Designed by Shigejiro Owada and Tei Koyama, working under the supervision of two engineers seconded from the Dewoitine concern, the NC was Nakajima’s contender in the competition organised by the Imperial Army in March 1927 with the aim of providing a successor for the Ko-4 (Nieuport-Delage NiD 29). Featuring an all-metal monocoque fuselage and fabric-covered metal wings, the NC was powered by a 450 hp Bristol Jupiter VI nine-cylinder radial and carried an armament of two 7,7-mm machine guns. Two prototypes were completed in May and June 1928 respectively, but structural testing led to rejection by the Army. The contest was, in the event, cancelled, but Nakajima persisted with the NC as a company-funded venture, building five more prototypes between 1929 and 1931. The final two of these prototypes were, in fact, of an essentially new design, retaining no more than the rear fuselage of the preceding prototypes. These were to serve as a basis for the series Type 91 fighter.