In 1933 the Imperial Japanese Navy ordered Aichi, Nakajima, and Dai-Ichi Kaigun Koku Gijitsusho to come up with designs for a two seat carrier based dive bomber.
Aichi imported a He 66 dive bomber from Ernst Heinkel Flugzeugwerke A.G. It was powered by a Siemens SAM-22B (715 HP) engine. Tokuhishiro Goake led a team to modify the He 66 to meet the specifications for the Japanese Navy's dive bomber. The under carriage was strengthened to withstand landing on carriers and a seat for a second crewman was added. The engine was replaced by a Nakajima Kotobuki 2 Kai 1 (560 HP) engine. It was designated the Aichi Special Bomber.
In 1935 Tokuhishiro Goake designed the D1A2.
The D1As were made of a metal structure with fabric and metal coverings.