19 January 1917|
|Education||Tokyo Institute of Technology|
|Projects||Various Prince vehicles and Nissan vehicles|
|Significant design||Tachikawa Ki-74|
|Awards||Japan Automotive Hall of Fame (2008)|
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.
In June 30, 1947, 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.
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. 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. 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".
- Tachikawa Aircraft Company
- Tachikawa Ki-74
- Tachikawa Ki-77
- Ryoichi Nakagawa
- Shinichiro Sakurai
- Naganori Ito
- Nissan Diesel
- KATSURAGI, Yoji (2003), “The Beam of Light of the Prince Motor Company”, Grand Prix Book Publishing Co., Ltd., (Japanese) ISBN 4-87687-251-1
- Tama Electric Vehicle E4S-47 (JSAE Official Website)
- The History and the Biography of Jiro Tanaka (Detailed PDF document attached) (Japanese) - Japan Automotive Hall of Fame
- From the Ki-74 to the Tama Electric Vehicles and the Prince Vehicles - Interview of Jiro Tanaka on Nov. 22, 1996 (Japanese) - The Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan (JSAE)
- Carmakers owe success to warplanes - Military's brightest aircraft designers created Japan's automotive powers The Japan Times, Aug. 13, 2005