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Kawasaki Ki-22

Kawasaki Ki-22

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Kawasaki Ki-22

The Kawasaki Ki-22 was one of three designs for a heavy bomber produced in response to a Japanese Army specification issued on 15 February 1936. The rival Nakajima Ki-19 and Mitsubishi Ki-21 designs both reached the prototype stage, and the Mitsubishi Ki-21 entered production as the Army Type 97 Heavy Bomber, but the Kawasaki Ki-22 never progressed beyond the design stage.

This three-seater ultra sport model was equipped with a 1,498cc liquid-cooled, four-stroke, four-cylinder engine combined with a Roots-type supercharger that provided high boost pressure even at low rpm. The engine boasted a maximum power output of 245PS.

In October 1972, a newspaper article in The San Diego Union described a “small watercraft featuring motorcycle-like handlebars, behind which you stand and steer the vehicle across the water surface, much like a new type of water scooter.” This watercraft was the prototype of the Jet Ski that Kawasaki developed based on an idea put forward by American inventor Clayton Jacobson II.
In 1973, Kawasaki released the world’s first mass-production Jet Ski watercraft, the JS400, which created a new market for personal watercraft (PWC), mainly in the United States. PWCs quickly caught on as a recreational vehicle thanks to their outstanding maneuverability on the water.

Jet skiing became a popular sport and was soon institutionalized with the establishment of a sport association in 1978.
The first model was powered by a modified version of a snowmobile two-stroke engine and had a displacement of 398cc and a horsepower of 26PS. It was also a stand-up type, as were all other models in the Jet Ski’s early history. Kawasaki expanded its model lineup only with this type until the late 1980s. But when competitors appeared in the market with sit-down types (called “runabout”), competition forced Kawasaki to add sit-down types onto its lineup as well. In addition,

the introduction of strict environmental regulations in the 1990s gave engineers more technological hurdles to clear. To bring the Jet Ski into compliance, Kawasaki introduced a direct injection engine in 2000 and also a four-stroke engine in 2003. Today’s flagship models feature a 1,498cc four-stroke engine with a horsepower of 310PS.
There is a book that describes the history of the Jet Ski and analyzes its impact on people’s lives. As the title of the book——Life, Liberty, and the Small-Bore Engine——illustrates, Kawasaki’s Jet Ski created a new lifestyle.

Mục lục

Việc thiết kế chiếc Ki-32 được Kawasaki bắt đầu từ tháng 5 năm 1936, cạnh tranh cùng Mitsubishi để sản xuất một chiếc máy bay ném bom hạng nhẹ nhằm thay thế chiếc Kawasaki Ki-3 đã lạc hậu. Chiếc nguyên mẫu bay lần đầu tiên vào tháng 3 năm 1937, và có thêm bảy chiếc nữa được sản xuất. Một số vấn đề nảy sinh, đặc biệt là việc làm mát động cơ và thời gian cần thiết để khắc phục lỗi kéo dài khiến thiết kế của hãng Mitsubishi, chiếc Ki-30, được chọn để sản xuất. Cho dù như thế, dưới áp lực cần có thêm nhiều máy bay trong Chiến tranh Trung-Nhật, vốn đã diễn ra trên diện rộng từ tháng 7 năm 1937, khiến phải đưa chiếc Ki-32 vào sản xuất hàng loạt 12 tháng sau đối thủ của mình.

Chiếc Ki-32 được đưa vào sản xuất hàng loạt từ năm 1938 dưới tên gọi Máy bay Ném bom Hạng nhẹ một động cơ Lục quân Kiểu 98, và được đưa ra hoạt động ngoài mặt trận cùng Không lực Lục quân Đế quốc Nhật Bản đến tận năm 1942. Kawasaki đã sản xuất được 854 chiếc Ki-32 cho đến khi việc sản xuất kết thúc.

Kiểu máy bay này đã tham gia Chiến tranh Trung-Nhật, và hoạt động cuối cùng của nó là ném bom các vị trí đối phương trong cuộc tấn công Hồng Kông. Ki-32 cũng được cung cấp cho Không quân Mãn Châu Quốc để thay thế những chiếc máy bay ném bom hạng nhẹ Kawasaki Type 88/KDA-2 đã lạc hậu và nó được lực lượng này sử dụng cho đến hết cuộc chiến.

Post by Robert Hurst » 01 Jul 2003, 15:46

In a new fighter competition organised by the Army in 1934, in which Mitsubishi was not initially involved, Nakajima submitted the Ki-11, a low-wing monoplane with a non-retractable fixed undercarriage, which looked very similar to the Boeing P-26. Kawasaki's entry was a sesquiplane biplane, the Ki-10. The Ki-11 was slightly superior to the Ki-10 in speed, yet the Ki-10 was more manoeuvrable. The latter plane, however, was accepted by the Army as the Type 95 Fighter, but without much enthusiasm.

At this time Mitsubishi's Ka-14 9-Shi Navy Fighter protototype was showing outstanding performance and not only captured the respect of the Navy, but of the Army as well. With the Navy's consent, the Army placed a contract with Mitsubishi for a modified version of the 9-Shi Fighter for evaluation, this became the Ki-18. The main differences between this and the original Navy model revolved around various equipment and systems changes dictated by the Army. Changes from the Navy model included reversing the direction of the throttle movement (in the Army forward was idle) and substituting standard Army machine-guns. This reversing of the throttle movement probably resulted from earlier French influence.

The Ki-18 was a low-wing monoplane of all-metal construction with fabric-covered control surfaces. It was powered by a Kotobuki 5 nine-cylinder radial, rated at 550 hp fro take-off, and 600 hp at 3,100 m (9,185 ft), driving a two-blade fixed-pitch wooden propeller, the Ki-18 introduced a long-chord engine cowling, an enlarged rudder and larger mainwheels and spats.

The new aircraft was completed in August 1935, and was tested at the Air Technical Research Institute at Tachikawa and later at the Akeno Army Flying School throughout the autumn and winter of 1935. In the early part of 1936 the Kotobuki 5 was changed to the Kotobuki 3, rated at 640 hp for take-off and 715 hp at 2,800 m ( 11,485 ft) at the suggestion of Capt. Oujira Matsumura, an instructor at Akeno. The direct-drive Kotobuki 3 seemed to be an Army preference. During these tests, flown primarily by Capt. Akita, a maximum speed of 444 km/h (276 mph) at 3,050 m (10,000 ft) was recorded, and the aircraft was able to climb to 5,000 m (16,404 ft) in 6 min 25.8 sec - an exceptional rate. These remarkable tests continued until the Ki-18 was badly damaged in alanding accident.

Opinions by those who flew the aircraft were that stability and control could be improved but no changes were made. However, while the Ki-18 was being evaluated at the Akeno Flying School, it gained excellent marks in every respect and it was requested that further models be produced. The Akeno recomendations were countered by the Air Technical Research Institute expressing dissatisfaction with the engine which it termed unreliable. Supporting this claim, the senior organisation, Army Air Headquarters, concluded that the Ki-18 had insufficient performance for acceptance as an Army fighter. Therefore, a new competition would be staged, inviting three aircraft companies to participate. Thus, the Ki-18 ended with only one aircraft, to the astonishment of Mitsubishi, because of the dissatisfaction expressewd by the Air Headquarters, while this same aircraft was considered a revolutionary fighter for the Japanese Navy.

Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Jukogyo KK (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Co Ltd).
Type: Single-engine fighter.
Crew (1): Pilot in open cockpit.
Powerplant: One 600 hp Nakajima Kotobuki 5 nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, driving a two-blade fixed-pitch wooden propeller.
Armament: Two fixed forward-firing 7.7 mm Type 89 machine-guns.
Dimensions: Span 11 m (36 ft 1 3/16 in) length 7.655 m (25 ft 1 1/4 in) height 3.15 m (10 ft 4 in) wing area 17.8 sq m (191.603 sq ft).
Weights: Empty 1,110 kg (2,447 lb) loaded 1,422 kg ( 3,135 lb) wing loading 79.9 kg/sq m (16.3 lb/sq ft) power loading 2.6 kg/hp (5.2 lb/hp).
Performance: Maximum speed 444 kh/h (276 mph) at 3,050 m (10,000 ft) landing speed 112 km/h (70 mph) climb to 5,000 m (16,404 ft) in 6 min 26 sec.
Production: A single Ki-18 prototype was built by Mitsubishi Jukogyo KK in 1935.

