Military





The Kamikaze: Samurai Warrior A New Appraisal

The Kamikaze: Samurai Warrior A New Appraisal

 

CSC 1995

 

SUBJECT AREA - History

 

 

 

 

THE KAMIKAZE: SAMURAI WARRIOR

A NEW APPRAISAL

 

 

by

 

 

John A. Forquer

Major

United States Marine Corps

 

 

 

Military Issues Paper submitted to the Faculty

of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College

in partial fulfillment of the requirements for AY 1994-95

 

March 1995

 

 

 

The views expressed in this paper are those of the author and

do not reflect the official policy or position of the

Department of Defense or the U.S. Government

 

 

 

Title: The Kamikaze: A New Appraisal

 

 

Author: Major J.A. Forquer, United States Marine Corps

 

 

Thesis: The WWII Kamikazes have been revered as the epitome of military discipline

and soldierly repute. The Kamikaze story also has a dark side. An analysis of the

leadership behind the development and continued employment of the Kamikaze tactics

reveals the calculated choice to sacrifice the flyer's lives for a "glorious death" not

possible victory.

 

 

Background: Prior to WWII, Japanese military leaders studied and worked tirelessly at

refining the science and art of their profession. During WWII, these leaders employed

their skills with great success against the moth-balled military of the United States.

When victory turned in favor of the United States, Japanese leaders departed from a

logical, methodical approach to war. The leaders increasingly relied on the Samurai

spirit to bridge the disparity of manpower and industry between Japan and the United

States. Japanese leaders, even after recognizing their impending defeat, were unable to

face it. They hid behind and ultimately disgraced, the Bushido Code. These leaders

sought to sacrifice an entire nation, not for victory or peace, but for glorious death.

 

 

Recommendation: History must clearly depict the entire Kamikaze story. Many pilots

were truly heroic. However, the leadership that developed and continued the employment of

the Kamikaze tactic demonstrates the failure of men. Their disregard for human lives as

illustrated by their continued use of Kamikaze tactics in the face of certain defeat, should be

recorded and used as a learning tool. A thorough understanding of this leadership failure

may serve to prevent it from being repeated.

 

Many discussions of the Japanese Kamikaze pilots focus almost exclusively

 

on the bravery and sacrifice of these pilots. While these pilots were respected and

 

revered, they were only one part of the Kamikaze legacy. The darker side of the

 

Kamikaze story involved the leadership behind the tactic. This paper focuses on

 

the leadership which developed, implemented and condoned the continued use of

 

the Kamikaze tactic. Part I provides background information on the influence of

 

Japanese history and culture on the Japanese military. Part II traces the events of

 

World War II that led to the development and expanded use of the Kamikaze

 

tactic. Part III covers the employment of the Kamikaze tactic. Part IV provides a

 

brief conclusion.

 

I. Japanese History, Culture, and The Military

 

A collection of ancient principles called the Bushido Code governed the

 

conduct of the ancient Japanese warrior known as the Samurai. These principles

 

emphasized honor, courage, loyally, self-sacrifice, unquestionable reverence for

 

the emperor, and contempt for defeat. This philosophy became inculcated into

 

the Japanese culture and national ideology. The Bushido Code continued to

 

influence the Japanese culture into the twentieth century.

 

During World War II, a new breed of Samurai warrior emerged, the

 

stone-laced Kamikaze. The term Kamikaze means "Divine Wind." It evolved

 

from the great storm of 1281 that occurred on the eve of the Mongol's planned

 

attack on Japan. This storm prevented the massive Mongol armada from certain

 

conquest of Japan. Accordingly, the Japanese viewed this fortuitous storm as

 

clear evidence of heavenly intervention. They attributed the salvation of the

 

Empire to the Kamikaze.

 

The World War II Kamikaze tactic, unlike its namesake, was not developed

 

as a means to save the Empire but instead was intended to buy Japan time to

 

rebuild their military. This World War II tactic required and celebrated suicide.

