Built at Kawasaki's shipyard in Kobe. Laid down on March 11, 1937. Launched on June 12, 1937. Completed on November 1, 1937. Operated by the Kawasaki Kisen KK Line as a cargo and refrigerator ship.
On October 31, 1941 requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN).
24 August 1942:
Departs Kure to operate from the Shortlands area off Bougainville.
On December 2, 1942 departs Yokosuka to operate in the Shortland area and deliver twelve F1M2 Petes that operate from Shortland Harbor Seaplane Base.
On December 31, 1942 departs Yokosuka bound for Shortland. On February 12, 1943 returns to Yokosuka for repairs.
On March 1, 1943 the Kunikawa Maru and Kamikawa Maru are assigned to the 938 Kokutai. This Kunikawa Maru operates as a seaplane tender the Kamikawa Maru serves as an aircraft transport.
After reparis are completed, on March 18, 1943 departs Yokosuka bound for Shortland and supports seaplane operations at Shortland Harbor Seaplane Base.
While departing Balikpapan, it was damaged on the port side by a mine laid by RAAF PBY Catalina on April 29, 1944. After completing temporary repairs on May 8, 1944 the ship was being towed and while departing Balikpapan it hit another mine, and became grounded. The ship was refloated on on September 29, 1944 and remains at Balikpapan and moved to No. 5 berth.
While moored in Balikpapan Harbor in No. 5 berth, Kunikawa Maru was targeted by a bombing raid. Hit by a bomb in her No. 7 hold and damaged by several near misses during an air raid, that kills eight sailors. The ship sank at 13:10 on May 21, 1945.
Combined Fleet - Kunikawa Maru Tabular Record of Movement
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January 10, 2018