The first four competitors of the Wright brothers are:
Santos Dumont – September 13, 1906, 8:40 AM; Bagatelle, France: flight of 4-7 meters at a height of 50-70 cm and a speed of 30-35 km/h. (Aérophile, “Les grandes journées de l’aviation. L’essor de Santos-Dumont. Pour la première fois, un aéroplane à moteur monté prend son vol librement.”, L’Auto, Paris,...
What is this smoke/steam behind the Japanese fighter planes like the Zero?
That picture is from a Movie. It's also a replica plane confuses the question. If your question is why did Japanese Fighter planes have a reputation for trailing smoke in the latter half of WWII, that's the question I answered.
Fermented sweet potatoes....