Unique Antique Japanese Navy Volunteer Ship 1904 Sakura Maru Docking Commemoration Sake Cup
This is a very unique Japanese military sake cup, made of lacquered wood and decorated with a gold leaf circle that is embossed with an anchor in the middle and with a star background. This is the insignia of the volunteer fleet. The back of the cup has the words "Volunteer Ship Sakura Maru Okayama Prefecture Docking Commemoration". The Sakura Maru was a merchant ship, originally named Mogul, that was used for shipping and transporting people from Japan to Peru. Then it was drafted ("volunteer") into the navy during the Russo Japanese War. This is why the ship was called "Volunteer Ship" on the cup. Sakura Maru participated in the third attempt (partially successful) to blockade Port Arthur during the war - it was tasked with sinking itself with 11 other old transports to block the harbor, which would prevent the Russian fleet from interfering with the landing of troops. It failed, but Sakura Maru, along with 7 other ships, didn't see the signal to retreat and was sunk, which sort of fulfilled the mission. The crew didn't make it.
The cup comes with a wooden box and the customary yellow cloth. Under the lid of the box there's a shop's name, but the shop was located in Shizuoka. It's possible that this lid was a replacement.
This cup must've been made before the third blockade attempt, which happened in May 1904, not long after the war started. I couldn't find much information on this ship in English. There's a Spanish wikipedia page here, and the Japanese one here. You can read about the context of the naval action here.
Size: 3.25" across