Kamikaze-class destroyer (1922)

The Kamikaze-class destroyers (神風型駆逐艦, Kamikazegata kuchikukan) were a class of nine destroyers of the Imperial Japanese Navy.[1] Some authors consider the Nokaze, Kamikaze and Mutsuki classes to be extensions of the Minekaze-class destroyers, and the Kamikaze class is sometimes referred to as the "Kiyokaze class" to distinguish it from the earlier World War I-era destroyer class of the same name. Obsolete by the beginning of the Pacific War, the Kamikazes were relegated to mostly secondary roles. Most ultimately were lost to U.S. submarines.

Kamikaze underway on 23 December 1922.
Class overview
Name: Kamikaze class
Operators:  Imperial Japanese Navy
Preceded by: Wakatake class
Succeeded by: Mutsuki class
In commission: 1921–1947
Planned: 27
Completed: 9
Cancelled: 18
Active: 0
Lost: 7 + 1 (postwar)
Retired: 1
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
  • 1,400 long tons (1,400 t) normal,
  • 1,720 long tons (1,750 t) full load
  • 97.5 m (320 ft) pp,
  • 102.6 m (337 ft) overall
Beam: 9.1 m (30 ft)
Draught: 2.9 m (9.5 ft)
  • (Kamikaze to Hatakaze)
  • 4 × Ro-Gō Kampon water-tube boilers
  • 2 × Parsons geared turbines
  • 38,500 shp
  • 2 shafts
  • (Oite to Yūnagi)
  • 4 × Ro-Gō Kampon water-tube boilers
  • 2 × Kampon geared turbines
  • 38,500 ihp (28,700 kW)
  • 2 shafts
  • (Kamikaze to Hatakaze)
  • 37.25 knots (68.99 km/h)
  • (Oite to Yūnagi)
  • 36.88 knots (68.30 km/h)
  • 3600 nm @ 14 knots
  • (6,700 km at 26 km/h)
Complement: 154


The Kamikaze-class vessels were an extension and improvement to the ongoing Minekaze-class program as part of the Eight-eight fleet Plan. They were ordered under the 1921-1922 fiscal budget. As with the Wakatake class, they were originally numbered, but were assigned individual names after 1928.[2]

Construction of the last two planned Kamikaze vessels was cancelled in conformance with the Washington Naval Treaty. Oite, Hayate, Asanagi and Yūnagi were called the Kamikaze-class late production model (or occasionally Oite-class), as the powerplant and armaments were different.


The Kamikaze-class ships were visually identical to the earlier Minekaze class, apart from slight detail changes in the bridge. The Kamikaze class was the first destroyer class in the Imperial Japanese Navy to be built with a bridge strengthened by steel plating. This gave the vessels a higher center of gravity, and to counteract this they were built with an increased displacement and a wider beam for better stability. Although they had slightly less speed >37.5 knots (69.5 km/h) they were considered satisfactory compared with the Minekaze class.[3]


The Kamikaze-class ships were essentially the same design as the Nokaze sub-class of the previous Minekaze-class destroyers. The three twin 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes (one positioned in the well in front of the bridge and the other two located abaft the second stack) was unchanged; however, the launchers were now power-operated rather than manually-operated. The main battery was also unchanged, with four Type 3 120 mm 45 caliber naval guns in single open mounts, exposed to the weather except for a small shield. For anti-aircraft protection, the 6,5 mm machine guns mounted on each side of the bridge were replaced by two single 7.7mm machine guns. The final three vessels in the Kamikaze-class were also equipped with depth charges, with two Type 81 launchers deployed on the stern.

Following the start of the Pacific War, the Kamikaze-class vessels were modified for enhanced anti-aircraft capability at the expense of speed and surface warfare performance. One of both of the aft guns and the aft torpedo launcher were replaced by Type 96 25-mm anti-aircraft guns, which were added in increasing numbers, and eventually totaled between 13 and 20 guns per vessel in a combination of single and twin mounts. These modifications increased the displacement on some vessels to 1,523 tons, which reduced their maximum speed down to 35 knots. [4]

Operational history

The Kamikaze-class vessels all saw combat during the Pacific War, with Hayate having the distinction of being the first Japanese destroyer to be lost in combat during that conflict. She was sunk during the Battle of Wake Island in December 1941.[5] By 1944 four Kamikaze-class vessels had been sunk by American submarines and a fifth was lost in an air raid on Truk. In 1945 a sixth ship was sunk by submarine action. Only Kamikaze and Harukaze survived the war, but Harukaze was in such poor condition when surrendered at Sasebo that she was soon scrapped. Kamikaze continued on as a repatriation ship after it was surrendered at Singapore, but grounded off Cape Omaezaki in June 1946 and was written off.[6]

