File: Japanese Military Aircraft

Report: Compiled by Calvin W. Lew



The code name system for Japanese aircraft originated in the Southwest Pacific theatre in the second half of 1942.  Before Pearl Harbor, very little was known about Japanese military aircraft of any type, and it was widely assumed that most Japanese military aircraft were second-rate copies of obsolescent Western designs.  It goes without saying that the first six months of the Pacific War showed just how wrong that view was!


The Allies were thus faced with a desperate need for accurate, up-to-date intelligence on the Japanese aircraft which were at that time riding roughshod over the entire Pacific theatre of operations.  In June, 1942 Captain Frank T. McCoy of Nashville, Tennessee became head of the Material Section of the Directorate of Intelligence of the allied air forces in the entire Southwest Pacific area.  His team was assigned the task of identifying and classifying Japanese aircraft.


Since Captain McCoy was from Tennessee, he initially assigned hillbilly names such as ZEKE, RUFE, NATE, and JAKE to Japanese aircraft--chosen so that they were short, simple, unusual, and easy to remember.  75 code names were assigned the first month.  By September 1942, these names were in wide use throughout the entire Southwest Pacific.  Shortly thereafter, they went into use throughout the entire Pacific.


These odd-sounding code names soon attracted attention from high-ranking military brass.  Captain McCoy assigned to what later turned out to be a modified Zero the code name HAP, the nickname of General Henry H. ("Hap") Arnold, USAAF Chief of Staff.   The General was NOT amused, and had Capt McCoy summoned before General MacArthur's chief of operations to explain what he was up to.  Captain McCoy seems to have gotten himself out of this particular jam, but the name HAP was quietly changed to HAMP.


In the summer of 1944, a joint Army-Navy Air Technical Center in Washington took over responsibility for assigning the names.


The code names were alloted according to the following system:


Male first names:    Fighters and reconnaissance seaplanes


Female first names:  Bombers, attack bombers, dive bombers, Reconnaissance aircraft, Flying boats


Transports (names beginning with letter T).


Tree names: Trainers


Bird names: Gliders


However, there were some exceptions to the rule.  The Ki-44 Shoki single-seat fighter was assigned the name TOJO.


Here is a list of code names.  Supposedly it is complete, but I would appreciate being informed of any omissions.







Designator  Code Name   Manufacturer





A5M       CLAUDE    Mitsubishi Navy carrier-based single-seat fighter

A5M       SANDY Mitsubishi Navy carrier-based fighter. Name given to a non-existent inverted-gull wing version of CLAUDE.

A6M       Reisen (Zero Fighter)/BEN Mitsubishi Name briefly assigned to

Zero in CBI theatre.

A6M       Reisen (Zero Fighter)/RAY Mitsubishi Name briefly assigned to Zero in CBI theatre.

A6M2      Reisen (Zero Fighter)          Mitsubishi The Zero is the most recognizable of all Japanese aircraft, comprising almost all the fighter planes fielded by

       Japan in World War II. It was exactly the state of the art at its introduction in 1940, but fell behind the technology power curve in mid-war. Its 1130-horsepower engines were no longer powerful enough to compete, and models with more powerful engines were not available until near war's end. Max speed was about 350 mph, and range in the thousand-mile bracket with drop tanks.

A6M5 Model 52Reisen (Zero Fighter)/ZEKE     Mitsubishi Navy single-engined carrier- based fighter.

A6M2-N    RUFE      Nakajima  Seaplane fighter version of Mitsubishi A6M2 Reisen.

A6M3      HAMP      Mitsubishi Navy carrier-based fighter. First named HAP, then HAMP, then finally ZERO 32.

A7He1 JERRY Heinkel   Heinkel He 112B-0 in service in Japan as Navy land-based


A7M       Reppu (Hurricane)/SAM     Mitsubishi Navy single-seat carrier-based fighter

A8V1      DICK      Seversky  Seversky 2PA-B3 purchased from USA and operated as two-seat Navy land-based fighters.


AI-104    IONE      Aichi Nonexistent reconnaissance seaplane.


AT-27 GUS       Nakajima  Fictional twin-engined fighter.


Bf 109E   MIKE      Messerschmitt  German fighter erroneously believed to be in service in Japan.

Bf 110    DOC       Messerschmitt  German twin-engined fighter erroneously believed to be in service in Japan.


E7K       ALF       Kawanishi Navy single-engined  reconnaissance biplane seaplane

E8N       DAVE      Nakajima  Navy two-seat reconnaissance seaplane biplane.

E9W       SLIM      Watanabe  Navy Reconnaissance Seaplane

E10A      HANK      Aichi Navy reconnaissance seaplane

E13A      JAKE      Aichi Navy single-engined reconnaissance seaplane.

E14Y      GLEN      Yokosuka  Navy single-engined reconnaissance seaplane

E15K      Shiun (Violet Cloud)/NORM Kawanishi Navy single-engined high-speed reconnaissance seaplane

E16A      Zuiun (Auspicious Cloud)/PAUL  Aichi Navy single-engined reconnaissance seaplane 


F1M       PETE      Mitsubishi Navy single-engined observation biplane seaplane.


FW 190A-5 FRED      Focke-Wulf Erroneously believed to be in service in Japan


J1N       Gekko (Moonlight)/IRVING  Nakajima  Navy twin-engined land-based night fighter and reconnaissance aircraft.

J2M  Raiden (Thunderbolt)/JACK Mitsubishi Navy single-seat land-based interceptor.  The J2M was a Japanese fighter developed in the later years of WWII.  Designed to be an interceptor, the plane was never really the nemesis of B-29 bombers that it was hoped to be.


He 112B-0            Heinkel   In service in Japan as Navy land-based fighter.


J4M       Senden/LUKE    Mitsubishi Navy interceptor


Ki-001    BEN       Nagoya-Sento   Did not exist.

Ki-10 PERRY Kawasaki  Army single-seat biplane fighter Relegated to training roles by beginning of Pacific War

Ki-27 ABDUL Nakajima  Army single-seat fighter serving in CBI theatre.  Duplicate of NATE in Southwest Pacific.    After 1943, code name NATE was used exclusively.

Ki-27 NATE      Nakamima  Army single-seat fighter Name initially used only in Southwest Pacific theatre, whereas the same plane was called ABDUL in CBI theatre. From 1943 onward used name NATE exclusively.

Ki-28 BOB       Kawasaki  Erroneously believed to be in production as fighter

Ki-43 Hayabusa (Peregrine Falcon)/JIM     Nakajima  Army single-seat fighter - name later changed to OSCAR

Ki-43 Hayabusa (Peregrine Falcon)/OSCAR   Nakajima  Army single-seat fighter - known for a time in CBI theatre as JIM

Ki-44 Shoki (Devil-Queller)/TOJO     Nakajima  Army single-seat fighter

Ki-45 Toryu (Dragon Killer)/NICK     Kawasaki  Army two-seat, twin-engined fighter

Ki-46 DINAH Mitsubishi Army twin-engined reconnaissance and interceptor aircraft.

Ki-61 Hien (Swallow)/TONY  Kawasaki  Army single-seat fighter

Ki-64 ROB       Kawasaki  Experimental Army single-seat fighter

Ki-72 STEVE Mitsubishi Army experimental twin-engined fighter

Ki-74 PAT       Tachikawa Erroneously believed to be a long-range fighter.  Name changed to PATSY when true role of bomber became known.

Ki-84 Hayate (Gale)/FRANK  Nakajima  Single-seat Army fighter.

Ki-102b   RANDY Kawasaki  Army twin-engined assault plane


N1K       Shiden (Violet Lightning)/GEORGE    Kawanishi Navy single-seat land-based interceptor-fighter

N1K       Kyofu (Mighty Wind)/REX   Kawanishi Navy single-engined seaplane fighter.


STK-97    ADAM      Nakajima  Nonexistent fighter seaplane


Type 97   BOB       Aichi Navy recon seaplane - did not exist


TK-4      FRANK Mitsubishi Fictional twin-engined fighter. Name later applied to Nakajima Ki-84

TK-19 JOE  Fictional single-seat fighter


20        OMAR      Suzukaze  Fictional twin-engined fighter





B4Y       JEAN      Yokosuka  Navy carrier-based single-engined attack bomber biplane.

B5M       MABEL Mitsubishi Carrier-based attack bomber. Name later changed to KATE 61

B5N       KATE 61   Nakajima  Navy single-engined carrier-based attack bomber

B6N       Tenzan (Heavenly Mountain)/JILL     Nakajima  Navy single-engined carrier- based attack bomber.

B7A       Ryusei (Shooting Star)/GRACE   Aichi Navy single-engined carrier-based attack bomber.

B-97      DORIS Mitsubishi Medium bomber- did not exist


BR-20 RUTH      Fiat Italian-built heavy bomber in Japanese service


C6N       Saiun (Painted Cloud)/MYRT     Nakajima  Navy single-engined carrier-based reconnaissance aircraft


D1A       SUSIE Aichi Navy single-engined carrier-based biplane dive bomber

D3A       VAL       Aichi Navy single-engined two-seat carrier-based dive bomber

D4Y       DOT       Yokosuka  Carrier-based dive bomber - duplicate of JUDY

D4Y       Suisei (Comet)/JUDY  Yokosuka  Navy carrier-based single-engined dive bomber.


E11A      LAURA Aichi Navy reconnaissance seaplane


Fw 200    TRUDY Focke-Wulf German four-engined maritime reconnaissance aircraft erroneously believed to be  in service in Japan


G3M       NELL      Mitsubishi Navy land-based twin-engined attack bomber

G4M       BETTY Mitsubishi Navy twin-engined land-based attack bomber

G5N       Shinzan (Mountain Recess)/LIZ  Nakajima  Navy four-engined attack bomber operated as freight transport.

G8N       Renzan (Mountain Range)/RITA   Nakajima  Navy land-based four-engined attack bomber.


H5Y       CHERRY    Yokosuka  Navy flying boat

H6K       MAVIS Kawanishi Navy four-engined maritime reconnaissance flying boat

H7Y       TILLIE    Yokosuka  Navy experimental flying boat

H8K       EMILY Kawanishi Navy four-engined long-range reconnaissance flying boat


Ju 52/3m  TRIXIE    Junkers   German trimotor transport erroneously believed to be in service in Japan

Ju 87A    IRENE Junkers   German single-engine dive bomber erroneously believed to be in service with Japanese army.

Ju 88A-5  JANICE    Junkers   German light bomber erroneously believed to be in service in Japan.


JULIA/Misidentified LILY  Believed to be a heavy bomber


JUNE/Misidentified JAKE   Believed to be a floatplane version of VAL


Ki-2      LOUISE    Mitsubishi Army twin-engined light bomber

Ki-15/C5M BABS      Mitsubishi Army/Navy single-engined reconnaissance aircraft

Ki-15/C5M NORMA/Misidentified BABS  Mitsubishi Believed to be a light bomber.

Ki-30 ANN       Mitsubishi Army single-engined light bomber

Ki-21 JANE      Mitsubishi Army heavy bomber - Name later changed to SALLY

Ki-21-IIb GWEN      Mitsubishi Army heavy bomber - name later changed to SALLY III.

Ki-21 SALLY Mitsubishi Army twin-engined heavy bomber. Formerly named JANE.

Ki-32 MARY      Kawasaki  Army single-engined, two-seat light bomber

Ki-48 LILY      Kawasaki  Army twin-engined light bomber

Ki-49 Donryu (Storm Dragon)/HELEN    Nakajima  Army twin-engined heavy bomber.

