Don't laugh, don't cry, don't even curse, but.....
May 31, 2007
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Hi! The Morita Aeroplane.

Blog of Shinzo Morita's son about his father.(Four pages)
Some strange duplication include in English explanation.

Brief biography of Shinzo Morita by his son Shuho Sasaki. (Abstruct)
In 1900, at the age of 20, my father in high spirits left the Port of Yokohama for the United States. The small ship rocked violently, and it took 40 days to reach Seattle.
Then he entered a commercial school, where he got tuition exemption, by going to school one hour earlier every day and doing the cleaning. After graduating, he worked for Yamanaka antique shop, which handled Japanese art works, and then started his own business, located on Fifth Avenue in New York. He held special exhibitions of Japanese art works across the US and sold those works. He held a series of art exhibitions, putting a lot of art works in freight cars, sending them to various locations, asking chambers of commerce in each region to act as a go-between and inviting many celebrities and art enthusiasts. Such works of arts included big, beautiful, more than 100 year old flower vases, folding screens and tables that were valuable and cannot be seen these days, and they sold quickly. He hired a mixed-blood girl and a black girl as the salesclerks for the exhibitions, and dressed them in Japanese kimono. He had those exhibitions for nine years in major cities in the US and acquired enormous wealth.

In 1910, my father visited France on route home from the US. He had a trunk in which he had a frock coat, a tail coat, and a morning coat. Also, his leather hat box had a silk hat and a derby hat. He was a tall man and he escorted beautifully dressed ladies to the Paris Opera House. I guess he enjoyed the life there very much. At that time, a world exposition was held in Brussels, and he attended the Expo as a member of the Japan delegation.
At the Expo, he saw an airplane for the first time in his life and thought it would soon be the age of airplanes. So he returned to Paris and entered a flying training school, where he leaned the theory and techniques of airplanes. There were two Japanese people who were learning at the school, Captain Hino and Captain Tokugawa. My father had flight training with them. He started to think about buying a European airplane and returning to Japan with it. But he had spent too much money in Paris, so he bought only a 45hp French Grégoire-Gyp four-cylinder water-cooled inverted inline engine made in Belgium and a blueprint for the price of 13,000 yen at that time. Soon after returning to Japan with them, he built a hangar of about 11 meters square in Joto parade ground in Osaka. Then, he invited Mitsuzo Onishi, who was knowledgeable about drafting. He showed him the blueprint and thought about the design. He also invited a bowmaker from Tamba district, now a part of Kyoto and Osaka. He asked Noboru Tarao and Kensuke Shimizu to help him as assistants, and made a strongly-built airplane, combining wood and bamboo. It took almost one year to completely build a Morita-style monoplane. It was my father’s original style airplane, eclectic mix of Bleriot and Antoinette monoplane

On April 24, 1911, a test flight was carried out for the first time at Joto parade ground. The Morita-style monoplane reached an altitude of 10 meters after running 1,200 meters and then flew even higher, drawing circles. He then tried to descend and land. Although he had no experience before, he managed to land. It was a hard impact landing and the body of the plane got damaged a little, but he fixed it immediately. And then, April 27 was the first flight day in front of a lot of people. Many newspaper reporters and spectators gathered at the Joto parade ground. The airplane emerged slowly from the hangar, when my father, Shinzo Morita, wearing his flight suit and glasses, with his aviation cap pulled low, was holding a control stick. When the airplane started to move, the spectators ran after it, and so did bicycles. Just when my father increased the engine power output and started to run, a bicycle crossed in front of the plane. The plane picked up the bicycle with one of the wings and went up about one meter high and flew 80 meters and landed.
Fortunately, no one got injured, but his mother told him nothing was to happen to anyone and persuaded him not to fly a plane again. Next, he started to study about model airplanes. He held a model airplane competition (probably the first one in Japan) at Nakanoshima Park in Osaka.
My father died at the age of 81 on March 17, 1961 in Sapporo.

(There are some opinions about the accident that Shinzo Morita was forced to retire from the pilot. For example,
(1) The accident occurred during a practice flight after the first flight.
(2) The plane did not come into direct contact with the boy on the bicycle, but the plane came into contact with the tree and the plane or a piece of tree hit the boy.)


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