What does Maru Mean In Japanese Ship Names? (Merchant Ship Names)

What does Maru mean in Japanese ship names

The merchant ships of Japan usually contain the name ‘Maru’ meaning ‘Circle’

I’ve now written many articles on Truk Lagoon and its many World War II wrecks. The term Maru comes up more often than most other worlds, but what does Maru mean in Japanese ship names?

The word Maru means circle or round and is a traditional suffix attached to Japanese ship names. The first ship known to follow this practice was the Nippon Maru.

What does Maru mean in Japanese ship names?

Looking back at the history of Japanese ship naming convention, it appears that the very first ship to use the name ‘Maru‘ in its name was the ‘Nippon Maru‘.

This is not to be confused with the Nippo Maru, which was sunk in Truk Lagoon during Operation Hailstone during World War II, and sits with all the other Truk Lagoon wrecks there. The Nippon Maru was the flagship of Daimyō Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s 16th century fleet.

The meaning of the word ‘Maru‘ is ‘Circle‘. But the Japanese use the term in ship naming protocol to designate a merchant ship.

Most of the ships lying in Truk Lagoon that were sunk there during Operation Hailstone have names containing ‘Maru‘. This is because the Imperial Japanese Navy requisitioned hundreds of merchant ships during World War II. Mostly to transport supplies, troops, military vehicles and gunnery and ammunition.

In fact of all the ships that were sunk in Truk Lagoon, only three of them were actually purpose built Imperial Japanese (IJN) Navy ships. The rest were all requisitioned by the IJN and most use Maru in their names.

If you take a look at the Truk Lagoon wrecks map, you’ll see the number of wrecks that use Maru.’

Many ask what does ‘Maru’ mean in Spanish too, but the translation is also ‘Maru’ like it is in English.

Truk Lagoon dive liveaboards table

This list of Truk Lagoon liveaboards is in descending customer rating order, followed by Scuba Diving Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating, see below), so the liveaboards with the highest customer rating and the best SDE lux rating will be at the top of the list. If you want to change the list order, use the “Sort by” dropdown below.

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Total Records Found: 2, showing 10 per page
Liveaboard main photoDiscover LiveaboardCustomer Review Rating Out of 10SDE Lux Rating %Flexible BookingDive CoursesDietary RequirementsNitroxGear Rental
Review Link: SS Thorfinn; Booking Link: SS Thorfinn 8.8 88 YES YES YES YES YES
Review Link: MV Truk Master; Booking Link: MV Truk Master 7.9 65 YES NO YES YES YES

The Scuba Diving Earth Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating) is explained on each liveaboard review when you click the “Discover Liveaboard” link, and is my own Liveaboard Luxury Rating I’ve assigned to all liveaboards. Choosing between liveaboards is helped by customer scores, and if you get stuck choosing between two or three liveaboards, where each one has a high customer score out of 10, you can use the SDE Luxury Rating to help narrow down your choice.

Think about it like using Booking.com when searching for the best hotel. Booking.com also use a customer score where each customer rates hotels out of 10. This is similar to the liveaboard customer rating, which is also rated out of 10. But let’s say you only like to stay in hotels rated 8 and above on Booking.com, but you also want the hotel to have WIFI or parking, or to have a swimming pool etc. The features each hotel has is usually secondary to the score out of 10.

I hope you enjoyed this article about what does Maru mean in Japanese ship names

I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!

If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or scuba diving (or specifically about what does Maru mean in Japanese ship names), please comment below with your questions.

There will also be many more articles about scuba diving (and snorkeling) for you to read and learn about these fabulous sports.

Have fun and be safe!

What does Maru Mean In Japanese Ship Names? (Merchant Ship Names)

Article written by Russell Bowyer who has been a scuba diver since diving on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in 1989. After his first dive he trained as a BSAC diver in the UK. He attained his Diver Leader certification with BSAC. He then went on to become a scuba diving instructor, teaching others how to dive and was voted as Diving Officer and Treasurer for the Saffron Walden BSAC club too. Russell has dived all over the world, including the UK, on liveaboards in the Red Sea, the Caribbean, South Africa and the USA. Russell is experienced in all dive types, including drift diving, deep dives that involved decompression stops and recreational dives too.

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