Hiroshima Insight

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Hiroshima Shipyard

Produced manned torpedoes in 1945

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has two plants along the coast of Hiroshima City. One of them is in Ebaokimachi, part of Naka Ward, and was called “Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Hiroshima Shipyard” during the war.

The Eba shoreline was reclaimed in order to build the plant, which officially opened in March 1944. The other plant in Minamikannonmachi (today’s Nishi Ward) was established at the same time, and was called “Hiroshima Machinery Works.”

In June 1944, the Hiroshima Shipyard completed its first ship, the Hisakawamaru, which then set sail. From April 1945, the plant began producing one-man torpedoes that made suicide attacks on enemy ships. Around this time, to prepare for possible air raids, factories were being “evacuated” from the city and the Hiroshima Shipyard’s machinery was moved to Mt. Sarayama and to Kabe, in today’s Asakita Ward.

According to a report on the A-bomb damage in Hiroshima, the number of people working at the two plants, at the time of the bombing, was approximately 9,200. About 3,200 of them were mobilized students, while the others were young women and Korean workers. Three people died at the plants, and another 40 were killed in the city center while helping to dismantle homes to create a fire lane in the event of air raids.