In 2015, J-HangarSpace added a roundup of site-relevant content carried in the major aviation magazines during the course of the year and an ongoing “e-cupboard” of book reviews. These are separated by a textbox containing the access details for the Japan Aeronautic Association (JAA) library in Tokyo.
(In the magazine Feature Focus sections, JASDF, JGSDF and JMSDF topics are highlighted in blue, green and orange, respectively.)
Mainstream Japanese-Language Aviation Magazines
Following the sad demise of Air World, a long-standing magazine that ceased publication with the March 2013 issue (Vol. 37, No. 3), three major titles remain: Aireview (also known as Koku Joho [Aviation Information] in Japanese), JWings and Koku Fan. To these can be added Maru, a military monthly magazine with a generally high proportion of aviation content, and a bi-monthly specialized magazine entitled Helicopter Japan. All these are covered alphabetically in more detail below. Each entry is followed by a Feature Focus, a summary of articles containing content relevant to J-HangarSpace that appeared during the course of 2015.
In Japan, monthly aviation magazines are generally published on the 21st of the month, two months in advance of the month shown on the cover. Thus the March 2015 issue will have appeared in shops in the third week of January. The Book Off chain of second-hand book stores and amazon.co.jp provide good sources of back numbers.
Launched in October 1951, Aireview reached Issue 868 with its January 2016 issue, but ownership of this well-respected title had passed from its long-standing publisher Kantosha to a company called Sekireisha (SequireySha on Internet) in time for the July 2015 issue.
Each B5-format issue tends to follow a familiar format, opening with a colour section (pages 4–23) comprising a special feature and articles on two other items of topical interest.
Pages 24–35 contain eight Air Viewpoint reports, seven of which are in colour across two pages; the last single-page report marks the start of the black-and-white section (extending to page 66) that likewise covers a wide range of subjects. Although not relevant to this website, a series on the U.S. Air National Guard that appeared in this section is worthy of note, as an English translation was provided on the bottom half of each page along with bilingual captions.
Reverting to colour, pages 67-77 include the series entitled My Favorite Jet Fighter and are regularly followed by five pages of Aviation Photo (sic) from Readers. Printed in black and white, the remaining pages cover historical subjects and the AR. Transponder section, which provides Japanese aviation news in brief, event information and reports on new plastic aircraft model releases.
Four of these pages are devoted to the long-running Jieitai Genyo Meiki Retsuden, an excellent series of photo profiles on the types of aircraft that are currently on active service with the SDF. A collection of earlier articles on past SDF aircraft were put together in book form (Japan Self-Defense Forces Aircraft Series Vol. 1) and published as a separate supplement to the July 2011 issue. Copies should still be available direct from the publisher, although the shopping cart form on the website is geared to readers resident in Japan.
Jieitaiki Retsuden 1
Japan Self-Defense Forces Aircraft Series Vol. 1
Softback, Japanese text, 252mm×181mm, 124 pp
1,410 yen (excl. tax)
The cover shows a formation of 4th Sqn F-86Fs airborne from Komatsu AB.
SequireySha K.K., 502, Akasaka Sky Heights, Akasaka 7-5-48, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052, Japan
Tel: +81 3 6685 5914 / Fax: +81 3 6685 5913
E-mail: email@example.com (Note not “aireview”)
http://airview.jp (Japanese language only)
Aireview Feature Focus 2015
(Topics relevant to J-HangarSpace content only)
Jan. 2015 (No. 856)
Special Feature: MRJ roll-out
Ministry of Defense/TRDI Fiscal 2015 budget request
Air Viewpoints: SDF 60th anniversary review; Akeno Army Camp 59th anniversary event; Iruma airshow report; Ashiya-based T-4 with commemorative markings; Zero fighter homecoming (Type 22 AI-112)
Aviation History Discoveries: IJAAF Kashiwa airfield (Part 7)
SDF Current Aircraft Photo Profile No. 6: ShinMaywa US-1
Feb. 2015 (No. 857)
Toyama Police AW139 operations
Will a Zero fly again in Japan?
Next-Generation Fighter 25DMU
Ministry of Defense decides on three aircraft (E-2D Hawkeye, MV-22 Osprey, RQ-4 Global Hawk)
Air Viewpoints: Ashiya, Gifu and Tsuiki airshow reports
Aviation History Discoveries: IJAAF Kashiwa airfield (Part 8, opening of Shusui rocket fighter fuel storage)
SDF Current Aircraft Photo Profile No. 7: Hughes OH-6D
Mar. 2015 (No. 858)
Status of V-22 Osprey, E-2D Hawkeye and Global Hawk
Emergency service air unit training meet in Tochigi Prefecture
New heliport completed at Tokyo Medical University Hospital
Air Viewpoints: Airshow reports from Nyutabaru, Naha; 204th TFS 50th anniversary ceremony; New Year formation flying training at Kita-Utsunomiya Army Camp; Start of flights from Gifu; First flights/SAR training from Iwakuni; Western Region Air Unit New Year (Takayubaru) formation flight training; Tachikawa New Year flight training; 203rd Naval Air Training Sqn (Shimofusa) New Year flight training; 4th Fleet Air Wing (Atsugi) New Year training flights; YS-11M/M-A retirement ceremony
Aviation History Discoveries 9: Matsudo airfield (Part 1)
SDF Current Aircraft Photo Profile No. 8: McDonnell-Douglas RF-4E
Apr. 2015 (No. 859)
Air Viewpoint: Fire/disaster prevention-configured BK117C-2 delivered to Kobe air unit
Retirement ceremony at JCG Hiroshima Air Station (Cessna U206G, Bell 212)
JCG Falcon 900 sent to Myanmar/the Philippines
FY2015 Defense Budget
SDF Current Aircraft Photo Profile No. 9: Sikorsky SH-60J
May 2015 (No. 860)
Exercise Cope North Guam 2015
302nd TFS 40th anniversary
Air Viewpoints: XC-2 development flight testing; JCG S-76D handover at Hakodate/type deployment plans; South Hokkaido Doctor-Heli operations
Final OH-6D pilot course graduation at Utsunomiya/school history
JCG EC225LP delivered
Aviation History Discoveries 10: Matsudo airfield (Part 2)/53rd Sentai IJAAF Ki-45 (Nick) fighter base
SDF Current Aircraft Photo Profile No. 10: JASDF YS-11s
June 2015 (No. 861)
Status of Air Development & Test Wing (Gifu AB)
Air Viewpoints: Airbus Helicopter Deliveries (Air Rescue Nagoya; Hiroshima and Hyogo Police); Komaki Open House; Blue Impulse over Himeji Castle; Exercise Cope North
Kumagaya AB Cherry Blossom Festival
SDF Current Aircraft Photo Profile No. 11: Kawasaki C-1
July 2015 (No. 862)
Fiscal 2014 scramble alerts second highest on record; Iruma runway walk 2015
First joint JMSDF/USMC Iwakuni Friendship Day
Air Viewpoints: NAF Atsugi Spring Festival; Somagahara dual event; tsunami-damaged F-2B returned to service; Chiba Prefecture Doctor-Heli road traffic accident training; B777 colour scheme decided
SDF Current Aircraft Photo Profile No. 12: Boeing/Kawasaki CH-47J
Aug. 2015 (No. 863)
Omura 58th anniversary event
Kita-Utsunomiya 42nd anniversary; Kasumigaura 62nd anniversary event
SDF Current Aircraft Photo Profile No. 13: Fuji-Bell AH-1S
Sept. 2015 (No. 864)
JASDF YS-11 retired
Hofu airshow/60th anniverasry of Hofu-Kita training course
P-1 interior revealed to press
Yokohama Aviation Unit AW139s
Nagano Red Cross Hospital helicopter training
SDF Current Aircraft Photo Profile No. 14: Lockheed C-130H Hercules
Oct. 2015 (No. 865)
Tateyama Festival; Chitose airshow
JGSDF 199th Flight Enlistedman Course (FEC) graduation; Kisarazu LR-2 course commenced
Toyama Doctor-Heli commences operations
UH-X contract awarded to Fuji Heavy Industries
Fiscal 2015 Defense White Paper published
Aviation History: Tokyo University Aviation Research Aircraft Dept. (Part 1/2)
SDF Current Aircraft Photo Profile No. 15: ECM/Flight Check YS-11s
Nov. 2015 (No. 866)
58th Hachinohe airshow
Start of Toyama Doctor-Heli operations
Aviation History: Tokyo University Aviation Research Aircraft Dept. (Part 2/2)
SDF Current Aircraft Photo Profile No. 16: Kawasaki T-4
Dec. 2015 (No. 867)
Airshow reports: Komatsu; Tachikawa; Tateyama
Response to September 10 flood rescue operations (incl. Ibaraki Aviation Unit)
Current helicopter rescue pilot talks about helicopter rescue operations
SDF Current Aircraft Photo Profile No. 17: Boeing 747-400
In mid-2011, Helicopter Japan’s then monthly publication schedule began to be interspersed with double issues, which have largely been the norm since 2013. Reaching Issue 227 with the October/November 2015 issue, this specialist magazine is published on the last day of the second month that appears on the cover.
As stated on its dedicated homepage, the magazine’s basic editorial concept is to highlight that helicopters save lives. In addition to reporting on rescue operations, the publisher’s own mission statement calls for every issue to convey the latest information by covering the utilization of the helicopter’s advantages as an aircraft for the 21st century—on the basis of the lessons learned from the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake that struck Kobe in 1995—and all aspects of operations in which helicopters are playing an active role. Such aspects include any recently legislated developments in the Doctor-Heli emergency medical services (EMS) network.
As you would expect, the magazine does cover SDF and Japan Coast Guard subjects, but particular emphasis is placed on the operations of the prefectural/municipal disaster relief units and police air units as well as the Doctor-Heli network.
The sole colour section, which is normally linked to other content, precedes the contents page and two special features. Combining photo reports from training meets and reports from symposiums in Japan and the United States, the HJ Report section is occasionally followed by a page of airworthiness improvement notifications—evidence that this magazine is also designed to cater to the needs of operators—and regular pages dealing with new aircraft registrations by month.
Of more interest to the general reader, the HJ Topics section mainly provides airshow coverage. This is followed by the latest installment of a long-running series on the history of civil helicopter operations in Japan, written by a former president of Asahi Helicopter Co., Ltd. In a similar vein, two later pages are devoted to a Helicopter Essay.
The magazine also serves as the mouthpiece of the Japanese helicopter industry, promotes helicopter utilization and boosts its revenue by carrying advertising that ranges from the products of airframe and engine manufacturers to job vacancies for both pilots and maintenance engineers.
A page of a reader’s photographs (My Shot) precedes a Newsbox section divided under service (Japan Coast Guard, Police, Doctor-Heli, etc.) and, for example, heliport subheadings. The magazine is rounded out by a couple of HJ Mini Topics, a note from the editor and a photo of the month.
In the past, the publisher has also produced annual directories and books that bring together information on helicopter operators and operations throughout Japan.
Takuto One K.K., First Silver Bldg 301, Sendagaya 5-20-11, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0051, Japan
Tel: +81 3 3356 0649 / Fax: +81 3 3356 8769
E-mail: KYT04167@nifty.ne.jp (= KYT[zero]4167)
http://www.helicopterjapan.com (Japanese language only)
Helicopter Japan Feature Focus 2015
(Topics relevant to J-HangarSpace content only)
The cover shows the Iwate Prefecture Bell 412EP Himekami during the joint regional training exercise held at Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture, in October 2014. The helicopter was named after
a local mountain.
Oct/Nov. 2014 (No. 221)
(While awaiting publication of the first Helicopter Japan of 2015, the last issue from 2014 was included as an example.)
