Morita Shinzo



On April 24, 1911, a test flight was carried out for the first time at Joto parade ground. The Morita-style monoplane reached an altitude of 10 meters after running 1,200 meters and then flew even higher, drawing circles. He then tried to descend and land. Although he had no experience before, he managed to land. It was a hard impact landing and the body of the plane got damaged a little, but he fixed it immediately. And then, April 27 was the first flight day in front of a lot of people. Many newspaper reporters and spectators gathered at the Joto parade ground. The airplane emerged slowly from the hangar, when my father, Shinzo Morita, wearing his flight suit and glasses, with his aviation cap pulled low, was holding a control stick. When the airplane started to move, the spectators ran after it, and so did bicycles. Just when my father increased the engine power output and started to run, a bicycle crossed in front of the plane. The plane picked up the bicycle with one of the wings and went up about one meter high and flew 80 meters and landed. Fortunately, no one got injured, but his mother told him nothing was to happen to anyone and persuaded him not to fly a plane again. Next, he started to study about model airplanes. He held a model airplane competition (probably the first one in Japan) at Nakanoshima Park in Osaka. He was also on the jury at the competition. In 1910, my father visited France en route home from the US. He had a trunk in which he had a frock coat, a tail coat, and a morning coat. Also, his leather hat box had a silk hat and a derby hat. He was a tall man and he escorted beautifully dressed ladies to the Paris Opera House. I guess he enjoyed the life there very much. At that time, a world exposition was held in Brussels, and he attended the Expo as a member of the Japan delegation.
At the Expo, he saw an airplane for the first time in his life and thought it would soon be the age of airplanes. So he returned to Paris and entered a flying training school, where he leaned the theory and techniques of airplanes. There were two Japanese people who were learning at the school, Captain Hino and Captain Tokugawa. My father had flight training with them. He started to think about buying a European airplane and returning to Japan with it. But he had spent too much money in Paris, so he bought only a motor, a propeller from a 45 horsepower Gregorian ship, and a blueprint for the price of 13,000 yen at that time. Soon after returning to Japan with them, he built a hangar of about 11 meters square in Joto parade ground in Osaka. Then, he invited Mitsuzo Onishi, who was knowledgeable about drafting. He showed him the blueprint and thought about the design. He also invited a bowmaker from Tamba district, now a part of Kyoto and Osaka. He asked Noboru Tarao and Kensuke Shimizu to help him as assistants, and made a strongly-built airplane, combining wood and bamboo. It took almost one year to completely build a Morita-style monoplane.

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Shinzo Morita worn the flight suit


Shinzo Morita with stuffs made of bamboo and
wood first time in Japan 1911 at Osaka