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Soya (宗谷) was a protected cruiser in the Imperial Japanese Navy, acquired as a prize of war during the Russo-Japanese War from the Imperial Russian Navy, where it was originally known as the Russian cruiser Varyag.

Soya, formerly the Russian cruiser Varyag
Name: Soya
Ordered: 1898
Builder: William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia
Laid down: 31 October 1899
Launched: 2 January 1900
Completed: 14 January 1901
Acquired: by Japan as prize of war, 1904
Commissioned: 9 July 1907
Fate: Returned to Russia, 5 April 1916
General characteristics
Type: Protected cruiser
Displacement: 6,500 long tons (6,604 t)
Length: 126.8 m (416 ft 0 in) w/l
Beam: 15.8 m (51 ft 10 in)
Draught: 6.1 m (20 ft 0 in)
Propulsion: 4 reciprocating VTE engines; 2 shafts; 30 boilers; 20,000 hp (15,000 kW)
Speed: 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph)
Range: 4,500 nmi (8,300 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 571


Varyag was built in the United States by William Cramp & Sons of Philadelphia for the Imperial Russian Navy. It was stationed in Korea in 1904, and involved in the opening Battle of Chemulpo Bay of the Russo-Japanese War. After suffering heavy damage from the unequal battle with nine Japanese cruisers, Varyag was scuttled by its crew on 9 February 1904.

After the Russo-Japanese War, the Japanese raised the badly damaged wreck from Chemulpo harbor, repaired it, and commissioned it into the Imperial Japanese Navy as the 2nd class cruiser Soya on 9 July 1907. Its new name was taken from the northernmost cape of Hokkaidō, Soya Misaki.

Service lifeEdit

After being placed into Japanese service as a 3rd class cruiser, Soya was used primarily for training duties. From 14 March 1909 to 7 August 1909, it made a long distance navigational and officer cadet training cruise to Hawaii and North America. It repeated this training cruise every year until 1913.

During World War I Russia and Japan became allies and Soya (along with several other vessels) was transferred back to Russia at Vladivostok on 5 April 1916, and its original name of Varyag restored.



  • Evans, David. Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941. US Naval Institute Press (1979). ISBN 0-87021-192-7
  • Howarth, Stephen. The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The Drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895-1945. Atheneum; (1983) ISBN 0-689-11402-8
  • Jentsura, Hansgeorg. Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945. Naval Institute Press (1976). ISBN 0-87021-893-X