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  H8K2 Emily Manufacture Number 426 Tail T-31
IJN
5th Naval Air Wing
"Kikusui Force"
Takuma Air Group

Previous Assignments:
802nd Kōkūtai
801st Kōkūtai

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1945

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1946

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Justin Taylan 2004

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Tom Burchill 2004

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Yoji Sakaida 2009

Aircraft History
It is believed this aircraft was constructed in March 1943, at Kawanishi Konan Plant (near Osaka). The aircraft's initial assignment was to the 802nd Kōkūtai with tail number N1-26.

Wartime History
After the 802nd Kōkūtai was disbanded, this aircraft became part of the 801st Kōkūtai based at Saipan on April 1, 1944, where its tail markings were over painted to 801-86. When the 801st disbanded, it became part of the 5th Naval Air Wing "Kikusui Force", Takuma Air Group, with tail number T-31 beginning on April 25, 1945. It sustained minor damage in an air raid, and ended the war as one of three surviving Emilys at Takuma Air Base.

Post War Technical Evaluation
In September 1945, it was selected for technical evaluation, and repaired by veterans of the Takuma Air Group, and flown to Yokahama, for disassembled and transport back to the United States. It was evaluated in Maryland, and went into long term storage.

Bruce Sheppard adds:
"i first saw the Emily in 1964 when my Dad was stationed in Norfolk. It remained displayed at gate 4 through some of the 1970s, i believe the plan was to send it to the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, before the Japanese wanted it back."

Return to Japan & Restoration
After shipment to America, and was in storage for decades, and never examined. Due to budgetary cuts, the aircraft was slated for disposal in 1976, unless an immediate plan for it was presented. In 1978, Ryoichi Sasagawa curator of the Tokyo Maritime Museum proposed to transport the aircraft to Japan for restoration and display. The US military agreed, and by an act of US House of Representatives, and this Emily became the first war trophy ever returned.

Display
Shipped to Japan in 1979, it was restored and unveiled on July 21, 1980. It is permanently displayed outdoors, to the side of the Tokyo Maritime Museum. The interior is sealed with protective coating, and not open to visitors.

Justin Taylan visited in January 2004:
"I visited the Emily in January 2004, just before its move. Even by today's standards, the flying boat is enormous, and the multi-level museum and nearby subway station allow for excellent views of the aircraft from nearly every angle."

After 23 years at the Tokyo Maritime Museum, the Emily was shipped at the end of January 2004 to the Kanoya Museum, where it became a JSDF possession is displayed outdoors at the museum. The interior remains sealed and air conditioned for preservation.

Tom Burchill, visited in March 2004
"Seeing this airplane was a nice surprise for me as I had been in Tokyo on a earlier occasions and had not had an opportunity to visit the Maritime Museum. While the Kanoya Museum is off the beaten track for the average tourist, it is befitting that this great aircraft was moved to its new venue which I feel is more appropriate from a historical perspective.  With the Chiran Kamikaze Museum located across Kagoshima Bay, this move will help make southern Kyushu a mecca for students of the Pacific war."

References
Aero Detail 31: H8K Emily Type 2 Flying Boat is the definitive book on this single airplane, covering photos of its restoration, color plates and other details.

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

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Emily

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