Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Film, Museum Spark Interest in Kamikaze
Forbes.com ^ | Jul 8, 11:26 AM EDT | JOSEPH COLEMAN

Posted on 07/08/2007 1:10:35 PM PDT by gandalftb

CHIRAN, Japan -- Lt. Uchida faced a terrifying mission - crash his plane into a U.S. warship. But the young kamikaze's final letter was full of bravado.

"Now I'll go and get rid of those devils," vowing to "bring back the neck" of President Roosevelt. But for an increasingly bold cadre of conservatives, Uchida's words symbolize just the kind of guts and commitment Japanese youth need.

The suicidal flyers are glorified in a film by Tokyo's governor, a well-known nationalist. A museum about kamikazes gets 500,000 visitors a year.

The hero-worship of the kamikazes coincides with a trend seeing the war as noble...

Prime Minister Abe is pushing to revise the pacifist constitution.

Japanese have had a soft spot for the kamikazes. The pilots are seen as innocent young men forced into sacrificing their lives.

Today's kamikaze-boosters deny they are pro-war but the nationalist sentiment is clear.

Director Shinjo said Japan launched the war in self-defense, and the decision to send young men on suicide missions was the only option left.

"When you get to the roots of the Japanese soul, I think they are embodied in the kamikaze pilots."

"It's extremely dangerous to glorify the kamikaze pilots as tragic heroes." said Atsushi Shirai, a historian.

Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, author of "Kamikaze Diaries," said that rather than stoic warriors, many were tortured souls, browbeaten and abused into flying to their deaths.

The Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots goes to great lengths to make the point that the flyers nobly gave their lives for their families. A large painting shows angels bearing the broken bodies of the pilots to heaven.

Museum director Kikunaga said the pilots were attacking military targets, not civilians. He argued it was hypocritical of Americans to compare kamikazes with terrorists after colonizing wide swaths of the world.

(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Japan
KEYWORDS: japan; kamikaze; wwii
I think many Japanese are driven by the shame, not of starting the war but of losing the war. They are an extremely prideful people, to a point of insular arrogance. They rarely emigrate and constantly deny or minimize their atrocities. Once their war generation passes on, their new nationalists will pressure their society to reassume the mantle of E Asian superiority that is a subtext to many of them. They are well capable of national delusion.
1 posted on 07/08/2007 1:10:37 PM PDT by gandalftb
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: gandalftb

Good luck getting an interview with a Kamikaze...


2 posted on 07/08/2007 1:30:21 PM PDT by MacDorcha (study links agenda-driven morons and junk science...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MacDorcha

Actually, there are/were a few surviving Kamikaze pilots. The ones who were still training when the war ended, had engine trouble and turned back, etc. I’m pretty sure none of the “successful” ones are still around. I’d think a battle between WW2-type Japanese and the Taliban/AlQueada would be very interesting. My money would be on the Japanese. I never heard of a Japanese soldier dressing up in a kimono to avoid capture.


3 posted on 07/08/2007 1:35:40 PM PDT by ozzymandus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: MacDorcha

Hopefully this resurgent nationalism prompts them to rearm, specifically with the first strike nuclear capablity of a bonafide superpower. That it’ll tone the Chicoms down a bit and their Chia Pet.


4 posted on 07/08/2007 1:38:57 PM PDT by Nickh
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb
As my wife says, KMAR. Kiss my ass running.

My grandfather was Damage Control Officer on the Bunker Hill when it got kamikazied. Killed hundreds of men. Any military action that regularly depends upon suicide actions of men, from Japan in WWII to Islamifascists today, is illigitmate and immoral. A moral regime seeks to bring its bravest home if possible after the war, instead of deliberately sending them to suicide missions.

5 posted on 07/08/2007 1:39:19 PM PDT by dirtboy (Impeach Chertoff and Gonzales. We can't wait until 2009 for them to be gone.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ozzymandus; Nickh

For the record- I am in fully favor of the US giving both Japan and Israel one big “We got your back!” and letting them swing into full gear.

For the most part, I like to think that Japan has little to no ill-feelings towards the US remaining. If we could just de-pansy England and it’s various allied nations, I think it would become a very much more stable planet.

War would still be sure to happen eventually, but it would be after years of great competition and advancement with next to no squeek from the terrorists in the middle east and the communists in the far east.


6 posted on 07/08/2007 1:52:19 PM PDT by MacDorcha (study links agenda-driven morons and junk science...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb
Museum director Kikunaga said the pilots were attacking military targets, not civilians.

A perfectly legitimate point. US warships were attacking Japan and they were valid military targets.

The kamikazes were not terrorists or suicide bombers in today's sense.

7 posted on 07/08/2007 1:52:19 PM PDT by Sherman Logan (It's not the heat, it's the stupidity.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ozzymandus

When I was 12, I met a Kamakazi. The war ended the day before he was to fly his mission. At the time I met him, he was a bigwig on the Japanese national railroad and was here studying the American railroad.

