As opposed to hulls that should have been stripped and converted to aircraft carriers back in the 1930s, the Imperial Japanese Navy had the following useful battleships that had all begun life as battlecruisers:
- Kongo – eight 14 inch guns; commissioned in 1913; rebuilt in 1924, 1927 and again in 1935. Originally designed as battlecruisers, Kongo and her sister ships were the first vessels in the world equipped with 14-inch guns. With Haruna, she shelled Henderson Field on Guadalcanal on the night of October 13 1942. Kongo fought at the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands on October 26, 1942, but neither caused nor received damage. Kongo was not damaged during the battle of the Philippine Sea June 19-20, 1944. Kongo fought at the battle of Leyte Gulf and scored hits on the escort carrier Gambier Bay (CVE-73) as well as the destroyers Hoel (DD-533) and Heermann (DD-532). Shells from Kongo sank the destroyer escort Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413). Kongo was eventually sunk by US submarine Sealion about 55 miles northwest of Taiwan on November 21, 1944.
- Haruna – eight 14 inch guns; commissioned in 1915; rebuilt in 1926 and again in 1933. She was attacked but not damaged by US aircraft at the battle of Midway, and with Kongo, shelled Henderson Field on Guadalcanal on the night of October 13 1942. She was attacked by a PBY Catalina during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands on October 26, 1942, but received no damage. Haruna was damaged by two 500 pound bombs during the battle of the Philippine Sea June 19-20, 1944. Haruna fought at the battle of Leyte Gulf and was eventually sunk at anchor at Kure on July 28, 1945.
- Kirishima – eight 14 inch guns; commissioned in 1915 on the same day as the Haruna; rebuilt in 1927 and again in 1934. Kirishima participated in many early campaigns, but her first combat was while accompanying sister ship Hiei on November 12, 1942 to engage American cruisers and destroyers near Guadalcanal. Fire from Kirishima damaged USS San Francisco (CA-38) and Helena (CL-50). On November 14 fire from Kirishima damaged USS South Dakota (BB-57), but Kirishima was mortally damaged by shells from USS Washington (BB-56) and sank on November 15.
- Hiei – eight 14 inch guns; commissioned in 1914; rebuilt in 1929 and again in 1937. Hiei participated in many early campaigns, but her first combat was while accompanying sister ship Kirishima on November 12, 1942 to engage American cruisers and destroyers near Guadalcanal. Fire from Hiei damaged USS Atlanta (CL-51; later scuttled), probably damaged two destroyers (most accounts state Hiei actually damaged USS Laffey –it is unclear if Laffey exploded and sank later due to shell hit, a torpedo or some other cause) and may have hit other American ships. However, Hiei was damaged by shells from USS Laffey (DD-459) and San Francisco (CA-38). Hiei was unable to get out of range of American land-based planes, and was eventually hit by two torpedoes. She was scuttled by Japanese destroyers late on November 14 after the loss of 188 of her crew, the first battleship ever lost in action by Japan.