Questions from the Sea of Life SinkingAugust 8 at 3:17


The Pacific War is said to have sunk more than 3000,37 Japan ships into the sea.

The inside of the ship, which sank to a depth of 78 meters, has deteriorated and is now a bed for fish.

Rusty instruments and hot water bowls used at the time contained the remains of the crew.

<> years have passed since the end of the war.

New surveys and studies have begun on the ocean where many lives have submerged.
(NHK Special "The Sea of Life Sleeps ~The Pacific War Revealed by Latest Survey~" Coverage Team)

Japan Ships Sleeping in the "Graveyard of the Sea"

March 2023.

If you take a picture of the blue sea from the sky with a drone, the shadow of a huge ship will appear clearly.

It is a requisition ship of Japan that sank during the Pacific War.

The state of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia, is located approximately 3600 kilometers from Japan.

It is an island rich in nature near the equator surrounded by coral reefs.

Once known as the "Truk Islands", the Japan Navy built a major base as a key defense center in the central Pacific during the Pacific War.

The battleships Yamato and Musashi also moored, and it is said that tens of thousands of Japan people lived there at one time.

However, in February 1944, the U.S. military "Truk Air Raid" sank as many as 2 ships, so it was later called the "Graveyard of the Sea".

Original diving coverage conducted in accordance with the national survey

In March, the government conducted a survey to collect the remains left on the sunken ship.

In conjunction with this survey, the NHK Diving Reporting Team dived into the sea to independently record the condition of the battle site sinking to the bottom of the sea.

The government surveyed two ships.

One of these is the requisition ship "Jinkoku Maru", which is sunk at a depth of 2 meters.

When I entered the ship, the bathroom, toilet, and washroom remained as they were at that time.

And when I went further in, there was a platform placed in a large space.

As I approached, I saw that there was a part of a person's bones.

There were eight bones that appeared to be part of an arm or leg. It looked like they were gathered in one place on the table, and I got the impression that someone had touched them.

I knew from the interview beforehand that there were remains on the ship, but when I actually saw the remains in the water, I had mixed feelings that cannot be expressed in words, such as what the situation was like at the end of the deceased and what kind of feelings they had.

Requisitioned ship "Kiyosumi Maru" sunk in an air raid

The other ship is the requisition ship "Kiyosumi Maru".

It was responsible for transporting troops and supplies and is said to have sunk in an air raid on Truk.

The Kiyosumi Maru was lying on its side and sinking on the seabed at a depth of 30 meters.

The total length was about 140 meters, and it was so big that I couldn't tell which part I was in.

Looking at the hull covered with coral and algae from the outside, there was a hole about 10 meters in diameter.

In addition, under the guidance of a local guide, we headed to the ship from near the bridge in the center of the ship.

Relying on the light of the lights, I dived through a narrow passage to the bottom of the ship, and arrived at the engine room where the engine was located.

There were rusty valves and instruments.

And in between, tropical fish were swimming in schools.

What is the overall picture of the ship? 3D models with digital technology

How did this ship sink?

We decided to use a new technique called "photogrammetry" to get a complete picture of the ship.

Photogrammetry is a technique in which a subject is photographed from various angles and the photograph is analyzed to create a 3D model.

From 3,3 still images taken by photogrammetry, we decided to create a <>D model of the Kiyosumi Maru and analyze it.

When you look at the finished 3D model, you can observe the ship from all angles, from small details to the whole.

To know the end of the ship Experts and analysis

The 3D model was analyzed by Kazunari Todaka, director of the Yamato Museum and an expert on naval history.

Todaka focused on the damage to a large hole in the side of the ship and a bridge in the center.

According to Navy records, the "Kiyosumi Maru" was torpedoed by an American submarine about a month and a half before the Truk air raid, and the hole in the side is thought to be from that time.

In addition, it is recorded that the Kiyosumi Maru was attacked by air raids after arriving at the Truk Islands for repairs, and the 1D model shows that the bridge, which is responsible for the central function, was devastated by the air raid.

Todaka judged that there was a high possibility of an attack from the United States, and analyzed that there were records showing that the main force of the Combined Fleet was secretly evacuating from the Truk Islands, and that other units and ships were attacked without being fully informed.

Todaka, Director of the Yamato Museum, said, "The decision that the people in this part of the country must be sacrificed for a major purpose comes out in the strategy, and it is a really unreasonable and difficult problem that there is such a side that is left behind and the side that is sacrificed."

The man who knows the end of "Kiyosumi-maru"

As we continued our interviews, we were able to ask the surviving crew members about the situation at that time.