The photo was taken from Japanese Aircraft 1910-1941, by Robert C Mikesh & Shorzoe Abe.

Post by Robert Hurst » 02 Jul 2003, 15:22

Acknowledging the experience that both Nakajima and Mitsubishi had accumulated with designing twin-engined aircraft, the Army contracted with both companies in 1935 to develop a modern heavy bomber to replace the Mitsubishi Ki-1 Army Type 93 Heavy Bomber of 1933 vintage. With this order came a chnage whereby the military issued pre-contractual specifications that were to be met in creating new designs.

Among the requirements issued in February 1936 were: maximum speed 399 km/h (248 mph) at 3,000 m (9,842 ft) climb to that altitude in less than 8 minutes take-off in less than 300 m (984 ft) normal operating altitude from 2,000 m (6,561 ft) to 4,000 m (13,123 ft) and endurance of more than five hours at 299 km/h (186 mph) at 3,000 m (9,842 ft). Structural strength was specified as well, including a load factor of 6 while at high angle of attack, and 4 while in a glide. Minimum bomb load for short-range missions was to be 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) with a variety of load configurations. Loaded, the bomber was to have a weight of less than 6,400 kg (14,109 lb). Other specified requirements were a crew of from four to six engines to be either the Nakajima Ha-5 or Mitsubishi Ha-6 and three gun positions (nose, dorsal and ventral, each with one flexible 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-gun). The Hi-2 (Type 94) or Hi-5 radio, and other details were also specified.

Rightfully selected for the design team were Ken-ichi Matsumura as chief designer, assisted by Setsuro Nishimura and Toshio Matsuda, all of whom had previous twin-engined design experience on the Nakajima-Douglas DC-2 commercial airliner project, and the short-lived LB-2 long-range attack bomber project for the Navy.

The Ki-19, two prototypes of which were built by Nakajima, was a mid-wing cantilever monoplane of all-metal construction with fabric-covered control surfaces. Embodying the latest innovations in bomber design, this aircraft had a bomb-bay within a very streamlined fuselage as opposed to carrying the bombs externally. Its cantilever wing was mounted at mid-level on the fuselage, and a Douglas-type hydraulically-operated retractable undercarriageand split-flaps were used.

Performance testing by the Army Air Technical Research Institute with the competing Mitsubishi Ki-21 entries lasted from March to May 1937 at Tachikawa. From there, the evaluation process moved to the Army's main bomber base at Hamamatsu for bombing and other operational testing which began in June that year. The evaluators closely studied the engines as well as the airframe and performance. Not completely satisfied with the combinations of airframe and engines, although the Mitsubishi Ki-21 airframe and Nakajima engines had been selected, the Army ordered two additional Ki-19 prototypes from Nakajima to be powered by the Mitsubishi Ha-6, and two prototypes of the Mitsubishi Ki-21 to be powered by Nakajima Ha-5 engines.

Prototypes from the two companies were almost identical in performance, but the Army officially selected the Mitsubishi Ki-21 as the Army Type 97 heavy Bomber considering that the Nakajima Ha-5 was the more reliable engine in spite of its poor reputation for reliability. Nakajima havin glost the Army contract, converted the fourth prototype, one of those powered by the Mitsubishi Ha-6, into a civil aircraft and in April 1939 gave it the new designation N-19. It was commonly refreed to as the N-19 Long-Range Communications Aircraft and sold to the Dmei Tsushin-sha (Domei Press Co), registered J-BACN and named Domei No.2.

Manufacturer: Nakajima Hikoki KK (Nakajima Aeroplane Co Ltd).
Type: Twin-engine heavy bomber.
Crew (5): Pilot, co-pilot, navigator/bombardier, radio-operator/gunner and gunner.
Powerplant: Two 890 hp Nakajima Ha-5 fourteen-cylinder double-row air-cooled radial engine, driving Hamilton Standard controllable-pitch metal propellers.
Armament: Three flexible 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-guns in nose, dorsal and ventral positions. Bombload of 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) for short-range missions.
Dimensions: Span 22 m (72 ft 2 in) length 15 m (49 ft 2 1/2 in) height 3.65 m (11 ft 11 3/4 in) wing area 62.694 sq m (674.854 sq ft).
Weights:* Empty 4,750 kg (10,472 lb) loaded 7,150 kg (15,763 lb) wing loading 113.5 kg/sq m (23.3 lb/sq ft) power loading 4.1 kg/hp (9.1 lb/hp).
Performance:* Maximum speed 351.9 km/h (218.6 mph) cruising speed 300 km/h (186.42 mph) range 4,000 km (2,845 miles).
Production: A total of four prototypes were built by Nakajima Hikoki KK between 1937-1938.

* Note: Weights and performance are for N-19 with Ha-6 engines.

The photo was taken from Japanese Aircraft 1910-1941, by Robert C Mikesh & Shorzoe Abe.

Post by Robert Hurst » 02 Jul 2003, 16:24

In order to meet an Army order to manufacture a bomber version of the, then, very large Junkers G.38 passenger aircraft, Mitsubishi entered into a contract with Junkers in September 1928 to obtain design data, working drawings, manufacturing techniques and production rights. Germany at that time was forbidden to build military aircraft, but, as the K.51, the G.38 could be converted into a bomber for export. Features could be designed into the basic aircraft for the purchaser, such as armament and internal systems to meet Japanese Army requirements. Accordingly, the Junkers K.51 design became in Japan the Ki-20, a retroactive designation made long after its existence. The intended, but very secret, purpose was for the bomber to be capable of attacking the fortified Island of Corregidor at the emtrance to Manila Bay from the Japanese airfield at Pintung in Formosa (Taiwan), a need that did not materialise until thirteen years later. This Junkers technology introduced Mitsubishi to entirely new design and manufacturing methods.

Nobushiro Nakara, soon to be the chief designer for this project, and Kyonosuke Ohki were sent by Mitsubishi to Germany in 1928 to study the design and prepare for its manufacture in Japan. In December of that year, engineer Yonezo Mitsunawa and chief mechanic Tsunetaro Ishihama went to Junkers to study manufacturing techniques, while engineer Keisuke Ohtsuka purchased the necessary machines, tools, jigs and materials in Germany in April 1930. From Germany came a team of engineers led by Eugene Harbard Schade to assist with manufacture. Representitives of the Japanese Army, included Col. Kozumi as chief, with engineers Kuranishi, Ando, Lt. Matsumura and others to assist.

The Ki-20 was a large four-engined mid-wing monoplane with a non-retractable undercarriage with tandem wheels and a biplane tail with triple fins. Construction was of all-metal corrugated stressed-skin structure. When production began, the first and second aircraft were built with components imported from Germany, the third included only a proportion of imported components, but the remaining aircraft were of all-Japanese manufacture.

The Ki-20's defensive armament, formidable for the period comprised a total of eight 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine guns and one 20 mm (0.79 in) cannon. The layout of this formidable array was as follows: Two 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine-guns in an open bow-gunner's cockpit, one dorsal mounted 20 mm (0.79 in) cannon on top of the fuselage, two underwing turrets each with a single 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine-gun and two upper wing turrets each with two 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine-guns, these blending into the rear portions of the two outboard engine nacelles. Bombs were carried under the fuselage on external racks. The standard bomb load was 2,000 kg (4,409 lb) with a claimed maximum of 5,000 kg (11,023 lb).

