Haneda Airfield (Pre-war)
“In November 1930 Hōsei University in Tokyo announced that it had decided to sponsor a flight to Europe on behalf of the newly formed Japan Students’ Aviation League (JSAL). The endeavour was backed by the newspaper Asahi Shimbun and was supported by a society specifically formed for the purpose within Hōsei University.
“Initially, the goal was to fly to Berlin, but it was reportedly changed to Rome because, according to the popular proverb, ‘All roads lead to Rome.’
“The pictured aircraft was flown by two Japanese students of the Hosei University, M. Kurimura and R. Kumakawa. They left Tokyo on May 29, 1931 and flew in a comparatively leisurely manner first to London via Mukden, Harbin, Irkutsk, Krasnoza, Nazau, Moscow, Konigsberg, Berlin, Brussels, landing at Hunworth Aerodrome outside London on August 1. Two days later they continued their tour via Paris, Lyons, and Marseilles, before reaching their final destination, Rome, after a total flight distance of some 8,830 miles (14,210 km).
“The Ishikawajima Aircraft Company produced the single-bay two-seater light aircraft (seen above) fitted with either the Cirrus III or Cirrus-Hermes II engine, of both of which Ishikawajima held manufacturing rights. The chief designer, Mr. Yoshihara, paid particular attention to high factors of safety, performance, exceptional flying qualities and low maintenance costs. The takeoff performance received particular attention, since in Japan of those days, landing fields, when existent at all, were of a very limited size. Reportedly the aircraft possessed remarkable maneuverability.”