The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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Kawasaki was one of the large industrial conglomerates or
zaibatsu that dominated manufacturing in Japan prior to and
during the Pacific War. Originally founded as a shipbuilding firm
in 1896, the company had expanded into several other areas by
Among Kawasaki's subsidiaries was Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo
K.K., which was founded in 1919 to become one of Japan's oldest aircraft
manufacturers. The company won a contract for production of a Dornier heavy bomber design in
1926 and for its own Ki-10 fighter
Kawasaki produced 17% of Japan's
airframes and 12% of its aircraft
engines during the Pacific War. Its chief plants were
at Akashi and Gifu. Smaller airframe plants were
at Ichinomiya (Nagoya) and
Miyakonojo, and some engines were produced at Futami and
Takatsuki. Production was exclusively for the Army.
Kawasaki produced the Ki-45 Nick and Ki-36 Ida at Akashi and Gifu. The Gifu plant also produced the Ki-48 Lily. the Ki-56 Thalia, the Ki-102 Randy, and the Ki-67 Peggy. Both versions of the superb Ki-61 Tony were produced at Ichinomiya.
Kawasaki specialized in liquid-cooled engines, which included the Ha-9, Ha-40, and Ha-140. The company also produced the Ha-13, Ha-25, and Ha-115 under license.
Kawasaki also produced many of the Japanese Navy's warships at its large shipyard at Kobe. These were primarily submarines, but Kawasaki was also responsible for construction of fleet carrier Zuikaku.
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