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.