Jiro Horikoshi is one of the main protagonists in the 2013 animated Studio Ghibli film, The Wind Rises. He was the chief engineer and designer of several Japanese fighter planes of the Second World War, most especially the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter.
Since Jiro was a child in the year 1918, he dreams to be a pilot, but his sight stops it. He reads the magazine article about the famous Italian aircraft designer named Giovanni Battista Caproni, and wishes about him at night. In his dream, Caproni tells him that inventing the parts of an airplane is better than using them for the flight.
After 5 years, Jiro is on the way by the train to study aeronautics at Tokyo Imperial University and meets a young lady named Nahoko Satomi, who was travelling with her maid. When the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake takes place, her maid's breaks her leg and Jiro carries her to Satomi family. However, he leaves without his name due to his private moment.
In the year 1927, Jiro graduates the university with his fellow student Kiro Honjo, and both begin working together at aircraft manufacturer Mitsubishi for designing a fighter plane, the Mitsubishi 1MF9, for the Imperial Japanese Army. During the experiments, it breaks apart into pieces in mid-air and the military government rejects it. For the backwardness of Japanese aircraft technology, both Jiro and Kiro are traveled to Germany in 1929 to look at the technical research and get a license for a large German four-engined transport aircraft called Junkers G.38. Jiro looks Hugo Junkers but argues with German guards and encounters many Nazi thugs. He dreams about Caproni again and tells him that the world for the beautiful planes, even if mankind might put them to the ugliness.
In the spring of the year 1932, Jiro promotes to be the chief engineer for a fighter aircraft competition launched by the Imperial Japanese Navy, but his design of Mitsubishi 1MF10 fails testing in the later year of 1933 and is rejected again as he did previous. When there's a disappointment, Jiro goes to a summer resort in Karuizawa, the town of Nagano where he wants to rest for a while and meets Nahako again. They are being waged, but Nahoko is infected by tuberculosis and refuses to marry until she finally recovers. The German visitor Castorp privately critical of Nazi regime, helps the romance before fleeing from arresting by the Japanese secret police.
In connection with Castorp, Jiro secretly hides at the home of his supervisor while he was working on a new project for Imperial Navy. Following a lung disease, Nahako recuperates in alpine sanatorium but can't be bore apart from Jiro, and go back to marry her. Jiro's sister Kayo warns Jiro for the bad end of his marriage to Nahako as she has incurable tuberculosis. Even though Nahako's health deteriorates, she and Jiro will enjoy their life together.
Jiro leaves for the experiment of his new prototype fighter craft called the Mitsubishi A5M Zero. Remembering that Nahako will die soon, she secretly leaves an important farewell message for Jiro, her family, and her friends and returns to the sanatorium. At the experimental place, Jiro is suddenly distracted from his successful plan by a rising wind, sensing the death of Nahako.
In the summer of 1945, Japan has lost the Second World War and has been devastated by the air raids of Allied powers while the other planes are kept fighting. Jiro again wishes of meeting up with Caproni, telling him that he regrets his airplane used for the war with Allies. A group of A5M Zero fighters fly past and salute Jiro for the appreciation of his design. Then Caproni comforts him and say that his dream of making a beautiful plane was realized. Nahoko appears to exhort her husband for living his life to the fullest.