The Nakajima Aircraft Company (中島飛行機株式会社 Nakajima Hikōki Kabushiki Gaisha) was a prominent Japanese aircraft manufacturer throughout World War II.
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.
Nakajima Aircraft Company's manufacturing facilities consisted of the following:
- Tokyo plant
- Musashino plant
- Donryu plant
- Ota plant, near Ōta Station. Visited by Emperor Hirohito on November 16, 1934. Critically damaged by American bombardment on February 10, 1945. Currently a Fuji Heavy Industries plant.
- Koizumi plant, near Nishi-Koizumi station. Critically damaged by American bombardment on April 3, 1945. Currently a Sanyo plant.
After World War II
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 of 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.
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 for the Japanese Self Defense Force.
- Nakajima Kikka 橘花 Kikka (Orange Blossom) 1945 Navy experimental land-based jet, two prototypes built
- Nakajima Ki-201 火龍 Karyu (Fire Dragon) - 1945 Army jet with strong resemblance to the German Messerschmidt Me 262, project only
- ^ a b Odagiri, Hiroyuki (1996). Technology and Industrial Development in Japan. Clarendon Press, Oxford. p. 216. ISBN 0-19-828802-6.
- Francillon, René J. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. London, Putnam & Company, 1970,1979. ISBN 0-370-30251-6.