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11 июня, 16:52

How the Two Biggest Battleships Ever Put to Sea Were Finally Sunk

Warfare History Network Security, Special Sea Attack Force (SSAF) was an ordinary-sounding name for the pitifully tiny remnant of what was once the mighty Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). However, the word “Special” in the Japanese military possessed a unique and dark meaning. In late 1944, when Japan’s defeat became obvious, the desperate Japanese began encouraging kamikaze, or suicide aircraft missions, and created “special” units for carrying out these missions. Thus, “special” became a nonthreatening word for “suicidal,” and Special Sea Attack Force became the euphemistic name for a Suicide Sea Attack Force. The SSAF comprised just 10 ships. The first and foremost of these was the mighty battleship Yamato, the world’s largest dreadnought and pride of the IJN. She was to be escorted to her glorious death by the light cruiser Yahagi and eight destroyers: Asashimo, Fuyutsuki, Hamakaze, Hatsushimo, Isokaze, Kasumi, Suzutsuki, and Yukikaze, which were also scheduled to be sacrificed in a final attempt to cripple the American fleet. Japan’s Super Battleships The design and construction of these battleships began in October 1934––well before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, although the Japanese Naval General Staff was even then planning for the inevitable showdown with the United States. Thus they ordered their Navy Technical Department (Kampon) to report on the feasibility of building a new generation of battleships that were superior to anything America had manufactured up to that time. The Japanese realized they could not match American quantity; the Americans could produce far more battleships than Japan ever might, but the Japanese designers felt certain they could build more powerful battleships than the Americans could. The Japanese government expressed little doubt that these “super battleships” could be designed and built, and so, on December 29, 1934, it gave the required two years’ notice that, after December 31, 1936, Japan would no longer be a party to either the 1922 Washington and 1930 London naval treaties. Both agreements contained restrictions on Japanese naval armaments, something Japan now totally rejected. As of January 1, 1937, Japan unilaterally declared it would no longer be bound by these treaties or any restrictions whatsoever to its powerfully expanding military. After the final construction plans for the three ships were approved in March 1937, they were quickly ordered into production under the Third Fleet Replenishment Program. Following tradition, each ship was named after a prefecture of old Japan. Not merely muscle-flexing or saber-rattling, Japan invaded China on July 7, 1937. The Yamato was the first of what were to have been five Yamato-class battleships, but only three were built. The Yamato was commissioned on December 16, 1941, and the second Yamato-class ship, the Musashi, was commissioned on August 5, 1942. A third Yamato-class battleship, the Shinano, was in the works, but she was hurriedly converted into an aircraft carrier while still under construction, this conversion being made to help make up for the Japanese carrier losses at the Battle of Midway in early June 1942. The carrier Shinano was formally commissioned on November 19, 1944, but just 10 days later, on the second day of her maiden cruise, she was torpedoed and sunk by the American submarine Archer-Fish (SS-311). The Yamato-class battleship characteristics, according to their final production plan, placed their overall length at 862.83 feet and their fully loaded displacement at 72,800 long tons (73,968 metric tons, 81,536 short tons). They had a top speed of 27 knots.  (By comparison, the new American Iowa-class battleships were 887 feet long, but displaced only 45,000 tons and had a top speed of 33 knots.) Naoyoshi Ishida, an officer who served aboard the Yamato, recalled that when he first saw her, his initial thought was, “How huge it is! When you walk inside, there are arrows telling you which direction is the front and which is the back—otherwise you can’t tell. For a couple of days I didn’t even know how to get back to my own quarters. Everyone was like that…. I knew it was a very capable battleship. The guns were enormous. Back then, I really wanted to engage in battle with an American battleship in the Pacific.” Both the Yamato and the Musashi were heavily armed and armored, and the Japanese firmly believed these battleships were unmatchable and unsinkable. What were certainly unmatchable were the nine 18.1-inch (460mm) guns both battleships carried, as opposed to the nine 16-inch (406mm) guns on America’s top warships, the Iowa-class battleships. The Yamato’s armor-piercing 18.1-inch shells weighed 3,200 pounds each and could be hurled more than 25 miles at 40-second intervals. No Western battleship ever matched this. A Reluctance to Use the Super Battleships But the Japanese encountered difficulties with the Yamato and the Musashi soon after they were completed. Because of their weight, the two battleships consumed huge quantities of fuel oil, a product Japan did not have in great supply. Another consideration was the fact that the battleships were not only devastating weapons, they were also powerful symbols of national pride, and their loss would be a decimating blow to national as well as to naval morale. Thus, the battleships were to be used in battle cautiously, and not until late in the war, when the Japanese Naval General Staff saw the shadows of defeat darkening around them. Various reasons for not using the Yamato were put forth, but Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the commander in chief of the Combined Fleet, the main oceangoing component of the IJN, displayed a reluctance to commit the Yamato, his flagship, to battle. Even after Yamamoto died when his plane was shot down by U.S. Army Air Force P-38 Lightning fighters on April 18, 1943, his successors did not involve either the Yamato or the Musashi in any significant combat until the closing months of the war. The Yamato was given the name “Hotel Yamato” by the Japanese Pacific Ocean cruiser and destroyer crews. The battleship spent only a single day away from her Japanese Truk Island naval base in the Caroline Islands during the period between her arrival on August 29, 1942, and her departure on May 8, 1943. Nor did she take part in the critical Solomon Islands Campaign, which began on August 7, 1942, and lasted through February 1943. While on patrol in December 1943, the Yamato was damaged by a torpedo launched from the USS Skate (SS-305), which struck fear in the hearts of the IJN admirals, who did not want to lose her. She finally saw action during later stages of the war, participating in actions in the Philippine Sea and then as the command ship of Admiral Takeo Kurita, when she devastated a small American fleet off Samar. “The Most Tragic and Heroic Act of the War” By early October 1944, the Americans had “island-hopped” their way across the Pacific and were preparing to invade the Philippine Islands. The Japanese naval defense plan was code-named named Sho-I-Go (“Victory”), and its objective was simple: Sink the American invasion fleet, maintain the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, and, by doing this, protect Japan from invasion. To accomplish this goal, the Japanese committed virtually everything that was left of the IJN in a desperate effort to