On April 12, 1955, at Kokubunji, Tokyo, a tiny rocket called Pencil was launched horizontally. Even before and during WWII, research into rockets is said to have attained a considerable level, but most scientists concerned destroyed their materials for fear that they would be accused of war crimes.

Thus rocket research was not continued effectively after theWar. In such a situation, the launch of Pencil in April 1955 is usually counted as the start of rocket development after the War in Japan. Looking at the remarkable and rapid achievement of subsequent space development in Japan, we are deeply impressed all over again with the great historical significance of this tiny Pencil and the excellent vision and leadership of Prof. Hideo Itokawa, the originator of the Pencil.

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