Class members

Kanji Name Builder Laid down Launched Completed Fate
神風 Kamikaze
Destroyer No. 1
Mitsubishi-Nagasaki, Japan 1921-12-15 1922-09-25 1922-12-19 renamed Kamikaze 1928-08-01; demilitarized repatriation ship 1945-12-01; grounded Omaezaki 1946-06-07; stricken 1946-06-26
朝風 Asakaze
Destroyer No. 3
Mitsubishi-Nagasaki, Japan 1922-02-16 1922-12-08 1923-06-16 renamed Asakaze 1928-08-01; Torpedoed west of Luzon [16.06N, 119.44E] 1944-08-23; stricken 1944-10-10
春風 Harukaze
Destroyer No. 5
Maizuru Naval Arsenal, Japan 1922-05-16 1922-12-18 1923-05-31 renamed Harukaze 1928-08-01; surrendered to USN 1945-11-10; scrapped 1947
松風 Matsukaze
Destroyer No. 7
Maizuru Naval Arsenal, Japan 1922-12-02 1923-10-30 1924-04-05 renamed Matsukaze 1928-08-01; Torpedoed NW Chichijima [26.59N, 143.13E] 1944-06-09; stricken 1944-08-10
旗風 Hatakaze
Destroyer No. 9
Maizuru Naval Arsenal, Japan 1923-07-03 1924-03-15 1924-08-30 renamed Hatakaze 1928-08-01; Air attack off Takao [22.37N, 120.15E] 1945-01-15; stricken 1945-03-10
追風 Oite
Destroyer No. 11
Uraga Dock Company, Japan 1923-03-16 1924-11-27 1925-10-30 renamed Oite 1928-08-01; Air attack at Truk [07.40N, 151.45E] 1944-02-18; stricken 1944-03-11
疾風 Hayate
Destroyer No. 13
Ishikawajima Shipyards, Japan 1922-11-11 1925-03-24 1925-11-21 renamed Hayate 1928-08-01; combat loss Battle of Wake Island [19.16N, 166.37E] 1941-12-11; stricken 1942-01-10
朝凪 Asanagi
Destroyer No. 15
Fujinagata Shipyards, Japan 1923-03-05 1924-04-21 1925-12-29 renamed Asanagi 1928-08-01; torpedoed W of Ogasawara [28.20N, 138.57E] 1944-05-22; stricken 1944-07-10
夕凪 Yūnagi
Destroyer No. 17
Sasebo Naval Arsenal, Japan 1923-09-17 1924-04-23 1925-05-24 renamed Yūnagi 1928-08-01; torpedoed NW of Luzon [18.46N, 120.46E] 1944-08-25; struck 1944-10-10

Naming history

The IJN originally planned that the Kamikaze-class ships should have names, but upon completion they were given numbers due to the projected large number of warships the IJN expected to build through the Eight-eight fleet plan. This proved to be extremely unpopular with the crews and was a constant source of confusion in communications. In August 1928, names were assigned, but not the original names that were planned.

Planned name and transliteration Name as completed Renamed 24 April 1924 Renamed 1 August 1928
Kiyokaze (清風)
Pure Wind
Soyokaze (微風)
Dai-1 Kuchikukan (第一駆逐艦),
1st Destroyer
Dai-1-Gō Kuchikukan (第一号駆逐艦),
No.1 Destroyer
Kamikaze (神風),
Divine Wind
Karukaze (軽風),
Light Wind
Dai-3 Kuchikukan (第三駆逐艦),
3rd Destroyer
Dai-3-Gō Kuchikukan (第三号駆逐艦),
No.3 Destroyer
Asakaze (朝風),
Morning Wind
Makaze (真風) True Wind Dai-5 Kuchikukan (第五駆逐艦),
5th Destroyer
Dai-5-Gō Kuchikukan (第五号駆逐艦),
No.5 Destroyer
Harukaze (春風),
Spring Wind
Ōkaze (大風),
Great Wind
Tsumujikaze (旋風),
Dai-7 Kuchikukan (第七駆逐艦),
7th Destroyer
Dai-7-Gō Kuchikukan (第七号駆逐艦),
No.7 Destroyer
Matsukaze (松風),
Pine Wind
Dai-9 Kuchikukan (第九駆逐艦),
9th Destroyer
Dai-9-Gō Kuchikukan (第九号駆逐艦),
No.9 Destroyer
Hatakaze (旗風),
Flag Wind
Dai-11-Gō Kuchikukan (第十一号駆逐艦),
No.11 Destroyer
Oite (追風),
Tail Wind
Dai-13-Gō Kuchikukan (第十三号駆逐艦),
No.13 Destroyer
Hayate (疾風),
Dai-15-Gō Kuchikukan (第十五号駆逐艦),
No.15 Destroyer
Asanagi (朝凪),
Morning Calm
Dai-17-Gō Kuchikukan (第十七号駆逐艦),
No.17 Destroyer
Yūnagi (夕凪),
Evening Calm


  1. Jentsura, Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945
  2. Howarth, The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun
  3. Globalsecurity.org, IJN Minekaze class destroyers
  4. Stille, Mark (2013). Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyers 1919–45. 1. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. p. 12-14. ISBN 978-1-84908-984-5.
  5. Brown. Warship Losses of World War II
  6. Nishida, Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy



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