 

The notion of celebrated suicide was not adverse to Japanese culture as the

 

Japanese did not attach a disgraceful stigma to suicide. Suicide in Japan was both

 

commonplace and preferred over a life of shame. Suicide was a respected

 

response to tragedy, humiliation or the desire to share the fate of a respected

 

man's death. The Kamikaze tactic, therefore, was embraced by many Japanese

 

people. This tactic was also consistent with the Bushido Code's requirement of

 

self-sacrifice.

 

The Japanese military also applied other principles of the Bushido Code.

 

In keeping with the code, this totalitarian system demanded courage, devotion,

 

and obedience. The system yielded a military characterized as rigid, extremely

 

disciplined, and unquestionably devoted. Not surprisingly, the Japanese employed

 

harsher disciplinary methods than any other World War II force. Even the

 

infamous severe discipline of the Prussian army before 1870 was mild in

 

comparison.1 The Japanese commonly applied brutal corporal punishment for

 

even minor infractions. They believed such punishment to instill a boundless

 

respect for authority and the chain of command. A young naval recruit named

 

Saburo Sakai described his experience as a naval recruit:

 

The petty officers would not hesitate to administer the severest beatings to

recruits they felt deserving of punishment. Whenever I committed a

breach of discipline or an error in training, I was dragged physically from

my cot by a petty officer. "Stand tall to the wall! Bend down, Recruit

Sakai!" he would roar. "I am not doing this because I hate you, but

because I like you and want you to make a good seaman. Bend down!"

And with that he would swing a large stick of wood and with every ounce

of strength he possessed would slam it against my upturned bottom. The

pain was terrible, the force of the blows unremitting. There was no choice

but to grit my teeth and struggle desperately not to cry out. At times I

counted up to forty crashing impacts into my buttocks. Often I feinted

from the pain. A lapse of consciousness constituted no escape however.

The petty officer simply hurled a bucket of cold water over my prostrate

form and bellowed for me to resume position, whereupon he continued his

discipline until satisfied I would mend the errors of my ways.2

 

Like the disciplinary procedures, Japan's military award system and daily

 

expectations were also harsher than other World War II forces. The Japanese

 

award system only acknowledged individual performance posthumously. In

 

addition, Japanese leaders expected their soldiers and sailors to perform to their

 

absolute limits daily. They considered anything short of total and unselfish

 

dedication to the Emperor a disgrace.

 

The Bushido ideal of contempt for defeat also influenced how the Japanese

 

viewed combat. They regarded defeat in combat as the ultimate humiliation. The

 

Japanese expected a soldier or sailor to win, die by the hands of his enemy, or

 

commit suicide. Commanders who recognized imminent defeat in battle,

 

therefore, launched hundreds of soldiers in banzai charges into overwhelming

 

enemy machine-gun and artillery fire, knowing that the attack would be suicidal.

 

These commanders believed that such a drive embodied the spirit of the ancient

 

Samurai warrior and would result in a "glorious death."3 Military commanders

 

thought no greater honor could be bestowed upon them than the opportunity to

 

give their lives and the lives of their men for their emperor. Thus, soldiers

 

incapable of participating in these bonsai charges due to injury or sickness were

 

summarily executed.

 

Toward the end of the war, many in the civilian population adopted the

 

Kamikaze philosophy. Thousands of military and civilians viewed the imminent

 

defeat and the unconditional surrender of Japan as a disgrace. Accordingly, they

 

committed suicide.

 

II. Setting The Stage: Events Leading to the Development of the Kamikaze

Tactic.

 

The Japanese-military had service leaders but no unified commander. As a

 

result, the Japanese Army and Navy constantly battled over military strategy.

 

Only the Emperor could consolidate the efforts of the two services.

 

Unfortunately for Japan, the emperor behaved like a constitutional monarch. He

 

did not exercise his leadership until after the U.S. dropped the atomic bombs.

 

Continuous inter-service strife, therefore, plagued the Japanese military through

 

much of World War II.

 

Because of the unresolved disagreements between the army and navy and

 

many poorly conceived compromises, the military adopted two separate strategies.

