It is not uncommon for a warship’s name to be used over and over again across the lifespan of several ships. In the case of the Enterprise, the US Navy has re-purposed the name for seven different warships, going as far back as 1799. It even serves as the basis for an entire science fiction series should the name soldier on into the future.
For the Japanese Navy, the Kaga has equally special meaning, since it was one of the aircraft carriers that launched a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and was subsequently sunk at the Battle of Midway some six months later. Now some seventy odd years later, the Kaga sails again, this time around serving as a 24-000 ton helicopter assault ship (DDH-184). According to USNI News, “The ship follows JS Izumo (DDH-183) which entered service in the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) in March.”
While the ship is designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and could render humanitarian relief to stricken areas, the ship can quickly be converted for offensive purposes should the Japanese decide to purchase the short takeoff US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which can operate off of a helicopter assault ship. Likewise it can also handle the US V-22 Osprey, which has a much further range and greater carrying capacity than any of the helicopters intended to operate from the Kaga.
Somehow, all of this serves as a strange twist of fate for a ship that helped to start hostilities between the Empire of Japan and the United States over seven decades ago. Godspeed Kaga.