Ryuichi Ikegami, 103, who lives in Hyogo Prefecture, said he was on board as a communications officer and fled from the deck to the sea after witnessing an American aircraft attack through the window of the communications room.

We asked Mr. Ikegami to see the 3D model of the Kiyosumi Maru and tell us about the situation near the bridge after the attack.

When we superimposed Mr. Ikegami's testimony, the photogrammetry 3D model, and the remaining blueprints of the Kiyosumi Maru, we found that the door to the room where the crew's bedroom was located could not be opened due to the air raid, and some crew members sank with the ship.

Ikegami: "The exit was an iron plate, and the lid was closed tightly by an iron bombing, so there was no way to help them if they asked for help. That will stay with me forever. I put my hand out the door, but I can't do anything about it. Sinking with the ship. This was the most pitying. Rather than die in battle."

It is said that this place could not be examined in detail even in this national survey.

According to the records of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the Kiyosumi Maru sank on February 1944, 2.

It is believed that 17 people died.

海で亡くなった35万9000人 沈んだ艦船に残る遺骨の収集は













ダイビング技術が発達したことで、観光ダイバーが船の中の遺骨を撮影し、「So cool」や「amazing」など、興味本位ともとれることばと共にSNS上にさらすケースが相次いだのです。












海の死に迫る水中考古学者たち 最新調査に密着








The research team used "photogrammetry" to 3D model the sinking aircraft and analyze it in detail.

Dismembered wings and engines can be digitally assembled to reproduce the overall picture of the aircraft.

What caught my attention was the part called the "flap" at the rear of the wing.

It is used to lift the aircraft during takeoff and landing.

If you look closely at the fuselage in the 3D model, you can see that the flaps are pointing down, unlike the angles of the other wings.

From these traces, Mr. Nakanishi can infer that the pilot was trying to live until the very end.

Yumiko Nakanishi, an underwater archaeologist and researcher: "You can see that they are coming while applying the brakes,
and I think they are trying to land properly here. I think I managed to put it on the water in the cleanest form. I feel like I can see the pilot's intentions in this action."

The future of the collection of remains and the bereaved families...

In this survey to collect remains in the country's former Truk Islands, 2 parts were found from two ships.

In October, the remains will be pulled up and returned to Japan.

The remains will be returned to the bereaved family if the DNA type of the bereaved family samples matches, but the family of Minoru Iwai, who was a crew member of the Kiyosumi Maru, is now only able to submit samples to 12-year-old Toshi, who is 10 years older than him.

Iwai's family plans to apply for DNA testing when the remains are returned to Japan.

Toshi told us as if to squeeze out his thoughts for his brother, who passed away 10 years ago.

Iwai: "My teacher told me, 'Your brother died in the war, go home as soon as possible,' so I went home and told my mother, 'Oh, my brother is dead.' If the remains found are my brother's miko, I'm happy or sad. My brother may be waiting for me, 'I want to go home, I want to go home.'"

Continuing to face the lives that have sunk into the sea

Numerous ships and planes sunk in the sea during the war.

And the remains of those who died.

They can only be known by diving into the sea.

When I actually saw the remains that are still left in the sea, I felt that they were being questioned about how we have dealt with the lives of each and every one of us who died in the national war.

In addition, in this interview, I was confronted with the fact that many people I knew at that time had passed away, and I could no longer hear their stories.

On the other hand, the bereaved families, who have not received the remains of their loved ones, continued to wish to mourn at their hometown graves if possible, even after the generations changed.

In order to learn about the reality of the war, which is not yet known, I felt that it was necessary to approach the reality from the ships and airplanes left on the seabed.

In recent years, diving technology has improved, and the range of our reach in the sea is expanding.

We will continue to conduct interviews in order to face the lives of each and every person who sank into the sea and to understand the scars left by war.

The Sea of Life Sleeps ~The Pacific War Revealed by Latest Survey~

Broadcast Date: August 2023, 8 5:10 pm ~
00:10 pm

A museum that tells the story of war

Cameraman Shinya

Yokoyama joined the Fukuoka
and Okinawa stations in 2006 before covering the sea and coral reef ecosystems in the disaster-stricken areas as a
diving reporting team.


Ichimo, Social Affairs DepartmentJoined the Iwate and Kamaishi Bureau
in 2015After working at the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare from 2021, I was in charge
of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare from <> and interviewed victims who have been waiting for the missing people of the earthquake, so I wondered if the sea was really a place to sleep peacefully.

Interview TeamSocial
Program DepartmentDirectorTakuya
FujiwaraAfter joining
the Nagano Bureau in 2017,
he has
produced programs covering disaster areas and flood sites.