destroy the American invasion force. However, they were committing what remained of a navy that had no air support left. Significantly, both the Yamato and the Musashi were committed to stop America at what became known as the Battle of Leyte Gulf. On October 24, 1944, the Musashi was sunk during this battle by 17 bomb strikes and 19 torpedo strikes; 1,023 of the Musashi’s crew of 2,399 perished, while the Americans lost 18 planes. The Yamato suffered relatively little significant damage during the battle and slipped away. The Japanese were beaten at Leyte Gulf and the Americans pushed closer to the Central Japanese Home Islands by invading Okinawa in Operation Iceberg on April 1, 1945. Okinawa was in the Ryukyu Islands which, despite Chinese objections, had been incorporated into the Japanese empire in 1879. Because of this incorporation, the Japanese considered Okinawa a part of their homeland and would do everything to defend it. The Japanese grew desperate as the American invasion of Okinawa was under way. The American success forced the Japanese to resort to the full deployment of their powerful last-gasp countermeasure, the “Special Forces”—the suicidal kamikaze, and, for the first time, this included the Navy. Japanese Combined Fleet commander in chief, Admiral Soemu Toyoda, overrode strong objections from members of his Naval General Staff concerning the naval usage of suicidal “special forces.” On April 3, 1945, he informed the men of his just-formed Special (Suicidal) Sea Attack Force that “the fate of our Empire depends upon this one action. I order the Special Sea Attack Force to carry out on Okinawa the most tragic and heroic act of the war.” Admiral Toyoda’s “most tragic and heroic act of the war” involved ordering all of the SSAF’s sailors to embark on a mission to fight “to the last man.” On April 5, 1945, the SSAF staff received the following order: “The Surface Special Attack Unit is ordered to proceed via Bungo Suido Channel at dawn on Y-1 Day to reach the prescribed holding position for a high-speed run-in to the area west of Okinawa at dawn on Y-Day. Your mission is to attack the enemy fleet and supply train and destroy them. Y-Day is April 8th.” Shizuo Kunimoto, a lieutenant junior grade on the Yamato, reported: “The special order sending the Yamato to Okinawa was written with large letters on white paper and posted on the port side of the first deck. After the Yamato set sail, all hands not on duty (about 2,000 men) were assembled on the forecastle to hear their specific orders read by the ship’s Executive Officer.” The Yamato sailors bravely continued to honor their traditions after hearing their collective death warrant. Kunimoto commanded his men to bow toward the Imperial Palace and then toward their homes. He then led them in singing patriotic military songs for about 10 minutes, but patriotism and courage didn’t change what most of the Yamato’s sailors realized would happen to them. On April 6, 1945 (Y-2 Day for the SSAF), waves of Japanese planes dove in  suicidal attacks into Allied Pacific Fleet ships as part of Operation Kikusui (“Floating Chrysanthemums”), so named after the chrysanthemum crest of Kusunoki Masashige, a 14th-century samurai hero. Kusunoki, in what became remembered as an ultimate act of samurai fidelity, accepted a fatal and foolish command from his emperor and obediently and knowingly led his army and himself to death while fighting to carry out this absurd command. Absolute devotion to their emperor, who was considered a deity before and during World War II, was one of the foundations of kamikaze. First Japanese pilots and now the sailors of the SSAF, allegedly all volunteers, were ordered to end their lives in the same heroic manner as Kusunoki Masashige. The IJN named their mission Ten Ichi-Go (“Heaven Number One”), and the orders to the SSAF were grimly simple: The SSAF was to sail directly into the American ships and transports supporting the Okinawa landing and inflict as much punishment on them as possible. After this, the Yamato would be beached and use its 18.1-inch main batteries and other weapons as support for Okinawa’s land defense forces. “Surplus” Yamato crew members (that is, all nongunners) would then leave the beached Yamato and die on land while fighting together with soldiers of Okinawa’s defense garrison. The sailors on the escort ships would also die fighting. Absolutely no one was to return alive. Nevertheless, while the Japanese Naval General Staff instructed that each ship be given only enough fuel for a one-way trip to Okinawa, harbor officials risked execution by disobeying this order and refueling the entire SSAF to capacity, giving them more than enough oil to return home if they somehow survived. The Men of the Suicide Mission There were three admirals in the SSAF, two of whom were aboard the Yamato.  While Admiral Kosaku Ariga captained the Yamato, Vice Admiral Seiichi Ito commanded the entire SSAF. The Yahagi and the eight escort destroyers that constituted the Second Destroyer Squadron were commanded by Rear Admiral KeizoōKomura, whose headquarters were on the Yahagi. Seiichi Itoōhad furiously opposed the mission, but ultimate control rested with Admiral Soemu Toyoda, who was stationed near Tokyo. Seiichi Ito’s main reason for objecting was the complete lack of air protection, something not the case for the kamikaze pilots as they flew into their April 6 death dives. Ito’s other reasons for opposing the mission were his concern about the terrible numerical inferiority of his force—eight destroyers compared to America’s 60 destroyers. He also objected to the time of sailing. He wanted the time arranged to allow the SSAF to arrive and attack at night. Ito reportedly gnashed his teeth in rage when his argument that the time of departure should be left to the mission commander was rejected. Instead of being elated at the prospect of being chosen to die gloriously for the emperor, the Yamato’s crew was miserable and despondent on the night of April 5, 1945 (Y-3 Day), the night before the SSAF departed on its final mission. At 5:30 pm, three orders were broadcast over the ship’s public address system: “All cadets prepare to leave the ship.” “Distribute sake to all divisions.” “Open the ship’s store.” Sixty-seven naval cadets of Etajima Naval Academy Class No. 74, who had arrived three days earlier, were ordered to go ashore. But first, the cadets were summoned to the First Wardroom, a room normally reserved for the Yamato’s ensigns and junior grade lieutenants. Sake was drunk in ceremonial farewell. The cadets begged to remain but were gently yet firmly ordered to leave by the Yamato’s executive officer, Jiro Nomura. “We couldn’t bear to take them along on an expedition into certain death,” Nomura said. That night many sailors sang unhappy folk songs and drank heavily. The next morning, April 6, a dozen or so seriously ill sailors were transferred and some 20 sailors were reassigned at the last moment. Their eyes filled with both regret and relief when they heard the news. In addition, there was the matter of the older sailors, those over age 40, who had proven to be ineffective in what little combat the Yamato had already seen; their deaths for no reason would be a brutal blow to their families. After consultation, Admiral Ariga permitted some of these men to leave the ship. A Black Omen: Sinking of the Asashimo The SSAF set sail that day, the ships leaving Tokuyama at 4:00 pm. The Yahagi led the SSAF, followed by the eight destroyers, with the Yamato bringing up the