Yamato was a massive battleship of the Imperial Japanese Navy, active during the Second World War. The Yamato-class displaced 72000 tonnes, carried 46 cm (18.1 inch) guns and boasted a great amount of armor, with the waterline belt alone reaching 41 cm in thickness. They were the largest battleships commissioned by any navy during WWII.
Designed between 1934 and 1936, her keel was laid down on 4 November 1937 and she was launched on 8 August 1940. Yamato wasn't commissioned until 16 December 1941, just over a week after the Pearl Harbor attack. Secrecy was maintained throughout her construction with canopies erected at the slipway to hide her from view. Her commissioning was only a simple ceremony and even after completion multiple other warships were docked in a strategic manner to hide her from being seen.
Yamato was also known for her high level of luxury for an IJN battleship, as she was designed as the flagship of the Combined Fleet. She sported ice cream machines, ramune machines, large baths and lockers for all crew. The crewmen slept in bunks rather than tatami like most IJN warships. Yamato was also fully air-conditioned. These luxurious fitting, as well as her rather unimpressive battle record for a ship of her size ended up giving her the nickname "Yamato Hotel".
Alongside her famed 46 cm guns, Yamato was initially equipped with 15.5 cm guns in four triple turrets. By 1945 she had the two 15.5 cm beam turrets removed in favor of more anti-air guns to combat the ever increasing threat of aerial attacks. She only fired her massive main guns once during the Battle off Samar. Yamato never got to fight any other battleship as she was designed for, as carriers and naval aviation became more prevalent. This was perfectly demonstrated when she sank in Operation Ten-go, after being attacked by over 400 US Navy airplanes.
Due to her massive size and power, as well as her name which is an ancient poetic name for Japan, she was seen as a symbol of strength and determination. Today, Yamato appears in numerous media, such as the live-action film Yamato , anime like Uchuu Senkan Yamato and Strike Witches and personified as a human in Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio and Kantai Collection.