|For the next three single ship designs, the Japanese Navy used either a British design built at Yokosuka, the Akitsushima designed by Armstrong’s Sir William White
as a smaller version of his design for USS Baltimore, or ships built by Armstrong, for the Yoshino and Idzumi protected cruisers. With the Suma Class of 1892
broke the reliance upon foreign designs and construction. These two ships, Suma and Akashi, were the first cruisers built to a Japanese design and to be built in
Japan, although her guns still were imported from Great Britain. The design used locomotive boilers and were less than successful. With the next two designs Japan
returned to foreign designs with foreign builders. Takasago was a Philip Watt design of Armstrong and was one of the Elswick export cruisers. With the Chitose
design, very similar to the Takasago, the Japan tried a new source, the USA. Chitose was built by Union Iron Works in San Francisco and the Kasagi was built by
Cramp in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Finally, Japan turned back to home grown talent with the Tsushima Class of protected cruisers of 1901. As a starting point the Japanese design for the Suma Class
was chosen but significant changes were made that produced a vastly improved ship. They were larger with a greater displacement and had a main armament of six
6-inch guns instead of the mixed armament Suma with two 6-inch and six 4.7-inch. The guns were situated with fore and aft guns on centerline and the other four
placed in sponsons sited lower than the 4.7-inch guns of the Suma Class. These changes made the Tsushima Class far more seaworthy than the Suma Class and
far more powerful. For the first time a Japanese design outclassed many contemporary protected cruiser designs. The Tsushima was laid down at the Kure Navy
Yard on October 1, 1901, launched December 15, 1902 and completed February 14, 1904. Sistership, Niitaka, used the more experienced Yokosuka Yard and was
built quicker. She was laid down January 7, 1902, launched November 15, 1902 and completed January 27, 1904.