rear. On the same day, 355 kamikaze planes attacked the Allied Pacific Fleet in the largest kamikaze attack of the war, while the SSAF, as planned, sailed without any air protection whatsoever. The nine escort vessels were manned by first-rate crews, combat veterans of many battles. However, their little fleet had absolutely no chance to successfully protect the Yamato on her final voyage. The Americans were alerted by the submarine Threadfin (SS-410), which was on patrol near Fukashima, a tiny island at the mouth of the Bungo Strait. At 9:00 pm on Y-2, the Threadfin radioed the SSAF’s location to ComSubPac (Commander, Submarine Forces, Pacific) at Guam. Later, the submarine Hackleback (SS-295) sighted the Yamato and reported the SSAF’s location. The American submarines openly communicated with each other via radio in unencrypted English, with the radio operators frequently mentioning the Yamato by name. According to U.S. Navy records that Japanese researchers obtained after the war, the two submarines were ordered to track and report the movements of the Japanese ships but not to attack unless given permission. What the Americans could not know was that Radio Officer Ensign Shigeo Yamada on the Yahagi was a Nisei, the son of Japanese immigrants to the United States. Born and educated in America, Yamada translated and reported to his senior officers what he overheard the Americans saying. Yamada, who was born in Idaho and claimed to have been “raised on potatoes,” reported that the American radio operators often referred to the Yamato as “King Battleship.” He, like fellow Nisei Kunio Nakatani, had been sent to university in Japan by their families and were trapped when the war started.  These and other Nisei students could face either the draft, or imprisonment for collaboration, or even possible execution for espionage. Enlisting in the IJN often seemed the best choice for these young American citizens. (Shigeo Yamada would survive the sinking of the cruiser Yahagi. After the war, his American citizenship was revoked, but he was later allowed to return to the United States, where he worked for Japan Air Lines (JAL) and eventually returned to Japan as a JAL vice president.) Shortly before 7:00 am on April 7 (Y-1 Day), the Asashimo hoisted the signal “engine casualty” and began to fall behind the SSAF armada. Some sailors on the Yahagi called this a black omen for the entire unit as the Asashimo fell farther and farther behind the rest of the SSAF. Takekuni Ikeda, who was serving as an ensign aboard the Yahagi, recalled in his 2007 memoir The Imperial Navy’s Final Sortie, “But … [the Asashimo] continued to fall behind and gradually disappeared in the mist. I clearly remember that the bridge of the Yahagi was in total silence. The day of destiny began under such circumstance.” As the morning progressed, the Yamato’s radar detected more and more American planes hovering above them. At 10 minutes past noon, the Asashimo radioed that she was engaging enemy planes; then her radio abruptly went silent. The Asashimo had been sunk; her entire crew, 326 men, died when she went down. First Strike on the Yamato While the Americans’ initial attacks inflicted a heavy toll, their main attacks were yet to come. On the other SSAF ships, experienced Japanese lookouts recognized the increasing number of U.S. Navy Grumman F6F Hellcat fighters, Chance-Vought F4U Corsair fighters, Curtiss SB2C Helldiver dive-bombers, and Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bombers circling above them. Initially, Fifth Fleet commander Admiral Raymond Spruance ordered six of his battleships that were engaged in shore bombardment at the Okinawa beaches to prepare to attack the Yamato. However, Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher, commander of the powerful Carrier Task Force 58, pushed Spruance to change his orders and replace the six battleships with air strikes from Task Force 58 planes. Mitscher had been determined to attack the Yamato and had ignored Spruance’s order to avoid the battleship. At about 10:00 am on Y-1 day, Mitscher had ordered up flights of 280 and 106 planes, respectively, and requested permission from Spruance to attack the Yamato and her escorts only after his planes were airborne. Spruance’s reply was curt: “You take them.” The SSAF crews had been at general quarters from dawn on Y-1 Day. At 7:00 am there had been a ceremonial breakfast after which all doors, hatches, and ventilators were closed tightly as the ships readied for battle. At about 8:45, the SSAF was sighted as seven Grumman F6F Hellcat scout planes flew over them. The Hellcats circled the force but kept their distance and made no effort to attack. At 10:14, the Japanese detected two Martin Mariner PBM seaplanes, and the Yamato fired a salvo at them from her 18.1-inch guns but missed. The Japanese also spotted the submarine Hackleback trailing them. Three minutes later, the Yamato received a report from a scout plane that Task Force 58 had been located east of Okinawa, 250 nautical miles (288 statute miles) from the SSAF. Within Task Force 58, at around 10:00 am on Y-1 Day, the first full strike of Mitscher’s aircraft—280 fighters, dive-bombers, and torpedo planes—readied to attack the SSAF. Tension was high among the American pilots; they knew they had only one primary target: the Yamato. Aboard the Yamato, a messenger boy, his face all smiles and showing no awareness of the anguish of the older men, happily informed everyone that the crew would be served bean soup and dumplings for dinner. At 10:38, the carrier Yorktown (CV-10) launched 43 planes, taking off more than half an hour later than the other groups. At about 12:34, the Yamato’s lookouts detected American planes off the battleship’s port bow at 40,000 yards (23 miles).  The Yamato commenced firing, and at 12:41 the SSAF increased its speed to nearly 28 knots (32 mph), matching the Yamato’s maximum speed.  The nine 18.1-inch guns fired Sanshikidan “beehive” shells––projectiles that functioned like shotgun shells, scattering thousands of pellets or bits of shrapnel into the air when they exploded. Although these shells were especially designed to be fired from ships against attacking aircraft, the American planes flew straight through the shrapnel the shells generated. The Yamato’s main guns were joined in firing by six 6.1-inch guns, 24 5-inch antiaircraft guns, 150 25mm (0.98 inch) antiaircraft guns, and four 13mm (0.51-inch) machine guns, but this firing failed to produce any significant American losses; the gunners quickly learned that their curtain of anti-aircraft fire was far less effective than they had assumed it would be. The Japanese anti-aircraft gunners, suffering casualties and communications damage, could not maintain coordinated fire against the zigzagging American planes. Fear was a powerful factor. Harvey Ewing, a rear seat gunner in an attacking Avenger, reported: “I could see bursts of anti-aircraft fire all around the plane as I made the run. To say that I was scared would be an understatement. We dropped the fish [torpedoes] and pulled up on one wing over the Yamato and seemed to hang there for minutes as the ship was firing every gun, including its 18-inch rifles, at the planes following us in.” At about 12:40, the Yamato was hit by two bombs, both landing near the aft secondary gun turret, and three minutes later her port bow was struck by a torpedo. The bombs inflicted casualties; they knocked out the aft secondary battery fire control unit and caused other serious damage. The exploding