I wonder how many people know about the aound the world tour of Nippon go. Probably people younger than I am do not know. I did not know about it either.
Recently, I found a child's vest(chanchanko) and it had a plane morif- written Nippon. I found interesting background of this motif.
Before the world tour of Nippon go, Kamikaze go achieved a new record of flight from Tokyo to London. The plane made in Japan and with a Japanese pilot broke the world record- the news made all Japanese into enthusiasm. The remarkable achievement made Asahi shinbun(News paper)boost the circulation. The air plane(Kamikaze go) was from this newspaper company.
Then, another newspaper company, Mainichi shinbun, the rival company planned the around the world tour.
It is hard to imagine now but at that time, crossing Pacific Ocean itself was quite a venture.
One American pilot succeeded crossing Pacific Ocean and became a hero- it was Showa 6(1931). There was no Japanese who did the same experience.
Regarding the Nippongo flight, they provided a fishing rod with the rescue boat, because of the lesson from Lindberg. Only a few people believed their venture but for most people, crossing Pacific Ocean was a difficult thing.
They tried to seek the air plane which can accomplish the flight . What they found was `Kyuroku shiki chugata kougekiki'(sixty nine type middle size attacking fighter). Borrowing the fighter was quite hard but they could borrow only one air plane for thir project.
There was another problem, it was even more serious. It was a night before the WWII opened. Three days before the departure for the project, there was a sudden conclucion of Russo - German Non-aggresion pact. After 6 days from the departure, the WWII broke out. They could imagine the feelings toward Japan could become worse. They were not sure they could be allowed to arrive in North Africa( it was ruled under France at that time). There were so many problems ahead. However, they were so determined and launched this adventure.
They could not become a loser - there was a strong rivalry between these two newspaper company. They also wanted to show their Japanese spirit, so there was no choice.
It turned out to be quite an adventure. It took around two months they came back to Japan after this around the world tour but when they landed on Pacific Ocean, they were all unconscious. To avoid the storm, they flew highter but because of the lack of oxygeon tank, all the pilots became unconscious, but there was an auto pilot system (the most advanced system of the time), and that saved their lives.
It think it is interesting, the adventure occured because of the long time rivalry of the two newspaper companies. They had risked their lives for this adventure.
I remember, at the big accident recently, a big media company did not allow their workers to go into the most dangerous area.
What a big difference!
I hope more people could know about this great adventure of Nippon go.
The course of the around the world tour by Nippongo