During reading of some Japanese Wikipedia articles (e.g. 北上, 重雷装艦) I encountered the compound 雷装{らいそう}, which I have been unable to find a definite explanation of.

In their descriptive texts you will find a lot of mentions of 魚雷{ぎょらい}. However, it seems that they (北上 and related ships) are a different type of torpedo cruiser, since a torpedo cruiser generally gets called 水雷巡洋艦{すいらいじゅんようかん}. The Wikipedia text on 重雷装艦{じゅうらいそうかん} seems to indicate these were remodelled torpedo cruisers into light torpedo cruisers. Did I understand that correctly?

But that still leaves the question open: is 雷装 a synonym for 魚雷, maybe in a similar style how 魚雷 took over from 魚形水雷{ぎょけいすいらい}?

Any additional hints or explanations about etymology very much appreciated.

1 Answer 1


No, it's not a synonym.

雷装 is short for 魚雷装備 or 雷撃装備, torpedo-attached/rigged/equipped/mounted. According to Wikipedia, Kitakami was originally built as a 軽巡洋艦, light crusing ship (not torpedo cruiser). In August-September 1942, they converted it into 重雷装艦, heavy torpedo-attached ship (removed 3 main guns, rigged with 40 torpedo launcher).

  • 地雷 : land mine
  • 水雷 : underwater bomb
  • 機雷 : short for 機械水雷, machine underwater bomb, naval mine
  • 魚雷 : short for 魚形水雷, fish-shaped underwater bomb, torpedo
  • 雷撃 : 攻撃 by using 魚雷 , torpedo attack
  • 装備 : equipment, (act of) equipping or equipped
  • 装備する : to equip, to rig, to mount
  • 雷装 : short for 魚雷装備 or 雷撃装備, torpedo-equipping or torpedo-equipped
  • 爆弾 : bomb
  • 爆撃 : aerial bombing
  • 爆装 : short for 爆撃装備, aerial-bomb-equipping or aerial-bomb-equipped
  • 本当にありがとうございました。It really helps me to put some parts in a proper context.
    – asmodai
    Feb 11, 2018 at 14:34

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