The first aircraft was completed in 1931 and flown from Kagamigahara under conditions of extreme secrecy which prevailed for nearly the entire life of the aircraft. The first four aircraft were powered by four 800 hp Junkers L-88 petrol engines, and the last two by 720 hp Junkers Jumo 204 diesels. Power arrangements varied from time to time, such as installing two Junkers L-88s inboard and two Junkers Jumo 204s outboard. Later Kawasaki Ha-9 were installed for trials to further develop the aircraft for long-range bomber missions. But by the time these tests were concluded the Army realised that the performance of these heavy, slow, ungainly aircraft with their chronic engine problems, fell far short of expectations for a long-range strategic bomber capable of attacking targets as far away as the Philippines.

These were enormous aircraft for their day, with a huge bat-like wing which spanned nearly one-metre more than the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. In terms of wing area (which was almost double that of the B-29) the Ki-20 was the largest aircraft ever built in Japan. It was one of the largest landplanes at that time, and because of this caused considerable problems especially if assigned to operational units in unprepared forward areas. Although the aircraft was flown both in Japan and Manchuria, they were never used in combat instead they were used for research and domestic propaganda purposes. Their first public demonstration was not until January 1940, when three appeared during a formation fly-past over Tokyo, having taken-off from Tachikawa Airfield. When taken out of service soon after, they were displayed at various defence exhibitions and amusement parks. The last was stored in the Aviation Memorial Hall at Tokorozawa where it survived with other rare types until the end of the Pacific War.

Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Kokuki KK (Mitsubishi Aircraft Co Ltd).
Type: Four-engine long-range heavy bomber.
Crew (10): Capt, two pilots, bombardier/nose gunner, flight engineer/top gunner, radio operator/top gunner and four wing gunners.
Powerplant: Four 800 hp Junkers L-88 twelve-cylinder vee liquid-cooled engines, or four 750 hp Type Ju (Ju 204) twelve-cylinder vertically-opposed liquid-cooled diesel engines, driving four-blade wood propellers.
Armament: See text.
Dimensions: Span 44 m (144 ft 4 1/4 in) length 23.20 m ( 76 ft 1 1/2 in) height 7 m (22 ft 11 3/4 in) wing area 294 sq m (3,164.693 sq ft).
Weights: Empty 14,912 kg (32,875 lb) loaded 25,448 kg (56,103 lb) wing loading 86.6 kg/sq m (17.7 lb/sq ft) power loading 7.96 kg/hp (17.5 lb/hp).
Performance: Maximum speed 200 km/h (124 mph).
Production: A total of six Ki-20s were built by Mitsubishi Kokuki KK as follows: No.1 April 1931-March 1932, Nos.2 and 3 April 1932-March 1933, No.4 April 1933-March 1934 and Nos. 5 and 6 April 1934-March 1935.

The photos were taken from Japanese Aircraft 1910 to 1941, by Robert C Mikesh & Shorzoe Abe.

Post by Robert Hurst » 05 Jul 2003, 11:50

The Ki-21 was designed by Mitsubishi in answer to a specification asking for a twin-engined heavy bomber to replace the Army Type 92 Heavy Bomber (Mitsubishi Ki-20) and the Army Type 93 Heavy Bomber (Mitsubishi Ki-1) which had been issued on 15 February, 1936, by the Koku Hombu. Requirements included: (1) operating altitude, 2,000 to 4,000 m (6,560 to 13,125 ft) (2) endurance, over five hours at 300 km/h (186 mph) (3) maximum speed, 400 km/h (248.5 mph) at 3,000 m (9,845 ft) (4) climb to 3,000 m (9,845 ft) in 8 min (5) take-off run, less than 300 m (985 ft) and (6) engines, two 850 hp Nakajima Ha-5 or two 825 hp Mitsubishi Ha-6 radials. The aircraft was required to be operated by a normal crew of four, with two extra seats made available for additional gunners as required. Defensive armament was to consist of no less than three flexible machine-guns in nose, dorsal and ventral positions, and with full fuel load, bomb-load was to equal 750 kg (1,653 lb) while maximum bomb-load for short range missions was to be 1,000 kg (2,205 lb).

Credited to a team led by engineers Nakata and Ozawa, the two Ki-21 prototypes were completed at Mitsubishi's 5th Airframe Works at Nagoya in December 1936. Powered by two 825 hp Mitsubishi Ha-6 radials driving variable-pitch propellers, the two aircraft were all-metal cantilever monoplanes with wings set at mid-fuselage above the ventral bomb-bay and were characterised by an angular glazed nose housing the bomb-aimer's position and a 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-gun movable only in the vertical axis. The second Ki-21 prototype differed from the first in the design of its dorsal turret, a long greenhouse replacing the semi-hemispherical turret which generated excessive drag. A third flexible 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-gun firing towards the rear was mounted in the ventral step. Commencing on 18 December, 1936, when the first Ki-21 made its maiden flight, the two aircraft were used in the manufacturer's flight test programme until March 1937 when both aircraft were pitted against the first two Ha-5 powered Nakajima Ki-19s. A third competitive design, the Kawasaki Ki-22 had been submitted in answer to the specification of 15 February, 1936, but had not been approved for prototype construction. The competitive evaluation of the Ki-21 and Ki-19 culminated in June 1937 with bombing trials held at Hamamatsu. The Ki-21 was credited with superior performance and lighter wing loading but the Ki-19 had more reliable engines, better flight characteristics and offered a more suitable bombing platform. Consequently, the Koku Hombu ordered additional prototypes of both types and Mitsubishi were instructed to use the 850 hp Nakajima Ha-5 engines, rated at 950 hp for take-off, and 1,080 hp at 4,000 m (13,125 ft), and to improve the flight characteristics of their Ki-21.

The photos were taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon.

Post by Robert Hurst » 05 Jul 2003, 11:51

The third Ki-21, the first to be powered by a pair of 850 hp Nakajima Ha-5s, featured a hemispherical nose housing a 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-gun on a ball-and-socket mounting and had a redesigned rear fuselage without ventral step. Directional stability, particularly important during the bombing run, was improved with the fitting of redesigned vertical tail surfaces. When a new series of competitive trials against the Ki-19 were held at Tachikawa, the Ki-21 so modified easily won a production order, and the last five Ki-21 prototypes actually became Service trials aircraft, and were used for testing operational equipment. The initial production model, the Ki-21-Ia, ordered in 1937 as the Army Type 97 Heavy Bomber Model IA was externally identical to the Ha-5 powered prototypes but featured an increase in fuel tank capacity from 1,840 litres (405 Imp gal) to 2,635 litres (580 Imp gal). Beginning in the spring of 1938 Mitsubishi built 143 aircraft of this type ( Ki-21 c/ns 9 to 151). A produciton order for the Ki-21 had also been awarded to Nakajima Hikoki KK which, between August 1938 and February 1941, built a total of 315 Ki-21-Ia, Ki-21-Ib and Ki-21-Ic aircraft. These last two versions of the Ki-21 were developed by Mitsubishi to overcome the weakness of the aircraft's defensive armament and lack of fuel tank protection which had become painfully clear when the 60th and 61st Sentais had been sent to China with their Ki-21-Ias in the summer of 1938.

The Ki-21-Ib retained the same three flexible Type 89 machine-guns in the nose, dorsal and ventral positions, and was also armed with a similar machine-gun firing through lateral openings on either side of the rear fuselage. A fifth 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-gun was mounted as a 'stinger' in the extreme tail of the aircraft, this remotely-controlled gun installation having previously been tested on the fifth prototype. The 120 Mitsubishi-built (Ki-21 c/ns 152 to 271) Army Type 97 Heavy Bomber Model IB, like the Nakajima-built Ki-21-Ibs, had their fuel tanks partially protected by laminated rubber sheets. Other modifications incorporated in the Ki-21-Ib included an enlarged bomb-bay, larger landing flaps, and new horizontal tail surfaces with a total area increased from 10.82 sq m (116.465 sq ft) to 11.32 sq m (121.847 sq ft). The Ki-21-Ic, of which Mitsubishi built 160 (Ki-21 c/ns 272 to 431), received an additional lateral machine-gun, and an auxiliary fuel tank with a capacity of 500 litres (110 Imp gal) could be fitted in the rear bpmb-bay. When this tank was installed four 50 kg (110 lb) bombs were carried externally. Since the Ki-21 had been designed its weight had steadily increased and larger main wheels had to be installed on the Ki-21-Ic. In service the Ki-21-Ib and -Ic replaced the earlier version in front-line units operating in northern China and Manchuria, and the Ki-21-Ias were assigned to training units and bomber sentais retained in Japan.