Colour section: Aviation Day events held across Japan; Tachikawa disaster relief airshow (alos covered in Topics section); Kinki region emergency disaster relief training combined with Wakayama Prefecture tsunami response drill; Hokkaido/Tohoku regional joint training; training exercise to respond to earthquake centred on the Tokyo metropolitan area; training exercises held throughout Iwate Prefecture; JMSDF unit commemorative anniversary events; Toyama Prefectural Police Air Unit presented with awards
Special Feature I: Iwate Prefecture Doctor-Heli
Special Feature II: Autumn disaster relief training
HJ Report: Disaster Relief Air Unit Commanders’ Conference
HJ Topics: Aviation Day events held across Japan; JMSDF Hachinohe airshow (base unit’s 57th anniversary); Helicopter Festival in Tateyama 2014; Helicopter Festival in Ohminato; 46th Iruma airshow; Kisarazu Army Camp’s 46th anniversary event/42nd Kisarazu airshow
Dec. 2014/Jan. 2015 (No. 222)
Colour section: Tokyo Fire Department New Year Parade; block joint training reports: Kanto, Chubu and Chugoku; joint Japan-U.S. Exercise Michinoku Alert 2014; JGSDF East Region first formation flights of year; emergency fire assistance training, Tochigi Prefecture; Konan airport (Okayama) festival
HJ Reports: Block joint training (Chugoku/Shikoku, Kanto, Chubu, Kyushu); night takeoff /landing training at Higashi-Ogishima fire base, Kawasaki; emergency fire assistance training, Tochigi Prefecture; Tokyo Fire Department New Year Parade
HJ Topics: Exercise Michinoku Alert 2014; JGSDF East Region/1st Helicopter Brigade first formation flight training of year; disaster training (Mie, Nara and Osaka prefectures)
Feb./Mar. 2015 (No. 223)
Colour section: Japan Coast Guard (JCG) S-76D commissioned at Hakodate (plus HJ Report); new helicopters (JCG EC225LP, Hokkaido Doctor-Heli AW109SP: Hyogo Police H155, Hiroshima Police AS365N3); Kobe and Gifu BK117C-2s; Tokyo Metropolitan Police training; Tokyo Fire Department EC225LP hospital rooftop ops; first training flights of year from Somagahra, Utsunomiya / Ohminato, Tateyama (first flights of year all covered in HJ Topics); Kobe City Air Corps ceremony
Special Feature I: New Helicopters
Topics: JCG EC225LP commissioned at Haneda; Tottori Prefecture AW139 delivered; Doctor-Heli ops started in southern Hokkaido and Toyama; end of JGSDF OH-6D training; Gunma Prefecture instruction
Special Feature II: Safety of Doctor-Heli ops
Apr./May 2015 (No. 224)
Colour section: New helicopters (Hokkaido Police AW139, Okayama City BK117C-2); Komaki airshow: Somagahara 56th anniversary event (also covered in Topics); Iwate Fire Support waterbombing mission)
Special Feature: Japan Coast Guard helicopters
Topics: Joint Kyoto-Shiga Doctor-Heli operations commenced in Kansai region; MCH-101 delivered; Airbus Helicopters deliveries; first Japanese Bell 412EPI order announced (Aomori Prefecture); Utsunomiya 65th anniversary event; Tochigi Prefecture Flying Corps/Doctor-Heli combined event
June/July 2015 (No. 225)
Colour section: Kita-Utsunomiya 42nd anniversary event (also covered in Topics); Yokohama Aviation Unit AW139s (also covered in Report section); joint U.S.-Japan civil-military disaster relief training exercise (also covered in Topics); training reports from Tokyo, Fukushima and Iwate
Special Feature: All-Japan Disaster Relief Air Unit Commanders’ Conference
Visit Report: Tochigi Prefectural Police Aviation Unit
Report: Tokyo flood rescue training
Topics: Osaka regional joint disaster relief drill
Aug./Sept. 2015 (No. 226)
Colour section: Kochi Prefecture Doctor-Heli and Kochi Prefectural Aviation Unit helicopters (both also covered in Special Feature); Fuji live-fire drills and Tachikawa airshow (both also covered in Topics; Shiga police/rescue unit joint training
Report: HEM-Net Symposium
Visit Report: Saitama Disaster Prevention Air Squadron
Topics: Tateyama local festival; Hachinohe airshow; Tochigi joint civil-military disaster relief training exercise; Fuji-Bell UH-X development contractors
Oct./Nov. 2015 (No. 227)
Colour section: Helicopter operations in Kanto/Tohoku floods of Sept. 2015 (Part 1, also covered in Special Feature); Largest-ever nationwide joint training; Chubu, Hokkaido/Tohoku and Kinki block training; JMSDF Fleet Review; Disaster response drill simulating earthquake in Tokyo Metropolitan Area
Report: Airbus Helicopters Operators’ Conference
Visit Report: Yamagata Prefectural Disaster Prevention Aviation Unit
Topics: Offering of prayers at Aero Asahi’s Kawagoe maintenance center; Kisarazu airshow; Aviation Day events; Helicopter Festival in Tateyama
Since first appearing in summer 1998, JWings has firmly established itself at the forefront of the Japanese market by combining information more geared to the roving military aviation enthusiast with the more serious factual approach of, say, Koku Fan. Like that esteemed publication, JWings’ extensive coverage includes superb photographic content, for which its larger AB-format page size is well suited. The company website states that the JWings monthly print run is 60,000 copies.
The initial 42-page colour section comprises two special features, for which fighter aircraft remain a favoured topic, and the first of two sections entitled Fever! devoted to providing airshow reports from Japan and overseas. Every year, the June issue (published in the third week of April) contains a pocket-sized preview supplement devoted to the Japanese air show season, which runs through to early December.
Usually printed in black and white, pages 43–58 are given over to one-off features and regular columns, including Sekai Koku Kenkyusho (World Aviation Research Institute), by aviation writer and former editor of the now defunct Aviation Journal Yoshitomo Aoki, and the latest visit to an SDF facility.
Photography provides the theme for the start of the second colour section, in which a long-running Kusatsushugi (“Airborne Photographyism”) feature provided a regular vehicle for Kazuhiko Tokunaga to display some of his stunning air-to-air photography. This is followed by World-Wide Photo Press, covering a pot-pourri of topics, a section in which professionals offer advice on aviation photography techniques, and a selection of readers’ photos.
The current sequence provides a monthly interview with a woman serving in the SDF, the first of two-part information on the latest plastic model kit releases and The Emperor of Squadron Patches.
The second part of the Fever! feature covers readers’ colour photographs of newsworthy aircraft sightings around Japan, including foreign visitors. Printed in black and white, as is the remainder of the magazine, the last two pages run into short illustrated reports from minor SDF events. Despite the title “Airshow Reports” and the launch of JGround magazine by the same publisher way back in April 2003, these can result in space being given to what some might see as coverage of irrelevant JGSDF subjects, such as armoured vehicles and artillery.
Event information for the coming month is followed by a news section, divided up into three headings: SDF/Domestic, U.S. Military, Overseas Military News.
Series currently featured in the closing part include Nihon no Shinseibi (New Japanese Equipment), AKI’s Gunyoki Meka Kensakutai (Military Aircraft Manufacturer Search Team), Mikan no Keikakuki (Project Incomplete), Wings of Nostalgia, and Tekunikaru Kaibogaku (Technical Anatomy [of World War II Aircraft]), and the second part of the model kit information.
Book and DVD reviews as well as notifications of events at museums and the like appear ahead of a section advertising the Norimono Kurabu (“Transport Club”), formerly Airshop Ikaros, the publisher’s own retail bookshop and model outlet located on the ground floor of the editorial offices.
Established in 1980, Ikaros Publications produces a diverse range of magazines. Appearing quarterly from January 21 each year, Military Classics also contains military aviation content. The company also publishes two annuals, the fact-filled HeliWorld mook (magazine book, below) and The Pilot for budding professionals.
Softback, Japanese text, 252mm×181mm (AB size), 150pp
3,000 yen (incl. tax)
The cover photo shows a JGSDF UH-60JA taking part in the mammoth rescue operation that followed the September 2014 volcanic eruption of Mt. Ontake in Nagano Prefecture, which tragically claimed the lives of 57 people.
Ikaros Publications, Ltd., Ichigaya-Honmuracho 2-3, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8616, Japan
Editorial: Tel: +81 3 3267 2734 / Fax: +81 3 3267 2713
Sales: Tel: +81 3 3267 2766 / Fax: +81 3 3267 2772
Websites (Japanese-language only):
Norimono Club: http://www.norimono.cc
JWings Feature Focus 2015
(Topics relevant to J-HangarSpace content only)
Jan. 2015 (No. 197)
Special Feature I: JASDF Review at Hyakuri (SDF 60th Anniversary, Part 5)
Sky Drawings (photos/text for JASDF’s 60th anniversary by Satoshi Akatsuka), Part 1: CH-47A and UH-60J
60th anniversary special markings: Four T-4s at Hamamatsu/Ashiya
Fever! section airshow colour reports: Iruma; Akeno (Army Flying School’s 62nd anniversary, base’s 59th anniversary, new Akeno Rainbow display team [TH-480Bs])
Underslung Stores, Part 11: Weapons carried by aircraft at JASDF Review
Feb. 2015 (No. 198)
Special Feature I: Scramble! (303rd Sqn and 602nd Sqn, SDF 60th Anniversary, Part 6)
New SDF aircraft (E-2D Hawkeye, MV-22 Osprey, RQ-4 Global Hawk)
Japan’s future fighter
60th anniversary special markings: Three fighters (Gifu-based F-4EJKai, Tsuiki-based F-2B/F-15J)
Fever! airshow colour reports: Ashiya, Gifu, Nyutabaru
SDF Facility Tour No. 12: JMSDF Museum, Kure
Sky Drawings, Part 2: Gifu C-1
Underslung Stores, Part 12: RF-4EJ reconnaissance pods
Technical Anatomy of World War II Aircraft: Tachikawa Ki-74 Experimental Long-Range Reconnaissance Bomber
Seen here in 1945, the Tachikawa Ki-74 formed the subject of the February 2015 issue’s double-page Technical Anatomy of World War II Aircraft, which included a partial cutaway diagram.
(Photo: U.S. Army via Wikimedia Commons)
Mar. 2015 (No. 199)
Special Feature: Basic information on JASDF aircraft by role
YS-11M/M-A retirement ceremony/C-130R Hercules
204th TFS F-15J 50th anniversary special markings
Sky Drawings, Parts 3 and 4: “Red Dolphin” T-4s and Hamamatsu-based aircraft formation
New Year flight training: Tachikawa/Takayubaru; Atsugi/Iwakuni/Ozuki; Gifu/Matsushima (Blue Impulse)
Fever! section: Naha airshow report
Apr. 2015 (No. 200)
Special Feature: Mitsubishi F-2 (with actual size pull-out poster of F-2A cockpit)
Sky Drawings, Part 5: F-2 Air Wings
Special 60th anniversary series, Part 7: Misawa F-2 Air Wing;
F-2 Squadron Day-to-Day Life; Engine Start/F-2s Depart from every
Blister Hangar; Airspace and Firing Ranges Utilized Depending on Training;
As Sun Goes Down, Takeoff into Night Sky among Light Snow Flurries
What Kind of Fighter Is the F-2?; F-2 Armament; F-2 Cockpit
3rd Sqn Special 60th Anniversary Markings
21st Sqn: Operations Continue away from Home Base Matsushima
F-2 and F-86 Unit Guide; Seven F-86 Squadrons
Fiscal Year 2015 Defence Budget
Joint U.S.-Japan Exercise Forest Light (JGSDF Chinooks)
Start of 1st Brigade’s 2015 Parachute Drop Training/Narashino Army Camp Visit
Blue Impulse display marks reopening of expressway in Fukushima
Bombardier Challenger 605-based Boeing MSA proposed to JCG
Ceremony to mark end of OH-6D training at Utsunomiya
June 2015 (No. 202)
Special Features: Airshow Guide / SDF 2015 Guide
Blue Impulse displays: over Himeji Castle, at Komaki and Kumagaya airshows
Helicopter carrier Izumo commissioned
Sky Drawings, Parts 8, 9: (Aircraft formation photos/texts for JASDF’s 60th anniversary by Satoshi Akatsuka): YS-11, T-7s
July 2015 (No. 203)
Special Features: SDF Aircraft Detail Guides; F-35 Lightning II
Tsunami-damaged F-2B returned to service
Fever! section: Blue Impulse over Takada Castle, Niigata Prefecture; Air Park F-2A/F-15J ground display; NAF Atsugi Spring Festival; first joint JMSDF/USMC Iwakuni Friendship Day
Sky Drawings, Part 10: Blue Impulse T-4s
Aug. 2015 (No. 204)
Special Feature: 20th anniversary of Blue Impulse T-4 operations
Airshow reports: Shizuhama, Miho, Hofu
Report from Iwo To (Iwo Jima)
Sky Drawings, Part 11: Aggressor Sqn F-15DJs
Fever! section: Debut of JGSDF TH-480B Blue Hornets display team
Sept. 2015 (No. 205)
Special Feature: MTA15 joint Japan-Philippines training exercise (JMSDF P-3C)
Time has come for JASDF to start retiring its YS-11s
27JXR joint SDF-Tokyo disaster relief training exercise
Media given access to Kawasaki P-1 patrol aircraft
Unit service entry spring 2017: Kawasaki C-2 project
Fever! JGSDF Okadama
Oct. 2015 (No. 206)
Bell 412EPI chosen to fulfill UH-X requirement
P-1 shown off to media
JGSDF 2nd Division (Asahikawa) mid-summer training
Airshow report: Chitose
Hamamatsu Air Park night opening
Comparison of SDF/Chinese capabilities
Facility Report No. 20: Nyutabaru AB
Sky Drawings, Part 12: KC-130H and U-4
Fever! section: Maizuru and Komatsushima airshows
Nov. 2015 (No. 207)
Special Features: Major base relocations for JASDF fighter units; Aggressor Squadron
Get To Know the Fuji Live-Fire Exercise
SDF Shopping List and Operational Planning 2016
Launch of the Kaga
Facility Report No. 21: JMSDF Kanoya Museum
Special Feature I: JASDF Fighter Aircraft (past, current and future)
Special Feature II: Aviation photography guide
Fever! Airshow reports: Misawa and Komatsu; Tachikawa; Tateyama
Widely regarded as the Japanese aviation magazine, Koku-Fan (“Aviation Enthusiast”) first appeared in 1952. Unrivalled in terms of its photographic content until JWings arrived on the scene in 1998, the magazine remains a firm favourite even among non-Japanese readers. Perhaps the only way its photographic impact could be enhanced would be to enlarge the magazine format, which is smaller than A4, but the publisher does not see the need to change or, more importantly, incur the increased production costs involved. An English summary was sadly sacrificed some time ago as a cost-saving measure, as was the inclusion of fold-out colour profiles and scale plan drawings.