torpedo killed sailors and also allowed about 2,350 tons of water to pour into the Yamato. The damage-control unit contained the damage by counterflooding with about 604 tons of water. (Counterflooding is flooding an “opposing” section of a listing ship in an effort to balance the ship and keep it level.) At about 12:47, the destroyer Hamakaze was sunk. A bomb hit her aft deck, sending up a column of flames, and then a torpedo blast broke her in two. Of her crew of 240 men, 100 were killed and another 45 injured. At about the same time, the Suzutsuki received a 500-pound bomb hit to starboard, on top of her No. 2 gun mount, and caught fire. Although hit again, she managed to struggle back to Japan. Of her 263-man crew, 57 were killed and 34 were wounded. SSAF Collapses At about 12:50, the first wave of American warplanes had completed its attack and withdrew; at approximately 1:02 pm, the second wave arrived. The second wave attack was a coordinated strike, with dive-bombers flying high overhead to begin their attacks while torpedo bombers came in from all directions, flying at just above the wave tops. This second attack lasted about a half hour, during which the Yamato was hit with at least two more bombs and no fewer than four torpedoes. The ship also took in about 3,000 tons of water and listed some seven degrees to port. Damage control corrected this dangerous list by counterflooding the starboard engine and boiler rooms. The list was temporarily corrected, but many men within the ship drowned during the flooding. At this time, many SSAF sailors were in the water and feared there would be no efforts made to rescue them by their fellow sailors because they were all part of a suicide force. However, Admiral Seiichi Ito, realizing his suicide attack force would never reach Okinawa, aborted the mission and ordered the rescue of survivors; Admiral Toyoda accepted Ito’s decision. Men responded differently as what they knew to be certain death approached. An officer, his face wreathed in smiles, cheerfully praised the Americans for their skill and bravery. Kunimoto, who was a damage-control officer, realized his ship was doomed as water rushed in around them. Still, he and his shipmates began giving cheers of “Long reign the emperor.” Not all the sailors could accept the idea that their mighty Yamato could sink or that they could die. Heiji Tsuboi, who had been a petty officer 2nd class and manned the battleship’s No. 5 anti-aircraft battery, recalled: “We were told [by] our Senior Chief that we were not able to return alive from the mission.… I was busy operating my anti-aircraft gun all through the battle until the ship’s last minutes. I remember well that I felt a somewhat heavy shock had been transmitted from the bottom of the ship. I thought it must be a torpedo attack but did not think the ship would be sunk.” The Yamato’s sheer size made her a tempting target, and she continued to be pummeled unmercifully from above by an unceasing rain of bombs and bullets and from below by torpedoes. Scenes of sadness and courage played out aboard the task force’s doomed ships. As the end approached, 20-year-old Ensign Yoshida Mitsuru, stationed on the Yamato’s bridge, watched in disbelief and horror as American dive-bombers sent three more torpedoes into the ship’s port side and then raked the anti-aircraft gun crews with lethal machine-gun fire. He wrote later: “That these pilots repeated their attacks with accuracy and coolness was a sheer display of the unfathomable undreamed-of strength of our foes.” Mitsuru survived the sinking of the ship and wrote his account in Requiem for Battleship Yamato. One the most poignant incidents he relates involved an assistant communications officer, a Nisei ensign named Kunio Nakatani, who was drafted out of the classroom while attending Keio University; both of his two younger brothers were in the U.S. Army and serving in Europe. Mitsuru described Nakatani as a good-natured young man who went diligently about his work. Although Nakatani alone on the Yamato could pick up and translate American transmissions, the younger officers looked at him with contempt and constantly reviled him. Nakatani showed Yoshida a letter he had just received from his mother in America, sent through Switzerland and received just before the Yamato sailed on her final voyage: “We are fine. Please put your best effort into your duties. And let’s both pray for peace.” Recalling the capsizing battleship’s last moments, Yoshida attributed to the ocean an almost malevolent presence when he wrote: “Dark waves splattered and reached for us as the stricken ship heeled to an incredible list of 80 degrees.” As the SSAF disintegrated, sailors aboard the light cruiser Yahagi continued to die when an abrupt break in the low clouds allowed the American pilots to mount a massive attack against the cruiser. Takekuni Ikeda recalled what happened: “At 1330, [the Yahagi] was hit at the stern… [and] the ship started to make a continuous turn to starboard … [then] she stopped completely and began to drift in a swell…. Weapons fire from … American aircraft hit the motionless Yahagi again and again. I felt my whole body shaking heavily. Because of the damage to my eardrums, it was as if I were watching a silent movie. Columns of water jumped up around the ship, one after another, taller than the mast. Steam spouted from the cruiser’s funnel. The bloody odor of our dead and wounded sailors mixed with the smell of gunpowder.” The Yahagi was doomed. Rear Admiral Keizo Komura, who commanded the destroyer squadron, realized that his flagship was sinking and decided to transfer his flag to a destroyer. He sent a signal to the Isokaze to approach, but little could be done because of the nonstop American attacks; the Isokaze was badly damaged by American bombs during her attempt to reach the Yahagi and was later scuttled by gunfire. Of her crew of 239, she suffered 20 dead and 54 injured. The destroyer Kasumi was also scuttled due to severe damage from American bombs. Of her crew of 200, she suffered 17 dead and 47 wounded. Going Down With the Ship The aerial assault continued without interruption. The third American strike force of 43 planes of Air Group 9––the final and most damaging attack––led by the Yorktown’s assault leader, Lt. Cmdr. Herbert Houck, arrived at about 1:45. Although accounts vary, it appears that three or more bombs decimated what was left of the Yamato’s superstructure and caused heavy casualties among what remained of her 25mm anti-aircraft gun crews. Three torpedoes, close together, slammed into the port side and caused the Yamato to resume what proved to be an inexorable roll to port as thousands of gallons of water rushed into her. This continuing roll to port exposed the battleship’s now-vulnerable starboard hull to attack as American planes continued their unrelenting strikes. Counterflooding reduced the list to 10 degrees, but further list reduction required flooding the starboard engine and fire rooms. Many crewmen were trapped belowdecks and drowned by the ever-increasing torrent of water that was pouring in through the ripped hull and by the desperate counterflooding measures undertaken to save the ship. At 2:02, three bombs exploded amidships––about the same time as the much-too-late order to abandon ship was finally given as the Yamato was hit by additional torpedoes. The ship’s roll to port and sinking created a suction that pulled swimming crewmen back toward the ship and into her propellers. Each three-bladed propeller was nearly 20 