The Kawanishi E7K was a very well liked floatplane by it's crew. During an interview with a floatplane instructor, the veteran pilot told me that it was his favorite floatplane, among the "Willow", the "Pete" and the "Jake". Very strong and sturdy but also very easy to fly, with light controls. Those who have built the Hasegawa kit have probably noticed how "crowded" is the section in front and around the pilot. Nevertheless the veteran assured me that the plane offered excellent forward and downward visibility.
The photo from a vintage publication was taken during the Hainan island operations.
According to Monograph #144:
Hainan Island Operation (10 February 1939)
The capture of Hainan Island was an operation conducted mainly by naval forces (including special naval landing forces) and supported by army forces.
Hainan Island lies midway between French Indo-China and Hongkong, occupying a position south of the Leichou Peninsula across the Strait of Hainan, It is also near Kwangchowan, a French-leased territory. It is a large island, having a population of 2,200,000. The island was guarded by the 152nd Division, approximately 25,000 strong, under the command of Yu Han-mou, who was in charge of peace preservation in Kwangtung Province.
The Japanese Navy, after the capture of Canton the previous year, had maintained a formidable blockade all along the coast of south, central and north China. However, loopholes were found in the southern end of the blockade line, examples being the supply route to Chiang Kai-shek with Hongkong and Northern trench Indo-China as relay points and the direct routes though Hainan Island and Kwangchowan areas. Because of these loopholes, as well as the necessity to conduct air operations deep into the interior as far as the Kunming area, the Navy came to feel the necessity for establishing air bases on Hainan Island. The Central Authorities of the Navy advocated this move. Operations were carried out by the special naval land combat units with Army elements supporting them.
Escorting a convoy, the South China Naval Force (Fifth Fleet) commanded by Vice Admiral Kondo Nobutake, entered and anchored in Tsinghai Bay on the northern shore of Hainan Island at midnight on 9 February 1939 and carried out a successful landing. In addition, Navy land combat units effected a landing at Haihow at 1200 on 10 February. Thereafter, the Army and Navy forces acted in concert to mop up the northern zone. On 11 February the land combat units landed at Samah at the southern extremity of Hainan Island and occupied the key positions of Yulin and Yai-Hsien. Thereafter, the units engaged in the occupation and subjugation of the entire island.
Later, Hainan Island became a naval administrative district with Hainan Guard District Headquarters established at Samah. Strategically, the island was built as a forward air base as well as an advance base for blockading Chiang. At the same time, the iron and copper resources of the island were exploited.