 

The army adopted a strategy of a northward drive through China into Russia.

 

The navy planned to push southward against the U.S., Great Britain, and Holland.

 

This dual strategy forced Japan to attempt the impossible task of building a

 

military capable of matching the U.S. and Russia. The army's term for this

 

expansion, Hakko Tai, (meaning eight directions) stated the hope that the entire

 

world could be brought under Japanese control.4 However, a protracted war on

 

such a scale required an industrial capacity and resource base far beyond Japan's.

 

war on such a scale required an industrial capacity and resource base far beyond

 

Japan's.

 

Although Japan never had the resources for a protracted war, in the first

 

stages of World War II, Japan's military was well equipped, trained, and prepared

 

for war. Initially, the Japanese won several battles in their quest to rule the

 

world. These initial victories gave the Japanese false hope. They deluded

 

themselves into thinking victory was imminent. They planned and executed a

 

successful operation that proved to be the beginning of the end for Japan - the

 

bombing of Pearl Harbor. This attack woke the sleeping giant of the West (the

 

U.S.) and Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's worst nightmare became a reality. After

 

the U.S. declared war on Japan, the U.S. rapidly converted its unmatched

 

industrial capacity to war production and set it into accelerated motion.

 

With the U.S.'s entry in the war, victory no longer seemed imminent for

 

Japan. The defeat of Midway in 1942 started a series of defeats for Japan from

 

which it never recovered. Japanese defeats at Midway and Guadacanal, while

 

costly to both sides, were more easily absorbed by the U.S. with its vast

 

resources. Moreover, Japan could no longer protect its desperately needed supply

 

ships with the land-based aircraft previously launched from these islands. The

 

Japanese Navy could not meet this additional requirement because of its

 

numerous losses of carrier-based aircraft.

 

Several other factors also exacerbated Japan's deteriorating ability to wage

 

war against the United States. First, the allies developed superior weaponry,

 

particularly in air defense and radar. Second, the disparity in experience levels

 

between Japanese and American pilots consistently grew due to heavy Japanese

 

pilot combat casualties. These Japanese pilot losses were particularly high at the

 

battle for Saipan. While America lost 126 pilots, almost 500 Japanese pilots died.

 

This led to the American reference to the battle as the "Mariannas Turkey Shoot."

 

The battle for Saipan resulted in almost total annihilation of Japan's experienced

 

carrier-based pilots.

 

After the battle of Saipan, Japan struggled desperately to train new pilots

 

to fill this critical void. The Japanese sacrificed the quality of pilot training to

 

speed up the replacement process. Before the Pacific Campaign, Japanese pilot

 

training required 4OO flight hours as a prerequisite to the start of aircraft carrier

 

qualification training. Eight hundred hours of total flight time, according to flight

 

instructors and experienced pilots, was required to meet the minimum proficiency

 

for carrier operations. After Saipan, however, several factors prevented Japan

 

from meeting these standards: the impossible time required for such training and

 

the growing shortage of both fuel and pilot candidates.

 

While the flight instructors and aviators asserted that a minimum of 800

 

flight hours was required for pilot training, the Fleet admirals balked at what they

 

viewed as "lofty" flight time training requirements. They insisted that proficient

 

carrier pilots could be produced in 200 hours or less. They rationalized this

 

training reduction with the belief that the Bushido spirit would make up for the

 

lack of experience. Accordingly, they eliminated training in aerobatics, combat

 

techniques, navigation, and dead reckoning. These new pilots, some as young as

 

14, were thrown into battle with as little as one week of flight training.

