Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
  I-36 Japanese Submarine

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2003

Ship History
Built at the Navy Yard at Yokosuka. Completed September 30, 1942. Assigned to the Kure Naval District.

Wartime History
On December 18, 1942 departed Kure and arrived at Shortland on December 31, 1942. Then, departed for a supply run to Guadalcanal, surfacing at Kamimbo Bay a half hour after sunset on January 3, 1943 while four barges transfered 20 tons of cargo ashore and 23 wounded Japanese were evacuated. On January 8 returns again to Kamimbo Bay delivering 12 tons of cargo. Next proceeds to the Buna area and evacuates 47 Japanese from the Mambare River on January 17, 1943. Returns again on January 24 and delivers 13 supply drums and evacuates 39 personnel.

On January 30, 1943 arrives at Lae to deliver 23 tons of supplies and evacuates 59. Then returns to Mambare on January 24 to deliver 13 supply drums and evacuates 39. On February 16 returns to Lae to deliver 45 tons of supplies and evacuates 90. Returns to Lae again on February 16 delivers 40 tons, 10 soldiers and evacuates 72. Afterwards, returns to Yokosuka on March 7, 1943.

On April 6, 1943 departs Yokosuka for the Aleutians. During May 29-30, 1943 conducts Unkato (cargo transporting tube) towing tests in the Inland Sea, then again during June 1943 off Iyo Nada during June. On June 15 departs Paramushir for a supply run to Kiska towing a Unkato container, but it is lost in rough seas. The sub dives to evade USN destroyers in the area, I-36 aborts her supply mission on June 21 and patrols instead. Afterwards, returns to Yokosuka for overhaul, and a radar detector is installed.

On August 31, 1943 the submarine is ordered to perform a reconnaissance of Pearl Harbor with a Yokosuka E14Y1 Glen seaplane. Tests were made in the Inland Sea.

Departs Yokosuka on September 8, arriving off Hawaii on September 19 and radar detector is used, and moves east of Hawaii to avoid detection. On October 16, launches E14Y1 Glen seaplane 120 nautical miles south of Pearl Harbor, an hour later, the seaplane returns, but is unable to be found or recovered. Returning, I-36 sites a convoy of oilers, but must break off attack due to escorting destroyers. On November 1, surfaces off Canton Island and the deck gun fires thirteen shells at the island. On November 12, returns to Truk.

On December 21, departs Truk for a supply mission to Sarmi, arriving on December 31, then returns to Rabaul, departing on January 6, 1944 and returns to Sasebo for overhaul. Resumes training on January 27 in the Inland sea for "Operation Tan".

On March 26, 1944 departs Kure on with Yokosuka E14Y1 Glen seaplane to reconnaissance the Majuro Atoll with I-16. On April 16 sites a carrier and fires six torpedoes, then dives and resurfaces 6 hours later.

On April 22, 1944 launches seaplane which performs a reconnaissance over Majuro Atoll anchorage, returning the seaplane fails to locate the submarine, and lands on the sea. The next morning it is located, crew recovered and seaplane scuttled. The mission is reported to HQ on April 23. Afterwards on April 30 attacked by a patrol plane, causing the sub to crash dive to 260' damage is only minor. Returns to Kure on May 9.

In May participates in training that is later cancelled. On May 23 performs tests with Type 4 amphibious tracked Ka-Tsu vehicles.

On June 19 departs Kure with supplies for Truk. Afterwards, reassigned as a kaiten carrier, and undergoes training for this mission during September - early November.

Kikusui Group: First Kaiten Mission
Departs Otsujima on November 8 along with I-47 are ordered to attack Urushi Anchorage at Ulithi. The sub is spotted on the surface by a PBM Mariner of VPB-21 that drops a sonar buoy. The two submarines reach the launch area on November 19.

On November 20, launches only one (No 3) kaiten piloted by Ensign Imanishi at 0454. The other three fail to launch due to malfunctions: two are stuck in their chocks and the third's engine experienced a leak. At 05:45 Imanishi's kaiten hits and sinks the USS Mississinewa AO-59. The other three disappointed kaiten pilots pressed Lt. Cmdr Teramoto to resurface at a safe distance and attempt to repair their kaiten torpedoes for a follow-up strike. The I-36 is chased by destroyers and depth charges dropped but escapes with only minor damage.

