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The Book on The Emily

6 May 2021

Kawanishi H8K “Emily” Type 2 Flying Boat, Aero Detail 31 Production Team, 2003, ISBN4-499-22801-8, 104 pp.

Kawanishi H8K “Emily” Type 2 Flying Boat (slipcover)

Kawanishi’s H8K (Allied code name Emily) is often named as World War II’s most succesful as well as most elegant flying boat design. It was long ranged and well armed while possessing a sweet flying disposition. A few survived the war, at least initially, though with only one still in existence—thankfully this Emily is on public display. Its trip from the South Pacific to the U.S. and its return to Japan (as a gift from the United States) is epic. There is only the one Emily now and there is only this one book on the Emily—and both are spectacularly done.

Aero Detail 31 Kawanishi H8K “Emily” Type 2 Flying Boat explains the aircraft as well as her restoration. Photos are plentiful both in the exterior as well as interior. These photos completely cover the aircraft and in intimate detail as its restoration is also documented. There are fold out line drawings as well!

Curiously, Emily’s were shot down by USN PB4Y patrol aircraft during World War II. It’s not explained in this book, nor anywhere else, how the Emily’s 20mm cannon were defeated by .50 Browning machine guns—and on more than one occasion. I assume the Browning’s much longer range was a factor.

The book ends with the sole existing Emily displayed outside the Maritime Science Museum in Tokyo (on Honshu Island) though it was subsequently relocated to the Kanoya Air Base Museum (in Kanoya Japan on Kyushu Island).

Kawanishi H8K “Emily” Type 2 Flying Boat (front cover)
6 Comments leave one →
  1. Alex Norton permalink
    6 May 2021 12:00

    Good review of the book, However, this is not the only book on the Emily as you seem to suggest. In my library there are these books as well:

    Kawanishi Type 2 Flying Boat (H8K Emily)
    Famous Airplanes of the World (New series) #49

    Kawanishi Type 2 Flying Boat (Emily)
    Maru Mechanic Series #19

    Kawanishi Type 2 Flying Boat (H8K Emily)
    Famous Airplanes of the World (old) #138

    Kawanishi Type 2 Flying Boat (H8K)
    Maru Mechanic Extra Edition

    Kawanishi Type 2 Flying Boat (HK8 Emily)
    Famous Airplanes of the World, 1st Series (blue covers) #68

    Kawanishi Type 2 Flying Boat H8K2 “The 426” (Emily)

    and one shared with the Mavis,

    Kawanishi 4-Motor Flying Boats (H6K ‘Mavis’ and H8K ‘Emily’)
    Aircraft Profile #233

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      6 May 2021 12:28

      Thanks for this listing it is helpful and intriguing—searching through Abe and Amazon did not find these—only the one I reviewed so it is the only one currently available and hard to obtain at any rate. I have a questions for you as a bibliography goes only so I far…and that is, how complete are these books? Do any have pilot or crew interviews in them? Do you think any might be better than the book I reviewed by covering other aspects? What I’d also like to know is, should I try to find any of these books (some are from publishers unfamiliar to me) because they’d compliment what I have? I have not read what the Emily’s, or Mavis’s, handling and flying qualities were like, for example. Did the crew have a galley? Did the hulls often leak? What wave heights could be met? Thanks again, this is exciting news you’ve given.

      • Alex Norton permalink
        6 May 2021 17:38

        The difficulty I have in answering your questions is that only the Profile of the 2 4-motor ‘boats is in English! The others are completely in Japanese. They, and a few others I have on Japanese flying boats generically, are very good with pictures and drawings, including cutaways, and data. The Profile book covers the development of the ‘boats very well, and then has some information on their operational deployment, but it is still done in only 24 pages. The book that you picked to review is the best of the lot.

      • travelforaircraft permalink*
        6 May 2021 23:57

        I suspected I’d have to find books in Japanese and thankfully there are translation apps now. Thanks for the book titles with publishers…that helps quite a bit.

  2. theflyingyorkshireman permalink
    6 May 2021 12:09

    Reminiscent of the Boeing 314. One wonders how many design features were “borrowed” from the 1939 American flying boat…

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      6 May 2021 12:37

      Designers shamelessly borrow from competitors, don’t they [chuckling]. You have in intriguing point, however. I’m sure Japan looked at Short Brothers aircraft as well as Martin, Sikorsky and especially Boeing (as you mention). One thing which the Emily is most noted for is its longer length:width fuselage ratio (fineness for the benefit of others)…it was markedly longer than the paradigm of the day and was later incorporated in Martin’s P6M SeaMaster flying boat as well as Grumman’s Albatross. The French had lovely flying boat designs going into WW II and may have shared the Emily’s fineness ratio but I’m unsure.

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