With the imposition of the Washington Naval Treaty limiting the number and size of capital warships, increased emphasis was placed by the Imperial Japanese Navy on the quantity and firepower of its destroyer fleet to counter what was perceived to be the growing threat from the United States Navy. The Mutsuki class destroyers were an improved version of the Kamikaze class destroyers and were ordered under the 1923 fiscal budget.
Along with the Minekaze and Kamikaze classes, the Mutsuki class ships formed the backbone of Japanese destroyer formations throughout the twenties and thirties. The Minekaze and Kamikaze classes were withdrawn from front line service and reassigned to secondary duties towards the end of the 1930s, but the Mutsuki were retained as first line destroyers due to their range and their more powerful torpedo armament. All saw combat during World War II, and none survived the war.
Initially, the Mutsuki class ships had only hull numbers due to the projected large number of warships the Japanese navy expected to build through the Eight-eight fleet plan. This proved to be extremely unpopular with the crews and was a constant source of confusion in communications. In August 1928, names were assigned.
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