The photos were taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon.

Post by Robert Hurst » 07 Jul 2003, 15:07

Fighting a war in China, the Japanese Army found themselves critically short of transport aircraft, and pending delivery of the Ki-57, it was decided to modify some of the Ki-21-Ias taken out of front-line bomber units as freight transports for service with Dai Nippon Koku KK (Greater Japan Air Lines Co Ltd) on their military contract routes between Japan, Manchuria and China. Designated MC-21, these aircraft had all armament and military equipment removed but, initially at least, retained the bomber's glazed nose and dorsal greenhouse. Although primarily used as a freighter, the MC-21 could be fitted if necessary with nine troop seats in a primitive cabin. Starting in February 1940 with J-BFOA Hiei, a small number of MC-21s were delivered to Dai Nippon Koku KK. Later these aircraft were further modified by replacing the glazed nose with a metal fairing. Other Ki-21-Is were similarly modified in the field to serve as communication and hack aircraft with various Army commands.

The photos were taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon.

Post by Robert Hurst » 07 Jul 2003, 15:36

In the light of negligible Chinese Air Force opposition, the Ki-21-Ib and -Ic were quite effective but, preparing themselves for a bigger conflict, in November 1939 the Japanese Army instructed Mitsubishi to increase the aircraft's speed and ceiling. The first Ki-21-Ic (Ki-21-I c/n 272) was chosen as development aircraft for the advanced version of the Army Type 97 Heavy Bomber, and was powered by two 1,450 hp Mitsubishi Ha-101 fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radials, rated at 1,500 hp at take-off and 1,340 hp at 4,600 m (15,090 ft). A complete redesign of the engine nacelles was necessary to house the Ha-101, which had larger diameter propellers than the Ha-5, and fully enclose the undercarriage. The armament, fuel tank arrangement and other systems remained unchanged but the area of the horizontal tail surfaces was further increased from 11.32 sq m (121.847 sq ft) to 13.16 sq m (141.653 sq ft). Flight trials of the modified aircraft, the Ki-21-II, began in March 1940, and led to a produciton order as the Army Type 97 Heavy Bomber Model 2A (Ki-21-IIa). Commencing in December 1940 with the delivery of four Service trials machines, the Ki-21-IIa supplemented the earlier versions in front-line units and at the start of the Pacific War most Army jubaku sentais (heavy bomber groups) had converted to this variant.

When the war against the Allies started, the Japanese Army air units were assigned the primary task of supporting the invasion of Thailand, Burma (Myanmar)and Malaya (Malaysia) while maintaining constant pressure against the Chinese. On the first day of the war the 3rd Hikoshidan (Air Division) operating from bases in French Indo-China (Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos) had three Jubaku Sentais with 87 of the Army Type 97 Heavy Bombers on strength and some of these aircraft were first deployed in support of the landings at Kota Bharu. During the following seven months the Ki-21-IIs supported Army ground operations in Southeast Asia and the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia), and played an important part in the fall of Hong Kong and Rangoon. Initiallly facing obsolete Allied aircraft the Ki-21-IIs proved quite successful but, when pitted against RAF Hurricanes and P-40s of the American Voluteer Group over Burma and China, losses increased sharply.

To remedy the chronic weakness of the defensive armament, the long dorsal greenhouse, offering only a limited field of fire to the dorsal machine-gun, was eliminated starting with the Ki-21 c/n 1026. To replace this hand-held machine-gun Mitsubishi designed a large conical turret housing a 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Type I machine-gun. With the installation of this turret - operated by bicycle pedals with chain-drive for gun traverse - the aircraft was redesignated Army Type 97 Heavy Bomber Model 2B or Ki-21-IIb, and late production aircraft of this variant were characterised by the replacement of the exhaust collector ring with individual exhaust stacks offering some thrust augmentation. Mitsubishi delivered 688 Ki-21-IIbs bringing total produciton of all Ki-21s, including prototypes and Nakajima-built aircraft to 2,064.

During the early war years the Ki-21 was one of the best-known Japanse aircraft and it received one of the original code names: 'Jane' after General MacArthur's wife. As the famous general did not appreciate this form of compliment the code name was quickly changed to 'Sally'. Later, the absence of the long dorsal greenhouse - one of 'Sally's' main recognition features - led Allied intelligence to identify the Ki-21-IIb as a new type of Japanese bomber which accordingly received the code name 'Gwen'. When the aircraft was properly identified as being merely a version of the Ki-21 it was renamed 'Sally 3', 'Sally 1' referring to the Ha-5 powered models and 'Sally 2' to the Ha-101 powered Ki-21-IIa. Whether known as 'Gwen' or 'Sally 3', the Ki-21-IIb was met by Allied forces from New Guinea to India and China. By 1943, the Ki-21-II equipped jubaku sentais outnumbered two-to-one the Ki-49 equipped units and the Army Type 97 Heavy Bomber carried the brunt of the Japanese offensive air actions against Calcutta. Other Ki-21-II Sentais fought gallantly to slow down the Allied advance from New Guinea to the Philippines but, with their fighter escort being outnumbered and being hunted on the ground by Allied fighter sweeps, their losses were very high. Fortunately for the Army, at long last a replacement for the Ki-21 was becoming available and the Army Type 97 Heavy Bombers began to be phased-out of operations during the last year of the war. At the time of the Japanese surrender only the 58th Sentai still operated the Ki-21 in its original role and most remaining aircraft were being used as communication or headquarters aircraft or for special missions. One such mission was the commando attack on Yontan airfield, Okinawa, on which one out of nine Ki-21-IIbs despatched by the 3rd Dokuritsu Hikotai (Independent Wing) managed to crash-land near parked US aircraft and suppy dumps, considerable damage being inflicted by the fanatical commandos.

The Mitsubishi Ki-21 had contributed more than any other aircraft to bringing the air branch of the Army to parity of equipment with other air forces. However, the inability of the Japanese aircraft industry to provide in time an adequate successor to the Ki-21 forced the use of the aircraft beyond its planned operational career. During the latter part of the war, despite its obsolescence, the Ki-21 was still liked by its crews for its pleasant handling characteristics and ease of maintenance and was preferred to the more modern Nakajima Ki-49.

Photos were taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, Rener J Francillon.

Post by Robert Hurst » 08 Jul 2003, 12:19

7th, 12th, 14th, 58th, 60th, 61st, 62nd, 92nd, 94th, 95th and 98th Sentais. 3rd Dokuritsu Hikotai. 22nd Hikodan. 1st, 5th and 8th Hikoshidan Shireibu Hikodan. Hamamatsu Army Bomber Flying School.

Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Jukogyo KK (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Co Ltd).
Type: Twin-engine heavy bomber.
Crew (5+2): Pilot, co-pilot, navigator/bombardier, radio-operator/gunner and gunner. Two additional gunners could be carried when required.
Powerplant: (1st & 2nd Ki-21 prototypes) Two 825 hp Mitsubishi Ha-6 fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radials, driving three-blade variable-pitch metal propellers (3rd-8th Ki-21 prototypes, Ki-21-I and MC-21) Two 850 hp Army Type 97 (Nakajima Ha-5 KAI) fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radials, driving three-blade variable-pitch metal propellers (Ki-21-II) Two 1,450 hp Army Type 100 (Mitsubisji Ha-101) fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radials, driving thre-blade constant speed metal propellers.
Armament: (Prototypes and Ki-21-Ia) One flexible 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-gun in each of nose, ventral and dorsal positions (Ki-21-Ib) One flexible 7.7 mm Type 89 machine-gun in each of nose, ventral and dorsal positions. One flexible 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-gun in a tail stinger and one flexible 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-gun firing from either side of the fuselage (Ki-21-Ic and Ki-21-IIa) One flexible 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-guns in each of nose, ventral, dorsal, tail and port and starboard beam positions (Ki-21-IIb) One flexible 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-guns in each of nose, ventral, tail and port and starboard beam positions and one 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Type 1 machine-gun in dorsal turret. Bomb-load - normal 750 kg (1,653 lb) maximum 1,000 kg (2,205 lb).
Dimensions: (Ki-21-Ia) Span 22.5 m (73 ft 9 13/16 in) length 16 m (52 ft 5 29/32 in) height 4.35 m (14 ft 3 13/32 in) wing area 69.6 sq m (749.165 sq ft). (Ki-21-IIb) Span 22.5 m (73 ft 9 13/16 in) length 16 m (52 ft 5 29/32 in) height 4.85 m (15 ft 10 15/16 in) wing area 69.6 sq m (749.165 sq ft).
Weights: (Ki-21-Ia) Empty 4,691 kg (10,342 lb) loaded 7,492 kg (16,517 lb) maximum 7,916 kg (17,452 lb) wing loading 107.6 kg/sq m (22 lb/sq ft) power loading3.9 kg/hp (8.7 lb/hp). (Ki-21-IIb) Empty 6,070 kg (13,382 lb) loaded 9,710 kg (21,407 lb) maximum 10,610 kg (23,391 lb) wing loading 139.5 kg/sq m (28.6 lb/sq ft) power loading 3.2 kg/hp (7.1 lb/hp).
Performance: (Ki-21-Ia) Maximum speed 432 km/h (268 mph) at 4,000 m (13,125 ft) climb to 5,000 m (16,405 ft) in 13 min 55 sec service ceiling 8,600 m (28,215 ft) range - normal 1,500 km (932 miles) maximum 2,700 km (1,680 miles). (Ki-21-IIb) Maximum speed 486 km/h (302 mph) at 4,720 m (15,485 ft) cruising speed 380 km/h (236 mph) at 5,000 m (16,405 ft) climb to 6,000 m (19,685 ft) in 13 min 13 sec service ceiling 10,000 m (32,810 ft) range - maximum 2,700 km (1,680 miles).
Production: A total of 2,064 Ki-21s were built by Mitsubishi Jukogyo KK at Nagoya and Nakajima Hikoki KK at Ota as follows:

8 prototypes and Service trials aircraft - November 1936-March 1938
143 Ki-21-Ia production aircraft - March 1938-1939
120 Ki-21-Ib production aircraft - 1939-1940
160 Ki-21-Ic production aircraft - 1940
4 Ki-21-II Service trials aircraft - December 1940
590 Ki-21-IIa production aircraft - December 1940-1942
688 Ki-21-IIb production aircraft - 1942-September 1944

351 Ki-21-Ia,-Ib and -Ic production aircraft - August 1938-February 1941

An unknown number of Ki-21-Is were modified as transport aircraft under the designation MC-21.

The photo was taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon.

Post by Robert Hurst » 08 Jul 2003, 16:50

In 1934, the Army had issued a specification calling for a replacement type for the Army Type 92 (Kawasaki KDA-5) Fighter, then standard equipment for the fighter units. In answer to this specification Kawasaki submitted the Ki-10, a refinement of their older biplane, and Nakajima entered the Ki-11, wire-braced low-wing monoplane inspired by the Boeing P-26. Although powered by a Nakajima Ha-8 with a maximum rating of only 640 hp versus the 800 hp rating of the Kawasaki Ha-9-II of the Ki-10, the Ki-11 was considerably faster. However, the Service pilots were not yet ready for such novelties as low-wing monoplanes and enclosed cockpits, and the Ki-10, more manouevrable and faster climbing than the Ki-11, was selected for production as the Army Type 95 Fighter and became the JAAF's last combat biplane.

Nakajima, despite their failure to obtain a production contract for the Ki-11, had acquired enough test data with this aircraft and the Ki-12, an experimental low-wing monoplane powered by a liquid-cooled Hispano-Suiza 12Ycrs with hub-mounted cannon, to be satisfied with the potential of the monoplane fighter configuration and to embark on their own on the design of a more advanced machine, the Type PE. The PE design was still in its early phase when, in June 1935, the Koku Hombu instructed Mitsubishi, Kawasaki and Nakajima each to build two prototypes of advanced fighter aircraft.

Nakajima's wisdom in pursuing the development of the monoplane fighter was vindicated when Kawasaki submitted their Ki-28 low-wing cantilever monoplane powered by an 800 hp Kawasaki Ha-9-IIa liquid-cooled engine, while Mitsubishi submitted the Ki-33, a version of their A5M monoplane then being manufactured for the JNAF as the Navy Type 96 Carrier Fighter. In the meantime, Nakajima had decided as a private venture to carry on with the design of the Type PE and to enter in the forthcoming competition a development of this machine which received the military designation Ki-27.

The single Type PE produced was completed in July 1936 and was followed in October 1936 by the first prototype Ki-27. Both machines, designed by T Koyama, were low-wing cantilever monoplanes each powered by a 650 hp Nakajima Ha-1a radial, rated at 710 hp for take-off and 650 hp at 2,000 m (6,560 ft), and fitted with fixed spatted undercarriages they differed in minor details affecting the design of the cowling, canopy, vertical tail surfaces and wheel spats. The Type PE was retained by Nakajima and provided useful information which was incorporated in the prototype Ki-27 during its construction.

Before its retirement, the Type PE was also used to flight test the 'butterfly' combat flaps which Nakajima used with considerable success to improve the manoeuvrability of their wartime fighters. In designing the Type PE and the Ki-27, T Koyama had selected an extremely light structure and made use of a new aerofoil section developed by Nakajima which gave the aircraft its remarkable manoeuvrability.

The top photo was taken from The Complete Book of Fighters, by William Green & Gordon Swanborough, the centre photo was taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon, and the bottom photo was taken from Warplanes of the Second World War Fighters Vol 3, by William Green.

Mission history

The Ki-45 was initially used as a long-range escort fighter. In June 1942 attacks on Guilin were flown with Ki-45s , where they encountered the superior P-40s of the Flying Tigers . In September of the same year they also met P-40 via Hanoi , with a similar result. This made it clear that the Ki-45 could not hold its own against single-engine fighters in aerial combat.

Then it was used in various places as an interceptor, attack aircraft against ground and ship targets and for naval defense. Its suitability as an interceptor against bombers turned out to be its greatest strength . In New Guinea , the Air Force of the Imperial Japanese Army used the Ki-45, heavily armed with one 37 mm and two 20 mm cannons and two 250 kg bombs under the wings, to combat ships. In total, 1701 Ki-45s of all versions were built during the war.

The first version ( Ko ), which went into production, was equipped with two 12.7 mm machine guns in the bow , a 20 mm cannon under the fuselage and a movable 7.92 mm machine gun in the rear cockpit . It was followed by the Otsu , in which the 20-mm guns were exchanged for a 37-mm anti-tank gun for combating B-17 bombers. The enormous firepower that resulted was bought at the cost of the manual reloading required for this cannon with a low rate of fire of only two rounds per minute. The next version ( Hei ) therefore received the 20 mm cannon under the fuselage as well as a 37 mm cannon in the bow that was now automatically reloading. Later, instead of the 20 mm cannon under the fuselage, a two-barrel 20 mm cannon was installed behind the cockpit.

