YOKOHAMA – A large model of the ocean liner Hikawamaru that was recently returned to Japan went on display Tuesday at Nippon Yusen Rekishi Hakubutsukan, or the NYK Maritime Museum, in Naka Ward, Yokohama.
The model, built in 1934, is a replica of the famous liner built by the major shipping line Nippon Yusen K.K., or NYK Line.
The passenger ship plied the Pacific between Japan and Seattle starting in 1930. Since her retirement in 1960, the Hikawamaru has been moored at Yamashita Park in Yokohama and is one of the city’s best known landmarks.
Built at 48th the size of the real liner, the model is 340 cm long and 42 cm wide. It was built based on original drawings by model-maker Momiyama Senpaku Mokei Seisakusho at the behest of Nippon Yusen K.K.
Before World War II, the replica had been exhibited at the NYK Line branch in Vancouver, British Columbia. However, when the Canadian government froze the company’s assets at the outbreak of Japan’s entry into World War II, the model was sent to the U.S., where it was exhibited at the Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, for 34 years.
NYK Line asked for it back, saying the model would be an important part of the NYK Maritime Museum’s collection.
In its 30 years of service, the real Hikawamaru ran regular routes as a luxurious cruise liner, before being turned into a hospital ship during the war.