Japanese Kamikaze WWII

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The first thing to remember is Japan had, and has, an entirely different sense of loyalty and honor than America, or other Western countries.


The Kamikaze pilots are part of a deeply rooted cultural aspect. Japan was an incredibly ‘loyal to the country’ country, extremely patriotic. It was a very cultural thing to lay down one’s life for the country at the time. This kind of death before failure attitude can be traced through Japanese history. The earliest example that I know of is Hari-kiri, translated it means ‘cutting the belly’ I believe. This was first “invented” by a samurai whose bow arm tendons were cut, so, rather than accept failure, he basically said ‘screw it, I’m out.’ This created the samurai trend of sepuko, or ritual suicide. It was basically the idea that defeat could only be atoned by death, so it was essentially personally unacceptable to lose a fight. If you look a bit later, (WW2), the Japanese idea of death before loss/failure was still in full swing. During the US advance through the Asian Pacific islands they came across loads of fortified islands cut off from reinforcements. This is best exemplified by Iwo Jima, which was the place where the most famous American war picture was taken, the 6 or 7 soldiers raising the American flag (interesting fact: it was actually the second flag raised that day), for context, it would be a good idea to read up on the events of Iwo Jima. Anyway, what basically happened was that, at each of these islands, the Japanese would fight, despite the knowledge that they’d die, and once defeat was imminent, banzai charges, better described as suicide charges, were carried out. Look a bit later, and you have Kamikaze pilots. They were revered, to be chosen as one was a sure fire to bring glory upon you and your family. It exemplified the then Japanese ideal of laying your life down for your country. To return would result in personal humiliation, and being ignored for the rest of your life, which is shown in Beatrice Garland’s poem ‘Kamikaze’. In the present day the death before failure mentality still permeates Japanese life. This basically means that hundreds of young men and women on the cusp of their future commit suicide rather than face the fact that they failed something. To be honest, it’s one if the saddest things about the entire ideology. It’s become ingrained enough that it causes people to commit suicide rather than face potential failure. Now I’m not saying that it’s really bad there, Japan has come forwards in terms of culture and has shed a majority of that way of thinking, but it’s still just tangible enough in the lost lives of the men and women. Edit: I can’t spell on phone keyboards


Japanese people tend to have a much stronger sense of national pride than most countries. The boys that were sent off to complete this task were seen as heroes, and I believe they had a large ceremony to send the boys off and support them for their bravery. There were also promises of heaven and a great afterlife I believe.


Dan Carlin has an awesome podcast about the Japanese during WWII that gets into this called Supernova in the East. Podcast is called Hardcore History


Fanatical education system. When you’re brought up in school to worship the emperor and Japan as literal deities, you’ll be much more willing to sacrifice your life for them. Also, there are a lot of stories of Japanese soldiers claiming that to be captured was the ultimate sin to yourself, family and country. Kind of a Spartan mentality. If you’re interested in the subject, I’d recommend Dan Carlin’s podcasts ‘Supernova In The East’ really enjoyable take on Japan’s military history during the Second and First World Wars.