Japanese Merchant Ship Camouflage

I posted a few days ago about Japanese Naval Camouflage, or lack thereof. In the case of the Japanese Merchant Marine, however, there is a lot of evidence of camouflage patterns. The Japanese high command seems to have not planned realistically for a longer war. There was no organization for dealing with the protection of mercantile vessels at the start of the war. Japanese ships tended to painted in shades of overall grey. Some ships had false bow waves painted on to give an illusion of speed. American submarines were initially plagued with torpedo problems, and failed to make much of an impact on Japanese shipping during the first part of the war. But once those problems were addressed, and Japan found herself defending in a war that was not entirely what she had planned, the question of how to defend the seaborne commerce that was  the life blood of the empire became very important. Large numbers of new standard merchant ships were ordered from the shipyards. With them, a similarly large number of anti-submarine escorts were ordered. A new command was also created to be responsible for the control and routing of convoys. Camouflage was applied to many Japanese ships. Much of it was reminiscent of World War One dazzle designs. In fact, the design used on merchant cruiser Hokoku Maru, is almost a direct copy of American WWI Type 9 design K. Later, merchant ship camouflage was standardized using overall shades of green, or overall light green (Type 2 camouflage) with a large central panel of a contrasting darker green (Type 1 camouflage). I have added other examples in later posts. Comments and corrections are encouraged, in case I got something wrong.

False bow waves were used on many ships, among them; Kirishima Maru, Taimei Maru, and Ayatosa Maru.

Here are several examples of mid war patterns using black, white, and grey:

aikoku maru navypedia jap_au161
Japanese Hokoku Maru
hokoku maru navypedia jap_au162
Japanese Aikoku Maru
gyoten maru mod
Japanese Gyoten Maru
awata maru
Japanese Awata Maru
kansai maru
Japanese Kansai Maru
kiyozumi maru
Japanese Kiyozumi Maru
kyokuyo maru
Japanese Kyokuyo Maru
nagara maru
Japanese Nagara Maru
sagara maru
Japanese Sagara Maru
Japanese Suez Maru

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