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Houseflags of Japanese shipping companies

Last modified: 2014-10-04 by Zachary Harden
Keywords: maritime shipping | mon | taihei kisen | taiyo gyogyo | taiyo kisen | toko kaiun | hiragana: ha | letter: t encircled | ship wheel | tabuchi kaiun |
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Tabuchi Kaiun

[Tabuchi Kaiun] image by Ivan Sache and Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 29 Apr 2007 and 13 Mar 2011

On the homepage of Tabuchi Kaiun Co., Ltd - a Japanese shipping company established at Tokyo - we see the house flag as a drawing and, I gather, flying over the firm’s headquarters on a photo.

Unfortunately there does not seem to be an English version yet so this little report will remain very little indeed. All I have been able to discover is that Tabuchi Kaiun transports LPG and cement - and sponsors the 14th Osaka European Film Festival held in November 2007

The house flag is horizontally divided White-Red-Blue-White.
Jan Mertens, 28 April 2007

Taihei Kisen K.K.

[Taihei Kisen K.K.] image by Phil Nelson
Source: Flags, Funnels and Hull Colours, 1963 [ste63]

Taihei Kisen K.K. The Tokyo company which ceased about the early 1960s.

Neale Rosanoski, 5 March 2003

Taiko Kaiun K.K.

[Taiko Kaiun K.K.] image by Jarig Bakker, 7 December 2005
Source: Brown's Flags and Funnels of Shipping Companies of the World [lgr95]

Tokyo - blue flag, two narrow horizontal white stripes, interrupted by white "T" outlined blue.

Jarig Bakker, 7 December 2005

Taiyo Gyogyo K.K.

[Taiyo Gyogyo] image by Jarig Bakker, 30 August 2005
Source: Brown's Flags and Funnels Shipping Companies of the World [lgr95]

Tokyo - white flag, red circle containing a character in red.

Jarig Bakker, 30 August 2005

This is the hiragana letter "ha" (は).

Albert S. Kirsch, 30 August 2005

Taiyo Kisen K.K.

[Taiyo Kisen K.K.] image by Jarig Bakker, 9 October 2005
Source: Brown's Flags and Funnels of Shipping Companies of the World [lgr95]

Osaka. Seven stripes of red and white; in the center of the top 4 stripes a white upsidedown "Y".

Jarig Bakker, 9 October 2005

The Taiyo Kisen K.K. flag is a horizontal multiband of 4 red and 3 white with the middle white forking up in the centre to reach the top of the upper white band and from this point extending to the flag chief as a vertical white band. This is a popular name and through various editions of Lloyds I have found some 12 allegedly different companies since the 1950s. It probably relates to the company still operating based in Osaka formed in 1950 but apparently a Japanese book domiciles the company in Tokyo and it may therefore apply to one of the small companies recorded over time as being based in that port.

Neale Rosanoski, 5 March 2003

Taiyo Shipping

[Taiyo Shipping] image by Eugene Ipavec, 30 November 2007

Taiyo Shipping (website in Japanese), established at Kita-ku, Osaka.

The house flag is shown as a drawing - in a sketchy fashion. The firm is listed as a member of the Sumitomo Osaka Cement Group.

The ships operated by Taiyo look rather specialized - cement carriers it seems. In any case the firm is active in coastal shipping only as evidenced by a map showing connections to and from ports on the four major Japanese islands.

The house flag - in colour - is seen here together with the green cross on white (safety?).

A White field, blue ring with three short intersecting stripes, also blue, placed at 2 o’clock, 6 o’ clock, and 10 o’clock positions; within the ring, slightly lowered, red serifed initials ‘TKK’.

Jan Mertens, 26 October 2007

Toa Kaiun K.K.

Toa Kaiun K.K.
image contributed by Jan Mertens, 27 May 2008

At ia a brochure is labeled "Toa Kaiun 1940/07" and showing the flag above.

A Dark flag, two light-coloured horizontal edges, emptied lozenge with light-coloured border.

Neale Rosanosk mentions this company, in passing discussing Nissin Kisen (1916) as

...being merged 1939 into Toa Kaiun K.K. (East Asia Navigation) which was dissolved in 1946 by the Allies.

Tokyo-based `Toa Kaiun Kabushiki Kaisha' aka `Japanese East Asian Sea Transport' bought an important number of ships from Osaka Shosen, most of them in 1939 (Source: and from NYK (Source:, all of them in 1939.

Google Books reveals the folloing on pp. 54, in Parks M. Coble, Chinese Capitalists in Japan's New Order: The Occupied Lower Yangzi.

The latter (Tao Kaiun, jm) was a Japanese national policy corporation formed in Tokyo in August 1939 and designed to foster Japanese control of shipping in China.

Having rapidly become a major transportation operator between Japan and China, Toa Kaiun's fleet was a prime target during World War II. Almost all ships were sunk and 1946 saw the end of the company.
Jan Mertens, 27 May 2008

Tochiki Kisen Co., Ltd

Tochiki Kisen Co., Ltd image by Eugene Ipavec, 14 June 2007

Tochiki Kisen Co., Ltd established at Tokyo, homepage at

The firm was founded in 1901. Besides shipping there are logistic activities including, surprisingly, airship operations.

House flag in the national colours (drawing) on the mark page.

A White field with red ring containing two horizontal stripes, also red.
Jan Mertens, 13 June 2007

Toko Kaiun K.K.

[Toko Kaiun]
image by Jarig Bakker, 1 November 2005
Source: Brown's Flags and Funnels Shipping Companies of the World [lgr95]

Kobe - white flag, red ships wheel.
Jarig Bakker, 1 November 2005