Over such a long history the magazine has naturally undergone several changes, but the first quarter is still given over to its renowned colour section, with military and World War II vintage material predominating. Air-to-air gems from the lens of a number of aviation photography luminaries provide real visual impact.
Articles in the monochrome second section that starts with the contents page cover in-depth historical and present-day topics in both one-off and serialised formats. The longest-running series at present is That Others May Live, a record of JASDF Air Rescue Wing operations that started with the January 2012 issue.
Colour reappears in the third section, which comprises additional airshow reports, an article on brushing up your photographic skills, a KF Special File page, and the Readers` Reports domestic photo gallery, the black-and-white second page of which heralds the start of the fourth and final section.
The magazine concludes with news sections, including From Base Side (reports from U.S. military bases worldwide), the latest Chinese aviation and military topics as well as new plastic model kit and book reviews. The Koku Fan Letters & Information Plaza occupies the last three pages.
Every two months Bunrindo produces another title for its excellent softback Famous Airplanes of the World profiles, which are similar in their basic content to the Airplanes Digest feature that used to appear in the magazine. Sadly, the last title published on a Japanese topic was the ShinMaywa US-1 (below), which was released in September 2010. In Japan, these superb magazine-type books retail for around 1,500 yen, including tax, depending on the number of pages.
In May every year, Bunrindo also publishes a 120-page, pre-peak season Air Show Guide.
The series of larger, A4-size Koku Fan Illustrated quarterly special editions, has not been added to since No.115 appeared back in 2001. (Early issues in the series retained the same page size as the regular magazine). The title was very apt in that the content was almost entirely pictorial, with around 30 pages of colour photos, a 16-page modelling manual of detail sketches, and the remaining pages packed with b+w photos. The only text appeared in the photo captions, some of which were repeated in English.
Bunrindo Co., Ltd., Nakano 3-39-2, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 164-0001, Japan
Editorial: Tel: +81 3 5385 5868 / Fax: +81 3 5385 5613
Sales: Tel: +81 3 5385 5671 / Fax: +81 3 5385 5703
Homepage: http://www.monomagazine.com (Japanese language only)
Koku Fan Feature Focus 2015
(Topics relevant to J-HangarSpace content only)
Jan. 2015 (No. 745)
Colour Section 1
MRJ rollout ceremony; 60th Anniversary review; 13th Flight Training Wing JASDF 60th anniversary markings; Iruma airshow; Akeno (Army Camp’s 59th anniversary, Flying School’s 62nd anniversary)
MRJ report (incl. military conversions)
60-Year JASDF Chronology
That Others May Live (Part 34): Korean raft distress incident (penultimate instalment)
The Maurice Farman’s Service Life (concluding part: Shorthorns)
Colour Section 2
Zero Type 22 AI-112 returns, event planned
Airshow reports: Ozuki Swell Festival 2014; Metabaru Army Camp event; JASDF Akita Sub-Base; 56th anniversary of JMSDF Tokushima opening
C-2 development background and technological features; C-2 procurement/deliveries and future composition of JASDF airlift units; JASDF AEW&C concept in next term
F-2 follow-on aircraft: 25DMU Future Fighter Concept unveiled at defense technology symposium
That Others May Live (Part 35): Korean raft distress incident (final instalment)
Deciphering Confidential Kawanishi Aircraft Documents: Untold stories of Japanese/German aircraft manufacturers (final part of series started in August 2014)
Mitsubishi T-2CCV arrives at Kakamigahara Aerospace Museum
Colour Section 2
Airshow reports: Gifu, Nyutabaru, Ashiya, Tsuiki; JASDF 60th anniversary/8th Air Wing 50th anniversary special markings (6th Sqn F-2B/304th Sqn F-15J); KF Special File: 204th TFS 50th anniversary F-15J, JMSDF C-130R
Mar. 2015 (No. 747)
Colour Section 1
YS-11s completely withdrawn from JMSDF use/successor C-130R unveiled at Atsugi; Blue Impulse Gears Up for 20th Anniversary Year; IJNAF aircraft at Planes of Fame (Chino, California): taxying Suisei, Type 99 (Val) replica
Decision on F-35 Maintenance Base in Japan
That Others May Live (Part 36) : Sora He (To the Skies) DVD of film drama centered on fictional events at Air Rescue Wing unit
Personal Air Combat History Series: Zero Fighter Unit CO
Colour Section 2
Special 204th TFS F-15J 50th anniversary colour scheme/Naha airshow
Apr. 2015 (No. 748)
Colour Section 1
Start of 1st Brigade Parachute Drop Training
U.S.-Japan Joint Exercise Forest Light 15-2
JASDF 2015 (Fiscal Year 2015 Budget)
Special Features: Osprey; P-1; E-2D and F-35
That Others May Live, (Part 37): COs’ Experiences on March 11, 2011 (Part 1/3)
On the (Imperial Japanese Army) Sopwith Trail
May 2015 (No. 749)
Colour Section 1
Exercise Cope North 2015 (Guam); Cobra Gold (Thailand, JASDF C-130H); 302nd TFS 40th anniversary
“Oscar 50 Formation”: Final OH-6D formation flight training
Blue Impulse display marks reopening of Fukushima expressway
That Others May Live, (Part 38): COs’ Experiences on March 11, 2011 (Part 2/3)
1919 French Aviation Mission (Part 1/2)
June 2015 (No. 750)
Colour Section 1
Blue Impulse 20th anniversary season
Komaki AB Open House
DDH-183 Izumo commissioned
Ceremony at Utsunomiya to mark departure of last OH-6 and arrival of LR-2 for start of LR pilots’ course
That Others May Live, (Part 39): COs’ Experiences on March 11, 2011 (Part 3/3)
1919 French Aviation Mission (Part 2/2)
Kumagaya AB Cherry Blossom Festival
July 2015 (No. 751)
Colour Section 1
First joint JMSDF/USMC Iwakuni Friendship Day; NAF Atsugi Spring Festival; Air Memorial in Kanoya 2015; tsunami-damaged F-2B returned to service; JGSDF Combat Rescue
That Others May Live, Part 40: Nakhodka oil tanker disaster, 1997 (Part 1/2)
Personal Air Combat History Series: Response to Atomic Bomb
Aircraft of IJAAF’s Infancy, Part 1: Nieuport 81E2/83E2
Blue Impulse over Takada Castle, Niigata Prefecture; Iruma runway walk 2015
Event reports: Somagahara; Takegahara; Kasuminome; Takayubaru
Aug. 2015 (No. 752)
That Others May Live, Part 41: Nakhodka oil tanker disaster, 1997 (Part 2/2)
Aircraft of IJAAF’s Infancy, Part 2: Nieuport 24
Event reports: Kita-Utsuno Miho; Shizuhama; Hofu (and 60th anniversary of JASDF training course); Kita-Utsunomiya; Omura
Sept. 2015 (No. 753)
P-1 press photo call
YS-11 “153” retires
Zero Fighter Museum (Kawaguchiko Aviation Hall)
Predicting the futures of SDF programmes: tanker aircraft; UH-X utility helicopter; JMSDF training helicopter
That Others May Live, Part 42:
Aircraft of IJAAF’s Infancy, Part 3: Salmson 2-A-2
Okadama event report
Oct. 2015 (No. 754)
Colour Section 1
Kawasaki P-1 at RIAT2015
Blue Impulse display over Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture
B&W Section 1
Kawasaki P-1 development background and technical features
Fuji chosen to develop UH-X helicopter
LR-2 pilot training commences at Kisarazu, JGSDF’s first woman pilot trainee
That Others May Live, Part 43: Panamanian freighter crew rescue (Part 1/2)
Aircraft of IJAAF’s Infancy (Part 4): SPAD 13
B&W Section 2
JMSDF show reports: Maizuru, Tateyama
Nov. 2015 (No. 755)
Colour Section 1
Blue Impulse topics
Fuji live-firing exercise 2015
First Flight Enlistedman Course (FEC) pilot graduation ceremony under new training organization Kita-Utsunomiya
JASDF photo topics
JMSDF Hachinohe airshow
B&W Section 1
Fiscal 2016 budget requests
That Others May Live, Part 44: Panamanian freighter crew rescue (Part 2/2)
Personal Air Combat History Series: The Skies Flown by [IJAAF fighter pilot] Captain Masaki
Aircraft of IJAAF’s Infancy (Part 5): Two types of Farman F.50 and Caudron G.4 Trainer
B&W Section 2
Misawa Aviation & Science Museum Zero exhibit
Naming and launch of 24DDH Kaga
Dec. 2015 (No. 756)
Airshow reports: Misawa; Komatsu
SDF Sept. 10 flood relief operations
True facts about the F-86F: Drop tanks
That Others May Live, Part 45: Response to large-scale flooding
Aircraft of IJAAF’s Infancy (Part 6): Nieuport 29
Event reports: Tachikawa; Shimofusa; Tateyama
A title that dates back to 1948, Maru has been in the hands of Ushioshobo since 1954. Ushioshobo is now teamed up with Kojinsha, a company that publishes an extensive range of military books. Maru also has a wide-ranging topic base that covers naval, land and air subjects. Unlike the pure aviation titles, this magazine appears a little later, on or around the 25th of each month.
From the aviation standpoint, the sole colour section usually covers one or two items of topical interest. For many years, Maru has featured the work of renowned aviation photographer Katsuhiko Tokunaga, formerly as the “Best Shot” now as the air-to-air Sokyu no Pejento (Blue Sky Pageant) series. Colour reproduction and picture quality were improved some years ago, and the glossy black-and-white photo section usually contains rare archive shots of Japanese World War II types.
Using relatively low-quality paper for its feature article section, Maru does however cover interesting subjects, of a predominantly historical nature but only in Japanese. Air campaigns, Japanese unit and individual aircraft development histories are particularly prevalent. First included in the January 2003 issue, the We Are “Children of the Sky”/Accounts of Strenuous Efforts Made series on the JASDF is still running and reached Part 150 in 2015.
Ushioshobo-Kojinsha Co., Ltd., Kudankita 1-9-11, Tokyo 102-0073, Japan
Editorial: Tel +81 3 3265 8652/Sales: Tel +81 3 3265 8651
Selected Features from Maru (Jan.-May 2015)
(Topics relevant to J-HangarSpace content only)
Jan. 2015 (No. 825)
60 Years of Defending Japan’s Skies (JASDF Review, DVD included); Mitsubishi MRJ rollout; Seabed Requiem, Part 6: Dive to the wreck of the Sankisan Maru (a freighter carrying aircraft parts that was sunk in Truk Lagoon in 1944); U.S. Gun Camera Photo Collection, Part 6: Attacks on Saijo Naval Air Group (Ehime Prefecture); 46th Iruma airshow
B&W photo section
Famous Warship Photos: Cruiser Kinugasa (includes shot of Type 15 Reconnaissance Floatplane)
MRJ and Future of Japanese Aircraft Production; Events in 60-Year History of Reborn Air Force; Successive JASDF Fighter Lineup; JASDF’s Eyes and Ears: Reconnaissance and Early Warning Aircraft Review; The Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow of JASDF Transport Aircraft; JASDF Rescue Helicopter Catalogue; Blue Sky Bouquet: Accounts from Three Generations of Blue Impulse Display Team
Red Wings, Part 2: Aiming for World Distance Record (Koken monoplane)
Summer of No Return, Part 4: Command of IJNAF Atsugi Naval Air Group
IJNAF Lewis and Type 92 Swivel-Mounted Machine Guns
Recollections of IJNAF Zero Fighter Ace and MU-2 Test Pilot Minoru Honda
We Are “Children of the Sky”/Accounts of Strenuous Efforts Made, Part 143: The Lives of JASDF Alert Pilots
Feature-Length Reading: Who Made You Such a Twisted Person? (The woes that a veteran armourer experienced in his career in the IJNAF.)
JSDF School Life: A Look at 1st Technical School (Hamamatsu AB); U.S. Gun Camera Photo Collection, Part 7: F6F versus Type 97 Fighter in Skies above Nakatsu (Oita Prefecture); 46th Iruma airshow
B&W Photo Section
Previously Unreleased Photos: Mount Hiei Launch Base for Ohka (Cherry Blossom) Rocket-Propelled Special Attack Aircraft; Remembering the 70th Anniversary of End of Pacific War: Ki-84 Hayate Relics
1st Technical School (Hamamatsu AB)
Summer of No Return, Part 6: Command of IJNAF Atsugi Naval Air Group
Red Wings, Part 3: Aiming for World Distance Record (Koken monoplane)/Background to Yuzo Fujita
We Are “Children of the Sky”/Accounts of Strenuous Efforts Made, Part 144
Mt. Fuji & P-3C (New Year flights from Atsugi and Shimofusa); MV-22 in Kumamoto; U.S. Gun Camera Photo Collection, Part 8: Air Attacks on Kanoya and Kushira Airfields (Kagoshima Prefecture); Naha airshow 2014
B&W Photo Section
Photo Album Unearthed: Tokyo Air Defence 17th Independent Flight Squadron (Ki-15/Ki-46); Sayonara JMSDF YS-11
SDF Operations and Equipment 2015
The Senden Era/Pushing the Limits of Piston-Engined Aircraft: Promising J4M Senden Far from Completion; Ki-94 and Ki-98: Army Answers to Senden; Review of World’s “Pusher” Fighters; Blue Sky Thunderbolt (Stories from pilots and ground crew who served at Atsugi on IJNAF 302nd Sqn J2M Raiden fighters)
Red Wings, Part 4: Koken Long-Range Monoplane
Summer of No Return, Part 7: Command of IJNAF Atsugi Naval Air Group
IJAAF Type 89 Swivel-Mounted Machine Gun
We Are “Children of the Sky”/Accounts of Strenuous Efforts Made, Part 145: Investigation into RF-4E crash
Apr. 2015 (No. 828)
First JGSDF exercises of 2015
JMSDF P-3C departs for anti-piracy patrols in Gulf of Aden
U.S. Gun Camera Photo Collection, Part 9: Air attacks on Okinawa airfields
B&W Photo Section
IJN Seaplane Carrier Takasaki
Mechanical File: Aircraft Carrier Akitsu Maru
Red Wings, Part 5: Koken Long-Range Monoplane
We Are “Children of the Sky”/Accounts of Strenuous Efforts Made, Part 146
May 2015 (No. 829)
U.S. Gun Camera Photo Collection (Part 10): Second “Turkey Shoot” Day (Okinawa, 1945)
CG Illustrations of IJAAF/IJNAF Prototypes and Projects (1): Nakajima Fugaku
Red Wings, Part 6: Koken Long-Range Monoplane
Summer of No Return, Part 8: Command of IJNAF Atsugi Naval Air Group
IJAAF Type Te (Breda) Fixed Machine Gun
We Are “Children of the Sky”/Accounts of Strenuous Efforts Made, Part 147
Located on the sixth floor (fifth floor if you’re British) of the Japan Aeronautic Association (JAA)
Mon-Fri 1000-1700, Sat 1000-1600
Closed Sundays, national holidays and the fourth Monday of every month
Kokukaikan 6F, Shimbashi 1-18-1, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0004
(Just around the corner from Exit A2, Uchisaiwaicho Station on the Mita Line subway)
Tel: +81 3 3502 1205 Fax: +81 3 3502 2590
To complement the magazine coverage, J-HangarSpace provides here an “e-cupboard” of aviation book reviews in five categories: English Language/Historical; Japanese Language/Historical; Japanese Language/Post-1945 and Current Topics; Bilingual/Historical; and Japanese-Language Part-Works. Visitors’ attention is also drawn to the Bookstall: Hangar Manager’s Recommendations carousel at the foot of the homepage.
Aviation Books: English Language/Historical
The two large profiles on the cover depict a Mitsubishi Ki-30 (Ann) from the Army Air Academy at Toyooka in Hyogo Prefecture (top) and a Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate (Frank) assigned to the Akeno Army Flying School, Mie Prefecture.
Imperial Japanese Army Flying Schools 1912–1945
by Don Marsh and Peter Starkings
Published by Schiffer Ltd. (United States), June 2011
ISBN 978-0-7643-3769-7; Hardback; H 286mm×W 224mm; 192pp
Publisher’s list price $79.99 (but available via Amazon: $75–115, GBP40–60, 11,000–13,000 yen)
In the interests of full disclosure, J-HangarSpace should first mention that the two authors of this work are likewise former members of the team that participated at various times in the production of the specialist Japanese aviation history magazine, Arawasi International.
Having branched out to concentrate on this labour of love in 2006, Messrs Marsh and Starkings are to be congratulated in having devoted years of painstaking research to the production of a worthy book on an area of Japanese aviation history that, as is pointed out, had received scant attention. (Produced by Arawasi in 2010, the mook [magazine book] on the Mitsubishi Ki-51 [Sonia] and Tachikawa Ki-36 [Ida] touched on some school histories and markings.)
Excluding the introduction and appendices that bookend the text, the first two of the eight major parts cover the lifespans of the flying schools operated by the Imperial Japanese Army and their civilian counterparts. In the case of the former, the account ranges from the modest beginnings with balloons in the early 1900s to the formation of the Training Reserve in June 1944 to encompass roles far wider than had previously been undertaken; a move that essentially brought the Army flying school in its former guise to an end.
Assisted by flow charts, the next part describes recruitment and training methods and forms a logical progression on the way to descriptions of the service’s training equipment and aircraft.
What begins as a sprinkling of Don Marsh’s accomplished artwork, which had been a decade in the making, temporarily dries up in the section that provides individual school histories, only to become a veritable flood in Part 7, the 112 pages of which are devoted to aircraft colours and markings. It is perhaps surprising that Schiffer did not seek to reduce costs, not to mention the cover price, by making more use of tail-only drawings to reduce the number of full profiles of aircraft that are otherwise identical.
The concluding two parts repeat the treatment to a lesser scale by providing the histories of civil flying schools and, as near as can be surmised in the absence of colour references, examples of their markings.
Previous experience (the dreadful Aerial Firefighting) had caused J-HangarSpace to boycott Schiffer for its shoddy production values, possibly caused at least in part by the decision to undertake printing in China. At the time, it thus came as something of a disappointment to learn that the company was to be entrusted with publishing this coffee table-sized tome. Those concerns were justified. Minor errors always have a way of creeping into publications, but in this case you wonder how they failed to stamp out more of the fires, such as the layout “stage direction” on page 39.
In this respect, Schiffer renders writers and buyers (beware) a huge disservice, but in this case there is plenty to make amends for such avoidable annoyances. The standard of photo reproduction remains high throughout and belies the age the subject matter to bring it very much to life. Although there is no mention of the daily lives of trainee IJAAF pilots in the text, the photos taken during training place you right there among them.
Sunburst—The Rise of Japanese Naval Air Power, 1909-1941
by Mark R. Peattie
First published in 2001 by the Naval Institute Press, 291 Wood Road, Annapolis MD 21402, USA
ISBN 1-55750-432-6; Hardback, H 172mm x W 241mm, 365 pages
(Reprinted and paperback versions available via Amazon)
The view from the bridge is that this book does exactly what it says on the front flap, charting in six chapters the development of Japanese naval aviation from its humble beginnings to the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. Then, originally with an eye to a possible sequel (“Sundown”?), the book stealthily adds a touch-and-go landing of a chapter that brings together the reasons for and general manner of the service’s demise.
Until that point, it marks an expansion of themes first aired in Kaigun—Strategy, Tactics and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, a tome Peattie had co-authored with the now late David C. Evans.
Making extensive use of new primary source information from Japan in producing more of a “work” than a “book,” Peattie shows his background as a university academic. Fact and analysis sail in a combined fleet in a very readable account, particularly vivid in its arresting detail of the air campaign over China.
Nine appendices provide a wealth of supplementary information, such as thumbnail biographies of the key protagonists, technical data on the carriers, unit histories and organizational charts. Line drawings and specifications are included of early aircraft and those in service at the outbreak of hostilities in 1941.
Below decks, dastardly gremlins have transposed the drawings of Glen, Jake and Pete floatplanes, and one or two literals and errors have remained undetected, but hardly sufficient cause for readers to abandon ship.
The decks having been cleared to accommodate the text, this flagship is equipped with adequate illustration coverage, its 20 photographs being ranged alongside six maps plus supporting diagrams.
Airborne from their base at Rabaul in New Britain, a formation of Zero Type 22 fighters from the 251st Naval Air Group heads over the ocean in the Solomon Islands in May 1943. This masterful image is one of those taken by news photographer Hajime Yoshida featured in the opening chapters of this book.
Reisen Shashinshu (Zero Fighter Photo Collection)
by the Editorial Department of Maru magazine with
photo captions by Shigeru Nohara
Published by Ushioshobo-Kojinsha (Japan), February 2014
ISBN 978-4-7698-1561-7; Hardback; H 262mm×W 188mm; 168pp
3,000 yen excl. tax (also available via amazon.co.jp)
The monochrome images in this book, a new edition of that published in 1999, provide a comprehensive pictorial account of operations at the units that flew the various versions of the most famous Japanese aircraft of the Pacific War.
This extensive photo collection opens with eight pages entitled Collection of Famous Scenes of Zero Fighters in Action.
The Glorious Zero Fighter section of the book (pp. 9–21) draws on the valuable negatives left behind by Hajime Yoshida, a Nichiei news team member attached to the IJNAF. This is followed by two of his illustrated eyewitness reports, First Impressions of Rabaul Naval Air Group and Distant Skies: The Cumulonimbus Clouds Wept. There then follow no less than 23 articles that have previously appeared in the pages of Maru magazine. The article that covers a visit to Rabaul by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (pp. 88–89) was written by another former Navy press team member Tokichi Hino, that on the later stages of the war (pp. 148–151) by Nobuya Kinase (1919–), who at that time was a lieutenant serving as an instructor pilot with the special attack (kamikaze) 9th Tsukuba Unit.
An interesting graphic is a bird’s eye-view relief map of Rabaul air base. The book concludes with drawings of every variant that highlight the at times subtle design differences, combined with a table of technical specifications.
Kessen Sentoki Hayate (The Best Japanese Fighter of WWII “Hayate”)
by the Editorial Department of Maru magazine
Published by Ushioshobo-Kojinsha (Japan), June 2014
ISBN 978-4-7698-1569-3; Hardback; H 262mm×W 188mm; 197pp
2,800 yen excl. tax (also available via amazon.co.jp)
In recent years, Kojinsha repackaged two of its occasional Maru magazine special supplements in hardback form; the January 2008 Shiden-kai supplement reappeared expanded and revised in January 2010, the January 2009 supplement on the Reppu in January 2011. This latest to receive the treatment is the first on an Army fighter, the material for which has been taken verbatim from the stand-alone publication from August 2011.
The three opening colour sections—Flying the Hayate in Japan, Close-Up and Hayate Now—tell the story of the example that was repatriated by ship in 1973 from the Planes of Fame Museum in California and now resides in the Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots in Kagoshima Prefecture. Providing detailed photos, these sections are followed by eight pages devoted to other Japanese aircraft, contemporaries of the Hayate, preserved in Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Next come two detailed profiles by Ryusuke Watanabe and 24 sideviews by Shigeru Nohara over six pages, which lead into an article on a large-scale plastic model of the Hayate and, slightly irrelevantly, a 1/6th scale remote-controlled Ki-27.
Printed on glossy paper, the monochrome photo album section begins on p. 49 with a hardly inspiring blurred image, which is fortunately not representative of the coverage over the subsequent 33 pages. Later pages are again devoted to other Army types.
Cutaway drawings grace both sides of a fold-out page that precedes the 15-article text section, which is printed on the rough-quality paper Kojinsha favours and includes detailed technical drawings of structures and systems. Other items of interest: the squadron histories and markings of all the units that operated the type; an account of a Hayate lair, Sagami air base in Kanagawa Prefecture; an article (with cutaway) by Shinjiro Shinagawa, Tachikawa’s chief designer for the Ki-106 (wooden Hayate) project; Frank Seen through Blue Eyes, a report on the aircraft’s evaluation in the United States; and an interview with the Planes of Fame Museum’s Ed Maloney, who played a key role in resurrecting the repatriated aircraft. Great stuff.
Nippon no Gunyoki (Japanese Military Aircraft)
by Shigeru Nohara
Published by Yosensha (Japan), September 2014
ISBN 978-4-8003-0450-6; Softback (mook); H 283mm×W 210mm (A4); 160pp
2,000 yen excl. tax (also available via amazon.co.jp)
Sample pages viewable here [link]
Yet another offering involving Shigeru Nohara, this mook (magazine book) appears to be the first aviation title from this general-interest publisher.
The subtitles splashed across the cover read: “[Japanese Military Aircraft] revived by treasured photos,” “Famous domestically produced Japanese Army and Navy aircraft before and during the war,” and “In one volume, around 100 treasured photos left in the Asahi Shimbun [archives]!”
Having written the accompanying text, Nohara’s name is also given as the provider of around 70 photos, which will largely be well-known to most readers, to supplement those obtained from the Asahi Shimbun archives.
After a two-page introduction and a 10-page Photographic Look Back at Famous Japanese Army and Navy Aircraft, the book is unevenly divided into Navy (pp. 17–110) and Army (pp. 111–159) sections by role. Interspersed among the photos, four, two-page texts written by Nohara cover: Japanese Army and Navy aircraft engines; their armament (guns and bombs); Navy floatplane and carrier-based aircraft operations; and the principal aircraft manufacturers. Each aircraft photo is accompanied by an extended caption and technical data.
Two benefits make this publication worth the money: the Asahi Shimbun archive content and the large-format reproduction of the images, usually one to a page. (One or two are slightly marred by having “crossed the valley.”) Worthy of special mention are a panoramic view—believed to be of Tokorozawa, circa 1932—that shows around 35 aircraft and the coverage of Navy floatplanes and flying boats.
Towarare no Nippon Gunki Hiroku
(Secret Documents about Captured Japanese Military Aircraft)
by Shigeru Nohara
Published by Ushioshobo-Kojinsha (Japan), December 2014
ISBN 978-4-7698-1581-5; Softback; H 210mm×W 150mm; 240pp
2,200 yen excl. tax (also available via amazon.co.jp)
A prolific aviation writer and illustrator, Shigeru Nohara co-wrote Nihongun Rokakuki Hiroku (Classified Japanese Military Documents of Captured Allied Aircraft) for Kojinsha back in 2002. That same year, he turned the tables to provide a photographic account of the Japanese aircraft that were evaluated after having fallen into Allied hands. This is a new edition of that work.
That the U.S. military set up a dedicated unit to test and evaluate a Zero 21 and Zero 32 shows the importance attached to finding out more about the capabilities and weaknesses of its adversaries. These efforts also inadvertently led to examples of the less well-known types, such as the J2M Raiden (Jack) and J7W Shinden fighters, being preserved for posterity in the United States.
Actual text has been kept to a minimum to make way for the detailed captions needed to fully benefit from the inclusion of no less than 410 photographs (the opening eight of which are in colour) as well as 110 side-views and maps.
Starting with images of aircraft downed during Japan’s early military successes, the book’s 10 chapters chart the damaged and unscathed aircraft encountered by Allied forces in the subsequent campaigns in the Pacific islands and the Philippines through to the types found languishing on bases and in factories in Japan after the end of hostilities. Chapter 9 covers the aircraft that were marked with green crosses to transport the envoys involved in the signing of Japan’s unconditional surrender. The final chapter brings together photographs of those Japanese aircraft that were shipped to the United States for evaluation.
Extracts from the evaluations conducted by the U.S. Army’s Technical Air Intelligence Center (TAIC), some of which were duly marked as restricted at the time, and samples of associated correspondence are reproduced in an appendix in the last dozen or so pages. A larger page format would have enhanced the readability of these documents and the impact of the photographs, among which are some of the well-known images of Japanese aircraft sporting star-and-bar insignia.
Despite the “promise” on the front cover obi (the paper band around the dust jacket) to reveal something of how such thorough evaluations were conducted, the end result is more of a collection of wrecked and captured Japanese aircraft photographs than an in-depth analysis of the TAIC’s methodology and findings.
The author referred to English-language books that cover the wrecked and downed Japanese aircraft angles, such as Robert C. Mikesh’s 1993 work Broken Wings of the Samurai and James P. Gallagher’s 2004 Meatballs and Dead Birds, Japanese editions of which were coincidentally published in 2014 by Miki Press and Ikaros Publications, respectively.
Taken on its own merits, this book serves the valuable purpose of an archive while providing an interesting Japanese take on the stories behind the photographic content.
Isshiki Rikko Senshi
(A History of the Type 1 Land-Based Attack Bomber)
by Nobuhiko Satoh
Published by Ushioshobo-Kojinsha (Japan), February 2015
ISBN 978-4-7698-1587-7; Hardback; H 195mm×W 140mm; 480 pages
2,916 yen (tax included)
Expanded from the author’s 16-part series that ran in Koku Fan from January 2012 to April 2013, this work offers a factual account—in the words of the book’s subtitle, from genesis to demise—of the IJNAF’s mainstay land-based bomber during the Pacific War in one volume. As such, the book has been feted in the Japanese aviation press as a full and masterly depiction of the aircraft and its crews.
The first 16 pages are devoted to a photo chronicle that depicts the men and the machines, the last five pages to monochrome side views. In all, the book contains more than 290 maps, drawings and photos; some of the latter are appearing in print for the first time. (The cover photo shown above depicts a formation of Type 1 Model 11 bombers from the re-formed 701st Naval Air Group in flight near Mt. Fuji in May 1944.)
The main body of the text is made up of 19 chapters divided into five parts:
Fleeting Glory: Covering the initial design history, service entry and operations over the Pacific and Malaya
Portent of a Storm: Including operations off Java, over the Gaspar Strait that connects the Java and South China seas, and the MO (Port Moresby) operations
Beginning of Bitter Combat: Solomon Islands and the “forgotten” theatre of operations in the southwest
Series of Defeats: The sun sets for the Japanese forces in the Central Pacific; the naval air groups routed in decisive battles, special mission units as well as the combat record of transport units sent to frontline
Demise: Including the final combat missions in Okinawa
The main text is followed by an afterword, four maps to give readers the lie of the land of the extensive regions in which the Type 1 was operated and a type chronology.
As regards other photographic content, images of individual pilots and unit group photos abound. Drawings placed within the main body of the text include mission profiles.
Among the many previously unpublished photos, Nobohiko Satoh’s work also contains a detail of a well-known shot (above) of Betty bombers parked at Yokosuka Naval Air Arsenal’s Oppama airfield after the war. The caption points out that the aircraft in the centre background bearing the tail marking “3—破” was intended for use on Operation Ken (Sword), an attack on the U.S. air bases in the Marianas Islands. Planned to have been used to transport troops, each Betty chutai (division) involved in the operation took a kanji character from the Japanese slogan 聖剣破邪闘魂炸裂必成, which literally translates as “sacred, evil-defeating sword explodes, sure success”. The third kanji “ha” and the number three show that, had the operation been carried out, this aircraft would have been assigned as the third aircraft of the 3rd Chutai. The photo also shows that the dorsal turret and the Yagi-Uda search radar antennae had been removed from this aircraft.
Satoh spent 10 years researching and gathering the information contained in this detailed and poignant record of human and IJAAF aviation history that was clearly a labour of love.
J-BIRD: Japanese Aircraft Register 1921–1945
by Shizuo Kawamori, Masayoshi Nakanishi, Toshio Fujita, Hiroshi Fujiwara and Kōji Yanagisawa
Published by the Aviation Heritage Archive, Japan Aeronautic Association (JAA), March 2016
ISBN 978-4-901794-08-4; Softback; B5 format; 438 pp
5,000 yen excluding tax
Available through Office HANS, Hiro 2-9-39, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0012, Japan
Tel: +81 3-3400-9611 / Fax: +81 3-3400-9610
English webpage: http://www.hans5.com/+English/index.htm
This work was also an obvious labour of love for the five writer-compilers and those at the JAA’s Aviation Heritage Archive who oversaw the project. Bearing a prominent Japanese subtitle that translates as Prewar Japanese Civil Aircraft Seen through Photos and Registrations (including Manchukuo Aviation and China Airways), the book provides chapter and verse on all known civilian aircraft from that golden era. According to Kōji Yanagisawa, who doubled as project art director, the work had been around 20 years in the making; fellow writing team member Masayoshi Nakanishi*, who would have seen some of these aircraft in his youth, sadly did not live to see the book in its finished form.
Following introductory texts and acknowledgements, a 34-page photo album captures the spirit of the times by first including images that pre-date registrations and then those organized by registration category, ranging from the first airliners to gliders.
The first of the three main parts of the text gives an outline of the registration systems adopted by the Japanese authorities, including those used for the far-flung parts of the then Japanese empire, which included Taiwan and Korea.
A JAA-provided sample from J-BIRD’s 285-page register section; most pages have four photos. The upper photo shows J-BAUD, one of several surplus examples of the Nieuport 24—as the Kō-3 the IJAAF’s first biplane fighter—that amazingly went on to enjoy new leases of life
with civil operators and owners.
The registration lists themselves are in Part 2 (pp. 91–375!). The amount of information that has been shoehorned into the book dictated that there would be no space for English translations and that the width of the photos be for the most part restricted to that of a column of text. Captions that would have provided location and date information, if available, are limited to registrations, some of which merely repeat those that are clearly visible in the photos.
A system has been adopted to include aircraft name/type, construction number and type of engine as well as the owner and base airfield in a uniformly concise manner. Here we can thus find out, for example, that the apt registration of the book’s title was allocated in April 1936 to the 230hp Salmson 9Z-powered Salmson 2A2 Kyōin-gō (c/n 809) owned by one Matsuo Itami and based with the Great Japan Volunteer Flying Association at a village in Kanagawa Prefecture. The aircraft’s name came from the donor organization, the restaurant business association in Kyobashi, Osaka Prefecture, whose name can be seen emblazoned along the fuselage in the accompanying photo. Great emphasis has been placed on providing detailed source references.
Also used with permission, three more photos from the register section. Can you identify the types?
(The answers are at the very foot of this Magazines/Books page.)
Entitled The World of Aircraft Registrations, the third and final main part is devoted to the existing sources delved into and new sources unearthed to enable the presentation of as full a picture of the subject as possible. Aside from photographic evidence, these range from registration and airworthiness certificate documents to the regulations governing the size and location of the registrations on aircraft.
Interspersed throughout the text are no less than 25 columns, written by individual members of the writer/compiler team, on specific aspects or aircraft.
The closing reference section provides tabular statistical information on Japanese civil aviation of the time, a list of the names given to the aircraft operated by Japan Air Transport and Greater Japan Air Lines, and a list of civil flying schools and training airfields.
Bearing in mind the amount of information that has been lost to time, not to mention the war years, all those involved with this project are to be congratulated for bringing together so much information in one volume; a volume that speaks volumes for their efforts and for the preservation activities of the JAA’s Aviation Heritage Archive.
* After graduating with qualifications in aero-engine production, Masayoshi Nakanishi (1921–2015) worked at the then Ministry of Communications’ aviation test laboratories in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture. After the war, he worked for Japan Airlines and the Japan Aeronautical Engineers’ Association. He was involved with the 2005 book Mitsubishi Kōkū Enjinshi (The History of Mitsubishi Aero-Engines).
Provided by Maru magazine, the cover photos of Shinshitei show (top) a Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Aircraft (Dinah) Model 3 that featured uprated engines and larger spinners and (below) a rear view of Model 2 assigned to the Shimoshizu Army Flying School, Chiba Prefecture.
Shinshitei (New Command Reconnaissance Aircraft)
by Yoshirō Ikari
Published by Ushioshobo-Kojinsha/Kojinsha NF Bunko (Japan), September 2016
ISBN 978-4-7698-2969-0; 241pp
770 yen excl. tax (also available via amazon.co.jp)
Subtitled “Ki-46 Technical Development and Combat History” and with The Army Type 100 Commandant (sic) Reconnaissance-plane Ki-46 emblazoned across its cover, this addition to the pocket-size NF series is a newly revamped edition of a 1981 title.
The cover of the original Shinshitei book, published in 1981.
Then published by Sankei, the book on this nowadays perennially popular Japanese type was subtitled “The Strategic Reconnaissance Aircraft That Startled the Allied Armies”.
The classic lines of the Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Aircraft seen on aircraft リ (the character ‘ri’, just discernible on the rudder). This style of individual aircraft marking identifies
the aircraft as being from the Shimoshizu Army Flying School.
(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
The as usual for NF publications text-heavy book is broadly divided into five main chapters:
|Chapter 1||The Road to Command Reconnaissance|
|Germination of Direct Cooperation Concept|
|Reconnaissance Aircraft Faster Than Fighters|
|Chapter 2||Aircraft That Played an Active Part in Development|
|The Flight of The Asahi Shimbun’s Kamikaze to London|
|Birth of Strategic Reconnaissance Units|
|Tough Long-Range, High-Altitude Combat|
|The ‘Tiger’ Squadron [18th Independent Flying Squadron]
That Advanced More Than 2,000 Miles
|Joint IJAAF/IJNAF Strategy|
|Calls for New Type of Aircraft|
|Chapter 3||Type 100 Command Reconnaissance (Dinah) Enters Fray|
|Up-and-Coming Designer (Tomio Kubo [1908–90])|
|Rising to Challenge of 600km/h|
|Flight Test Unit’s Mission|
|New Dinah Units, Living Beings|
|Chapter 4||Flying under Fire|
|Failure of Ki-70|
|Completion of Turbocharged Engine|
|Delayed Development of Follow-on Aircraft|
|Emergence of Armed Dinah|
|Chapter 5||Beyond the Setting Sun|
|Dinah‘s weak points|
|Fates of Crews|
|Special Attack Unit Mission Orders|
|Rabaul’s Sole Aircraft|
An epilogue is followed by a section on Dinah units that gives what is billed as the whole picture of their organization and histories.
One of the few undated images (though it would have been in late December 1942), the dust jacket
photo shows a Shinto priest reading out ritual prayers as he stands in front of the first prototype
Shiden at Itami airfield, where today Osaka International Airport is located. The actual front
cover photo of the book, which wraps around to the back, shows the aircraft minus its
spinner during engine runs outside Kawanishi’s Naruo Plant.
The Imperial Japanese Navy Interceptor Shiden N1K1-J Series Shashinshū (Photo Collection)
Photo captions by Yasutaka Yoshino
Published by DaiNippon Kaiga (Japan), February 2017
ISBN 978-4-499-23206-7; Softback; H 158mm×W 210mm (AB format); 128pp
3,996 yen incl. tax (also available via amazon.co.jp)
To cut to the chase, this evocative title would be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of anybody with an interest in the technical and engineering aspects of aviation as well as in the history of Japanese aviation in general.
The coverage starts with seven pages of detailed colour illustrations, ranging from gauges and stencil markings to the instrument panel and an undercarriage legs. There then follows three pages of colour side views of paint schemes and markings.
Where the book makes a major departure from what would be the expected standard fare of front-line photos starts on page 17. Here the reader finds page after page of excellently reproduced photos—mainly taken on the factory floor at Kawanishi’s Naruo Plant in Hyogo Prefecture from September to December 1942—of the first prototype as progress was made during its construction. From Kawanishi successor company ShinMaywa’s archives, the vast majority of the photos include the added bonus of date information.
Were there a contents page in English covering this main part of the book, it would look something like this:
|Wings||18||Tail End of Fuselage||56|
|Combat Flaps||34||Supplementary Images||64|
|Ailerons/Elevators/Rudder||36||Engine Test Runs||70|
|Horizontal Stabilizer||38||Time to Move to Itami Airfield!||76|
|Forward Fuselage||40||Disassembly for Transportation||94|
|Rear Fuselage||42||Spinner Trial and Error||102|
|Engine||50||Snapshots of Naruo Plant||104|
Included amid the above coverage is a single-page account the prototype’s maiden flight on December 31, 1942. A later page is devoted to providing two close-ups of one of the only 15 14-Shi High-Speed Reconnaissance Floatplane (E15K Shiun) aircraft built, caught in the background of photos that appeared earlier in the book. A rare photo of a Norm in a book that represents a rare departure from the norm.
The first of two final sections then covers the Shiden’s development and variants, the second the background to the development of the Shiden land-based interceptor from the realm of Kawanishi’s floatplanes. The latter is complemented by a table showing monthly production figures for the Kyofu floatplane as well as the Shiden and Shiden-Kai fighters.
Contrasting with the dust jacket cover, the photo on the back shows the completed first prototype being unceremoniously evicted from the Naruo Plant on December 24, 1942.
Watashi no Arubamu Kara (From my Photo Album) Itami/Konan
Published by AGC Art (Japan), September 2013
Photo captions by Hideki Yamauchi
ISBN 978-4-99061-092-0; Hardback; H 218mm×W 303mm; 128pp
3,800 yen excl. tax (also available via amazon.co.jp)
Four sample images (of U.S. military aircraft) viewable here [link]
Based in Ebina, Kanagawa Prefecture, AGC Art has produced a number of titles (the Checkertail series) that contain photos of U.S. military aircraft that have either been based in or visited Japan from the 1950s.
Warranting its inclusion on this website, the 169 monochrome photos in this second book in the From My Album series are notable for the 30 or so shots of SDF aircraft at Itami (Osaka) airport or ShinMaywa’s Konan plant in Kobe. More specifically: JASDF: H-21B (including one photo with a C-46 in the background); JGSDF: V-44; JMSDF: JRF-5 Goose, PBY-6A Catalina, PV-2 Harpoon, R4D-6, TBM-3 Avenger and the UF-XS, taken between 1955 and 1968.
With regard to the book’s layout, the excellent decision was made to feature primarily uncluttered, full-page photos with key information (type, date, location, photographer) appearing in a small font underneath. Accompanied by more detailed captions, the photos are reprinted in thumbnail format over eight pages at the back of the book.
Those interested in flying boats will also find something of interest in that ShinMaywa was at that time overhauling U.S. Navy SP-5B Marlins at Konan.
Kokujieitai F-15J/DJ Zenki Shashinshu (ASDF F-15J/DJ All-Aircraft Photo Collection)
Published by Shinkigensha (Japan), January 2014
ISBN 978-4-77531-224-7; Softback; H 294mm×W 210mm (A4); 96pp
2,300 yen excl. tax (10 selected pages viewable on amazon.co.jp [link])
Cast in the same mold as the 2000 Green Arrow book entitled All F-104J of the JASDF, this “JASDF Perfect Photo Book” is built around colour photos—in serial number order, three or four to a page—of each of the 213 F-15J and ’DJ aircraft that have served with the JASDF. As would be expected, aircraft with special markings are included.
Covering the period from the type’s introduction to squadron deployment, the opening chapter sets the scene for a three-page rundown of the units. In addition to potted career histories, the individual aircraft photos include the fiscal years in which a particular aircraft was procured and accepted into service as well as its contract lot number. This information is repeated in a four-page table that also shows each aircraft’s level of modernization, the form in which an aircraft was supplied (in component knock-down form, as a complete aircraft direct from McDonnell-Douglas, or licence-built by Mitsubishi), the unit to which an aircraft was assigned when photographed, and attrition losses.
Two sections that provide detail images of the aircraft and underwing stores are followed by a description of the F-15J/DJ upgrade and modernization programmes. The last eight pages are taken up with advertising for other of the publisher’s modelling magazine and book offerings.
All things considered, this book serves as a more than adequate “one-stop shop” quick reference for F-15J/DJ photographs and facts.
Hyuga-kata Goeikan (Hyuga-Class Destroyer Escorts)
Published by Ikaros Publications (Japan), December 2014
ISBN 978-4-86320-946-6; Softback (mook); H 252mm×W 180mm (B5); 100pp
1,750 yen incl. tax (also available via amazon.co.jp)
Three sample pages viewable here [link]
The publisher of JWings, Ikaros also publishes the bi-monthly magazine JShips. This first in the supplementary new Famous Ships of the World series covers the Hyuga-class helicopter carriers (DDHs, or “destroyer escorts” in euphemistic JMSDF parlance), Hyuga and Ise.
Claiming to provide all there is to know (within reason) about these two vessels, the real or imagined capabilities of which have courted controversy from certain quarters, this well-illustrated, imformative mook offers detailed glances behind the scenes and below the decks.
Opening with an account of the origins of the JMSDF’s now retired first-generation Haruna-class DDHs Haruna and Hiei, which were long in the planning, the second section describes how the Ise, as the second Hyuga-class ship, was shown off in various parts of the world directly after its service entry. Each section features the respective basic technical data of the two second-generation ships.
Details of the Hyuga class are divided into five sections: for’ard (close-in weapon systems, chaff launchers), midships (ship’s bridge structure); stern (hangar deck, vertical launching systems, torpedo tubes and other weapon systems), inside the bridge, and the hangar deck. These are followed by a layout diagram.
Next come articles on the theory behind the operation of the Hyuga class ships, from the operational concept and missions to their helicopters and defence systems as well as their history and future. These are followed by reports on their missions and displays of their capabilities from their participation in RIMPAC2014 (Ise, July 2014), in humanitarian support and disaster relief training, in the joint U.S.-Japan Exercise Dawn Blitz (Hyuga, June 2013) and in the operation of Osprey tilt-rotors. In November 2013, the crew of the Ise experienced rescue operations for real when the ship was despatched to the Philippines as part of international efforts to assist the areas devastated by a powerful typhoon.