feet in diameter. The Yorktown’s planes showed the Japanese ships and sailors no mercy; for many of the pilots, it was payback for Pearl Harbor. At 2:05, the Yahagi, hit by 12 bombs and seven torpedoes, sank exactly one minute after the last bomb smashed into her. Out of a crew of 736 men, 446 men were killed and 133 injured. In desperation, Ariga aboard the Yamato again ordered the starboard engineering spaces counterflooded; the counterflooding did no good. Worse, hundreds of men manning the battleship’s lower decks were thus sentenced to drown without being given the slightest chance of survival; Tsuboi stayed at his station until the order to abandon ship was given. He, like Kunimoto and Yoshida, would manage to swim clear. Vice Admiral Ito did not survive. When he saw that he would not fulfill his mission, and that most of the men in his squadron were either dead or wounded, he shook hands and said farewell to the few of his remaining staff officers and started for his flag cabin to await the end. His adjutant, Lt. Cmdr. Ishida, followed behind him. It was Ishida’s job to wait on the admiral; now he wished to join the admiral in death, but the chief of staff forcibly stopped him. “You don’t have to go. Don’t be a fool.” Ishida hesitated, averted his face, and then gave in. He did not follow his admiral. Ishida survived but Ariga did not. Having completed the final dispositions—the code books, the portrait of the emperor, and so on—Ariga, still in the anti-aircraft command post on the very top of the bridge and wearing his helmet and flak jacket, tied himself to the binnacle, the nonmagnetic housing for the ship’s compass. He did this so that his body would not be washed away when the Yamato sank; he wanted to go down with his ship. He then issued a command for all hands to come on deck, shouted the Japanese cheer and battle cry banzai! three times, and then turned to the four surviving lookouts standing by his side. They were devoted to their captain and did not want to leave him, but Ariga would have none of this. He clapped each on the shoulder, encouraged them to be cheerful, and pushed them into the water. The fourth sailor pressed his last four biscuits into the captain’s hand, as if to show his deepest feelings. The captain took them with a grin. He was last seen eating the second biscuit when he and the Yamato disappeared in a huge explosion. (Captain Ariga was posthumously promoted two ranks to vice admiral in May 1945.) Kunio Nakatani did not survive the Yamato’s sinking. Yoshida Mitsuru said of his American-born friend and shipmate: “Radio officer Ensign Nakatani must have died, too, at his post intercepting enemy communications. Because he was a Nisei, his conduct always attracted attention; I can guess that his death was as splendid as the deaths of his fellows.” Death Blow to the Yamato Also at 2:05, the Yamato’s list, which had increased to 15 degrees to port, was such that torpedoes set to a depth of 20 feet and fired into the Yamato’s starboard side smashed below the battleship’s armor and exploded directly into her vulnerable hull. (The Yamato’s 16.5-inch-thick armor plate formed a ledge along the outer hull; it tapered down to 3.9 inches at 20 feet below the waterline.) Houck reported what happened: “I saw the runs and figured they got at least five hits. With the 20-degree listing, the torpedoes exploded right in the belly of the ship.” From Houck’s statement, it appears that the Yamato was hit by at least eight torpedoes during this third raid. It was the death blow for the great ship. She capsized slowly, rolling over her port side. This was followed by a huge explosion at 2:23 which hurled most of the Yamato’s sailors into the sea or killed them outright. Houck took photographs with a wing camera and later recalled what he saw: “It made a mighty big bang. Smoke went up. The fireball was about 1,000 feet high.” Houck was right—the explosion was a “mighty big bang,” and the resulting mushroom cloud, more than four miles high, was seen by sentries at Kagoshima, more than 124 miles away. Though nobody can be certain exactly what caused the explosion, it is speculated that one of the Yamato’s two bow magazines exploded, shattering the doomed battleship’s foresection in a tremendous blast. The Yamato sank quickly. Of her crew of about 3,332 men, 2,740 men died and 117 were wounded. Not only was the great battleship gone, but the Yahagi and four of her eight escort destroyers had also plunged beneath the waves. All of the four surviving destroyers—the Fuyutsuki, Hatsushimo, Suzutsuki, and Yukikaze—suffered casualties, with a total of 72 men killed and 34 wounded. About 981 officers and men in the escort ships died while 342 more were wounded in the ill-fated suicide attack, an attack that never had the slightest chance of fulfilling its kamikaze mission, even by samurai standards. The Americans lost 10 planes and 14 air crewmen; three others were injured. The world’s largest and most powerful battleship was destroyed in less than two hours by an unknown number of bombs and torpedoes. Legacy of the Yamato The story of the SSAF and the Yamato does not end on April 7, 1945. Over the years, successful efforts were made to locate the wreckage of the ship, and success was initially reported in 1985. The photographic records made during this successful first search were confirmed by one of the Yamato’s designers, Shigeru Makino, as showing identifiable remnants of the Yamato. The researchers reported that the wreck lies 180 miles southwest of Kagoshima, off the southern island of Kyushu, in more than 1,100 feet of water. The battleship is broken into two main pieces: a bow-to-midships section roughly 560 feet long and a 264-foot stern section. In a society that seeks to atone for its warlike past, the Yamato remains a powerful influence in Japanese culture. Books and films about the ship and the SSAF have been produced, and museums and memorials to the behemoth, her crew, and the other doomed sailors of the ill-fated SSAF have been built. A television science-fiction series was created in which the wreck of the Yamato is used to create a starship bearing the same name. Some of the characters on the Starship Yamato bear the same names as their counterparts on the real Yamato. Although an impressive Yamato Museum opened in 2005 in Kure with a huge scale model of the ship, there is a dark footnote to the SSAF story. The IJN held the SSAF survivors virtual prisoners when they returned to Japan. In an interview, Yamato survivor Kazuhiro Fukumoto said, “We were held in Kure for a month. So parents who knew about the Yamato sinking didn’t see their sons for a month and a half. They gave up, thinking that their sons had died.” The destruction of the SSAF haunted the psyche of many of the survivors and their immediate families. On April 3, 2006, more than 280 remaining immediate family members and surviving veterans of the SSAF set sail on a commemorative memorial voyage and followed the same route as the SSAF, sailing to the exact locations where relatives and comrades perished on Y-1 Day, April 7, 1945. There had been similar memorial trips in 1987, 1994, and 1995, but in 2006, because the youngest survivor on the memorial trip was more than 80 years old, the families and survivors decided that 2006 would be the final year for the memorial voyage to honor those who died serving with the Special (Suicide) Attack Surface Force. This was written by Herb Kugel for the Warfare History network, where this first appeared. Image: Creative Commons. 

