A Warm Welcome to J-HangarSpace!
A pair of Kawasaki T-4s from the 13th Flight Training Wing based at Ashiya AB, Fukuoka Prefecture, in
December 2016. One sporting a two-tone grey scheme is joined by a sister aircraft specially painted
for the base air show in October and bearing the slogan 1000 T-4 student pilots graduated to mark a
major unit milestone. The upper fuselage wording was changed from ASHIYA AIR SHOW 2016 to
ASHIYA AIR BASE 2017 for the aircraft’s appearances at displays in December.
The photo below shows that the intake marking carried on the starboard side is that of the 1st Sqn
of the 13th FTW; that on the port side is of the wing’s 2nd Sqn. (Photo source: JASDF Ashiya AB)
J-HangarSpace first slid open its doors on June 1, 2013, and the site already houses a wealth of detailed information on a wide range of Japanese aviation topics.
As you will notice from the navigation buttons to the left, the site is primarily devoted to subject matter from the 1950s onwards. Each section features, or will feature, information culled largely from Japanese-language sources, much of which will be appearing in English for the first time. Although some civil aviation topics are included, hangar space is at a premium and thus none is given over to airline operations.
Mindful that Japan’s three Self-Defence Forces commemorated their 60th anniversary in 2014, some emphasis is being placed on their formative years. Each SDF section contains a Where Are They Now? guide, providing information on and selected photos from the locations of surviving examples of withdrawn aircraft. A Where Are They Now? Guide by Prefecture is included at the end of the JMSDF page.
(Above and below) Around 60 years ago, the supply of U.S. aircraft to the three SDF services was in full swing. These photos were taken at Tateyama, Chiba Prefecture, on February 12, 1955, when a ceremony was held to mark the official handover of 10 Grumman TBM-3W2 Avengers and 12 North American SNJs to the nascent JMSDF. The event was covered by Sekai no Kōkūki (The World’s Aircraft), a
monthly magazine that had been launched in 1951 but sadly was to cease publication in 1957.
(Photos from April 1955 issue of The World’s Aircraft used with permission of Hobun Shorin Co., Ltd.)
A rare photo of a JGSDF Stinson L-5A Sentinel. Assigned to the 4th District Air Unit at Ozuki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, this example was noted at Oita airfield, Oita Prefecture, on November 1, 1955, in the days when security was not a high priority. The JGSDF inherited a motley collection of around
35 L-5s in four variants from the National Police Reserve, but all had been retired by 1958.
(Photo: Takao Kadokami)
Each service has a page devoted to updates on its current aircraft programmes and projects. One click will ultimately also take site visitors from the homepage to squadron histories and markings or base histories, the latter including contact information. Planned for inclusion over the longer term are aircraft profiles that will focus on the design, development, and operation (including pilot perspectives) of selected indigenous types utilized by these services over the years.
As the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) has been more in the news of late, I will be building on the of necessity brief information I included some years ago in an article that appeared the UK magazine Air International. Again, the early days of JCG air operations are worthy of closer scrutiny.
Hardly surprisingly, the air operations of the Japanese prefectural police have received scant coverage overseas. The same can be said of the so-called parapublic operations conducted by fire and disaster prevention air units at the municipal and prefectural levels and the Doctor-Heli emergency medical services (EMS) network; further down the road (in my spare time!), I will be seeking to use this site to redress the balance.
Historical content has thus far spotlighted Japan’s aviation museums, particularly those that have little or no English-language content. One aim here is to provide translations of exhibit information to make museum tours by overseas visitors that much more rewarding.
As time passes, I hope to be adding more regular news reports to the Bulletin Board started in 2016 that now has a dedicated page. Other exciting site features will be revealed nearer the time.
This is still very much a work in progress, so please bear with me while I continue to add meatier content to the “bare bones” of some sections. An overview of J-HangarSpace operations can be found at the foot of this page.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to click on Contact and send me a completed form.
Thanks for your visit and keep watching this space!
Toda, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
The Nakajima Type 91 at the Tokorozawa Aviation Museum (TAM), Saitama Prefecture, is historically important for two reasons: as the sole survivor of the around 450 that were produced in two versions and as an example of one of the few Japanese-produced aircraft of the 1930s aircraft that remains in the same condition now as it was then.
