Kawasaki and Mitsubishi were asked by the Japanese Army in 1936 to develop a monoplane that had:
- Single engine
- Carry 660 - 990 lbs of bombs
- Cruise at 187.5 mph
- Fly between 6,500' and 13,000'
- Maximum speed of 250 mph at 10,000'
- Armament of two machine guns
Isamu Imashi and Shiro Ota designed the plane with a liquid cooled engine. The Mitsubishi and Kawasaki designs were similar and the Mitsubishi Ki-30 was put into production. With war coming it was decided to produce both of them side by side.
The Kawasaki Ki-32 was the last bomber used by the Japanese Army that used a liquid cooled engine as they were more vulnerable than air cooled.