「Pioneers of Japanese Aviation The First Powered Flight 1910」リチャード・アンセル
History is always a difficult thing to write about as we cannot really know the facts
exactly, and all the information
we find available tends to have been written from the cultural and philosophical points of
view of the previous writers, so interpretations of events are always skewed.
What I am about to write is not more accurate than any other writers, probably less so, it
is just a view as an artist looking at the
old photos of the aircraft, and doing my best to make some accurate drawings of those
I suppose I am a mix of an artist and engineer with a dash of the historian added into
However I do feel, that I would like to say a few words about the history of this first
flight, and how I think things worked out, nothing really to do with my research artwork
that a I made.
This very short essay is a chance for me, to make one simple point, which seems to be,
in my opinion, overlooked by many Japanese groups involved in the events celebrating
the first powered flight in Japan.
The point overlooked, is the omission of Baron Narahara, from the historical story of the
events connected to this first powered flight, and how he influenced the results, by what
he did by helping Yoshitoshi Tokugawa, with his Henri Farman aircraft to make that first flight.
However, before we talk about this, I would like to say, that if things had been a little
different we might be celebrating Baron Narahara for the "First Powered Flight in Japan"
not the two Army Captains Tokugawa and Hino.
Circumstances or luck did not go with Narahara, if he could have purchased the larger
engine (50 hp) from Europe, it may have been him to make that first flight, and more
importantly in his own designed and built Japanese aircraft the Narahara Type 1
Of course six months later he did go on and become the first to make a Civil aircraft
powered flight in Japan, in his own designed Narahara Type 2 biplane, which was a
remarkably original design for an aircraft of that period.
So lets go back to the story of how Baron Narahara helped Tokugawa to make his first flight.
What happened according to most of the Japanese aviation people I have spoken to
about this matter, is that, Tokugawa had an accident with his aircraft and his propellor
was damaged in that accident, and as he had no spare propellor he was forced to find a
replacement for it from elsewhere. This was where Baron Narahara was able to help
him out, by supplying him with an all metal propellor to replace the damaged Henri
Farman aircraft's original wooden propellor.
This metal propellor is clearly visible in some of the photographs of the Tokugawa Henri
I suppose I cannot help feeling that Narahara deserves a mention in this years
celebrations for his unselfish actions!
The message is clear, that the pivotal Tokugawa flight was made possible through the
cooperation of Narahara to fulfil a common goal.
Anyway I have included the Narahara Type 1 on all of my posters and postcards along
with Tokugawa and Hino aircraft, it is a small gesture on my part, to give some
recognition to Narahara's efforts.