Nakajima Aircraft Company

The Nakajima Aircraft Company (中島飛行機株式会社, Nakajima Hikōki Kabushiki Kaisha) was a prominent Japanese aircraft manufacturer and aviation engine manufacturer throughout World War II. It continues to the present day as the car and aircraft manufacturer Subaru.

Nakajima Aircraft Company
FounderChikuhei Nakajima
SuccessorFuji Heavy Industries (Subaru Corporation)


Assembly work at Nakajima-Handa

The Nakajima Aircraft company was Japan's first aircraft manufacturer, and was founded in 1918 by Chikuhei Nakajima, a naval engineer, and Seibei Kawanishi, a textile manufacturer, as Nihon Hikoki (Nippon Aicraft). In 1919, the two founders split and Nakajima bought out Nihon Aircraft's factory with tacit help from the Imperial Japanese Army. The company was renamed Nakajima Aircraft Company in 1919.[1]

The company's manufacturing facilities consisted of the following:

After World War IIEdit

After Japan's defeat in World War II, the company was forced to close, as the production and research of aircraft was prohibited by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. This had a sever impact on Nakajima as one of the two largest aircraft manufacturers in Japan; the second was Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). Unlike MHI, Nakajima did not diversify into shipbuilding and general machinery, and so was forced to dissolve into a number of spin-off companies set up by its former managers, engineers, and workers. As a result, leading aeronautical engineers from the company, such as Ryoichi Nakagawa, helped transform Japan's automobile industry.[1]

The company was reborn as Fuji Heavy Industries, maker of Fuji Rabbit scooters and Subaru automobiles, and as Fuji Precision Industries (later renamed Prince Motor Company, which merged with Nissan in August 1966), manufacturer of Prince Skyline and Prince Gloria automobiles. Fuji began aircraft production in the mid-1950s and produced military training aircraft and helicopters for the Japan Self-Defense Forces. In 2017, it rebranded as Subaru Corporation.[2][3][4]


Company designationsEdit

Naval aircraftEdit

Nakajima B5N Carrier attack bomber


  • A1N - 1927 carrier-borne fighter; licensed copy of the Gloster Gambet
  • A2N Type 90 Carrier Fighter (九〇式艦上戦闘機) - 1930 carrier biplane fighter
  • A4N Type 95 Carrier Fighter (九五式艦上戦闘機) - 1935 carrier-borne fighter
  • A6M2-N Type 2 Float Fighter (二式水戦, Ni-shiki suisen) - 'Rufe' 1941 floatplane version of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero
  • J1N Moonlight (月光, Gekkō) - 'Irving' 1941 Navy land-based night fighter
  • J5N Heavenly/Divine Thunder (天雷, Tenrai) - 1944 Navy land-based single-seat twin-engine interceptor


  • A3N Type 90 Two-seat Training Fighter (九〇式複座練習戦闘機) - 1936 two-seat trainer developed from the A2N

Torpedo bomberEdit

  • B3N - 1933 Navy torpedo bomber prototype, lost to the Yokosuka B3Y
  • B4N - 1936 Navy torpedo bomber prototype, lost to the Yokosuka B4Y
  • B5N Type 97 Carrier Attacker (九七式艦攻, Kyuushichi-shiki Kanko) - 'Kate' 1937 Navy torpedo bomber
  • B6N Heavenly Mountain (天山, Tenzan) - 'Jill' 1941 Navy torpedo bomber

Scout and reconnaissance aircraftEdit

  • C2N - land-based reconnaissance aircraft based on the Nakajima Ki-6
  • C3N - 1936 carrier-borne reconnaissance aircraft
  • C6N Rainbow Cloud (彩雲, Saiun) - 'Myrt' 1943 carrier-borne reconnaissance aircraft
  • E2N Type 15 Reconnaissance Floatplane (一五式水上偵察機)- 1927 reconnaissance aircraft
  • E4N - 1930 reconnaissance aircraft
  • E8N Type 95 Reconnaissance Seaplane (九五式水上偵察機) - 'Dave' 1935 reconnaissance seaplane
  • E12N - 1938 reconnaissance seaplane prototype, lost to the Kawanishi E12K

Heavy bomberEdit

  • G5N Mountain Recess (深山, Shinzan) - 'Liz' 1941 heavy four-engine long-range heavy bomber
  • G8N Mountain Range (連山, Renzan) - 'Rita' 1945 heavy four-engine long-range heavy bomber
  • G10N Mount Fuji (富嶽, Fugaku) - 1945 projected six-engine long-range bomber


