By Leonardo Pinzauti

The postcard above shows Nagoya/Kpmaki airport, Japan in the first weeks of operation. Two aircraft are parked and a medium sized hangar with a half-cylindrical roof is in the background. The card was produced by a publisher named ALPS. Like most Japanese issues the card is sharp and well printed with brilliant colours. It is a good and unusual card but also poses several questions.

Dating is relatively easy. It must have been taken in 1965 between the airport opening in May and September of that year when All Nippon Airways sold Convair 440 JA5053 (shortened to 53 on the nose). ANA used the CV440 on daily flights to Tokyo and Osaka. The other Convair is more mysterious. It appears to be JA5068. If so, it would be one of the four CV240 s that North Japan Airlines bought in 1961. They had commenced operations in 1953 as an air taxi operator and moved up to a DC-3 in 1955, commencing scheduled service in 1957. Their network linked Sapporo, capital of Hokkaido, the northernmost Japanese island, with three destinations on the same island, Hakodate in the south, Kushiro and Obihiro in the North-east. By 1962 the network was extended south to Akita on the main island of Honshu to connect with All Nippon or rail to Tokyo. In 1964 North Japan merged with Fuji and Notto to form Japan Domestic Airways, forerunner of TOA Domestic, then Japan Air System and now merged  into JAL.

BUT – Japanese translators who have been shown the card say that the ideograms on the CV-240 and the hangar roof both convert to “Central Japan Airways” (Chiu Nippon Koku) , about which little can be found. In the early 60s it connected Osaka with other cities on Honshu, including Nagoya. They were absorbed by All Nippon in February 1965, before the likely date of the card. So was Central Japan leasing from North Japan and was the name still in use after the All Nippon takeover ? 

What is clear is that whatever was the case for the Convair the Central Japan name lived on,  on the hangar roof for around another 20 years. The second card, an aerial view, shows it co-existing with a Korean 747-400, Thai A.300 JAL 767 and DC-10 and Cathay Tristar which puts it in the 1980s at least.