Photo/IllutrationA curator explains about a powder cartridge used for the battleship Yamato’s main gun, which was salvaged from the bottom of the sea, at the Yamato Museum in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture. (Koji Shimizu)

  • Photo/Illustraion

KURE, Hiroshima Prefecture--After remaining underwater for more than 70 years, 40 pieces salvaged from the sunken behemoth battleship Yamato are seeing the light of day in a special exhibition at the Kure Maritime Museum, also known as the Yamato Museum here.

Parts showcased at the “Sunken Warships--Battleships Yamato and Musashi” exhibition include 18 previously undisclosed items, which were salvaged during a survey conducted by a private company in 2016.

The items include a powder cartridge used for the Yamato’s main gun (about 50 centimeters in diameter and about 90 cm long), a searchlight mount, a rangefinder and a desk lamp.

Each item is severely corroded and deteriorated. The exhibit will run through Jan. 26, 2020.

The Yamato, said to be the largest and most powerfully armed battleship ever built, was attacked by U.S. forces during the Pacific War and sunk with her crew off the coast of Kagoshima Prefecture in April 1945.

Other displays at the museum include footage of undersea surveys conducted by another private team in 2015 and 2017 to locate the Yamato’s sister ship, the Musashi, on the ocean floor at 1,200 meters deep near the Philippines; rare photos of the Musashi performing training duties; documents illustrating the results of the attack on Pearl Harbor in the U.S. territory of Hawaii that marked the beginning of the Pacific War; and explanatory panels showing the progression of the war.

According to museum officials, 651 Japanese warships and 2,934 commercial vessels, including those requisitioned by the military, remain on the ocean floor after they were sunk during World War II. Thanks to technological advancements for submersible surveys, there are an increasing number of wrecks being found.

“I hope visitors look at the items salvaged from the Yamato up close and feel the connection between the past and the present,” said Seiko Sugiyama, a curator in charge of the exhibition.