Soon after commissioning, the Ki-45 was assigned to Home Defense, and some were assigned but not deployed for use against the Doolittle Raid . The heavy armament proved effective against the attacks with the B-29 Superfortress that began in June 1944 However, the Ki-45s were barely able to reach the B-29, which were flying at an altitude of around 10,000 m. Modifications, such as reducing the fuel supply or reducing armament, were of little use. Finally one went over to ramming operations. In 1945 some successes against nocturnal bombers could be achieved with the forward and upward pointing weapons, but the lack of radars made things very difficult. The career of the Ki-45 ended in the spring of 1945 with the appearance of the American carrier aircraft and the P-51 stationed on Iwo Jima , which escorted the B-29 over Japan.

The machines of the next version, the Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc, were specially developed for night fighters , in which a radar should be installed in the bow tip. However, problems in production prevented this. Four "Sentai" were still equipped with this version in order to defend the Japanese home islands in night operations from autumn 1944 until the end of the war. They achieved good results. With a Sentai, eight B-29s were shot down on its first mission and 150 more aerial victories were achieved.

Kawasaki disease: A brief history

Tomisaku Kawasaki published the first English-language report of 50 patients with Kawasaki disease (KD) in 1974. Since that time, KD has become the leading cause of acquired heart disease among children in North America and Japan. Although an infectious agent is suspected, the cause remains unknown. However, significant progress has been made toward understanding the natural history of the disease and therapeutic interventions have been developed that halt the immune-mediated destruction of the arterial wall. We present a brief history of KD, review progress in research on the disease, and suggest avenues for future study. Kawasaki saw his first case of KD in January 1961 and published his first report in Japanese in 1967. Whether cases existed in Japan before that time is currently under study. The most significant controversy in the 1960s in Japan was whether the rash and fever sign/symptom complex described by Kawasaki was connected to subsequent cardiac complications in a number of cases. Pathologist Noboru Tanaka and pediatrician Takajiro Yamamoto disputed the early assertion of Kawasaki that KD was a self-limited illness with no sequelae. This controversy was resolved in 1970 when the first Japanese nationwide survey of KD documented 10 autopsy cases of sudden cardiac death after KD. By the time of the first English-language publication by Kawasaki in 1974, the link between KD and coronary artery vasculitis was well-established. KD was independently recognized as a new and distinct condition in the early 1970s by pediatricians Marian Melish and Raquel Hicks at the University of Hawaii. In 1973, at the same Hawaiian hospital, pathologist Eunice Larson, in consultation with Benjamin Landing at Los Angeles Children's Hospital, retrospectively diagnosed a 1971 autopsy case as KD. The similarity between KD and infantile periarteritis nodosa (IPN) was apparent to these pathologists, as it had been to Tanaka earlier. What remains unknown is the reason for the simultaneous recognition of this disease around the world in the 1960s and 1970s. There are several possible explanations. KD may have been a new disease that emerged in Japan and emanated to the Western World through Hawaii, where the disease is prevalent among Asian children. Alternatively, KD and IPN may be part of the spectrum of the same disease and clinically mild KD masqueraded as other diseases, such as scarlet fever in the preantibiotic era. Case reports of IPN from Western Europe extend back to at least the 19th century, but, thus far, cases of IPN have not been discovered in Japan before World War II. Perhaps the factors responsible for KD were introduced into Japan after the World War II and then reemerged in a more virulent form that subsequently spread through the industrialized Western world. It is also possible that improvements in health care and, in particular, the use of antibiotics to treat infections caused by organisms including toxin-producing bacteria reduced the burden of rash/fever illness and allowed KD to be recognized as a distinct clinical entity. Itsuzo Shigematsu, Hiroshi Yanagawa, and colleagues have conducted 14 nationwide surveys in Japan. These have indicated that: 1) KD occurred initially in nationwide epidemics but now occurs in regional outbreaks 2) there are approximately 5,000 to 6,000 new cases each year 3) current estimates of incidence rates are 120 to 150 cases per 100,000 children <5 years old 4) KD is 1.5 times more common in males and 85% of cases occur in children <5 years old and 5) the recurrence rate is low (4%). In 1978, David Morens at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a case definition based on Kawasaki's original criteria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed a computerized database in 1984, and a passive reporting system currently exists in 22 states. Regional investigations and national surveys suggest an annual incidence of 4 to 15 cases per 100 000 children <5 years o

1990-2001 Ninja ZX-11

If you're my age (a young looking 40-something, but I can play a world weary 30-something) this is the bike that sticks in your mind. Kawasaki built one of the all-around fastest, easiest to ride, predictable, and comfortable road burners in 1990 with the introduction of the ZX-11, and kept making it with minor improvements for more than ten years.

You may think they were lazy, or resting on their laurels, or decided 175mph was as fast as anyone needed to go, but you can’t argue with the fact that for six of those years, there was nothing faster on two wheels. Stock ZX-11s could run the 1/4 mile in 10 seconds and change at over 130mph with a skilled rider.

One of the great things about the ZX-11 is that it is all day comfortable, and can cruise at arrestable speeds with a two-up and with soft luggage until you run out of gas. The motor’s 145hp is as much as anyone will likely ever need, and it comes with a wide powerband and loads of torque. Excellent condition early bikes go for just $3,000 and good ones for $1,700. The 1993 and later bikes were slightly improved, and excellent condition ones go for $4,500 though oddly enough, good ones sell for just $1,300.


represents a technological enterprise whose activities range from large-scale, international projects to items used in daily life and for recreation. And at every step, Kawasaki pays the utmost attention to humankind and the environment. The past 120 years of innovation has enabled Kawasaki to establish a firm foundation as a leading technological enterprise. Now, the company is fully prepared to welcome the new century and looks forward to playing a leading role in the advancement of humankind and to another century of innovation.

Public Company
Incorporated: 1896 as Kawasaki Dockyard Co., Ltd.
Employees: 29,651
Sales: $10.3 billion (2003)
Stock Exchanges: Tokyo Osaka Nagoya
Ticker Symbol: KWHIY
NAIC: 336412 Aircraft Engine and Engine Parts Manufacturing 333611 Gas Turbines (Except Aircraft) Manufacturing 541330 Industrial Engineering Services 336611 Ship Building and Repairing 336510 Railroad Rolling Stock Manufacturing 336991 Motorcycles and Parts Manufacturing 336312 Gasoline Engine and Engine Parts Manufacturing 332312 Fabricated Structural Metal Manufacturing 331111 Iron and Steel Mills 234930 Industrial Nonbuilding Structure Construction

Company Perspectives:
The corporate philosophy of the KHI Group is to draw on its broad base of advanced technologies to create new value in product offerings that work modern-day wonders on land, at sea, and in the air and contribute to economic and social development around the world. To attain the goals of its corporate philosophy, the fundamental management policy of the KHI Group is to work to increase customer satisfaction by providing superior products and services--differentiated by technology and the strength of the Kawasaki brand--that increase its enterprise value and respond to the expectations of its shareholders, customers, and employees and the communities it serves.

Key Dates:
1878: Shozo Kawasaki opens Kawasaki Tsukiji Shipyard in Tokyo to build Western-type oceangoing steel.
1886: Kawasaki moves operations to Hyogo and incorporates the company as Kawasaki Dockyard Co., Ltd. Kojiro Matsukata is appointed as the first president of the new company.
1896: Company goes public as Kawasaki Dockyard Co., Ltd.
1906: Kawasaki opens a new factory, Hyogo Works, to produce a variety of rolling stock--railroad cars, locomotives, and related parts.
1950: The company spins off its steel division as part of a broad restructuring.
1969: Kawasaki Aircraft Heavy Industries is created by the reintegration of Kawasaki Aircraft and Kawasaki Rolling Stock with the original parent, Kawasaki Dockyard.
1975: Kawasaki becomes the first Japanese motor vehicle producer to produce motorcycles in the United States.
2002: Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation and Kawasaki Precision Machinery Ltd. are established as wholly owned subsidiaries.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. was one of a handful of firms that helped propel Japan into the modern industrial world, playing a major role in the automobile, aircraft, power plant, and heavy-machinery industries as well as in shipbuilding. It was one of the world's leading shipbuilders for much of the 20th century, although in the latter half of the century it developed an equally strong reputation for its motorcycles and lawnmower engines. Long a diversified company, Kawasaki has survived numerous challenges to its shipbuilding business over the course of its history, from the drastic and apparently permanent slump that overtook the shipbuilding industry after the 1973 oil embargo, to the emergence of intense competition from South Korean shipbuilders. The company has managed to stay afloat amid these trends by continually evolving into a multifaceted manufacturer of rolling stock, aircraft, and industrial plants.

