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.

Assembly work at Nakajima-Handa


Japan's first aircraft manufacturer, it was founded in 1918 by a naval engineer, Chikuhei Nakajima, and a textile manufacturer, Seibei Kawanishi as Nihon Hikoki (Nippon Aircraft). 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]

Nakajima Aircraft Company's manufacturing facilities consisted of the following:

  • Tokyo plant
  • Musashino plant
  • Donryu plant
  • Ota plant, near Ōta Station. Visited by Emperor Shōwa on November 16, 1934. Critically damaged by American bombardment on February 10, 1945. Currently a Subaru Corporation plant for kei trucks.
  • Koizumi plant, near Nishi-Koizumi station. Critically damaged by American bombardment on April 3, 1945. Currently a Sanyo plant.

After World War IIEdit

After Japan's defeat in World War II the company had to close down since production and research of aircraft was prohibited by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. This had a severe impact on Nakajima because it was one of the two largest aircraft manufacturers, together with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). Unlike MHI though, it was not diversified into shipbuilding and general machinery, and so had to dissolve into a number of spin-off companies set up by former managers, engineers, and workers. As a result, leading aeronautical engineers from NAC, 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 has been producing military training aircraft and helicopters for the Japan Self-Defense Forces. In 2017 it rebranded as Subaru Corporation.[2][3][4]


Piston-engined aircraftEdit

Navy AircraftEdit

Nakajima B5N Carrier attack bomber
  • Nakajima A1N - 1927 carrier-borne fighter
  • Nakajima A2N 九〇式艦上戦闘機 - 1930 carrier biplane fighter
  • Nakajima A4N 九五式艦上戦闘機 - 1935 carrier-borne fighter
  • Nakajima A6M2-N 二式水戦 Nishiki-suisen (Type 2 Float Fighter) - 'Rufe' 1941 floatplane version of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero
  • Nakajima J1N 月光 Gekko (Moonlight) - 'Irving' 1941 Navy land-based night fighter
  • Nakajima J5N 天雷 Tenrai (Heavenly Thunder) - 1944 Navy land-based single-seat twin-engine interceptor
Torpedo BomberEdit
  • Nakajima B3N - 1933 Navy torpedo bomber
  • Nakajima B5N 九七式艦攻 Kyushichishiki-kanko (Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber) - 'Kate' 1937 Navy torpedo bomber
  • Nakajima B6N 天山 Tenzan (Heavenly Mountain) - 'Jill' Navy torpedo bomber
Scout and Recon AircraftEdit
Large BomberEdit
  • Nakajima G5N 深山 Shinzan (Mountain Recess) - 1941 heavy four-engined long-range bomber
  • Nakajima G8N 連山 Renzan (Mountain Range) - 1945 heavy four-engined long-range bomber
  • Nakajima G10N 富嶽 Fugaku (Mount Fuji) - 1945 projected six-engined long-range bomber
Army AircraftEdit
Ki-43 Hayabusa and Ki-84 Hayate, Post-war
  • Nakajima 甲4 (Ko 4) - biplane fighter
  • Nakajima Type 91 九一式戦闘機 - 1931 parasol monoplane fighter
  • Nakajima Ki-8 - 1934 fighter prototype
  • Nakajima Ki-11 - 1934 fighter prototype
  • Nakajima Ki-12 - 1936 fighter prototype
  • Nakajima Ki-27 九七式戦闘機 - Late 1936 Army monoplane fighter
  • Nakajima Ki-337 - two-seat fighter (project only)
  • Nakajima Ki-43 隼 Hayabusa (Peregrine Falcon) - 'Oscar' 1939 Army fighter
  • Nakajima Ki-44 鍾馗 Shoki (Devil-Queller) - 'Tojo' 1940 Army fighter
  • Nakajima Ki-53 - heavy fighter (project only)
  • Nakajima Ki-62 - 1941 prototype fighter, competed with Kawasaki Ki-61 design
  • Nakajima Ki-69 - escort fighter (project only)
  • Nakajima Ki-75 - heavy fighter (project only)
  • Nakajima Ki-84 疾風 Hayate (Gale) - 'Frank' 1943 Army fighter
  • Nakajima Ki-87 - 1945 high-altitude interceptor
  • Nakajima Ki-101 - twin engine night fighter (project only)
  • Nakajima Ki-116 - 1945 single-seat fighter aircraft
  • Nakajima Ki-118 - fighter (project only)
  • Nakajima Ki-13 - attack aircraft (project only)
  • Nakajima Ki-19 キ19 航空機 - 1937 Army heavy bomber (prototypes only)
  • Nakajima Ki-31 - light bomber (project only)
  • Nakajima Ki-49 呑龍 Donryu (Storm Dragon) - 'Helen' 1941 Army medium bomber
  • Nakajima Ki-52 - dive bomber (project only)
Passenger aircraftEdit

Jet prototypesEdit

Nakajima Sakae on an A6M Zero




  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