Titans of the Rising Sun is a detailed study of the creation and demise of Japans Yamato class. During the first half of the twentieth century the battleship symbolized a nation s power on the world stage, with countries such as Britain, Japan, and the United States contending for dominance of the high seas. Japans overwhelming victory over the Russian fleet in 1905 at the Battle of Tsushima would influence that nations naval strategy for the next forty years.
The desire to build a powerful naval fleet to achieve its empire building ambitions prompted Japan to embark upon a series of construction programs which resulted in the creation of battleship classes with ever increasing capabilities. After an era of construction constraints imposed by naval treaties signed during the 1920s, Japan began formulating plans during the early 1930s for the creation of the most powerful and largest battleships the world would ever witness. These mammoth ships were equipped with the biggest guns ever fitted to a warship, and were capable of destroying any adversary they would meet.
Intended to be glorious symbols of Japanese power, the Yamato class suffered from the disadvantage of being designed at a crossroads in naval strategy in which advances in aviation technology began to shift the focus of sea power from the battleship to the aircraft carrier. This change in paradigms would have dramatic effects not only on the Yamato class, but the battleship in general as they confronted a new type of warfare in which they were at a distinct disadvantage.
The story of the Yamato and those of her class illustrate the closing of one chapter in the history of naval warfare while at the same time the opening of another.