Museum of Maritime Science : Audio Guide (final)
Welcome to the Museum of Maritime Science!
The Museum of Maritime Science was constructed in the shape of a cruise ship of approximately 60,000 tons and is filled with numerous maritime exhibits.
Outside the museum, you will find the Soya, the ice-breaker carrying the first Antarctic expedition, and the Yotei Maru, or “Floating Pavilion,” which is a remodeled train ferry between Aomori-Hakodate. Here, you can make a tour of the ship.
Are you ready for an exciting tour of this liner-shaped Museum of Maritime Science? Let's go!
The Japanese wooden ship with a single large sail displayed in the Symbol Hall is a 1/5-scale model of a Tarukaisen, which wer mainly used to carry sake from Osaka to Edo during the Edo Period, about 150 years ago. Tarukaisen of 1,700-koku such as this model could carry cargo of 255 metric tons burden or 2,500 72-liter sake casks.
Since ancient times, we have always relied on ships to transport products in mass quarities.
It is no exaggeration to say that the history of ships started with the birth of mankind. Men first hitched on to driftwood to move in rivers, and then began tying pieces of wood together to make rafts. Depending on the locality and available materials, different types of boats were made: from bamboo, leather, or animal skins.
This boat, made of a straw-like plant called a reed, is an original “reed boat” made from sheaves . They are still used on Lake Titicaca in Peru.
About 6,000 years ago, ancient Egyptians were said to be the first to succeed in driving a boat by sail. Later, triangular sails were developed in the Mediterranean Sea, while square sails were developed in northern Europe.
This sailboat with a red cross on its large sail is called the Santa Maria, which was used when Italian explorer Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic and, after a voyage of great hardship, successfully reached the West Indies in 1492.
Although this was only a 200-ton wooden boat, it established the form of sailboat called the “Carack,” which was rigged with three masts and a combination of square and triangular fore-and-aft sails that enabled sailing on the open sea.
The invention of seaworthy sailing vessels prompted people to travel over the oceans to other continents in pursuit of fame and fortune. This dawn of a grand era of navigation also brought about conflict over colonial or territorial rights, leading to wars and the need for full-fledged warships.
The HMS Victory was a thickset three-masted ship owned by the British Navy and is the largest wooden warship ever constructed. The famous Battle of Trafalgar was waged in 1805 between the British fleet and the combined fleets of France and Spain. The British fleet, with the HMS Victory as its flagship, defeated the combined fleets of France and Spain and shattered Napoleon's ambition to conquer England.
Still commissioned, the HMS Victory is manned by the officers and ratings of the Royal Navy and lies in dock for public viewing in Portsmouth, England.
In the middle of the 19th century, clipper ships were developed to meet the need for faster ships. Compared to traditional sailboats, a clipper ship features a slender body, a sharp projected bow, and large wide sails.
The Cutty Sark is a slender sailingship rigged with many sails and is representative of the clipper ships built in England. It was called the “Tea Clipper” because it was used to transport tea from China.
Clipper ships were highly advanced, and constituted the ultimate in sailing ships, but, at the same time, they marked the end of a sailing era that had lasted for several thousand years.
Attempts to equip a ship with an engine had already taken place before the birth of clipper ships.
In the 19th century, Robert Fulton of the U.S. succeeded in turning steamboats to practical use. Steamboats, as opposed to wind-based ships, attracted public attention because they permitted scheduled passenger liner services.
For the propulsion system, screw propellers were also invented, ushering in the era of the steamship.
This huge passenger boat with 4 funnels is called the Mauretania; it was a luxury liner built in 1907. The Mauretania was an excellent ship that held the transatlantic speed record for 22 years.
The tragedy of another luxury liner, the Titanic, occurred only 5 years after the launch of the Mauretania. In 1912, on her maiden voyage, the Titanic collided with an iceberg and sank with over 1,500 passengers onboard. A new theme, greater safety, was then incorporated into the technological development of ships, which had previously been concerned only with larger and faster ships.
In this corner, the history of modern shipbuilding in Japan from the 1870s to the late 1930s is illustrated through wall panels and a variety of ship models.
A great number of excellent ships built in Japan are displayed here, including Japan's first full-fledged oil tanker, the Kiyou Maru; the cargo-passenger ship Umegaka Maru, which served as a disguised war cruiser during the war; the cargo-passenger ship Asama Maru, which was called the “Queen of the Pacific”; and the cargo-passenger boat Santos Maru, which was used for transporting emigrants to Brazil.
By the way, did you know that Japan was considered the leading shipbuilding nation in the world for a period of 40 years from 1956?
Korea has caught up quickly with our long cherished first-place ranking. Korea and Japan now share the world's top position in terms of the volume of shipbuilding.
Today, there are many ways to build a ship. For modern vessels, the Block Method is the most common way. Thanks to advances in welding technology, it enables a large ship to be constructed by piling up blocks and welding them together.
Please take a close look at this 1/100-scale model of a large freighter. Do you see the square portion of the bottom of the ship placed on the floor? This is one block. Behind it, you can see a full-scale model of an actual block. As you can see, a large number of blocks are needed to construct a ship using the Block Method.
Why does a steel ship float even though it is much heavier than water? This is a question everyone asks. Push the button on this display, and you'll see that when an iron mass and a ship-like container of the same weight are put into water, the iron mass sinks while the ship-like container floats. This is because there is an upward pressure called buoyancy that reduces the weight of a floating body by the amount equivalent to the weight of water it pushes aside. The ship-like container floats because it can push away more water than the iron mass owing to its greater contact surface.
We often indicate the size of a ship in tons. There are three different ton units used when referring to a ship. The most common unit is a gross ton that represents not the weight but the area or the volume of the ship.
Other units are a dead-weight ton that represents the cargo capacity of a ship converted into weight, and a displacement ton that is mainly used for special ships and warships and indicates the amount of water that a ship pushes aside, that is, the weight of the ship.
The enormous object in front of you is a diesel engine used for modern vessels. Equipped with the latest exhaust turbocharger, this is an actual engine manufactured by Mitsubishi UE as a prototype diesel engine. It was the first diesel engine developed in Japan. The first version with 12,000 horsepower was installed in the cargo ship Sanuki Maru and has since undergone many improvements. The engine is still in production at present as the only full-scale diesel engine made in Japan.
By the way, how do you think we got all these large exhibits in here? They were actually too big to fit in here, so we installed the exhibits first and then built the building around them!
This beautiful bright golden object is the ship's propulsion system and is called a screw propeller. Screw propellers were invented in the middle of the 19th century and took the place of the paddles used on steamers. Screw propellers efficiently provide propulsion by rotating like a screw and are used in most ships today. Propellers vary in size and shape, but high efficiency can be achieved by slowly rotating a large propeller. The number of propeller blades also varies. Whereas a propeller with fewer blades provides higher efficiency, it is better to increase the number of blades in order to suppress vibration.
This thick, cylindrical object is a gas-turbine engine. This particular motor, the same engine used for jet planes, provides propulsion by blowing the gases generated by combustion directly to the impellers. Although this motor is small, light, and capable of producing substantial horsepower, the fuel consumption and costs are high. Therefore, the gas-turbine engine is primarily used in naval warships and is only partially adopted by merchant ships or high-speed vessels such as jetfoils.