The Teradako-ken TK-3 was a prototype eight-to-ten passenger light transport monoplane built by Nippon Koku Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha as a short-range transport for civil use at the request of Imperial Japanese Airways to replace its aging fleet of Airspeed Envoys and Fokker Super Universals. The first of two prototypes flew in June 1938, but was unable to meet the required performance requirements and the project was cancelled. In 1939, the Imperial Japanese Army revived the project to meet its urgent requirement for a light transport and liaison aircraft and instructed Nippon to develop the design as the Ki-59.
The Ki-59 was a high-wing cantilevermonoplane with a fixed tailwheel landing gear and conventional single vertical tail surfaces. It was powered by two 450 hp (336 kW) Hitachi Ha-13aradial engines and other modifications to the design were made to meet Army requirements. The Ki-59 was ordered into production in 1941 with the designation Army Type 1 Transport, and an additional 59 units were produced. After the start of World War II, the aircraft was given the Alliedreporting nameTheresa. Despite the more powerful engines and modifications sponsored by the Japanese Army, the Ki-59 remained a poor performer and saw little service before being replaced by the more capable Tachikawa Ki-54. A small number were transferred to Manchukuo National Airways.
Near the end of 1941 one Ki-59 was modified into a glider with the removal of the engines and the landing gear replaced by underfuselage skids. It was designated the Ku-8-I or Army Experimental Glider. This was further developed as the Ku-8-II or Army Type 4 Large Transport Glider which became the only operationally-used Japanese assault glider. It was named 'Gander' by the Allies.