Laid down in 1899 and completed in 1902 by the British firm of Vickers Company, the battleship Mikasa was the flagship of Admiral Heihachiro Togo, Commander in Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet during the Russo-Japanese War (1904~1905). Mikasa was always at the head of the battle line and fought valiantly in every major naval engagement of her time. Most noteworthy was Mikasa's performance in the Battle of Tsushima Straits on May 27, 1905, when she added further brilliance to the glorious traditions of the Imperial Japanese Navy by gaining total victory over the Russian Baltic Fleet. As a result of this battle, Russia surrendered and Japan became a major World Power.
This great victory of the Battle of the Japan Sea not only greatly changed the course of world history but this great accomplishment also boosted the pride and confidence of the Japanese people. Mikasa, was preserved at Shirahama Beach in 1926. Following World War II she was stripped down in accordance with the demilitarization of Japan and became all but completely forgotten by the Japanese people. With the ship in ruins, a nation-wide campaign to restore Mikasa was organized. Restoration work was successfully completed with US Navy backing, and Mikasa was opened to the public again on May 27, 1961, the 56th anniversary of the Battle of Tsushima Straits. Since then, she has become a familiar landmark to numerous people.
In 1990 I visited Mikasa in Yokosuka and spent several hours going over her. One of the best things about this memorial is that they have also restored the inside of the ship. After being on Midway for almost two years, touring Mikasa was like stepping back through time. The following scans are of souvenir pamphlets, a keychain and the pictures I took during my visit:
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