21 октября 2016, 11:26

The Future of Sport Entertainment

http://www.weforum.org/ How will emerging trends and technologies change the way we experience sports entertainment? - Yobie Benjamin, Co-Founder, Avegant Corporation, USA - Andrijana Cvetkovic, Ambassador of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to Japan, Japan - Hideyuki Hata, President, Nielsen Sports, Japan - Masa Inakage, Director, Keio Media Design Research Institute, Graduate School of Media Design, Keio University, Japan Moderated by - Kaori Iida, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

14 июля 2016, 19:10

Confusion in Japan after reports Emperor Akihito may abdicate

JAPAN’S ancient monarchy was in tumult yesterday, with the imperial household insisting its ageing emperor had no plans to abdicate after reports he wanted to step aside. Respected national broadcaster

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30 июня 2016, 11:25

Picture of the Day › Temple run

The entrance to Kasugajinja Shrine near Keio University Mita campus in Tokyo on Thursday afternoon.

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27 июня 2016, 00:00

Arts & Culture › Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo holds 'Summer Festival of Arita/Imari Porcelains'

Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo, one of Japan’s most prestigious international hotels located in Shinjuku, Tokyo, will jointly host the 36th “Summer Festival of Arita/Imari Porcelains,” to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Japan’s long tradition of porcelain art. The spectacular complimentary exhibition will be held in the lobby from July 1…

04 июня 2016, 23:59

Crime › 6-year jail term sought for man who cut off love rival's penis

Prosecutors in Tokyo have sought a six-year prison term for a 25-year-old man who cut off the penis of a lawyer whom he accused of having an affair with his wife. The court heard that the defendant, Ikki Kotsugai, 25, a Keio University law student and former boxer, acted out…

04 июня 2016, 23:59

Crime › 6-year jail term sought for man who cut off love rival's penis faces

Prosecutors in Tokyo have sought a six-year prison term for a 25-year-old man who cut off the penis of a lawyer whom he accused of having an affair with his wife. The court heard that the defendant, Ikki Kotsugai, 25, a Keio University law student and former boxer, acted out…

11 мая 2016, 00:44

Crime › Anesthetist arrested for smuggling 'dangerous drug' to Japan

An anesthetist at Keio University Hospital has been arrested for allegedly smuggling a so-called "dangerous drug" to Japan from Britain, police said Tuesday. Kimiaki Ai, who has worked at the Tokyo hospital as a full-time doctor, has admitted to importing the drug "Rush" but said he did not know he…

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09 апреля 2016, 00:30

Picture of the Day › 4 candidates for 2020 Olympic logo

Members of the Tokyo Olympics Emblems Selection Committee, left to right, lawyer Izumi Hayashi, Keio University professor Takeshi Natsuno, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Japan Toshiro Muto, Tokyo University of the Arts President Ryohei Miyata, former tennis player Ai Sugiyama and Paralympic shooter Aki Taguchi, attend a press…

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06 апреля 2016, 19:18

People: Shirai begins new chapter at Keio University; Sibley named as Irish director of credit institutions

Central Banking After five years on the BoJ policy board, Shirai returns to academia After five years on the BoJ policy board, Shirai returns to academia; Ireland central bank names new director of credit institutions; and more

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12 марта 2016, 23:59

Travel › Keio Plaza Hotel to hold 'Experience Mt Fuji and Cherry Blossom Fair'

Keio Plaza Hotel, located in Shinjuku, Tokyo, will host a special exhibition titled “Experience Mt Fuji and Cherry Blossom Fair” displaying various lacquerware, photographs, and Japanese paper picture art in April. In addition, 11 of the hotel’s restaurants will provide guests with specially prepared foods that reflect the theme of…

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11 марта 2016, 08:23

Technology › Japanese scientists find microbe that eats up stubborn PET plastic

Japanese scientists have discovered a bacterium capable of breaking down a widely used component of plastic products that currently poses a major recycling challenge worldwide, according to a paper published Friday in the U.S. journal Science. The team of researchers from Keio University and several other Japanese institutions found the…

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17 февраля 2016, 00:55

National › Over 25% of disabled people in Japan have trouble making living

At least one out of four disabled people face difficulties in making a living in Japan, with the poverty rate among them amounting to twice that of adults without handicaps and remaining relatively high among advanced countries, according to a study led by a Keio University professor. Professor Atsuhiro Yamada…

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18 января 2016, 12:45

В галактике Млечный Путь нашли вторую черную дыру

Похоже, что в Млечном Пути скрывается огромная черная дыра. Используя 45-метровый радиотелескоп Нобеямской обсерватории, команда астрономов из Университета Кэйо (Япония) пришла к такому выводу, заметив загадочное газовое облако CO-0.40-0.2 всего в 200 световых годах от центра нашей галактики.

