The IJN Zuikaku was an aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy and the lead ship of her class. Zuikaku and her sister ship IJN Shokaku, were an efficient modern design, a displacement of about 30,000 tons, and a top speed of 34 knots (63 km/h), Shokaku could carry 70 to 80 aircraft.
Along with her sister ship Shokaku, she is most famous for taking part in many key engagements of the World War II Pacific Theatre, including the battles of Pearl Harbor and the Coral Sea. Zuikaku was ultimately sunk in the battle off Cape Engaño on 25 October 1944.
IJN Zuikaku in Days of Infamy
The IJN Zuikaku was one of the many Japanese carriers that took part in the battle and invasion of Hawaii in 1941-2. After the islands had been conquered, the carrier left with Admiral Chuichi Nagumo for support actions in the rest of the Pacific.
When the Soryu was damaged, Zuikaku, along with Shokaku, returned as part of the fleet that defeated the US Navy’s first attempt to retake Hawaii in mid 1942. Zuikau was crippled during the battle and forced home for repairs, leaving only the Akagi and Shokaku defending the Hawaii.
By early 1943, she was patched up and repaired, and sailed back for Hawaii only to be torpedoed by a US submarine, as she rounded Oahu. She was put out of action, and was unable to take part in the second naval battle. Zuikaku was still laid up in Pearl Harbor when the US Fleet returned and was destroyed where she lay by the massive bombing raid that struck the harbor.