Kongo Group: Second Kaiten Mission
Departs Kure with I-53 and I-58 on December 30. Approaching Ulithi, runs aground on January 9, 1945 but manages to free herself. On January 12 between 0342 and 0357, launches four kaitens, piloted by Lt Kagaya Takeru, Lt (j.g.) Todokoro Shizuyo, Ensign Motoi Bunya and CPO Fukumoto Yurimitsu. A PBM of VPB-21 piloted by Lt Simms spots a midget submarine in the lagoon. Simms drops four depth charges and sinks a kaiten launched by the I-36. Postwar analysis indicates that one kaiten damaged the ammunition ship USS Mazama (AE-9) and another sank the LCI-600.

Afterwards returns to Kure on January 21. During February, the aircraft hangar and catapult are removed to accommodate two more kaitens on the foredeck. A Type 13 air-search radar is fitted in front of the conning tower.

Shimbu Group: Kaiten Mission
Departs Hikari with four kaitens on March 2 with I-58 to attack ships off Iwo Jima, but the mission is cancelled and returns to Kure on March 10.

Tembu Group
Departs Hikari on April 22 to operate between the Marianas and Okinawa with six kaitens. On April 27, east of Okinawa in the early morning, the I-36 sights an American convoy of 28 ships. LtCdr Sugamasa launches four Kaitens piloted by Lt(j.g.) Yagi Teiji, PO2C Abe Hideo, Ebihara Kiyosaburo and Matsuda Mitsuo. Two of the kaitens malfunction and cannot be launched. LtCdr Sugamasa reports sinking four transports, but, in fact, all the kaitens are unsuccessful. Afterwards returned to Kure on April 30.

Todoroki Group
Departs Hikari on June 4 to patrol east of Guam. On June 22, I-36 sights an oiler, sailing alone. Attempts to launch two kaitens, but both malfunction. He then attacks with four conventional torpedoes which explode prematurely, causing slight damage to the landing craft repair ship USS Endymion. Sugamasa reports seeing the Endymion assume a slight list, but then manages to pick up speed and escape thereafter.

On June 28, USS Antares (AKS-3) is sailing alone from Saipan bound for Pearl Harbor. The I-36 spots and attacks launches a kaiten piloted by Lt(j.g.) Ikebuchi Nobuo.

Antares lookouts report a periscope and wake 100 yards on her starboard quarter, goes hard right and the torpedo misses astern. Then the lookouts see a kaiten in the port wake, turning to the right. At 1331, the ship opens fire at the kaiten's periscope wake and zigzags to avoid. One of her 3-inch guns scores a hit on the kaiten and it disappears. At 1344, another periscope appears. The I-36 broaches and Antares aft 5-inch gun opens fire at her.

The USS Sproston (DD-577), steaming to the States for overhaul, is signaled by the ANTARES that she is under attack. Arriving in the vicinity, the destroyer makes sonar contact at 1,000 yards. At 500 yards a periscope is observed passing from starboard to port. The destroyer makes an unsuccessful attempt to ram the submarine. Then she drops a full pattern of depth charges. A large oil slick is later observed. She makes six more attacks with negative results.

One of the Sproston's lookouts spots a torpedo wake approaching 60 degrees off her port bow. The destroyer turns hard left and the torpedo passes along her port side. A kaiten's periscope is sighted off the port quarter. Sproston's main battery commences firing and a salvo hits the kaiten, causing a large secondary explosion. Other ships arrive to help conduct night radar coverage of the area. After more than ten depth-charge explosions, the I-36 receives a leak in the forward torpedo room. In order to escape, the sub launches two more kaitens from a depth of 200 feet to engage the destroyer, piloted by Ens Kuge Minoru and FPO1C Yanagiya Hidemasa.

The next morning, three destroyer escorts join the group. After a thorough search, all ships depart the area. The I-36's rudder is damaged in the attacks, but she slips away. On June 29 bombed on the surface and by a patrol plane and a fuel tank ruptured. On July 5, while I-36 is running on the surface is attacked by USS Gunnel (SS-253), but all four torpedoes miss astern. Returns to Kure on July 6.

While still at Kure, on August 11, strafing P-51s damage the sub's fuel tank and radar, repairs are estimated at eight days. When the war ends on August 15 the sub is still at Kure.

Post War
Surrendered to Allied forces in September 1945, and transferred from Kure to Sasebo where it was stripped of equipment.

Sinking History
On April 1, 1946 as part of "Operation Roads End" the I-36 was towed from Sasebo to an area off Goto Island off Nagasaki Prefecture by USS Nereus AS-1, which scuttled the submarine with gunfire.

A portion of the submarine was salvaged and is displayed at Yasukuni Jinja Museum.

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
February 4, 2018


Tabular Movement

32-37 N
129-17 E

  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram