Official site

Sohei Shiroshita
Ninomiya's birthplace / Location of Ninomiya's inspiration / Location of maiden flight / Hiko Shrine

Chuhachi Ninomiya (1866-1936)
- A Japanese who had succeeded in flying independently a powered miniature aircraft 12 years in advance of the Wright brothers success -

Miniature aircraft resembling a crow
As opposed to the Wright brother's airplane, Ninomiya's aircraft included wheels, showing remarkable foresight.
Owned by Hiko Shrine

Chuhachi Ninomiya
Photo.: Owned by Ninomiya-Chuhachi Airplane Pavilion

Aircraft resembling a jewel beetle reproduced based on Chuhachi Ninomiya's original blue prints
The direction of flight can be changed by the lower wing
Owned by Ninomiya-Chuhachi Airplane Pavilion
Chuhachi Ninomiya researched airplane development on his own. At the military training ground in Marugame, Kagawa Prefecture, on April 29, 1891, Chuhachi produced an aircraft resembling a crow using rubber to drive the propeller. The craft flew a distance of about 9 meters at an altitude of about a meter after sliding on the ground and falled. With this success, Chuhachi, who worked for the hygiene corps of the army at that time, took blueprints for a manned aircraft to his superiors 3 times, but his proposal for manufacture was flatly denied. In 1903, when 12 years had passed after Chuhachi's successful flight, the Wright brothers succeeded in a manned, powered flight for the first time in the world.

Reference: Akira Yoshimura, "Wing of a Rainbow [= Niji-no-Tsubasa (in Japanese)]", Bungeishunju Ltd., 1980. This site is chiefly based on this book.