Late 19th-Century Company Origins

Shipbuilding gave Kawasaki its start in the world of heavy industry. When Japan emerged from two centuries of isolation in the mid-1800s, its first need as an island nation was to develop a modern shipbuilding industry. The Meiji government at first attempted to run its own shipping lines, but when that effort failed, the government offered considerable subsidies and favorable leasing terms to anyone who cared to try to imitate the sleek Western steamship designs. Shozo Kawasaki was only too eager to accept the challenge. Born in 1836, Kawasaki had survived two maritime disasters as a young man. He attributed his survival to the technical superiority of Western ships in which he had been sailing, and decided to devote his life to bringing such innovations to Japanese shipping. In April 1878, he accordingly borrowed ¥30,000 and leased harbor land in Tokyo from the Japanese government to begin his own shipbuilding company. Kawasaki hired a bright young engineer and opened for business, but he soon discovered that Japanese shipping lines were reluctant to abandon their ancient sailing vessels and traditional style of doing business. After a long wait the new firm finally received its first order, for the 80-ton Hokkai Maru, and Kawasaki invited thousands of business and government leaders to view its christening. This early venture succeeded in announcing the company's arrival in the burgeoning Japanese industrial sector.

Before long Kawasaki had as much work as he could handle. When the Meiji government began divesting major shipbuilding facilities, it offered one to Kawasaki, who happily moved his operations from Tokyo to Hyogo in 1886 and named the company Kawasaki Dockyard. With the Sino-Japanese War of 1894 spurring demand for ships, Kawasaki went public in 1896 as Kawasaki Dockyard Co., Ltd. Its first president was 31-year-old Kojiro Matsukata, and Kawasaki himself remained with the company only as an adviser. Matsukata immediately ordered the construction of a new, vastly larger dry dock, which, upon completion in 1902, solidified Kawasaki's position as one of Japan's leading shipbuilders. At the same time, Matsukata bought up adjacent land and began a series of larger construction slips, increasing the company's building capacity from 6,000 to 31,000 gross tons. Both moves enabled Kawasaki to take advantage of various state subsidies with which the Japanese government encouraged industrial growth, but in a country lacking an industrial economy, it remained difficult for Kawasaki to get materials and parts. In most cases company engineers had to manufacture whatever they needed themselves, an inefficient but educational method of building modern steamships.

Expansion and Diversification in the Early Decades of the 20th Century

In 1906 Kawasaki opened a new factory to produce a variety of rolling stock--railroad cars, locomotives, and related parts. This was only the first of a series of such diversifications. The firm was soon not only building ships and railroad cars but also supplying its own steel plates and castings, as well as taking orders for large civil-engineering projects such as bridges. By the end of World War I, Kawasaki had, in addition, established itself as a maker of airplanes and automobiles, as it sought to keep pace with its heavy-industry rival, Mitsubishi. Kawasaki turned the relative backwardness of the Japanese economy to its advantage: it used the government's enforced education in the industrial arts to expand into new technologies as they found their way to Japan. This process accounts for the breadth of Kawasaki's current interests, and is similar to the development of other Japanese heavy-industry giants.

In the meantime, Kawasaki's shipbuilding business flourished. In 1907 the company introduced its first marine turbine engine, and shortly thereafter adopted German diesel technology. A chunk of the company's business involved naval contracts, like the 1905 construction of Japan's first submarine and the 1910 delivery of a 5,000-ton cruiser. These projects solidified Kawasaki's relationship with the Japanese navy, and in particular its role as a leading builder of submarines and anti-submarine aircraft. After weathering a brief recession, Kawasaki and Japanese shipbuilding as a whole enjoyed a boom during World War I, when the Allies turned with increasing frequency to the Japanese for their shipping requirements. The jump in orders raised production to 12 times the prewar high, with Kawasaki finishing 35 ships in 1918 alone and creating an entirely new class of standardized freighters weighing between 6,000 and 9,000 tons each. These stock boats were highly successful.

The postwar recession in shipbuilding proved to be unusually harsh. In addition to the natural decline in orders, an Allied-sponsored arms-limitation agreement of 1921 forced the cancellation of several large warships still in Kawasaki docks. Perhaps worst of all was the company's failure to cut production of stock boats quickly enough. The excess boats were unsold, and despite rapidly expanding business in its steel, aircraft, and civil-engineering divisions Kawasaki was soon in serious financial trouble. A 1927 bank run left the company without working capital and forced a major restructuring: the rolling stock division was spun off as a separate entity about 20 percent of the company's 16,000 employees were permanently laid off, and longtime President Matsukata retired to be replaced by Fusanosuke Kojima. These decisions had no sooner been reached than the Depression struck in 1929, necessitating a second round of bank negotiations and corporate reductions.

War pulled Japan out of the Depression in 1931, when that country invaded Manchuria. Along with plentiful government subsidies, the growing need for warships quickly reinvigorated Kawasaki. Between 1937, when China was invaded, and the 1945 Japanese surrender, Kawasaki's employees produced 109 warships, including four aircraft carriers and 35 submarines. Midway through the war the Japanese government essentially took control of the shipbuilding industry, establishing a set of six standard warships to be built under their direction as needed. It was a period of intense productivity at Kawasaki, which also supplied the war effort with aircraft from the newly founded Kawasaki Aircraft Company. Merchant shipping picked up as well. Japan's need for oil spurred the introduction of what would later grow into the supertanker. Kawasaki had built 21 of these by the end of the war in August 1945.

Rapid Growth in the Postwar Era

Losses suffered by Kawasaki at war's end amounted to more than ¥1.7 billion, and the company once again required a major restructuring. It shed its steel division--which, as Kawasaki Steel Corporation, remains one of the country's foremost steel producers--and wrote off much of its debt. At this juncture Kawasaki was composed only of the shipbuilding, engine, and electrical machinery divisions of the original entity, with rolling stock, aircraft, and steel all operating as separate companies.

Employment at Kawasaki had immediately dropped to less than 25 percent of its wartime peak, and the company was saddled with unpaid-for ships. The Kawasaki docks were still largely in one piece and functioning, however, and the company achieved prodigious postwar growth. For the first few years little was built, but with the growing perception of Communist China as a threat, the Allies encouraged Japan to rebuild its economy.

In August 1947 the Japanese government adopted the Programmed Shipbuilding Scheme, by which it directed the construction of new ships as needed while providing funds to the shipping lines to help them cover the purchase price. The scheme, which remains in effect, gave the shipbuilding industry the capital needed to restore productivity.

Thus fortified, Kawasaki resumed operations at all of its plants. Japan's shattered infrastructure promised work for a company with Kawasaki's construction capabilities, and its machinery, steel, and engine divisions were soon operating at full throttle. In particular, the Kawasaki steel division opened three new works and took the lead in Japanese sheet steel production. The shipbuilding business was flooded with more orders than it could handle.

Beginning with the Korean War in 1950 and continuing through to the oil embargo of 1973, Kawasaki and the rest of Japan's shipbuilders enjoyed nearly unbroken success. By the mid-1950s Japan had become the world's leading shipbuilder--a remarkable achievement for a country broken by war only ten years earlier--and as the national economy surged toward eventual world leadership, Kawasaki flexed its muscle in several fields. Growing oil dependence of industrialized countries created a lucrative market for supertankers, and Kawasaki was soon expert in building these largest of all ships. At the same time, Kawasaki was also filling construction orders for everything from a cement plant in Malaysia to a baseball stadium in Koshien, Japan, while improving its technical expertise in engine and machinery design. Many of the latter improvements were the results of working agreements with leading European and U.S. firms, as Kawasaki pursued its policy of international cooperation. The company early formed alliances with Escher Wyss of Switzerland and IMO Ltd. of Sweden, and later worked with aeronautical giants Lockheed, Boeing, Hughes, and Messerschmidt on a wide variety of civil and military projects.

