Kure Naval District

Kure Naval District (呉鎮守府 Kure chinjufu) was the second of four main administrative districts of the pre-war Imperial Japanese Navy. Its territory included the Inland Sea of Japan and the Pacific coasts of southern Honshū from Wakayama to Yamaguchi prefectures, eastern and northern Kyūshū and Shikoku.

The area of the Kure Naval District encompassed Hashirajima Anchoring Area located at the south end of Hiroshima Bay, 30-40 kilometers southwest of Kure. When not in need of repairs ships usually anchored in this area to free up pier space at Kure. Hashirajima was also a major staging area for fleet operations.

Tokuyama port, was also part of Kure Naval District, and had the largest fuel depot in the Japanese Navy.


The location of Kure within the sheltered Inland Sea of Japan was recognized of strategic importance in controlling the sea lanes around western Japan by the Meiji government and early Imperial Japanese Navy. With the formation of the navy in 1886, Japan was divided into five naval districts for recruiting and supply. During the administrative re-organization of the Japanese Navy in 1889, Kure was designated as the “Second Naval District” (第二海軍区, dai-ni kaigunku), and its harbor was dredged, a breakwater constructed and docking facilities for warships were established. The following year, work began on the Kure Naval Arsenal, which would eventually expand to become one of the largest shipyards in Japan for the construction of large capital ships. The facilities of Kure Naval District included armories, production factories for torpedoes, naval mines and naval artillery (and associated ammunition), and also a naval hospital and training centers.

The Imperial Japanese Naval Academy and Naval Staff College were relocated from Tokyo to nearby Etajima, and thus also came within the borders of the Kure Naval District, but did not come under the command of Kure Naval District itself.

In 1920, the Japanese navy established its main submarine base and submarine warfare training school in Kure. An air wing was established in 1932, and a telecommunications center in 1937.

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Kure Naval District encompassed the following [1]

Kure was heavily bombed by United States Navy and United States Army Air Forces bombers in the final stages of the Pacific War, and many of its facilities were destroyed. The Kure area came under occupation by Australian and British forces during the occupation of Japan, and was largely demilitarized. A small portion of the area continued to be occupied by the modern post-war Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, which has preserved a portion of the original red brick gates and couple of buildings as commemorative museums.

List of commanders

Commanding officers

Chief of Staff

See also


  1. 2nd (Kure) Naval District, Imperial Japanese Navy, 7.12.1941
  2. 1 2 3 Senshi Sōsho Vol. 80, Combined Fleet #2, "Until June 1942", Asagumo Shimbun (Tokyo, Japan), 1975. appendix table "Battle order of the Combined Fleet on 10 December 1941".


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