He told me the day before the war ended his best friend flew his own mission and that prior to taking off had cut off his left hand pinky finger and given it to him to remember him by. He said it was in a shrine at his home to that day.


8 posted on 07/08/2007 1:52:33 PM PDT by stumpy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb

” I think many Japanese are driven by the shame, not of starting the war but of losing the war. They are an extremely prideful people, to a point of insular arrogance. They rarely emigrate and constantly deny or minimize their atrocities. Once their war generation passes on, their new nationalists will pressure their society to reassume the mantle of E Asian superiority that is a subtext to many of them. They are well capable of national delusion.

Very well said . Right on .


9 posted on 07/08/2007 1:56:38 PM PDT by sushiman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dirtboy

Sappers (traditionally)
Berserkers

Several forms of the latter have arisen throughout almost all cultures- Over stimulate a man to the point of blinding rage, hand him a weapon and point him to the enemy. Carelessness alone usually resulted in fatal blows being reigned upon them, but due to adreneline, drugs, or just pure will, a few would result in much heavier casualties on the enemy.

Any war involves a level of “employing suicide tactics”

But it’s been much dimished what with “risk assesment training” and the value in dollars of the training of the individuals involved.

Of course, this was also still the result of an actual nation defending it’s land.

As the saying goes “All’s fair in Love and War.”

Just kill him before he kills you as a soldier, or make them bare more death than you as a commander.


10 posted on 07/08/2007 2:04:01 PM PDT by MacDorcha (study links agenda-driven morons and junk science...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb
The suicidal flyers are glorified in a film by Tokyo's governor, a well-known nationalist.

What's the name of the film..."The Japan That Can Say 'Unnngh!'"?

11 posted on 07/08/2007 2:07:57 PM PDT by RichInOC (No! BAD Rich!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MacDorcha
Several forms of the latter have arisen throughout almost all cultures-

Any military organization in a major war will sometimes ask men to make a suicide mission.

However, look at the absolute moral depravity of the commanders on the Western Front in WWI. Asking men to die by the hundreds of thousands for a hundred yards.

Look at the Japanese. Asking their men to die instead of being taken prisoner, for no military purpose.

And look at the American military experience - where the goal is to bring the men home if at all possible.

No comparison to the morality of command at the end of the day. None. A moral military does not condone suicide as a daily strategy.

12 posted on 07/08/2007 2:10:26 PM PDT by dirtboy (Impeach Chertoff and Gonzales. We can't wait until 2009 for them to be gone.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: dirtboy
A moral military does not condone suicide as a daily strategy.

Nor is it generally a winning strategy.

13 posted on 07/08/2007 2:16:47 PM PDT by Logophile
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb

patriotic conservatives, don’t knock ‘em.


14 posted on 07/08/2007 2:17:03 PM PDT by rageaholic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dirtboy

We were in WWI. We did trench war-fare then as well.

The Japanese, as a culture, have always prefered “Death over dishonor”. Given their history and practices, I’d say their tactics were simply custom-fitted to their fighting.

“If you cannot take the enemy’s life- deny him your humiliation.”

Given that this has been a practice they have long lived by (and admired) due to the stories of the samurai, loyalty and honor have always been held well above one’s life.

To follow that up with a small expanation that I hope sheds some insight- China (the root of philosophy in the Far East) never developed a verb tense “to be”.

This is reflected greatly in the holding of the Group (or Authority, or Higher, or...) over themselves. Even the honor of the Higher is above their own. Some people are employed fully understanding if their boss is seen to be doing something wrong- they themselves will, take the fall, and then kill themselves.

I’m not for saying “all cultures are equal” but I am for saying that Japan, as a nation, is one that has earned its prestige an influence in the world. It may not fit “morally” with your (markedly modern) American ideals, but it is genuine to themselves. Their manner of war was honestly come by.

Hell, Kamikaze is in name a tribute to one of the greatest moments in Japan’s survival. An enemy fleet was due to come and wage a war well beyond Japan’s capabilities of fending. A “devine wind” or hurricane, blew the enemy ships to pieces and the enemy never landed on Japan. Kamikaze is their word for “devine wind” and they named their suicide pilots such because to them, they were a defending power from the sky against sea powers.

And again- as was pointed out before: kamikazes were used in defense of their land, not as a tool for attack or terror. They didnt have the technology we have now, so it was their favored choice for ensuring damage. And if used effectively in the proper tactics, such a pilot (by himself, with combat supprt) could sink a carrier. One soul to destroy an entire carrier. If I was the enemy, I’d venture with those odds as well.

Hell, the very idea of breaking the enemy’s spirit by such disproportionate force was the spirit in which the fire bombing of Tokyo took place.


