The N1K was originally developed as a floatplane for forward land bases but by the time it entered service Japan was on the defensive. Kawanishi engineers had proposed in 1941 that the N1K could be a formidable land-based fighter too and a land-based version N1K1-j (J indicated land based fighter modification of the original floatplane version) was produced as a private venture by the company and first flew in December 1942. Due to it being a mid-wing design (because of the floats & large prop) a new design was begun just 4 days after the first test flight. The major defects being addressed were the wing and long landing gear. The wings were moved to a low position, which permitted the use of shorter, conventional undercarriage, the fuselage was lengthened and the tail redesigned. The first flight was on January 1944 and production of the N1K2-J "Shiden-Kai" (Kai standing for Modified) started in April of that year.