For the second feature on its Japanese Aviation History (to 1945) page, J-HangarSpace focuses on the work of the little-known Japan Aeronautic Association (JAA) Aviation Heritage Archive and some of the aircraft, from the TAM Type 91 to the Misawa Aviation & Science Museum Tachikawa Ki-54 (below), that have received certification under the JAA’s Important Aviation Heritage Asset programme.
(Photo: Yukio Suzuki, Executive Director, Japan Aviation Journalists’ Association)
New Book Time 2017
The latest addition to the section devoted to reviews of English-language books on Japanese aviation history topics is this important April release from Stratus/MMP.
New releases from Japanese aviation publishers have been few and far between of late, but this February 2017 offering from DaiNippon Kaiga was well worth the wait. You can find a review in the Japanese Language/Historical section on the Magazines/Books page.
While I Was Away in 2015
Every year, work enforces periods of absence from the hangar. During that time in 2015, I was happy to once again assist Japanese aviation historian Kōji Yanagisawa in telling the story of two intrepid aviators who flew a Japanese-designed biplane from Tokyo to Rome in 1931. Aptly enough, the article appears in Issue 14 of The Aviation Historian. A superbly designed and executed quarterly magazine for the discerning reader of more offbeat topics, TAH more than lives up to the wording trumpeted on the cover: The modern journal of classic aeroplanes and the history of flying.
A banner link to the TAH website appears in the right-hand Notices column of this homepage.
During the course of 2015, J-HangarSpace compiled a roundup of site-relevant content carried in the major Japanese aviation magazines. In 2017, selected titles will be added to the existing “e-cupboard” of book reviews. These two sections are separated by access information for the Japan Aeronautic Association (JAA) library in Tokyo. Visitors’ attention is also drawn to the Bookstall carousel of recommended reading at the foot of this homepage.
Kindly provided by well-known aviation photographer and historian William T. “Bill” Larkins, this shot shows a lineup of factory-fresh, JASDF-bound Beech T-34A Mentors at Oakland Airport, California, in October 1954. A view from another angle, on the Early SDF History chronology page,
reveals a surprising fact about these aircraft.
(A true aviation photography veteran, Bill Larkins has photographed for posterity thousands of aircraft that have graced the skies, airfields and airports of his native California. [link])
(All photographs on this website are copyright J-HangarSpace
unless otherwise stated.)
Continuing the theme of the previous report, J-HangarSpace took a tour of Tokyo Heliport on a sunny February afternoon to bring you Location Report 9. Visits to three of the resident operators provided a rare look behind the scenes and offer visitors to J-HangarSpace a taste of the reports and features to come on the pages covering the Police Aviation Units, Fire/Disaster Prevention and the Doctor-Heli Network.
Many passengers travelling on the Tokyo Monorail that connects Tokyo International
(Haneda) Airport with the city’s Hamamatsucho Station will have caught sight of an
unassuming hangar close to Seibijo (‘maintenance area’) Station emblazoned with
the name Japan Coast Guard above the doors. Thanks to a fortunate chain of
events, J-HangarSpace was recently able to join a 15-strong group that was
granted a tour of the facility for Location Report 8.
Every August, the Zero Fighter Museum (Kawaguchiko Aviation Hall) in Yamanashi Prefecture offers the general public a time-limited chance to check on the status of its restoration projects and other treasures. J-HangarSpace’s report focuses on the collection’s unique restored/reverse-engineered fuselage of
a Mitsubishi G4M2 Betty bomber.
Of all the displays at the JGSDF Public Information Center at Kasumigaura Army Camp in Ibaraki Prefecture, perhaps the most fascinating are those covering its time as an Imperial Japanese Naval Air Force (IJNAF) base.
The June 2014 addition to the Aviation Museum page reveals more.
Location Report 6 was from the 2014 Spring Festival at the U.S. Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi. There J-HangarSpace was able to photograph Kawasaki P-1
patrol aircraft on the ground and, an added bonus, in the air.
In February 2014, the museum collection at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Komaki South Plant became the fifth to be visited by J-HangarSpace. Among the gems on display are a restored J8M1 Shusui interceptor and A6M5 Zero Type 52 fighter.
Recognize this engine? J-HangarSpace’s fourth aviation museum report came from the
collection entrusted to Mitsu Seiki Co., Ltd., a company that has carved itself several
niches in the precision engineering industry from its base in Awaji, Hyogo Prefecture.
One of the JMSDF’s two remaining ShinMaywa US-1A rescue amphibians returned to its birthplace for the last time in February 2014. J-HangarSpace was present to witness two days of test flying that involved takeoffs and landings at sea
for Location Report 4.
