Kaiyo (Sea Hawk)

The Kaiyo was the smallest of a series of passenger liners converted into auxiliary aircraft carriers for the Imperial Japanese Navy. She had been built as the passenger line Argentina Maru in 1938, before being requisitioned for conversion into a carrier between December 1942 and 23 November 1943.

The resulting carrier was similar to the Taiyo class ships, with a flush-deck, a single hanger with two elevators and turbine engines. As with the earlier conversions, her speed was disappointing. The Kaiyo could carry 24 operational aircraft, normally 18 fighters and 6 bombers.

When built the Kaiyo was armed with 8 5in dual purpose guns in Type 89 mounts and 24 25mm guns in eight triple mountings. During the war she was given another 20 single mounted 25mm guns, and armed with eight depth charges.

Plan of carrier Kaiyo
Plan of carrier Kaiyo

Kaiyo from above
Kaiyo from above

During 1944 the Kaiyo was used to ferry aircraft and as an escort ship. In 1945 she became a training ship, and was used as a target during kamikaze training. On 24 July 1945 she was badly damaged by British carrier aircraft, from the carriers Formidable, Indefatigable and Victorious, although she survived and returned to port. She was broken up during 1948.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)

16,483t (trial)

Top Speed







546ft 5in max


8 5in/40 dual purpose guns in double mountings
24 25mm antiaircraft guns

Crew complement



9 December 1938

Completed as carrier

23 November 1943

Broken up


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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (27 November 2008), Kaiyo (Sea Hawk) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_kaiyo.html

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