15 posted on 07/08/2007 2:33:31 PM PDT by MacDorcha (study links agenda-driven morons and junk science...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb
I have spent my share of time in Japan and I largely concur with your opinion. I recall one guy who was arrested for assault. His excuse was that he thought the other guy was a Korean (he wasn't). And never mind the attitude towards foreigners; they can be extremely cold, to each other. I would add that with very low birth rate they are raising a generation of spoiled brats.

There is something we should contemplate about their national character. Why did it take two nuclear bombs and not just one to get them to surrender? Even then it was a close run thing, a gang of militarists attempted to stop the emperor's surrender address. Victory may have required 3 bombs, not two.

C.W.

16 posted on 07/08/2007 2:48:42 PM PDT by colderwater
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dirtboy
Not only is it immoral, but it often backfires on the perps, which is why after Okinawa the U.S. decided that the fanatics could only be brought to bear in one way: an awesome display of power such as the world had never before seen.

The Japanese brought it on themselves.

17 posted on 07/08/2007 2:50:52 PM PDT by metesky ("Brethren, leave us go amongst them." Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton - Ward Bond- The Searchers)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: dirtboy

Roger that, they died to save face for the military junta running Japan.


18 posted on 07/08/2007 2:52:54 PM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (I never consented to live in the Camp of the SaintGs.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: MacDorcha
Their tactics, like at Guadalcanal, were extremely wasteful of Japanese lives. I’m surprised the troops never mutinied. The Germans fought fanatically, but almost never avowedly suicidally.
19 posted on 07/08/2007 2:58:37 PM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (I never consented to live in the Camp of the Saints.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb

20 posted on 07/08/2007 3:00:03 PM PDT by pabianice
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb
Director Shinjo said Japan launched the war in self-defense...

I’ve been considering taking a trip into the mountains, finding a huge bear, sneaking up on it and kicking it in the nads. For self defensive purposes of course.

Isn’t that what the Japanese did to the us? The consequences are about the same!

21 posted on 07/08/2007 3:08:12 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: stumpy
He told me the day before the war ended his best friend flew his own mission and that prior to taking off had cut off his left hand pinky finger and given it to him to remember him by.

Damn! Maybe that’s why these days they’re really into cameras.

“No cut off finger! Take Polaroid!”

22 posted on 07/08/2007 3:12:51 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Grizzled Bear
Director Shinjo said Japan launched the war in self-defense...

So Japan invaded Manchuria in self-defense, comitted the rape of Nanking in self-defense, attacked Pearl Harbor in self-defense, etc....

Sure, it was in self-defense....and I'll be spending the night with Penelope Cruz!

23 posted on 07/08/2007 3:15:55 PM PDT by eekitsagreek (dum dum DUUMMM!!!! I'm Captain Chaos and this is my faithful companion Cato! Say hello Cato!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb
A good friend of mine who is knowledgable about such things offered this insight some time back. As background to the kamikazes, one needs to remember that U.S. air supremacy by late 1944 was overwhelming. The mortality rate for Japanese pilots was exceedingly high. For new pilots, which most of them were by that time, it was darn near 100% within two or three missions ... if they lasted that long. Japanese pilots who didn't abort their missions were flying suicide missions anyhow. The institution of the kamikaze essentially formalized what was already the reality.

I don't know how much water it holds, but it's an interesting take.

24 posted on 07/08/2007 3:20:52 PM PDT by sphinx
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ozzymandus
I never heard of a Japanese soldier dressing up in a kimono to avoid capture.

You can call the Japanese soldiers during the WW2 era a lot of things: brutal, ruthless, heartless, patriotic, etc., but they were not cowards and they never ran away from a fight unless you call committing suicide by Seppuku (aka hara-kiri) cowardly!

25 posted on 07/08/2007 3:28:19 PM PDT by Tamar1973 (Riding the Korean Wave, one BYJ movie at a time! (http://www.byj.co.kr))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Tamar1973

Hello TSN Queen!
*bows before TSN Queen*


26 posted on 07/08/2007 3:35:23 PM PDT by eekitsagreek (dum dum DUUMMM!!!! I'm Captain Chaos and this is my faithful companion Cato! Say hello Cato!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: eekitsagreek
Sure, it was in self-defense....and I'll be spending the night with Penelope Cruz!

Amy Grant would be disappointed. LOL!

27 posted on 07/08/2007 3:38:07 PM PDT by Tamar1973 (Riding the Korean Wave, one BYJ movie at a time! (http://www.byj.co.kr))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: All
Does anyone have a problem with Japan declaring war on the US after the Pearl Harbor strike force was launched? Kind of like declaring war while the bullet is in flight, isn't it?
28 posted on 07/08/2007 3:38:09 PM PDT by eekitsagreek (dum dum DUUMMM!!!! I'm Captain Chaos and this is my faithful companion Cato! Say hello Cato!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Lonesome in Massachussets

As was touched upon by my post- mutiny for them would have been an exceptionally different approach than how they historically responded to the will of their god-king. Their philosophies overwhelm such independent-minded approaches.

