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The Hikawa Maru is the sole surviving ship of the three Hikawa Maru-class ocean liners built during the late 1920's. The Hikawa Maru was built for the Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line) along with two other ships, and have served as an ocean liner before the break out of World War Two. During the war, the luxury cruise liner served as a battle ship until the war ended. The ship now serves as a museum in Yamashita Park, previously serving as a civilian service ship, wartime hospital ship, and cargo ship before and after the war. Many Japanese who left the country used the Hikawa Maru when traveling to North or South America. The two sister ships, Hie Maru and Heian Maru were sunk during the war. The Hikawa Maru served the NYK Line, Imperial Japanese Navy, and SCAJAP (Shipping Control Authority for the Japanese Merchant Marine) before being permanently berthed at Yamashita Park, where it educates visitors about the many voyages traveled, which include a voyage with actor Charlie Chaplin (famous 1930's movie star), Kano Jigoro (founder of Judo), and the ship also helped hundred of Jewish refuges escape Nazi persecution (many fled to Canada and the United States through Japan on this ship).
Before World War Two began, the Hikawa Maru was one of the main ways the Japanese emigrated to North and South America. Located nearby the Hikawa Maru is the Japanese Overseas Migration Museum. This impressive museum exhibits the artifacts and history of the Japanese people who left their country to come to the America's. The museum includes information about the courses the ships traveled from Japan to North and South America. The Museum is highly recommended before or after stopping at the Hikawa Maru cruise ship.
Board this legendary ship and learn more about the people it transported during Japan Deluxe Tour's fully-guided Nikkei Ancestry Japan Tours available in Spring & Year-round! You can also customize your Japan tour to include time at your family's home town with our Ancestry Search options to learn more about your Japanese heritage.
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