Despite Mitsubishi's close ties to the Japanese military establishment and his direct participation in the nation's buildup towards the Second World War, Horikoshi was strongly opposed to what he regarded as a futile war. Excerpts from his personal diary during the final year of the war were published in 1956 and made his position clear:
When we awoke on the morning of December 8, 1941, we found ourselves — without any foreknowledge — to be embroiled in war...Since then, the majority of us who had truly understood the awesome industrial strength of the United States never really believed that Japan would win this war. We were convinced that surely our government had in mind some diplomatic measures which would bring the conflict to a halt before the situation became catastrophic for Japan. But now, bereft of any strong government move to seek a diplomatic way out, we are being driven to doom. Japan is being destroyed. I cannot do [anything] other but to blame the military hierarchy and the blind politicians in power for dragging Japan into this hellish cauldron of defeat.
On 7 December 1944, a powerful earthquake in the Tokai region forced Mitsubishi to halt aircraft production at its plant in Ohimachi, Nagoya. An air raid made by B-29s on the Mitsubishi Engine Works in Daiko-cho, Nagoya a week later caused extensive damage to the works and a severe setback in production. Horikoshi, who had been at a conference in Tokyo with Imperial Navy officers to discuss the newReppu fighter, returned to Nagoya on the 17th, in time to experience another air raid on the Mitsubishi factories the next day. As a result of the air raid, the company evacuated its machinery and engineers to the suburbs of eastern Nagoya. Horikoshi and the Engineering Department were rehoused in a school building which had been requisitioned. Exhausted and overworked, Horikoshi fell ill with pleurisy on 25 December and remained bedridden through early April. During this time, he recorded in detail the horrors of the increasing air raids on Tokyo and Nagoya, including the devastating Operation Meetinghouse Tokyo incendiary raid of 9-10 March. A massive air raid on Nagoya the following night, with B-29s hurling "tens of thousands of incendiary bombs," destroyed most of the largely wooden city. On 12 March, Horikoshi sent most of his family, including his elderly mother, children and brother-in-law, to his home village near Takasaki to be safe from the bombings, though his wife remained with him in Nagoya.
The Wind Rises (風立ちぬ Kaze Tachinu?) is a 2013 Japanese animated historical drama film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and is animated by Studio Ghibli. It was the final film directed by Miyazaki before his retirement in September 2013. The film is a fictionalized biography of Jiro Horikoshi (1903–1982), designer of the Mitsubishi A5M and its successor, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero; both aircraft were used by the Empire of Japan during World War II. The film is adapted from Miyazaki's manga of the same name, which was in turn loosely based on the 1937 short story The Wind Has Risen by Tatsuo Hori.
The Wind Has Risen (風立ちぬ - Kaze Tachinu）is a Japanese novel by Hori Tatsuo, written between 1936-37. It is set in a tuberculosis sanitarium in Nagano, Japan. The plot follows the condition of the female character's illness. It was originally serialised in Kaizō.
Three films have been produced based on the story. Most recently, Hayao Miyazaki's 2013 film, Kaze Tachinu, is loosely based on the novel.