Skip to comments.Film, Museum Spark Interest in Kamikaze
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 ...
Good luck getting an interview with a Kamikaze...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
” 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 .
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.
What's the name of the film..."The Japan That Can Say 'Unnngh!'"?
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.
Nor is it generally a winning strategy.
patriotic conservatives, don’t knock ‘em.
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.
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.
The Japanese brought it on themselves.
Roger that, they died to save face for the military junta running Japan.