More reports follow in random order:
May 2012 On board the Ise from Karatsu (Saga Prefecture) to Kure (Hiroshima Prefecture)
Oct. 2009 Hyuga’s debut at the Fleet Review (Ise’s debut in Oct. 2012)
Nov. 2009 Participation in joint U.S.-Japan exercise AMMUALEX 21G (Hyuga)
Dec. 2010 Participation in joint U.S.-Japan exercise Keen Sword 2010 (Hyuga)
Nov. 2013 Truths hidden in secret JMSDF exercise (Hyuga)
Aug. 2007 Hyuga launched
Mar. 2009 Hyuga commissioned
Aug. 2009 Ise launched, Haruna-class DDHs head for decommissioning
by Iwaki Tanaka
Published by Kojinsha NF Bunko (Japan), December 2014
N-861, ISBN 978-4-76982-861-7; Softback; H 150mm × W 105mm, 272 pages
770 yen excl. tax (also available via amazon.co.jp)
Born in 1944, Iwaki Tanaka graduated from the National Defense Academy in 1967 and commenced pilot training upon receiving his commission. During a flying career that spanned more than 20 years, Tanaka flew JASDF front-line fighters from the F-86F to the F-15J as squadron and test pilot. He had amassed 4,600 flying hours at the time of his retirement from active service in December 2000.
In 2013, Kojinsha published Airmanship (N-774), which covered episodes throughout Tanaka’s career, from his basic training and first accident to flight testing the FS-T2Kai (the predecessor of the F-1) and the testing of target-towing equipment. As its title and subtitle (“Fire warning shot”) suggest, this follow-up book focuses more on the quick reaction alert (QRA) operations that were the bread-and-butter of Tanaka’s squadron career. As these operations have become more intense and have been appearing more often on the news media radar of late, the book’s publication provides some timely insight.
JASDF 60th Anniversary Air Review 2014 DVD and Photo Collection
Published by Bunrindo (Japan), December 2014
ISBN 978-4-89319-233-2; Softback, A4 format, 64 pages
DVD running time: 50 min. (plus bonus features, including rehearsal flight coverage)
2,600 yen (incl. tax)
This publication comprises a magazine book (mook) attached to the front of a DVD presentation box. Half of the mook is given over to photographic coverage of the events held at Hyakuri AB in November 2014 to officially mark the 60th anniversary of the JASDF. Unfortunately, a number of the photos are marred by the less than perfect weather conditions and a lens choice that resulted in oddly distorted and stretched versions of the aircraft.
The second half comprises a round up of some the anniversary markings sported by JASDF aircraft during the course of the year and an account that traces the service’s history.
J-HangarSpace has not yet watched the accompanying DVD that was produced by Banaple, a company that specializes in aviation content (link).
Only four months after releasing a general photo collection of JASDF aircraft in February 2015, Hobby Japan produced this title devoted to the service’s first jet fighter.
The first third of the book is taken up by “in action” photos, in both monochrome and colour, covering all three variants operated by the JASDF: the F-86F, RF-86F and F-86D. The emphasis then shifts to the total of 18 units that operated them, including a two-page spread of squadron patches and 10 profiles. Continuing with the modeler in mind, 14 pages are given over to nose to tail and interior details of the aircraft.
An interview with a former pilot follows a development history. Mamoru Sato has written books of his experiences during a flying career that spanned 34 years, from 1963 to 1997, during which time he flew three fighter types and amassed a total of 3,800 flying hours.
The coverage closes with two pages of photos that show former F-86Fs that crossed the Pacific and enjoyed second careers with the U.S. Navy.
Although one or two of the colour photos have not emerged so well from the reproduction process, this book offers an excellent “one-stop shop” for information on this important type.
Kōkū Jieitai no Tsubasa (JASDF Wings): 60th Anniversary of Japan Air Self Defense Force
Published by Ikaros Publications (Japan), September 2015
ISBN 978-4-8022-0046-2; Softback; H 289mm×W 210mm; 128 pages
2,700 yen incl. 8% tax
According to an old saying, “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” The cover of this magazine book (mook), which belatedly commemorates the JASDF’s 60th anniversary in 2014, credits the photograpy (sic) of Satoshi Akatsuka and features a beautifully positioned study of a 3rd Sqn F-2 in a climb (as you will have noticed above).
The content is divided into five chapters, the first three of which are in colour. The 50-page first chapter contains some stunning air-to-air images of current types taken by Akatsuka, who is himself a former JASDF F-15J pilot. Unfortunately, the layout designers have rendered him and purchasers a huge disservice by deciding to show too many of his works across two pages, so that some of the images fall into the “crevices” between them. Perhaps the worst example of this is the shortened “E-767SP” over Mt. Fuji.
The second chapter covers JASDF organization, divided into the four commands: Air Defense, Air Support, Air Training, and Air Development and Test Command plus other organizations. In these pages, the text and slightly clunky-looking charts are interspersed with smaller images that include personnel in operational settings. Introduced by the insertion of tail marking artwork at the foot of relevant pages in the second chapter and their inclusion in a map, the following chapter develops the marking theme by taking a look at the special markings carried to mark the anniversary. Here again, improved layout would have done better justice to more air-to-air gems from the Akatsuka lens. Speaking personally, J-HangarSpace would have been prepared to pay a higher cover price to see the job done properly in a larger format.
The final two sections give monochrome coverage to JASDF aircraft and an account of the service’s history. The former provides bios, two-views and technical data on each current type, followed by thumbnail info on new types that will be entering service in the coming years. The latter includes organizational charts and unit location maps at 10-year intervals from 1954 to 2004.
Just by way of comparison, the Ikaros publication on the JASDF’s 50th anniversary in 2004 followed essentially the same format, was 30 pages longer and cost 2,800 yen, including the then 5% tax. On that occasion it had been some of well-known photographer Kazuhiko Tokunaga’s photos that were subjected to some dubious treatment, belying the superb shot of an F-15J on the cover.
The 60th anniversary photo collection from the major, long-established publishing company Kodansha is entitled SCRAMBLE! (Shigeki Miyajima, July 2015, ISBN 978-4-06-21945-4, 3,500 yen, excl. tax) and focuses more on JASDF personnel. In A4 format, even this esteemed publisher’s designers unwisely placed a frontal view looking down on an F-2 across two pages, with laughable results!
T-4 Buruu 20 Shunen (Blue Impulse 20th Anniversary on T-4)
Published by Bunrindo (Japan), March 2016
ISBN 978-4-89319-244-8; Softback, A4 format, 112 pages
DVD running time: approx. 32 min
2,700 yen (incl. tax)
Including in the price a DVD and special 11th Sqn/Blue Impulse commemorative patch, this publication provides a fitting tribute—in photos and moving images as well as in words—to mark the Blue Impulse team having passed the two-decade milestone of its Kawasaki T-4 operations.
It was November 1995 when the team performed its last display on the Mitsubishi T-2 and April 5 the following year when the team appeared in the skies above its first official T-4 engagement, the annual entrance ceremony at the National Defense Academy in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.
In 2015, official JASDF posters were produced to mark the 20th anniversary of the team’s
transition from the T-2 to the T-4.
The lead-in to the book comprises some of the stunning in-flight images that we have come to expect from well-known photographer Katsuhiko Tokunaga.
The first section covers the official ceremony, conducted at the team’s Matsushima home base, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the formation of its parent unit, the 11th Squadron, on December 22, 1995. Present at the event held on February 2, 2016, were a Blue Impulse aircraft and, repeating the practice from the 10th anniversary, the unit’s standard T-4 resplendent in special anniversary markings designed by a maintenance team member. The day’s events also included the unveiling of a memorial to the victims of the tsunami of March 11, 2011, when the team was luckily away at Ashiya AB. The memorial features the tail fin of a Blue Impulse aircraft that had been left behind only to itself fall victim.
Providing snapshots from all 18 displays the team performed in 2015, a four-page “postcard” layout is followed by a behind-the-scenes look at training at Matsushima; broader coverage of the period from 1995 to 2014 forms the focus of a separate chapter. Sandwiched in between are profiles of the current team members, not just of the 14 pilots but also of the 37-strong support crew.
Another chapter takes an interesting look at three days in the life of the team as it prepares for and performs from location at the 2015 air festival at Hamamatsu AB, which was the birthplace of what was to become the Blue Impulse team and the site of its first F-86 show in March 1960.
Preceding sections that take close looks at a Blue Impulse aircraft and the elements of a display, two pages reveal the seven award-winning colour scheme proposals received from members of the public. Declared the winner in March 1993, the adopted scheme was one of a mere 2,135 entries.
A final chapter looking back at the team’s history is followed by listings of T-4 displays and team personnel through the years.
So far so good; let’s turn to the DVD, produced by Koku Fan’s long-time collaborator in such projects, Banaple. Given as 32 minutes, the running time excludes another 10 minutes’ worth of trailers for other Blue Impulse-related titles, including a DVD innovatively aimed specifically at children.
To a pleasant orchestral music backing, the viewer is initially presented with stills of such scenes as personnel applying a life-size decal to an aircraft and the team’s new hangar in 1995. Upping the pace with footage of the last T-2 display in November 1995 and the team’s JASDF debut on the T-4 at Hyakuri, the background music switches to rock that is, as usual, set far too high in the mix.
Other coverage documents the protracted preparations for the team’s Nellis AFB visit in April 1997 to perform at the USAF’s 50th anniversary show—at which they appear to flout an FAA ruling to delete the “corkscrew” manouevre from the routine—the JASDF and team 50th anniversaries in 2004 and 2010, respectively, and the 1,000th display, which took place at Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, in January 2011.
There is some good ground-based camera work—knowing the ideal camera position beforehand pays dividends—and the in-cockpit footage really places the reader at the heart of the display.
Having been directly affected by the tsunami, the team has become symbolic of the Tohoku region’s reconstruction efforts. The DVD contains terrible scenes and poignant images of the tsunami’s arrival and aftermath in the area and at Matsushima base itself. (Seen in the video, the former Blue Impulse T-2 that was once mounted on a pole in nearby Higashi-Matsushima is no more.) Although able to practice from Ashiya and perform for the first time since the tsunami in August 2011, it was not until March 30, 2012, that the team could make an emotional return to its still badly damaged home. Although repairs and tsunami protection work have for the most part been completed, construction work was still under way at Matsushima AB in March 2016.
Once again, the Banaple engineers crank up the muzak, only this time at a singularly inappropriate time. A sequence of drowned-out, barely audible interviews with former members includes a temporary loss of all sound except for the irritating “foreground music”. Eerily, the silent interviewee, dressed in his Flight Check Group flying jacket, is Major Masaru Hiraoka, team leader from April 2010 to March 2013, who was the pilot of the U-125 that tragically crashed into high ground near JMSDF Kanoya on April 6, 2016, with the loss of its six-man crew.
The three in memoriam names that linger on the screen during the DVD—Major Mikio Abe in the No. 5 aircraft, Major Miki Ichishima and Captain Tomohiro Umekawa in No. 6—are those of the pilots who lost their lives when on a training flight from Matsushima on July 4, 2000. Their aircraft had struck high ground on the Oshika Peninsula of Miyagi Prefecture, coincidentally on the ninth anniversary of the loss of two T-2 pilots in an overwater training accident in 1991. A poignant reminder of the perils particularly inherent in flying in a high-performance environment, the in isolation devastating incident in 2000 occurred only a matter of days after the loss of five men in a C-1 crash.
Nihon no Suterusuki (Japanese Stealth Fighter)
by the Editorial Department of Ikaros magazine
Published by Ikaros (Japan), June 2016
ISBN 978-4-8022-0178-0; Softback; H 283mm×W 210mm (A4); 64pp
1,200 yen incl. tax
Sample pages are viewable here (link)
The singular noun of the English title is misleading, as the cover includes the Japanese headings The Road to the F-3 Future Fighter and JASDF F-35A Lightning II Roll-out This Year.
J-HangarSpace well remembers where he was when he first saw the diminutive X-2 taking to the skies on its maiden flight—in a dentist’s waiting room in Tokyo, watching TV news reports that included superb footage of the event. Lasting a mere 26 minutes, the flight culminated with a landing at Gifu AB.
Not surprisingly, fine images of that epoch-making hop, made on April 22, 2016, figure prominently in the opening pages of this mook (magazine book), which uses content previously published in J-Wings magazine. In doing so, as the cover also trumpets, this succeeds in bringing together everything that is known or can be surmised about the aircraft. The second section focuses on the series of eight taxi trials that had commenced on February 9 and led up to the nosewheel briefly lifting off the runway on April 12.
