Hino & Grade monoplane
Courtesy of the Aerospace Historian,
Vol 27, NO. 2, Summer/June 1980

      In 1909 the Japanese Army recognized the importance of aviation research. Thereupon, the Japanese Army sent Captain Yoshitoshi Tokugawa to France and Captain Kumazo Hino to Germany. Their purpose was to learn to fly and to purchase suitable airplanes.
     In the second half of 1910, Captain Tokugawa purchased a Henry Farman biplane. Captain Hino purchased a Hans Grade monoplane, which was built by the Grade Company of Germany. After they both returned home. the planes were assembed and glide tests were carried out. Next, both airplanes were flown successfully at the Yoyogi Parade Ground in Tokyo on December 19, 1910. These flights were made only seven years after the Wright Brothers flight in December, 1903.
     Officially, the first powered flight in Japan was made by Captain Tokugawa in the Henry Farman biplane. Captain Kumazo Hino flew the Hans Grade monoplane successfully during the same period. It is reported that Captain Hino flew his plane a distance of 2,300 feet in 20 seconds, a speed of 27 kilometers per hour.
     Incidentally it is said that the price of the Hans Grade monoplane at that time was 6,569 yen 1 unit.
Editor's Note: These paragraphs were taken from the complete article on the Hans Grade monoplane which was found on the website of the Kakamigahara aerospace museum. Unfortunately, the website seems to have disappeared from the net. (10-17-03)

The Rise and Fall of The Imperial Japanese Air Forces
by Alvin D. Coox
Courtesy of the Aerospace Historian,
Vol 27, NO. 2, Summer/June 1980
     Japanese military aviation history begins with the construction of primitive balloons in 1877-1878 and the purchase of a French model. The first successful Japanese-manned balloon went aloft in 1901. During the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 a provisional Army balloon unit operated against Port Arthur.
     Interest in heavier-than-air machines was stimulated by the seminal study brought out by an Army General Staff (AGS) captain (Akiharu Kawada) in 1909, dealing with air ordnance and three-dimensional warfare. Within a year, a join army-navy-civil research committee had sent one civilian engineer to Europe to study airfields.
     By early 1910, the Japanese Army had tried to put together a domestic monoplane (Type Hino; wingspan 8 meters, length 3 meters); it did not fly. Later that year, the Nakahara biplane (powered by a 25 hp French engine) was finished; it, too, did not fly.
     The Japanese Army decided to send two officers to Europe and America to evaluate purchase possibilities and to study flying techniques. Capt. Kumazo Hino looked over the German situation; Capt. Yoshitoshi Tokugawa, the French and American. In due course they rcommended that the Army purchase two French models (Farman and Bleriot), one German (Grade), and one American (Wright). Back home in Japan, by the end of 1910 Hino flew the German plane over the Yoyogi training grounds in Tokyo for 1 minute, 20 seconds, a distance of 1,000 meters at 20 meters' altitude. Tokugawa flew the assembled Farman for 3 minutes at 70 meter's altitude for a distance of 3,000 meters.
Maurice-Farman Seaplane
IJN, Maurice-Farman Seaplane, 1912
Courtesy of the Aerospace Historian,
Vol 27, NO. 2, Summer/June 1980
Rise of Japanese Naval Air Force
     Like the Army, the Japanese Navy began its aviation history by building unsuccessful observation balloons ca. 1877. A Navy General Staff (NGS) officer, LCDR Eisuke Yamamoto, in 1909 made the pioneering recommendation that the Navy enter the field of fixed-wing aviation development as soon as possible. After the creation of the Naval Aeronautical Research Committee in 1912, six IJN officers were dispatched to France and the United States. They were to recommend purchase of seaplanes, and were to learn to fly and maintain them. Two of these IJN officers flew Farman and Curtiss seaplanes from the new Naval air station at Oppaman near Yokosuka (November 1912). Domestic training of IJN pilots proceeded on a small scale.
     In 1913 the first Japanese seaplane tender, Wakamiya Maru, entered service. It saw combat action against the Germans at Tsingtao in the fall of 1914, when four of the IJN seaplanes conducted reconnaissance and bombing sorties, in the course of which a little German minelayer was sunk.

The date of his death is not known.

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