To mark the 60th anniversary of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, J-HangarSpace conducted a census of retired SDF aircraft. See the end of the JGSDF Where Are They Now? page for details of two early results from the census.
(Photos: CROSSLAND OYABE [above], Herb World Akita [below])
J-HangarSpace’s last feature of 2013 covered a special exhibition at the well-known Tokyo home of a Mitsubishi Zero fighter, the National Museum of Nature and Science in Ueno Park. Part of the Japan Aeronautic Association’s centenary celebrations, the exhibition showcased some fascinating memorabilia and evocative images from bygone eras of Japanese civil aviation.
This JMSDF ShinMaywa US-1A rescue amphibian was one of 50 aircraft that took part in the flypast at the 2013 SDF Review ceremony. See Location Report 3
for more details.
Kumazo Hino steps out of Yoshitoshi Tokugawa’s shadow in J-HangarSpace’s debut Japanese aviation history topic (here). The article reports from the monument to the
two men instrumental in sowing the seeds of Japanese aviation development by
being the first to fly heavier-than-air machines in the country.
Overview of J-HangarSpace Feature Operations
Temporarily under tarp in corner of hangar: Tokorozawa Aviation Museum guide
Parts in process: The run-up to and early days of the Self-Defense Forces
JASDF Squadron Histories (Part 2)
JMSDF Squadron Histories (Part 2)
|Apr.||Second feature for Japanese Aviation History (pre-1945) page:
Japan Aeronautic Association (JAA) Aviation Heritage Archive and
Important Aviation Heritage Asset certifications
|Feb.||Location Report 9: Tokyo Heliport|
|Jan.||First JMSDF Squadron Histories (Sqn Nos. 1-31) uploaded|
|Dec.||Location Report 8: Japan Coast Guard Haneda Air Station|
|Bulletin Board moved from homepage to dedicated page|
|Sept.||Reviews of books on X-2 and F-104J/DJ added|
|Apr.||Interim JGSDF Squadron Histories page uploaded|
|Mar.||SDF Orders of Battle pages updated|
|Feb.||JCG says sayonara to its final Bell 212 (see Aircraft Data File)|
|Feature on Hien restoration project added, combined with news of Kakamigahara Aerospace Science Museum refurbishment plans|
|Jan.||Aircraft programmes updated|
|Dec.||Magazines/Books page updated|
|June||Fifth JMSDF base history (Kanoya) added|
|Feb.||Japan Coast Guard Aircraft Data File (Ver1.0) added|
|Jan.||Sample JASDF base histories (Akita, Ashiya) added|
|Magazines/Books page launched|
|Dec.||Principal JASDF fighter squadron histories/markings added|
|Nov.||Museum Visit 7: Zero Fighter Museum (Kawaguchiko Aviation Hall)|
|June||Where Are They Now? by prefecture guide added (here)|
|Museum Visit 6: JGSDF Kasumigaura Public Information Center|
|May||Location Report 7: Japan Ministry of Defense, Tokyo|
|JMSDF Aircraft Profiles/Nose to Tail photos: Kawasaki P-1|
|Location Report 6: U.S. NAF Atsugi (Kawasaki P-1)|
|Apr.||Location Report 5: Cherry Blossom Festival, Kumagaya AB|
|Displayed Aircraft Special Report 2: Herb World Akita’s UH-1H|
|Report from MHI/Nagoya Aerospace Systems’ Komaki Plant museum|
|Mar.||Report from Mitsu Seiki museum collection, Awaji, Hyogo Prefecture|
|Location Report 4: ShinMaywa Industries, Ltd., Kobe (US-1A)|
|Feb.||Displayed Aircraft Special Report 1: Crossland Oyabe’s KV-107II|
|Dec.||Special report from National Museum of Nature & Science, Tokyo|
|Nov.||Chronology of Events (Ver 1.0) added to Early SDF History page|
|Oct.||Location Report 3: SDF Review ceremony, Asaka|
|Report on preserved Fuji T-1B added to Aviation Museums (see above)|
|Prototype Japanese Aviation History article (see above) completed|
|Sept.||Location Report 2: Gunma Heliport, Maebashi|
|Report from Tokyo Fire Museum filed under Aviation Museums|
|Location Report 1: ShinMaywa Industries, Ltd., Kobe (US-2)|