Going back further in time, six pages are devoted to close-ups of the aircraft at its debut before the media on January 22, when the former Advanced Technology Demonstrator (ATD-X) was officially designated the X-2. Here the reader can see where the designers had unstealthily dipped into distinctly old technology T-2 spares. The photos also reveal details of what the censor had obscured in the photos released after the aircraft had emerged from the paint shop in July 2014; the gauze-like covers of the cockpit environmental control system (ECS) heat exchanger outlets to the rear of the cockpit, which were designed to decrease the radar signature, and the serrated edges of the double-hinged nosewheel door (as seen in the cover photo), which offered design and production advantages.
A three-view is followed by details of the technologies incorporated in the design and an account of the entire development process, which dates back to 1991 with basic engine research, before looking ahead into how those technologies might coalesce into a possible full-size F-3. In passing, general information is given on the jet combat aircraft that have borne the Mitsubishi brand name: the F-1/T-2 and F-2. Just like the X-2’s designers, magazine publishers have to keep costs down by using old parts from time to time, too.
Having decided not to patiently waiting for the maiden flight and rollout of the first JASDF Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II to balance the X-2 coverage, the Ikaros editorial team turns the spotlight onto the upcoming rollout of the first F-35A. The first of two parts anticipates the type’s service entry in Japan, the second provides the basics of the design and its three variants. Coverage ends with a roundup of stealth designs and future projects from around the world.
The Ikaros website describes this as an “urgent publication” to mark the X-2’s maiden flight, but why the rush? J-HangarSpace believes that the digest-style coverage, while not without its merits, would have been far better had the company waited for those few months. A more balanced, combined approach on both the interim X-2 test aircraft and the real-deal F-35A, dispensing with the throwaway “filler,” would also have been of greater benefit to the buying reader.
Lockheed F-104J/DJ Starfighter Shashinshu (Photo Collection)
Published by Hobby Japan, June 2016
ISBN 978-4-7986-1250-8; Softback H 296mm×W 210mm, 112 pages
2,700 yen excl. tax
This companion volume to that covering the F-86F Sabre, released a year ago, gives the Starfighter the same tried and tested treatment.
The first third is predominantly taken up by large-format colour and monochrome shots of F-104Js and ‘DJs in operational guises. A rarity here is an F-104J on approach to Komaki trailing a tattered drag ’chute that has been inadvertently deployed prior to landing. The final four pages of this section touch on the later UF-104J/JA target drone variants and on three preserved examples, included then (with the 207th Sqn, Naha, in 1985) and now shots of the F-104J displayed at the Misawa Aviation & Science Museum, Aomori Prefecture.
Two pages are then devoted to each of the 201st Sqn to the 206th Sqn, the Air Proving Wing and the UF-104J/JA unit; the 207th rates four pages by dint of having had different unit markings during its times based at Hyakuri and Naha. The 12-page Special Marking Album provides 24 examples of the colour schemes sported by Starfighters at TAC Meet gunnery competitions. These are complemented by three pages of colour profiles that follow a selection of unit patches.
With the modeler in mind, a monochrome section offers detailed close-ups of the aircraft, spanning the time of initial production through to the end of their JASDF careers, which in some cases meant being placed on display or prepared for a new lease of life with the Taiwan Air Force.
A special section carries information gleaned from an interview with an anonymous pilot who flew the UF-104J for two years, from 1996 up to the unit’s disbandment. The book closes with the story of the Starfighter’s development, including brief descriptions of its service with the U.S. Air Force and other operators, before taking one final look back at the type’s career in Japan.
Danshaku no Aishita Tsubasatachi
Baron Miyahara and His World of Aircraft: A Photographic Memoir
Vol. 2, Military and Civil Aircraft 1910–1970
Published by the Aviation Heritage Archive, Japan Aeronautic Association, September 2008
ISBN 978-4-901794-04-6; Softback; H 251mm×W 180mm (B5 format); 208pp
3,000 yen excl. tax
Available through Office HANS, Hiro 2-9-39, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0012, Japan
Tel. +81 3-3400-9611 / Fax: +81 3-3400-9610
and certain specialist bookstores outside Japan
Sample pages viewable here [link]
Asahi Miyahara (1904–1983) majored in aeronautical engineering at Glasgow University, Scotland, and completed an apprenticeship at Westland Aircraft Ltd. in England before returning to Japan.
Miyahara spent nearly eight years as an aircraft designer at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Co., Ltd., where the programmes in which he participated included the Navy Type 97-2 Carrier Attack Bomber (B5M1) and the Army’s Ki-51 (Sonia) assault aircraft. Miyahara later joined the Japan Small Aeroplane Co., Ltd. as chief engineer, where he took an active part in the design of 17 gliders, among them the experimental Ku-11, before becoming a leading light in post-war recreational flying.
The zeitgeist of the 1920s and ‘30s and the grass-roots passion for aviation then prevalent are faithfully captured within the high-quality pages of this evocative book. Like the companion first volume, Civil Aircraft 1920–1945—published in 2006 but now out of print at the Tokyo-based sales distributor—the book is itself something of a rarity in featuring a bilingual Japanese-English text, for which the Japan-based aviation artist Richard Ansell lent a helping hand.
A postscript by Hiroyuki Nagashima of the Aviation Heritage Archive at the Japan Aeronautic Association (JAA), who was a prime mover behind the project, usefully charts how the books arose from a collection of photographs graciously donated by Miyahara’s family to what is now the Experimental Aircraft League (EXAL) in 1984. Since its establishment in 2004, the archive had been working on preserving and cataloguing the images, not all of which are gems from the avid photographer Miyahara’s lens; the true provenance of some is most likely to remain a mystery.
The book is divided into eight chapters, each of which starts with a brief scene-setting introduction before the photos are allowed to speak for themselves with the aid of captions. Separate chapters are devoted to Army and Navy aircraft. The vast majority of the photographs are from the pre-war era; the end date in the title is only justified by a handful of shots of gliders taken in the 1970s.
The JAA is to be congratulated on its decision to make the memoir that much more accessible to readers outside Japan by the inclusion of the English text.
The two Japanese writers involved, Hiroshi Fujiwara and Toshio Fujita, also worked on Soredemo Watashi Wa Tobu / They Flew Regardless: Pictorial Mementoes of Aviation in Japan 1909–1940 at the Aviation Heritage Archive’s behest in 2013. (See Bookstall: Hangar Manager’s Recommendations carousel at the foot of the homepage).
Nankai no Umiwashitachi
(Sea Eagles of the South Seas: The Imperial Japanese Navy Air Groups in the Southwest Pacific Theater)
Photo captions/additional text by Nobuhito Sato and Yasutaka Yoshino
Published by DaiNippon Kaiga (Japan), November 2014
ISBN 978-4-49923-144-2; Softback; H 258mm×W 210mm (AB format); 128pp
4,320 yen incl. tax (also available via amazon.co.jp)
This book features 114 photographs taken by Mainichi Shimbun correspondent Tetsuo Abe (1914–2007), who to use a modern-day term was embedded with IJNAF flying units during a 10-month assignment in 1944. To do the subject justice, J-HangarSpace decided that the cover of DaiNippon Kaiga’s latest book demanded the fullest site width available.
In 2011, the company released a book covering two naval air groups entitled Nippon Kaigun Sentokitai Shashinshu (translated as The Imperial Japanese Navy Fighter Group Photograph collection [sic]). Sadly, the enhancement and large-format reproduction of some great photos was not matched by the English parts of the bilingual captions, which were machine translated and an affront to anyone who had paid good money for the dubious privilege of having to decipher them.
This volume follows the same general format. After 12 pages of colour aircraft profiles with Japanese captions come four chapters in which the main titles are at the very least loosely translated and all the photo captions bilingual. Lacking English versions are the introduction, a section that places the photo locations and dates in Abe’s full itinerary, and three episodes that provide additional background and contain photos from other sources:
Episode 1, p. 36 (written by Yasutaka Yoshino) IJNAF’s 934th NAG’s Floatplane Fighter Squadron That Crossed Swords with Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force in Southwest Pacific
Episode 2, p. 66 (Yoshino) The Boastful 381st NAG and Combined 934th NAG’s Floatplane Fighter Squadron
Episode 3, p. 99 (Nobuhito Sato) Rough Training Dojo: 732nd NAG and Southwest Pacific Theater Strategy
Also left untranslated are the first page (p. 118) of a section entitled Special Attack Squadron of Carrier-Based Attack Aircraft Mobilized at Kushira Base—the images here of the crews setting off on their one-way missions are particularly poignant—details of Abe’s movements after the assignment, and a closing account of his postwar career. The latter was contributed by Tsutomu Abe, the photographer’s son and supplier of the valuable negatives of what in many cases are previously unpublished scenes that never came under the watchful gaze of a wartime censor.
While far from perfect, the translations that are provided are at least the result of human endeavors in a second language and represent a vast improvement over the 2011 book.
Nippon Rikukaigunki Daihyakka (IJAAF/IJNAF Aircraft Encyclopaedia)
Published by Hachette Collections Japan Inc.
Latest Japanese subject edition (Oct. 2015): No. 159 1/200 Tachikawa Ki-74 (see JWings Feb. 2015, above)
2,047 yen (incl. tax, also available via amazon.co.jp)
View the expanded lineup by clicking on Feature03/Update here [link]
Launched in September 2009 (at 790 yen), this collection offers a die-cast precision model of an IJAAF or IJNAF aircraft (in 1/87, 1/100 or 1/120 scale) with an accompanying magazine every two weeks.
Sporting faithfully reproduced contemporary colours and markings—even down to the “no step” warnings on wings—the sturdy models include not only the famous types but also the lesser known aircraft that are popular among aviation enthusiasts. During the course of 2015, the publisher has been straying away from the series title somewhat by including Allied and even German aircraft subjects.
The magazine content is divided into eight categories; fighters, attack aircraft, bombers and other types; equipment and weapons; human interest angles; aviation knowledge (manufacturers, archive material, etc.); and a glossary of service terminology.
Jieitai Moderu Korekushon (SDF Model Collection)
Published by K.K. DeAgostini Japan
Final edition (Nov. 2015): Part 70/Mitsubishi T-2 in Blue Impulse markings
2,371 yen (excl. tax, also available via amazon.co.jp)
Issue listing viewable here [link]
(Clicking on the issue number reveals an enlargeable photo of each model)
Launched in March 2013, this collection features a model of a specific major item of SDF military hardware released every two weeks. Content related to the subject—be it an aircraft, tank or ship—is covered in the accompanying magazine.
Other regular sections include an ongoing account of the 60 years of SDF history, which had actually reached 2015 in the final issue (Part 70), an interview with a serving SDF officer and a visit to an SDF facility (in this case Ainouchi Army Camp in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture).
Dai-niji Sekaitaisen Kessakuki Korekushon
(Classic World War II Aircraft Collection)
Published by K.K. DeAgostini Japan
First edition (Feb. 2016): Kawanishi Shiden-kai
1,999 yen (incl. tax, also available via amazon.co.jp)
Series outline viewable here [link]
Its SDF series having run its course, deAgostini started this latest fortnightly collection in February 2016. As a lure, the first issue, on the Kawanishi Shiden-kai fighter, was offered at half the normal price.
Accompanying each 1/72nd die-cast scale model is a magazine (sample pages below) with sections covering the aircraft’s development and inner workings. These are complemented by pilot bios, details of the type’s combat record and colour schemes as well as by a performance comparison with its Allied rivals.
Upcoming Japanese subjects in the series naturally include the Zero (No. 2), Hayabusa (No. 4) and Raiden (No. 5).
Aircraft Recognition Test Answers
The answers to the aircraft recognition test included in the review (in the Aviation Books: Japanese Language/Historical section) of J-BIRD: Japanese Aircraft Register 1924–1945 are as follows: J-BAOW and J-BAOX are both Airspeed Envoys (more accurately licence-built Mitsubishi Hinazuru) and J-BAOY a Nakajima AT-2. The latter design was militarized for production as the Army Type 97 Transport (Ki-34, Allied codename Thora).