Army aircraftEdit

Ki-43 Hayabusa and Ki-84 Hayate, Post-war


  • Ko 3 (甲3) - fighter-trainer, license-built Nieuport 24
  • Ko 4 (甲4) - biplane fighter, license-built Nieuport-Delage NiD 29
  • Type 91 Type 91 Fighter (九一式戦闘機) - 1931 parasol monoplane fighter
  • Ki-8 - 1934 fighter prototype
  • Ki-11 - 1934 fighter prototype, lost to the Kawasaki Ki-10
  • Ki-12 - 1936 fighter prototype, lost to the Mitsubishi Ki-18
  • Ki-27 Type 97 Fighter (九七式戦闘機) - late 1936 Army monoplane fighter
  • Ki-37 - 1937 fighter (project only)
  • Ki-43 Type 1 Fighter (一式単座戦闘機)/Peregrine Falcon (, Hayabusa) - 'Oscar' 1939 Army fighter
  • Ki-44 Type 2 Single-seat fighter (二式単座戦闘機)/Devil-Queller (鍾馗, Shōki) - 'Tojo' 1940 Army fighter
  • Ki-53 - multi-seat heavy fighter (project only)
  • Ki-58 - escort fighter prototype
  • Ki-62 - 1941 prototype fighter, competed with Kawasaki Ki-61 design
  • Ki-63 - version of Ki-62 powered by a radial engine
  • Ki-69 - escort fighter version of Mitsubishi Ki-67 (project only)
  • Ki-75 - heavy fighter (project only)
  • Ki-84 Type 4 Fighter (四式戦闘機, yon-shiki Sentō-ki)/Gale (疾風, Hayate) - 'Frank' 1943 Army fighter
  • Ki-87 - 1945 high-altitude fighter-interceptor prototype
  • Ki-101 - twin-engine night fighter (project only)
  • Ki-113 - Ki-84 with some steel parts (project only)
  • Ki-116 - 1945 single-seat fighter prototype
  • Ki-117 - production designation of the Ki-84N
  • Ki-118 - short-range fighter modified from the Mitsubishi A7M (project only)
  • Ki-337 - two-seat fighter (project only)


  • B-6 - license-built Bréguet 14B.2
  • Ki-13 - attack aircraft (project only)
  • Ki-19 - 1937 Army twin-engine heavy bomber (prototypes only), lost to the Mitsubishi Ki-21
  • Ki-31 - two-seat light bomber (project only)
  • Ki-49 Storm Dragon (呑龍, Donryū) - 'Helen' 1941 Army medium bomber
  • Ki-52 - dive bomber (project only)
  • Ki-68 - proposed bomber version of G5N


  • Ki-4 - 1933 reconnaissance biplane


  • Ki-6 - 1930 transport, training aircraft; licensed copy of the Fokker Super Universal
  • Ki-16 - cargo transport/ground refueling aircraft (project only)
  • Ki-34 Type 97 Transport (九七式輸送機) - 'Thora' 1937 Army transport aircraft version of AT-2
  • Ki-41 - cargo transport (project only)


  • Ko 2 (甲2) - trainer, license-built trainer version of Nieuport 83

Suicide aircraftEdit

  • Ki-115 Sword (, Tsurugi) - 1945 kamikaze aircraft; in IJN service, it was called Tōka (藤花, Wisteria Blossom)
  • Ki-230 projected kamikaze aircraft

Civil aircraftEdit

Jet prototypesEdit

  • Kikka Orange Blossom (橘花) - 1945 Navy experimental land-based ground attack/ASW jet, two prototypes built; first Japanese jet aircraft
  • Ki-201 Fire Dragon (火龍, Karyū) - 1945 Army jet fighter/attack aircraft with strong resemblance to the German Messerschmitt Me 262, project only
Nakajima Sakae on an A6M Zero

Aircraft enginesEdit

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b Odagiri, Hiroyuki (1996). Technology and Industrial Development in Japan. Clarendon Press, Oxford. p. 216. ISBN 0-19-828802-6.
  2. ^ Walsworth, Jack (March 31, 2017). "Fuji Heavy officially changing name to Subaru Corp". Automotive News. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  3. ^ "Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. Changes Company Name to Subaru Corporation". March 31, 2018. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  4. ^ "Marking 100 years, Fuji Heavy changes name to Subaru". Japan Times. April 1, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2018.


  • Francillon, René J. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. London, Putnam & Company, 1970,1979. ISBN 0-370-30251-6.

External linksEdit