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Japanese Liner, “Chichibu Maru” (renamed “Titibu Maru” in 1938, “Kamkura Maru” in 1939)

Japanese Liner, “Chichibu Maru” (renamed “Titibu Maru” in 1938, “Kamkura Maru” in 1939), around 1930
Builder’s Model, scale 1:32
wood, metal, gold plated fittings
model: 64.0 x 188.0 x 31.0 cm
The Thomson Collection © Art Gallery of Ontario

The Thomson Collection of Ship Models Audio Tour

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Download: 1:57 min / 776 KB MP3

Simon Stephens: This vessel was capable of carrying 817 passengers and was built for the San Francisco to Yokohama run. And ran for many years successfully with other sister ships in the fleet.

The shape of the hull tells you it’s a very fast liner, as opposed to a slow but economical cargo vessel. These ships were built for speed and comfort. They were considered very palatial for their time between the war in the 1930s. And internally they were decked out really lavishly in terms of furniture and design and materials.

The reason this one stands out is the sheer size and amount of detail – the amount of fixtures and fittings on this model in terms of the cargo handling equipment. Bearing in mind this was a passenger cargo ship.

If you look along the hull all the portholes, straightaway that indicates to you it’s a passenger carrying vessel. You wouldn’t get the number of portholes on a cargo only. The other thing that you should note is the number of lifeboats, the life saving facilities for the passengers.

As a result of the Titanic disaster in 1912 the regulations were tightened up whereby every passenger had to have a life saving appliance on board. This is very evident here on this model with the number of lifeboats and life saving equipment.

One interesting feature towards the stern on the left hand side, the port side of the model is that there is a Japanese style of launch as opposed to the standard lifeboat on most European or American ships.

Typically the Japanese gold plated a lot of their fittings on their models.

A very interesting point about this model is that over the course of the career of the ship it had several name changes. And this is evident on the model. If you go towards the stern, you can see that it's got a different name painted across the stern.

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