No, they agreed to do their ruler’s bidding, even at the cost of their lives. I’m sure there were some who resisted, there always are- but they would have been met with little sympathy from their brothers-in-arms.

As for the effectiveness of their tactics- I do not disagree. Very wasteful. But again, completely genuine to their culture.


29 posted on 07/08/2007 3:42:24 PM PDT by MacDorcha (study links agenda-driven morons and junk science...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Tamar1973
Amy Grant would be disappointed. LOL!

I saw a picture of Penelope Cruz on the beach in a bikini. As Ralph Kramden would say, "hamana...hamana...hamana"!

Amy Grant is still no.1!

30 posted on 07/08/2007 3:43:15 PM PDT by eekitsagreek (dum dum DUUMMM!!!! I'm Captain Chaos and this is my faithful companion Cato! Say hello Cato!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: eekitsagreek
Hello TSN Queen! *bows before TSN Queen*

Yoboseyo!

31 posted on 07/08/2007 3:44:09 PM PDT by Tamar1973 (Riding the Korean Wave, one BYJ movie at a time! (http://www.byj.co.kr))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: sphinx

Don’t forget that Japan also had manned torpedoes against American ships. I don’t know if any were actually used in combat.


32 posted on 07/08/2007 3:45:02 PM PDT by eekitsagreek (dum dum DUUMMM!!!! I'm Captain Chaos and this is my faithful companion Cato! Say hello Cato!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: stumpy

“....that prior to taking off had cut off his left hand pinky finger and given it to him to remember him by.”

It must have been properly terrifying to fight these guys.


33 posted on 07/08/2007 5:03:01 PM PDT by TalBlack
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster

Ping!


34 posted on 07/08/2007 5:04:04 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Now with an improved red neck!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MacDorcha

“Japanese...are an extremely prideful people....”

Extremely well put, sir. They are among the most racist people on earth. And yet, every August 6th (the day WWII really began, in their eyes) we `gaijin’ Americans get beaten on the head about the `atrocities’ of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

A U.S. ground invasion of the Japan home islands would have exterminated most of the generation of our Japanese critics of today (as well as causing the deaths of untold numbers of American military).

So they glorify Kamikaze and worship Tojo at the infamous Yasukune shrine?

This `western devil’ finds such to be despicable.


35 posted on 07/08/2007 5:05:06 PM PDT by elcid1970
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: colderwater
My take is that their military/government high-command was unimpressed with the effects of the first bomb. Remember that LeMay had already fire-bombed Tokyo and other cities with much greater devastation and loss of life. Finally they were convinced that we only had one bomb.

My wife's orthodontist is a visiting intern from Tokyo. When asked if he was considering relocating to America, he replied: "Oh no, I would never raise my children around Blacks." In my other experiences with Japanese businessmen I have found them to be absolutely racist and unapologetic about their feelings, although they rarely express them.

36 posted on 07/08/2007 6:03:10 PM PDT by gandalftb (Blessed be the Lord that teaches my hands for the war, and my fingers to fight. (Sniper Jackson))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: sphinx
I would propose that the kamikaze is actually a tactical attack with suicide as only one of the results. The essential goal was not to die but to damage our Navy. Banzai charges were similar with even less opportunity for success and that was a standard tactic before the Japanese units were pressed into a corner.

The Code of the Bushido emphasizes success in the attack, the death of the attacker is not considered a waste as long as the attack succeeds.

37 posted on 07/08/2007 6:11:03 PM PDT by gandalftb (Blessed be the Lord that teaches my hands for the war, and my fingers to fight. (Sniper Jackson))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Lonesome in Massachussets

The goal was to succeed by any means. Guadalcanal was unusual in that the Japanese we fought had not known defeat and were certain that we soft Americans would buckle. The units we fought were Royal Marines, big strong, well trained. They were tough to kill. Their fatal and worst mistake was being unaware of the fighting spirit and toughness of our Marines and our superior fire-power.


38 posted on 07/08/2007 6:19:28 PM PDT by gandalftb (Blessed be the Lord that teaches my hands for the war, and my fingers to fight. (Sniper Jackson))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: TalBlack

Our young men and women are fighting people just as dedicated today. I pray for them daily. Semper Fi


39 posted on 07/08/2007 10:26:12 PM PDT by stumpy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb

They fed their troops in piecemeal and got them chewed up. It was obvious they vastly under estimated the fighting spirit of the Marines.

I’m glad you made it through and thanks for your service. (My father’s generation had many men like you.)


40 posted on 07/09/2007 2:49:36 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (I never consented to live in the Camp of the Saints.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson