Kamikaze Pilots.

Essay by pagu911 January 2004

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During World War II in the Pacific, there were pilots of the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy who made suicide attacks, driving their planes to deliberately crash into carriers and battle ships of the Allied forces. These were the pilots known as the Kamikaze pilots. Because right-wing organizations have used the Kamikaze pilots as a symbol of a militaristic and extremely nationalistic Japan, the current Japanese respond to the issue with ignorance and false stereotypes and with generally negative and unsympathetic remarks. However, the Kamikaze fighters added a new wrinkle to navel warfare. Kamikaze expressed their feelings and thoughts about the missions through haiku poems. In many of the haiku that the Kamikaze pilots wrote, the Emperor is mentioned in the first line. According to those who have lived through the early Showa period (1926-1945), the presence of Emperor Showa was like that of a god and he was more of a religious figure than a political one.

In public schools, students were taught to die for the emperor. By late 1944, a slogan of Jusshi Reisho meaning "Sacrifice life," was taught. Most of the pilots who volunteered for the suicide attacks in World War II were those who were born late in the Taisho period (1912-1926) or in the first two or three years of Showa. Therefore, they had gone through the brainwashing education, and were products of the militaristic Japan.

In 1944 the General Staff had considered mounting organized suicide attacks, "suicide attacks" had been made since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor two types of suicide attacks had been made. The first was an organized attack which would, in 90% of the cases; result in the death of the soldiers. However, if the plan had worked on the battlefield as it did in theory; there was some...