Yamashiro was the second of two Fusō-class dreadnought battleships built for the Imperial Japanese Navy. Launched in 1915 and commissioned in 1917, she initially patrolled off the coast of China, playing no part in World War I. In 1923, she assisted survivors of the Great Kantō earthquake.
Yamashiro was modernized between 1930 and 1935, with improvements to her armor and machinery and a rebuilt superstructure in the pagoda mast style. Nevertheless, with only 14-inch guns, she was outclassed by other Japanese battleships at the beginning of World War II, and played auxiliary roles for most of the war.
By 1944, though, she was forced into front-line duty, serving as the flagship of Vice-Admiral Shoji Nishimura's Southern Force at the Battle of Surigao Strait, the southernmost action of the Battle of Leyte Gulf. During fierce night fighting in the early hours of 25 October against a superior American force, Yamashiro was sunk by torpedoes and naval gunfire. Nishimura went down with his ship, and only 10 crew members survived.