Giovanni Battista Caproni is a famous Italian airplane designer who inspires Jiro Horikoshi to become also an airplane designer. He called Jiro not by name but the "boy from Japan". He appears in the 2013 film The Wind Rises.
He only appears only in Jiro's dreams. He is based on the real Italian individual of the same name, Giovanni Battista Caproni.
He is first mentioned in the magazine Aviation. Jiro borrowed it from an older classamte. Since that day, he dreams about being as great as Caproni.
He first appears in Jiro's dream when Jiro dreams of becoming a pilot. Caproni ends up taking Jiro up upon the wings of his first Italian plane and when Jiro asks if he can still design airplanes because he is nearsighted, Caproni answers that he has never flown a single plane, but that planes are like beautiful dreams.
After that, he appears in Jiro's dream when Jiro is returning from Germany asking Jiro if he would rather pyramids or without pyramids, meaning would he rather design planes even for war or not at all? Jiro answers Caproni by answering that even though his planes are used for war and destruction, he would still rather achieve his dream.
Finally, Caproni is last seen in a dream by Jiro and telling him that even though his planes have been used for destruction Jiro's dreams were none the less realized. Caproni also tells Jiro that Naoko has been waiting for him and that she was also a beautiful dream like his first successful airplane ending the film with inviting Jiro for a glass of wine.
In the movie, six airplane designs can be seen, all of his handiwork: