H8K “Emily”, Japanese Flying Boat

Photograph of an Emily flying boat on the water

U.S. Navy photograph. From Francillon (1979)

3-view diagram of H8K "Emily"
                  flying boat

U.S. Army. Via

Kawanishi H8K2 “Emily”


Dimensions 124'8" by 92'4" by 30'0"
38.00m by 28.14m by 9.14m
Weights 40,521-71,650 lbs
18,380-32,500 kg
Wing area 1722 square feet
160.0 square meters
Maximum speed       290 mph at 16,405 feet
467 km/h at 5000 meters
Cruising speed 184 mph at 13,125 feet
296 km/h at 4000 meters
Climb rate 28 feet per second
8.5 meters per second
Service ceiling 29,035 feet
8850 meters
Power plant Four 1850 hp (1379 kW) Mitsubishi MK4Q Kasei 22 fourteen-cylinder two-row air-cooled radial engines driving four-blade metal propellers.
Armament 20 mm Type 99 Model 1 cannon in bow, dorsal and tail turrets and two beam hatches
7.7 mm Type 92 machine guns in ventral, port and starboard fuselage sides and cockpit hatches
Bomb load Two 800 kg (1760lb) torpedoes, or eight 250 kg (551 lb) bombs, or sixteen 60 kg (132 lb) bombs or depth charges.
Maximum range 4445 miles
7150 km
3749 gallons
17,040 liters
Production A total of 167 H8Ks were built by Kawanishi Kokuki K.K. in their Naruo and Konan plants as follows:

1 H8K1 prototype (Dec 1940)

2 H8K1 pre-production aircraft (1941)

14 H8K1 production aircraft (1941-42)

112 H8K2 production aircraft (1943-45)

2 H8K3 prototypes (1944)

(2) H8K4 prototypes modified from H8K3 frames (1945)

36 H8K2-L production aircraft (1943-45)

The Emily was the successor to the Mavis and was one of the few early Japanese planes that could fairly be described as rugged. It was well-armed and -armored and equipped with a carbon dioxide fire extinguishing system and partially self-sealing fuel tanks. It formed the backbone of Japanese naval reconnaissance forces after 1942.

The design dated to 1938, when the Navy specified to the design team that the aircraft must exceed the performance of the Short Sunderland. Extensive testing in wind tunnels and water tanks produced an excellent design that was probably the finest flying boat of the Second World War. Allied fighter pilots considered it the most difficult of all Japanese aircraft to shoot down.

Because of its long range, the Emily figured in a number of Japanese schemes to bomb the continental United States. Most of these involved using both Japanese and German tanker submarines to refuel the aircraft. Nothing came of these schemes. However, the Japanese did mount an operation to bomb Pearl Harbor using H8Ks refueled by submarine at French Frigate Shoals. The aircraft found the harbor clouded in, dropped their bombs at random (doing no damage), and successfully returned. A repeat operation during the Midway campaign was canceled when an American seaplane tender was found at the refueling site: American code breakers had uncovered the Japanese plans.

Starting in 1943, some Emilys were equipped with Type 6 radar.

Photo Gallery

H8K Emily taking off

U.S. Navy

H8K Emily in flight

U.S. Navy

H8K Emily in flight

Wikimedia Commons

H8K Emily float details

Wikimedia Commons

H8K Emily warbird

Max Smith


Francillon (1979)
Peattie (2001)

Prados (1995)

Wilson (1998)

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