Ryujyo finished because of a new gunnery training facility established onshore.

22nd April 1908 Marquess Hosokawa, the former Lord of Higo clan, submitted a request to the Minister of Navy to dispose Ryujyo's name board for the eternal memory of Higo clan.

31st July 1908 government issued instruction that the bow decoration and name board should be detached before disposal by sale for preservation.

1908 Ryujyo was sold and then scrapped.

Ryujyo's bow decoration is preserved at Kumamoto castle/Museum. Kumamoto castle was the Higo clan's headquarter.
A. HALL & Co.
length 210' x breadth 38' x depth 23'
Gross tonnage 1459 ton

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