Manshu Ki-98 photos

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Jul 4, 2021
Since I've just about exhausted my options online, I'll throw my inquiry here to see if just *maybe* something might pop up.

The Ki-98 is a plane I've known about for years, ever since I picked up Rene Francillion's "Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War" (my copy is a first printing, and is the oldest aircraft book in my collection). I noticed that design, but didn't take much interest until some time later when I saw drawing of its full form, as well as 3D renderings, artwork, and model kits. Then I got hooked. I've found plenty of illustrations online depicting what it intended to looked like, and the story of the plane I also know well.

The Ki-98 was a ground attack plane that was under construction late in the war, with the first prototype well in advance when the Soviet's invaded. The prototype was destroyed to prevent it from falling into enemy hands.

What I really…REALLY…want to know is if any pictures of the plane exist, at any point during its construction. For all practical purposes, some kind of photo documentation should have been done for the benefit IJAAF officials in Tokyo wanting to know of its progress, since they would have had to approve of the project in the first place. It could hardly be argued that there was a great deal of secrecy needed for such a plane, especially since it was not being made within the controlled confines of the home islands, but entrusted to be built in Manchukuo, within reach of both Chinese and Russian forces that gradually became a more viable threat as more resources and manpower were expended on other fronts. Much of the technology applied to it were common as well; the only real innovations where the twin boom layout and tricycle undercarriage, more novelties than groundbreaking inventions for Japan. But as it was seemingly important enough to use important resources, and to be built in China none the less, leads me to believe something tangible should exist. That no photo documentation seems to exist is something I have trouble believing, since even the carrier Shinano, the largest carrier of the war and the only major warship in the 20th​ century to have never been officially photographed during it construction due to the secrecy of the project, was photographed at least twice in the 10 days after it was put into service before being sunk. I would like to believe that in some archive in Japan, photos exist, or they were confiscated by the Allies during the Occupation or when the plant in China was seized. As it stands, the lack of ANY photos of any part of the real plane could make one wonder if it ever existed at all. Drawing and specifications abound, but no hard evidence of even a mock-up. The Ki-98 doesn't strike me as the kind of machine that needed to be erased from history just because Japan never got to use it, since the Aichi S1A was never used because both prototypes were destroyed before either was completed; yet photos of the mock-up exist. I'm perplexed as to why the Ki-98 is different

A tall order, and quite the long-shot, but I'd rather ask and know for sure.
The Japanese Diet library has a lot of good stuff from the period but the only stuff I know of is the USSBS stuff on that site. If you are patient you might strike lucky. Japanese aircraft documents will lead you to one part of the site

Another site that is good is Japan Center for Asian Historical Records but again I find it difficult to search

There is another site I would try but it eludes me at present but I will post it if/when I remember. The site owner is Japanese and appears quite thorough but again I cannot remember what the site is - I had it bookmarked but it did not survive computer migration and the site owner has posted to ww2aircraft some 18 months back but a search failed to find it. Hopefully someone else here will remember it. The site name was very similar to another site - something like aircraft-reports from memory.

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