Tsushima Maru Sinking
Off the coast of Akusekijima
Not until more than twenty years after the end of the war did the crew of Bowfin learn that the unmarked, unlighted passenger-cargo vessel, Tsushima Maru, which Bowfin sank off the coast of Akusekijima on 22 August 1944, was loaded with 826 children. They, along with some of their school teachers and a few of their parents, were being transported from Okinawa to the mainland of Japan to escape the anticipated invasion of the Ryukyu Islands. Of those children, 767 were lost; only 59 were saved.
Gyoukuu (source is unsure of transliteration) Maru. (Further information presently unavailable, although the ship may possibly be the 6,854 ton cargo vessel Gyoku Maru, which was sunk by USS Thresher (SS-200), at 35-05N, 124-24E on 18 September 1944.)
IJNS Uji (gunboat); Survived the war; surrendered August 1945 and transferred to China as Chang Chi; taken over by Communists in 1949 and re-armed by 1955. (from: Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945, pp. 118-119.)
After the War
Following is a translation of a Waka Poem by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, for his Year-end Presentation in 1997 (Ninth Year of Heisei):
Hoyt, Edwin P., Bowfin, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York, 1983 (pages 144-150)
Shinzato Seitoku, Ah, Gakudo Sokai Sen Tsushima Maru (Ah, School Child Evacuation Ship Tsushima Maru), Tsushima Maru Victim Bereaved Family Association, Naha, Okinawa, 1978 (in Japanese).
From Sea Technology: Tsuchiya, Toshio, "Acoustic Instruments in Deep Water Search for a Sunken Ship," Japan Marine Science & Technology Center (JAMSTEC), Tokyo, Japan
Secrets of the Sub
Artist Alberto Vargas became famous for his WWII watercolors depicting beautiful pin-up girls. "Varga girls" were so popular that many different artists immitated Vargas’ technique and approach to the female figure: an idealized female form eliciting sensuality and seduction. During the 1940’s his work was a hit amongst enlisted men who drew inspiration from them which inadvertently created high morale. The military was so influenced by this art that they adorned their vessels with it. Many military aircraft had Varga style girls decorating the nose of their planes, Varga girls were even printed on greeting cards and sent to enlisted men by their sweethearts. Inside the engine room aboard USS Bowfin, the crew posted a 1943 Vargas calendar, on which they doodled, wrote notes, and recorded their conquests of the sea.