Ki-51 SONIA Mitsubishi Army two-seat, single-engined assault aircraft

Ki-54?    JOYCE/Misidentified HICKORY    Tachikawa? Believed to be a light bomber version of Tachikawa Ki-54

Ki-67 Hiryu (Flying Dragon)/PEGGY    Mitsubishi Army twin-engined heavy bomber

Ki-70 CLARA Tachikawa Army command reconnaissance aircraft

Ki-71 EDNA      Mansyu    Army experimental single-engined two-seat tactical reconnaissance aircraft.  Development of Mitsubishi Ki-51.

Ki-74 PATSY Tachikawa Army experimental long-range, high-altitude reconnaissance bomber.

Ki-76 STELLA    Kokusai   Army single-engined command liaison aircraft.  Generally similar to Fieseler Fi 156 Storch but not a copy.


H3K1      BELLE Kawanishi Navy biplane flying boat


He 111    BESS      Heinkel   Erroneously believed to being built under license in Japan


MXY7      Ohka (Cherry Blossom)/BAKA     Yokosuka  Navy rocket-powered suicide attacker.


Ohtori/EVA(EVE) Mitsubishi Erroneously believed to be a bomber


P1Y       Ginga (Milky Way)/FRANCES Yokosuka  Navy land-based twin-engined light bomber/night fighter.


Q1W       Tokai (Eastern Sea)/LORNA Kyushu    Navy twin-engined land-based patrol aircraft.


V-11GB    MILLIE    Vultee    Erroneously believed to be in production by Showa in Japan



TRAINERS (Tree Names):


K3M       PINE      Mitsubishi Navy single-engined crew trainer

K5Y       WILLOW    Yokosuka  Navy intermediate trainer biplane.

K9W       CYPRESS   Kyushu    Navy primary trainer

K10W      OAK       Kyushu    Navy intermediate trainer License-built North American NA-16


Ki-9      SPRUCE    Tachikawa Army medium-grade two-seat single-engined biplane trainer

Ki-17 CEDAR Tachikawa Army single-engined two-seat biplane primary trainer

Ki-36/55  IDA       Tachikawa Army single engined two-seat monoplane trainer and army cooperation aircraft

Ki-54 HICKORY   Tachikawa  Army twin-engined advanced crew trainer and light transport.

Ki-55/36  IDA       Tachikawa Army single engined two-seat monoplane trainer and army cooperation aircraft

Ki-86          Kokusai     Army primary trainer



GLIDERS (Bird Names):


Ku-7      Manazuru/BUZZARD     Kokusai   Army transport glider

Ku-8      GANDER    Kokusai   Army transport glider Formerly named GOOSE

Ku-8      GOOSE Kokusai   Army transport glider Named changed to GANDER



TRANSPORTS (Names beginning with letter T):


DC-2      TESS      Douglas   License-built DC-2s erroneously believed to be in widespread use by Japanese Navy.


14        TOBY      Lockheed  Commercial Lockheed 14s used by Japan during Pacific War.


Ki-33 TINA      Mitsubishi Army transport - misidentified Yokosuka L3Y transport version of G3M attack bomber.

Ki-34/L1N THORA Nakajima  Army/Navy twin-engined transport

Ki-56 THALIA    Kawasaki  Army twin-engined transport.   Japanese-built adaptation of  Lockheed Model 14-WG3.

Ki-57/L4M TOPSY Mitsubishi Army/Navy twin-engine transport

Ki-59 THERESA   Kokusai   Army twin-engined light personnel transport


L2D       TABBY Showa/Nakajima Navy land-based twin-engined transport.  License-built version of Douglas DC-3.


Type LO   THELMA    Tachikawa/Kawasaki    Twin-engined Army transport. License built version of  Lockheed Model 14.







 C-1A     Trader                    Grumman Aerospace





“Japanese Military Aircraft” -- Compiled by Calvin W. Lew,

Post Office Box 6586, Oceanside, California  92052-6586

Telephone: (619) 687-9090 (Pager / Voicemail)

(619) 840-0971 (Mobile)

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