Jiro Tanaka

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Jiro Tanaka
田中 次郎
Jiro Tanaka in front of the Tachikawa Ki-74 after the WWII.jpg
Jiro Tanaka in front of the Tachikawa Ki-74 after World War II
Born (1917-01-19) 19 January 1917 (age 101)
Shibuya, Tokyo
Nationality Japanese
Education Tokyo Institute of Technology
Occupation Engineer
Engineering career
Discipline Mechanical engineering
Projects Various Prince vehicles and Nissan vehicles
Significant design Tachikawa Ki-74
Awards Japan Automotive Hall of Fame (2008)

Jiro Tanaka (田中 次郎, Tanaka Jirō, born January 19, 1917) Christian name Joseph[citation needed], is a Japanese aircraft and automotive engineer.


Tanaka (rightmost squatting), Takuya Himura (second from right behind the car) and all the design department employees of Tokyo Electric Car Company with their first vehicle Tama EOT-47 electric truck in 1947.
Tanaka (leftmost) and his boss Tamotsu Toyama (rightmost wearing hat), former Prototype Aircraft Workshop manager of the Tachikawa Aircraft Company, in front of the Tama Senior EMS-48 electric vehicle at the 2nd Electric Vehicle Performance Contest in Odawara held by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on October 17, 1948.

Tanaka graduated from the Tokyo Institute of Technology in March 1939 and joined the Tachikawa Aircraft Company in April 1939. In October of the same year, he enlisted in the Army and evaluated new engines for the Army aircraft. In 1944, the Army sent him to his home company Tachikawa to complete the design of the Tachikawa Ki-74. He added the pressurized cabin to Ki-74.

After the World War II, he repaired the Tachikawa Ki-77 and the Ki-74 for submission to the GHQ.

In June 30, 1947,[1] the Tokyo Electric Car Company became independent from the Tachikawa Aircraft and Tanaka joined the Tokyo Electric Car. It later changed its name to "Tama Electric Car Company" on November 30, 1949.[1][2]

Tanaka (right) and his Tama colleagues testing the prototype of their first gasoline-engine vehicle Tama (Prince) Truck AFTF in Hakone, late 1951 or early 1952. This car had not been named "Prince" yet.

After the Korean War broke out, the price of the battery rose significantly, while the price of the gasoline fell. Tama Electric Car started building gasoline-engine vehicles. They were basically an aircraft body manufacturer, so they had to buy automobile engines from outside. They bought engines from the Fuji Precision Industries (one of the successors of the disbanded Nakajima Aircraft Company). Tama Electric Car changed its name to "Tama Motor Company" on November 26, 1951.[1] A new sedan was launched in 1952 and was named "Prince". So they again changed the name to "Prince Motor Company" in November 27, 1952.[1] Tanaka, as Design Department Manager, supervised the development of all the Prince vehicles such as the Skyline, Gloria and others under the supervision of his boss Ryoichi Nakagawa, the former Nakajima Aircraft engineer. Tanaka was promoted to Executive Director after the merger with Nissan. He retired from Nissan in 1983 and was appointed the Vice President of the Nissan Diesel. He retired from Nissan Diesel in 1985 and became an Adviser to Nissan Diesel. He was inducted into the Japan Automotive Hall of Fame in 2008 along with Yutaka Katayama, the "Mr. K".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d KATSURAGI, Yoji (2003), “The Beam of Light of the Prince Motor Company”, Grand Prix Book Publishing Co., Ltd., (Japanese) ISBN 4-87687-251-1
  2. ^ Tama Electric Vehicle E4S-47 (JSAE Official Website)