Zero Fighter

Zero Fighter

Zero Fighter

Zero Fighter

Synopsis

Akira Yoshimura originally wrote Zero Fighter for the Japanese market, which is actually an interesting perspective for North American audiences to experience. For example, we are generally not aware of the success of the Zero fighter or of its significance in Japanese minds. Both the superiority of the aircraft in the early stages of the Pacific War and the great stature of Jiro Horikoshi as an aircraft designer (he is to Japan what the designer of the Spitfire is to the U.K.) will come as a revelation to most readers here. Also completely unknown to most North American readers is the story of the transport section at the Nagoya Aircraft Works. This information is woven nicely into the book, and has a great deal to say about the startling quality of Japanese wartime industry: rigid in many ways, while producing a plane of brilliant originality. The book is a moving picture of the patience of the Japanese in the face of adversity, but perhaps most important, Zero Fighter is Japanese. It is not often that a Japanese book is encountered here that divulges intimate knowledge about such a fascinating subject. There is significant value in this as we enter an era in which the Japanese and American people must share and respect the other's cultural point of view.

Excerpt

Just after 7 P.M. on March 23, 1939, two oxcarts emerged from the gates of the Nagoya Aircraft Works of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Each cart was heavily laden with a large cargo shrouded in canvas. Slowly the carts moved north, following the street car tracks along the main street of the city of Nagoya.

The oxcarts belonged to the Onishi company, contracted for this job by the Nagoya works of Mitsubishi. The two drivers holding the bridles of the oxen each held a lantern in his hand. Written in bold letters on those lanterns was the name of the Onishi company, under the ensign of the Mitsubishi company, which was three diamonds. Four heavers paced alongside the carts, guarding the loads. At the head of the ponderous little procession walked Seiichiro Tamura, transportation supervisor of the materials section of the aircraft works. A security guard brought up the rear.

The drivers and heavers had an idea of what was on the carts. The front one was loaded with an airplane's wings and the front part of its fuselage. The second cart carried the after part of the fuselage with a horizontal stabilizer and an engine section. The teamsters knew this because it was routine to disassemble a completed airplane into wings and fuselages for transport to the Kagamigahara Airfield of Gifu . . .

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