In a park in Musashino on the weekends, you can find lots of parents and their children captivated by the joy of flying paper airplanes that they’ve made themselves. Mr. Ninomiya and other like-minded enthusiasts run free classes for them.

 

He loves airplanes so much that he learned how to fly a glider at his old style junior high school, and as an adult he even acquired a small aircraft pilot’s license. When he was 40, he sent some of his paper airplanes to an American paper airplane contest on his wife’s recommendation, and received the grand prize. After that he started writing a serialized column on the subject for the monthly magazine “Kodomo no Kagaku” (Children’s Science), which included an actual paper airplane kit as a supplement, that is now approaching its 46th year, and there have been over three million copies printed of the accumulated collections of his paper airplanes.

 

The compilation book that he published in the year 2013, he presented all his design theory and data. It's an “aeronautical engineering book” for paper planes containing the basics of aerodynamics. He places great importance on experimentation and measurement and spends three hundred days of the year conducting test flights in this park, which is a rarity for a metropolitan area due to its wide, open, flat fields. It’s on the site of a demolished Nakajima Aircraft factory that was involved in manufacturing fighter planes during the war.

 

With a group of neighborhood mothers, he was heavily involved in a petition campaign to preserve the space for large numbers of the general public to enjoy, and stop it being reclaimed for some man made creation. Their wish was granted by a decision of the head and the open fields remained. The vast open blue sky is decorated with numerous paper airplanes peacefully gliding around.

Yasuaki Ninomiya

Born in Sendai City in 1926. Graduated from the engineering department of Tohoku University in 1951 and then worked in the telecommunications office of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation (now known as NTT). Awarded the Paul Tissandier Diploma from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), and the Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for Culture. Member of Japan Industrial Designers’ Association. Author of numerous books including “High performance paper airplanes invented and developed in Japan.”

Cooperation: Seibundo Shinkosha,
Tokyo Musashino Chuo Park Service Center

Spirit and Spine
‘Kitohone’

created by
THE SPIRIT AND SPINE
CREATIVE FORCE,Tokyo

project direction
Gaku Okubo (ISUKE INC.)
photography
Yoshitomo Tanaka (Vivot)
site design
ISUKE INC. and ICA
title calligraphy
Kenryo Hara (Kikkokai)