Withdrawing from Shipbuilding in the 1970s

In 1969 the present Kawasaki Aircraft Heavy Industries was created by the reintegration of Kawasaki Aircraft and Kawasaki Rolling Stock with the original parent, Kawasaki Dockyard. The newly formed conglomerate suffered a blow in 1973 when the Arab oil embargo brought supertanker orders to an abrupt halt. In the years that followed, Japanese companies began a steady withdrawal from the shipbuilding field, and Kawasaki and the other big makers began shifting their energy to more promising, and less competitive, endeavors. The diversity of Kawasaki's portfolio at the time was one result of this massive shift. By the mid-1970s, shipping accounted for less than 10 percent of the company's revenue, lower than sales of leisure products such as motorcycles and jet skis. Its shipbuilding business began primarily to involve military and more exotic varieties of commercial vessels, as Kawasaki sought to avoid direct competition with Korea, the new price leader in merchant shipping.

In contrast, Kawasaki's machinery and construction division grew into the company's largest. Here Kawasaki built everything from factory robots to an ethylene plant in Bulgaria, and also offered bridges, tunnel-boring machines, and breeder-reactor research. Almost as large was the aircraft division, which undertook a significant number of projects for the Japanese Defense Agency and the national space program. In rolling stock, Kawasaki supplied the New York subway system with a set of stainless steel, graffiti-proof cars, while continuing to deliver some of Japan's fastest railroad trains. Add to these three divisions the company's old standby, as well as its newest addition--ships and leisure products--and investors saw a corporation capable of supplying modern civilization with most of its industrial needs.

New Strategies for Evolving Economies: 1980s-90s

In the 1980s, to counteract the negative impact of the declining yen on its export business, Kawasaki shifted its emphasis to the domestic market. By the early 1980s revenues from exports had dropped from 50 percent to 25 percent of the company's total sales. This shift in focus eventually paid off, and by 1990 Kawasaki was enjoying profit levels it had not seen in almost 15 years, with net earnings exceeding ¥20 billion for the first time since 1977, a 25 percent increase over earlier expectations. One major reason for the company's success was the surprising turnaround in its shipbuilding segment. In the face of a marked increase in global demand for new ships, the division had secured more than ¥100 billion worth of new contracts in the past year alone. Overall, Kawasaki Heavy Industries received more than ¥900 billion in new orders in the first three months of 1990, a 20 percent increase over the previous year.

Although the global shipping industry fell into a major slump in the mid-1990s, Kawasaki's shipbuilding division managed to remain profitable. Indeed, in 1994 Kawasaki Heavy Industries was the only leading Japanese shipbuilder to see a net earnings increase for the first half of the fiscal year. The company took further steps to firm up its market position in January 1995, when it struck a major agreement with its longtime strategic partner in China, the China Ocean Shipping Co. Under the terms of the contract, the largest in Kawasaki's history, the company would build six containerships worth more than $83 million apiece. Among the largest vessels of their kind ever built, the containerships would each span nearly 1,000 feet in length, and have a cargo capacity of more than 5,000 20-foot containers.

Still, the long-term profitability of new shipbuilding contracts remained in doubt. The industry-wide trend toward overcapacity, combined with aggressive competition from shipbuilders in South Korea, left Kawasaki struggling to earn consistent profits with its ships. The company once again announced higher than expected profits in mid-1996, but its shipbuilding sector saw an overall loss. Although market fluctuations briefly drove the shipbuilding line into profitability in the second half of 1996, by the following year it had entered a definitive, prolonged slump, forcing the company to ponder a more radical approach to the problem.

A New Business Model for the 21st Century

The company incurred losses in fiscal years 1999 and 2000, much of these connected to restructuring costs, as well as to slumping revenues in its aerospace and general machinery divisions. By May 2000, with its shipbuilding segment in serious debt, Kawasaki began to consider whether or not it should spin off the division. At the same time, the early years of the 21st century witnessed a growing trend toward consolidation in the Japanese shipping industry. Clearly, the company had several routes it could take.

In April 2001, hoping to preserve some stake in its shipbuilding operations, the company entered into an agreement with Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., to form a joint shipping venture by May of the following year. Under the terms of the deal, the companies planned to reduce operating costs by between ¥7 billion and ¥8 billion per year, with an eye toward achieving profits of ¥4 billion to ¥5 billion by 2004. By the fall of that year, however, the companies abruptly terminated the deal, citing difficulties coming to acceptable terms.

For 2001, higher sales and reduced operational costs helped Kawasaki earn ¥6.28 billion, its first profit in four years. Perhaps more significant, the company's shipbuilding division enjoyed net gains of ¥5.6 billion, compared to losses of ¥1.7 billion the previous year. Part of the turnaround came from increased demand for the company's liquefied natural gas carriers. Although Kawasaki saw another significant profit increase in 2002, it fell back into the red the following year. While much of this abrupt turnaround came as a result of a cut in the company's deferred tax assets, the slide was in part due to the continued volatility of the global shipbuilding industry. With the future of this time-honored division in question, in 2004 it remained to be seen how the company would come to a long-term resolution of the problem.

Principal Subsidiaries: Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation NIPPI Corporation Kawasaki Thermal Engineering Co., Ltd. Kawasaki Motors Corporation Japan Kawasaki Precision Machinery Ltd. Kawasaki Safety Service Industries, Ltd. Kawaju Shoji Co., Ltd. Kawasaki Setsubi Kogyo Co., Ltd. Kawasaki Heavy Industries (U.S.A.), Inc. Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc. Kawasaki Robotics (U.S.A.), Inc. Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A. Kawasaki Construction Machinery Corp. of America Canadian Kawasaki Motors Inc. Kawasaki do Brasil Industria e Comercio Ltda. Kawasaki Aeronautica do Brasil Industria Ltda. Kawasaki Heavy Industries (U.K.) Ltd. Kawasaki Precision Machinery (U.K.) Limited Kawasaki Robotics (UK) Ltd. Kawasaki Heavy Industries G.m.b.H. Kawasaki Gas Turbine Europe G.m.b.H. Kawasaki Robotics G.m.b.H. Kawasaki Heavy Industries (Europe) B.V. KHI Europe Finance B.V. Kawasaki Motors Europe N.V. Kawasaki Machine Systems Korea, Ltd. Wuhan Kawasaki Marine Machinery Co., Ltd. Shanghai Cosco Kawasaki Heavy Industries Steel Structure Co., Ltd. Nantong Cosco KHI Ship Engineering Co., Ltd. Kawasaki Heavy Industries (H.K.) Ltd. (Hong Kong) Kawasaki Motors Enterprise (Thailand) Co., Ltd. KHI Design & Technical Service Inc. (Singapore) Kawasaki Motors (Phils.) Corporation Kawasaki Heavy Industries (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. P.T. Kawasaki Motor Indonesia Kawasaki Motors Pty. Ltd. (Australia).

Principal Competitors: Deere and Company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Toyota Tsusho Corporation.

  • Chida, Tomohei, and Peter N. Davies, The Japanese Shipping and Shipbuilding Industries, London: The Athlone Press, 1990.
  • Flynn, Matthew, "Kawasaki Heavy Yard Spin-Off Plan Welcomed," Lloyd's List , May 11, 2000.
  • "Kawasaki Heavy Bullish in Spite of Stronger Yen," Nikkei Weekly (Japan), July 15, 2002.
  • "Kawasaki Heavy Only Shipbuilder with Profits, Sales Up," Japan Economic Newswire , October 28, 1994.
  • Magnier, Mark, "Kawasaki Heavy Industries Lands $500 Million Cosco Deal," Journal of Commerce , January 4, 1995.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories , Vol.63. St. James Press, 2004.

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