The Mitsubishi Ki-2 was initially designated "Army Type 93-1 Twin-engine Light Bomber" under the former Japanese military aircraft nomenclature system. Although already obsolescent by the time of its introduction, it was used with great success in the counterinsurgency operations of the Pacification of Manchukuo, and as well as limited use in the Second Sino-Japanese War in combat in north China.
The Ki-2 was followed in production by an improved version designated the Mitsubishi Ki-2-ll, or "Army Type 93-2 Twin-engine Light Bomber," in 1936. The Ki-2-ll had a fully enclosed manually operated nose turret, an enclosed cockpit for the pilot, and semi-retractable main landing gear, which retracted forward into the engine nacelles. The Ki-2-ll also had new 559 kW (750 hp) Mitsubishi Ha-8 radial engines giving much improved overall performance with maximum speed increased to 283 km/h (176 mph). Mitsubishi built a total of 61 Ki-2-II aircraft.
Vulnerable to attack by enemy fighters, and replaced by aircraft with greater range and payload by the late-1930s, both versions ended their flying careers in the training role.
A civilian version of the Ki-2-ll named Otori (Phoenix) was bought by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper and made a number of long-range record-breaking and "goodwill" flights from 1936 to 1939. Registered J-BAAE, it covered the 4,930 km (3,060 mi) from Tachikawa military air base to Bangkok in 21 hours 36 minutes flying time in December 1936, and in early 1939 achieved a round-China flight of some 9,300 km (5,780 mi).