09 декабря 2015, 01:04

A Window Into Japan's Millennials and Boomers

Generational challenges and Millennial themes are not 100% the same worldwide. Big surprise, right? Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I visited Tokyo, Japan and had a chance to observe the trends of an Eastern, "First World" developed nation. The insights gleaned were quite surprising: Gaming, Gaming and More Gaming In Japan, gaming is an age-independent phenomenon. We couldn't go anywhere without running into arcades and gambling halls. On packed subways, we witnessed people of all ages playing games on their mobiles as a part of their daily commute. If there is anywhere to develop and test gaming for learning initiatives, it is Japan. Having an older generation so easily immersed in technology also significantly reduces the generation gap in Japan in comparison to other less technology-advanced countries. Lack of Work/Life Balance Initiatives Employees work long days, after which there is an expectation to socialize by going to dinner or joining for some drinks with work colleagues. Throw in an often long commute and you have set the stage for one of the lowest work/life balance cultures in the developed nations. It would be interesting to understand how this impacts engagement, productivity, and creativity. As a Japanese female bluntly told me, "The Japanese aren't creative. We are good at improving upon ideas, but not coming up with brand new innovations." What innovation could come to fruition by implementing work/life balance initiatives trialed by Millennials in other cultures where work allows space for creation, failure and fun? Less Entrepreneurial Unlike China, India, the Philippines, and first world countries, the Millennial trend towards entrepreneurial spirit doesn't hold in Japan. The landscape is less startup and more traditional corporate. According to Forbes, Japan invests the least in venture capital funding compared to all other advanced countries; with the US deploying nearly 20 times more in venture capital funding. One of the few Millennial entrepreneurs, Mikami who started his first business when he was 13, credits the extreme risk aversion culture. Gender Gap Where the rest of developed nations are extremely focused on closing the gender gap, Japan has one of the lowest participation rates of females in the workforce. Beyond participation, the roles and career paths available to women are very limited. This is surprising because Japan has one of the highest rates of well-educated women in the world. A good example is Ms. Takeda who graduated with a law degree from Japan's top private university, Keio, and applied at a trading company. She was told she would only be allowed to enter the "clerical" stream of female graduates destined for secretarial work. Most of the male graduates, meanwhile, were primed for management positions. "Until I was in my final year of university, Japan seemed fair. Then I started applying for jobs and it hit me how completely they destroy your chances." Millennials globally are aware of gender gap, especially given the transparency offered by the internet on the issue. Japan has a long journey to close their gender gap and make use of their full talent pool. A Heavy Burden The younger generation in Japan carries a heavier burden for a secure financial future. As a result of low birth rates and many other factors including lack of participation of women in the workforce, Japan's working age population is expected to decrease by 40% by 2050. With a declining population and lack of guaranteed pensions as older generations had, retirement transition and economic health is uncertain. Large Focus on Well-Being by Boomers Today, the population of those 65 and older in Japan is one in five. In comparison, in the US, we won't reach that level until 2050. The older generation strives to keep active and maintain their health. Many eat well, run, bike, and stay physically fit into their 70s. This a culture where individuals think deeply and proactively about not being a burden on the younger generation, both physically and financially. An older gentleman we met bikes an average of 25 km a day as a tour guide and has traveled to over 60 countries. He espoused the benefits and importance of being both mentally and physically active. Many Stereotypes Don't Apply Other often discussed stereotypes in the US such as lack of work ethic, loyalty, or entitlement don't seem to apply at all to Japanese Millennials. Pride in work, no matter how big or small the task, is a very strong cultural value and the race for meaningful work seems less important to Japanese Millennials. Since Millennials Aren't the Same Around the World, Neither Should Your Strategy Japan offers a wealth of best practices as well as considerable challenges. When considering your engagement strategy, it's important to keep in mind that one size doesn't fit all. As a global company, delving into the differences by culture and then scaling across commonalities is the best approach. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

21 ноября 2015, 00:26

Crime › University student arrested for throwing eggs from condo balcony

Police in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, have sent a 22-year-old university student to prosecutors after he was arrested on suspicion of throwing raw eggs at commercial facilities and onto rail tracks. The student, who attends Keio University - one of Japan’s most prestigious private educational institutions - has admitted to throwing…

22 сентября 2015, 19:29

China 2015 - The Renminbi’s Global Ambitions

http://www.weforum.org/ Will the renminbi soon become a leading global currency? Dimensions to be addressed: - Deciphering the historical devaluation - Impact of capital account liberalization - Progress of financial market reforms This session was developed in partnership with China Business News. • Anders Borg, Chair, Global Financial System Initiative, World Economic Forum • Huang Yiping, Professor, National School of Development, Peking University, People's Republic of China • Li Daokui, Dean, Schwarzman Scholars, Tsinghua University, People's Republic of China; Global Agenda Council on Global Economic Imbalances • Heizo Takenaka, Professor, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University, Japan; World Economic Forum Foundation Board Member; Global Agenda Council on Japan • Lord Turner Moderated by • Yang Yanqing, Deputy Editor-in-Chief and Anchor, China Business News, People's Republic of China

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20 июля 2015, 00:00

Travel › Keio Plaza Hotel offers special breakfast for guests in Hello Kitty rooms

Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo, located in Shinjuku, will begin providing highly unique room service breakfasts for guests staying in its Hello Kitty Rooms from July 22, to expand the Hello Kitty guest experience. The newly created “Hello Kitty Room Original Breakfast” is based upon the hotel’s American breakfast menu with…

17 июля 2015, 04:21

The Abe Administration's Arrogance of Power Moment

On the cusp of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II when Emperor Hirohito made his historic speech of surrender, the Abe government is attempting to drive through the Diet 11 security bills that will forever alter the landscape of Japan's postwar history. The nation that does not wage war will be no more if it gets its way. Guided in its efforts is a military-industrial complex that is salivating to get Japan to share the burden of fighting with its closest ally, the United States. Japan has recently expressed interest in joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization missile-building consortium, a move in seamless alliance with this New Normal for Japan, a normal that we believe threatens global security. As scholars from Japan and the U.S., we oppose the new security bills and call on anyone who is unfamiliar with what's happening to get informed. What we have here is legislation without representation; at its worst, tyranny. In clear violation of Article 9 of the Constitution, which famously renounces war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes, these bills would provide for Japan's Self-Defense Forces to cooperate actively with U.S. and other foreign military operations overseas. If adopted, Japan will be able to use military force even when it is not attacked, under the name of collective self-defense. Let us not mince words: this spells the end of Article 9 without ever formally amending it according to due process of law. We cannot believe any assurances from a prime minister who thinks nothing of the constitutional ban and popular opposition that these security bills will strictly limit Japan's military role. This legislation opens the door to virtually unfettered government discretion over the use of force that violates Japan's fundamental principle over six decades of an exclusively self-defense posture. The Japanese people, having been the only population to suffer atomic bombs, are overwhelmingly in support of maintaining peaceful relations with the world. They wish to protect the sanctity and heritage of Article 9. A nation that renounces war is part of Japan's peace national brand, and has allowed Japan to develop as a world class economic and culture power with a strong mandate for humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and development aid. Should these security bills get passed, Japan will no longer be able to advocate for a peace and nonviolence paradigm in national security. Our view is that Japan's peace Constitution should not be altered but should continue to serve as a model for other countries. It should certainly not be "reinterpreted" arbitrarily by the government of the day. Article 23 of the Constitution guarantees academic freedom, and it is within this guarantee that we, as public scholars in Japan and signatories to the Association of Scholars Opposed to the Security-related Bills, are speaking out. One of us is an Abe fellow at Keio University and former Fulbright scholar at Sophia University; the other is a political scientist at Sophia University who received the Friend of the Free Press award this spring from the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. We stand with the growing political protests from scholars, students, lawyers, workers and mothers that are coalescing against a government displaying total disregard for democratic speech and assembly. Japan is the closest Asian ally to the U.S. and we take this binational alliance of democracies literally and to heart. We oppose this government fait accompli that refuses to listen to citizen debate, discussion, or dialogue. We call on the Abe government to observe the democratic and constitutional due process before it does irreparable damage to the national character of postwar Japan. The Abe government has shown no concern for the Japanese people. It is attempting to circumvent the Constitution by ramming the security bills through the Diet without the constitutionally mandated process for a constitutional revision (Article 96) requiring a two-third majority of both houses of parliament and a majority support from the people in a special referendum. We write, backed as we are from thousands of scholars and millions of Japanese who share our opposition, to object to the security bills in principle and process. Our objections are marinated with affection, concern and care for Japan and the Japanese people. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration cannot claim to have a popular mandate for imposing these changes, even if we leave aside the unconstitutionality of the bills. It has a large majority in both houses only because of record-high voting abstention rates, a divided opposition, a muzzled media, the bias of the first-past-the-post system, and the enormous disparity of the value of the vote that has been repeatedly ruled to be in a state of unconstitutionality by the courts. In reality, only one in four voters actively voted for Abe's Liberal Democratic Party. The prime minister has, nevertheless, said that within 20 to 30 years he will be vindicated; thus, public opinion, which he seems to view with disdain, is dismissed. We believe that the Japanese people deserve more credit and respect than what they are being shown by their government. These security bills stand against Japan's well-deserved human security reputation in the world. Human security puts people's needs and rights first, and views security within the prism of a multidisciplinary understanding of the world that involves development studies, education, science and technology for good, and peaceful international relations. The United Nation's Human Development Report of 1994 argues that global human security is about promoting "freedom from want" and "freedom from fear" for all people. With Japan's growing poverty indices, aging population and record-breaking national debt, these security bills, if passed, will likely lead to greater insecurity just at the time when Japan itself is seeking to become a bigger player again on the world stage. Before Abe flexes his military muscles, indulges himself in historical revisionism and preaches to China about the rule of law, he should observe the principle of rule of law at home. By turning a blind eye on Abe's arrogance of power moment, the U.S. risks not only aggravating the regional tension and rivalry in Asia-Pacific, but also antagonizing the Japanese public, who came to embrace the postwar values of constitutionalism, democracy and peace. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

09 июля 2015, 09:55

Japan stocks higher at close of trade; Nikkei 225 up 0.60%

Japan stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Retail, Insurance and Transport sectors led shares higher. At the close in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.60%. The best performers of the session on the Nikkei 225 were Fast Retailing Co., Ltd. (TOKYO:9983), which rose 4.13% or 2280.0 points to trade at 57460.0 at the close. Meanwhile, Heiwa Real Estate Co., Ltd. (TOKYO:8803) added 3.45% or 58.0 points to end at 1737.0 and Sharp Corp. (TOKYO:6753) was up 3.11% or 5.0 points to 166.0 in late trade. The worst performers of the session were Keio Corp. (TOKYO:9008), which fell 3.41% or 32.0 points to trade at 907.0 at the close. GS Yuasa Corp. (TOKYO:6674) declined 2.78% or 13.0 points to end at 455.0 and Toho Co., Ltd. (TOKYO:9602) was down 2.63% or 78.0 points to 2884.0. Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Tokyo Stock Exchange by 1432 to 450. Shares in GS Yuasa Corp. (TOKYO:6674) fell to 52-week lows; down 2.78% or 13.0 to 455.0. The Nikkei Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Nikkei 225 options, was down 3.91% to 23.35. Crude oil for August delivery was up 1.76% or 0.91 to $52.56 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in August rose 1.33% or 0.76 to hit $57.81 a barrel, while the August Gold contract fell 0.11% or 1.30 to trade at $1162.20 a troy ounce. USD/JPY was up 0.59% to 121.42, while EUR/JPY rose 0.82% to 134.81. The US Dollar Index was down 0.13% at 96.25.