Photo/IllutrationWorkers reassemble a Hien World War II fighter aircraft at the Gifu-Kakamigahara Air and Space Museum in Kakamigahara, Gifu Prefecture, on Feb. 15. (Noboru Tomura)

KAKAMIGAHARA, Gifu Prefecture--Looking much like it did about 75 years ago when it rolled off the assembly line here, the last surviving Hien (flying swallow) fighter aircraft in Japan is ready for its final mission as a museum showcase.

The Hien, originally developed by the predecessor of a major Japanese motorcycle for the Imperial Japanese Army, will be showcased from March 24 with the reopening of the refurbished Gifu-Kakamigahara Air and Space Museum.

“Displaying the Hien has been our long-held dream since the opening of the museum in 1996,” said Atsuhiro Nagaura, head of the museum. “I want the Hien to be seen by as many people as possible in its home.”

About 3,000 single-engine Ki-61 were manufactured in a factory of Kawasaki Aircraft, a predecessor of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., which was located in Kakamigahara, during World War II.

The rare fighter had been on display in Kagoshima Prefecture but a decision was made in 2015 to transfer it to the museum.

The fuselage and main wings of the dismantled aircraft have been on display at the Gifu Prefecture museum for about a year since November 2016. Kawasaki Heavy Industries spent one year restoring the aircraft.