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Houseflags of Japanese shipping companies

Last modified: 2023-06-03 by zachary harden
Keywords: maritime shipping | uwajima unyu | yamamoto kisen | yamashita kisen | letter: y | yabuki kaiun kaisha |
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Tsurumaru Shipping Co., Ltd

Tsurumaru Shipping Co.
image by Eugene Ipavec, 28 July 2007

From the Tsurmaru website;

Tsurumaru Shipping Co., Ltd. is a comprehensive distribution company with its base at the Port of Greater-Kanmon, which has the largest volume-handling capacity in Western Japan. The company is expanding its service network from total coverage of the Kyushu area to Kanto, the Kansai area and overseas.

The company is headquartered in Kitakyushu and has several branch offices at Tokyo, Osaka, and other places; Tsurumaru is active in inland water shipping (transport and cargo handling), warehousing, customs clearance, port transportation, leasing of heavy handling machinery, etc. The firm is part of the Tsurumaru Group, a logistics conglomerate.

Some highlights from the ‘Company History’ section: founded in 1921 as ‘Tsurumaru Shoten’ becoming Co., Ltd in 1935 and renamed ‘Tsurumaru Kisen’ in 1938. Concentrating on port transportation and cargo handling from 1950 on. Warehousing starting in the ‘sixties e.g. for Nippon Steel. 1976, "a steelyard was built at Kokura-Nishiminato for the purpose of rationalizing steel handling". 1981, start of industrial waste transport. 1989, ferry Kyushu-Tokyo. International expansion.

Tsurumaru owns two vessels and charters nineteen more; sixteen are consigned. Among the special ships listed are for instance a cement carrier, sand and gravel ships, chemical tankers, even fishing boats. International shipping is operated between Japan and S. Korea, China, Taiwan, Russia, etc.; general cargo mostly, those ships fly the Panamese, Vietnamese, or other flags.

Shown on the Japanese homepage, the house flag is white with the company logo or sign in red.
Jan Mertens, 25 July 2007

"Tsuru" means "crane", and the logo looks like it might consist of the stylized characters for "crane": ツル.
Eugene Ipavec, 25 July 2007

Yes, while "maru" means "disc" and in the flag the stylized characters above are enclosed in a disc: "ツル⃝"; it is a canting flag.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 26 July 2007

Tsurumi Sunmarine Co., Ltd

[Tsurumi Sunmarine Co] image by Ivan Sache, 16 April 2007

Tsurumi Sunmarine Co., Ltd is a Tokyo based shipping company, founded in 1947, flying a simple house flag shown on the homepage. English version located at

A large red initial ‘T’, serifed, is placed on a white field. Again, the national colours.

The company states that it carries "mainly Petroleum Products, LPG, Chemicals and Asphalt in Japan and South East Asian countries" representing for instance "about 25 percents of transported petroleum products (about 50 millions K/L per year) in Japan" which is considerable.

From the ‘History’ section: the company’s first name was ‘Tsurumi Yuso Co., Ltd. Thanks to early contact with local oil firms, business expanded quickly - later chemicals, asphalt, etc. were added to the trade. Also, various local and overseas subsidiary firms were established. The present company name was adopted in 2000 when the merger with Sunmarine, Ltd took place.

TThe ‘Vessels’ section indicates Tsurumi-Sunmarine’s strong position in the coastal trade (most ships are chartered).
Jan Mertens, 17 April 2007

Uwajima Unyu K.K.

[Uwajima Unyu K.K.] image by Phil Nelson
Source: Flags, Funnels and Hull Colours, 1963 [ste63]

Uwajima Unyu K.K. Formed 1891 and still operating as an independent company.
Neale Rosanoski, 5 March 2003

Uwajima is the name of a city in Shikoku. The ferries don't travel there at this point in time. Unyu means transportation. Uwajima Unyu KK currently trades as Uwajima Unyu Ferry (Ferii).
Jonathan Dixon, 5 July 2006

See also: image from Fune to Hata (Ships and Flags)

Yabuki Kaiun Kaisha, Ltd

[Yabuki Kaiun Kaisha] image by Ivan Sache, 16 April 2007

Yabuki Kaiun Kaisha, Ltd is a Tokyo based shipping company, having additional branches in Japan. Homepage, English version is available at

Founded in 1922 near Osaka as Yabuki Kinzo Shoten to receive its current name in 1961 and merging in 1969 with Akira Unyu K.K., the shipping company is also active in freight forwarding and cargo handling, warehousing and packing, even insurance (see ‘Business’ and ‘History’ sections).

The house flag as shown on the webpage has a purplish field, horizontally edged in white, and bears a large white initial ‘Y’ (serifed).
Jan Mertens, 15 April 2007

Yamamoto Kisen K.K.

[Yamamoto Kisen K.K.] image by Phil Nelson
Source: Flags, Funnels and Hull Colours, 1963 [ste63]

Yamamoto Kisen K.K. The Osaka company of the name from pre World War 2 operating up until the mid-1960s.
Neale Rosanoski, 5 March 2003

Yamashita Kisen K.K.

[Yamashita Kisen K.K.] image by Phil Nelson
Source: Flags, Funnels and Hull Colours, 1963 [ste63]

Yamashita Kisen K.K. originated 1901 merging 1964 into Yamashita-Shinnihon K.K.
Neale Rosanoski, 5 March 2003

Yuyo Steamship Co., Ltd

Yuyo Steamship Co image by Eugene Ipavec, 15 November 2007

Yuyo Steamship Co., Ltd is a Japanese shipping company based at Yokohama. Homepage, click through for English version.

Having maritime and financial companies as major stockholders, Yuyo was founded as "Morita Kisen" at Osaka in 1948 and in the words of the "Outline" is active in "marine transportation, ship owning and chartering, marine brokerage and shipping agency", and real estate. More highlights from the "History" section follow.

Launching the world"s biggest oil tanker "Yuyo Maru" in 1957, amalgamated with Yamashita Shin-Nihon Line in 1964, became LPG and later also chemical carrier. Tokyo Kinkai Yuso Co., Ltd, new subsidiary in 1969. 1991, Nippon Oil Tanker Corp. is the largest shareholder.

"Services" and "Fleet" offer information on ships and their characteristics; two dozen vessels in all when current building projects are finalized next year-2010.

The house flag, red with a characteristic white initial "Y", serifed, is shown many times on the site as a very small logo and on a permanent photo, top of page, once past the first webpage. (flying on the bow of "Freia Spring") and another photo detail showing the funnel ("Freja Breeze"), found here here.
Jan Mertens, 16 May 2007