 

The Japanese flight instructors did not share the Fleet admirals' optimism

 

about the revised training program. They referred to these new pilots as "the

 

black-edged cherry blossoms," which illustrates their belief that the pilots' life span

 

would be short. The skyrocketing increase in training casualties alone indicated

 

the accuracy of their assessment.5

 

These young, ill trained pilots fared worse in battle than in training. The

 

inexperience of the Japanese pilots greatly contributed to Japan's inability to

 

protect its navy against the growing air superiority of American Forces. The

 

Japanese defeat in the Philippines virtually eliminated Japan's ability to defend

 

naval forces. As the Allies rapidly drew closer to the sacred homeland, a

 

decimated Japanese Navy and Army Airforce lay in ruins. The Japanese pilot

 

corps was virtually stripped of experience. The new pilots lacked training to face

 

their thoroughly trained, battle hardened, and experienced enemy.6

 

As the war crept closer to Japan, the allies virtually destroyed the Japanese

 

Navy. This eliminated the unmet need for carrier qualified pilots as no carriers

 

existed. However, the need for well trained land based pilots remained. As with

 

the carrier pilots, the Japanese land-based pilots were also far less qualified than

 

their American counterparts. These new warriors were motivated and eager but

 

they lacked the skills and experience to perform the tactics necessary to

 

accomplish their mission.

 

The commander of Japan's First Air Fleet, Vice Admiral Takajiro Onishi,

 

was particularly concerned with Japan's deteriorating situation. As an experienced

 

carrier officer and ace from the China war, he recognized the serious

 

consequences of this flawed combat pilot replacement program. He knew that

 

effective airpower was critical to stop the advancing allied armada and the threat

 

the allies posed to the Japanese homeland.

 

III. The Kamikaze Tactic

 

A. Onishi's Plan. The poor quality of replacement pilots frustrated Onishi.

 

He believed a new Japanese weapon was needed immediately to stop the Allies.

 

Onishi's search for a new weapon was premised on the belief that Japan would

 

never surrender. He did find a weapon to compensate for the disparity between

 

Japanese and allied pilots. He believed the airplane should be used as an

 

extension of the warrior spirit. Onishi opined the ultimate weapon would be the

 

use of the plane as a human bullet. He only intended the human bullet to be

 

used as a stop gap measure. He believed that the employment of this weapon,

 

the Kamikaze tactic, would provide time for Japan to rebuild their forces.

 

Unfortunately, Onishi's new weapon subordinated the most basic of human

 

instincts, self preservation, to a predisposed death for the Emperor.

 

Onishi asserted that "The country's salvation depends on the appearance of

 

the soldiers of the gods. Nothing but the sacrifice of our young men's lives to

 

stab at the enemy carriers can annihilate the enemy fleet and put us back on the

 

road to victory."7 He also stated, "What greater glory can there be for a warrior

 

than to give his life for Emperor and country."8 Despite his positive rhetoric,

 

considerable resistance to formalizing suicide tactics existed in the military and

 

civilian communities. To circumvent the opposition, Onishi repeatedly attempted

 

to gain a personal audience with the Emperor to convince him of the need for

 

such desperate measures. Onisihi, however, never obtained a meeting with the

 

Emperor. Eventually, the Naval Chief of Staff gave Onishi approval to covertly

 

begin organizing special attack squadrons. This decision reflected the Bushido

 

spirit of readiness to die for the Emperor.

 

Onishi intended to use the Kamikaze tactic as a temporary measure only.

 

He planned to use the Kamikaze tactic to delay Western advancement to Japan so

 

that Japan could recover from its losses. Once Japan had rebuilt the military,

 

Onishi planned to abandon Kamikaze tactics.

 

Kamikaze acts were not unprecedented. Every air force in the world had

 

experienced isolated incidents where injured pilots in damaged aircraft hurled

 

themselves at enemy targets. These incidents showed the considerable damage

 

that suicide tactics could inflict. What distinguished Japan's new approach,

 

however, was the "voluntary" nature. Unlike their predecessors, these Japanese

 

pilots were neither wounded nor were their aircraft damaged. These were

 

organized, clearly suicidal, one-way missions.

 

The evolution of suicide tactics was slow and costly. Because of the

 

ongoing lack of cooperation between the army and navy, suicide tactics were

 

developed independently within both branches. Critical lessons learned during the

 

initial stages of employment were not exchanged between the army and navy.9

 

This lack of communication undoubtedly resulted in wasting many lives.

 

When the official sanctioning of suicide tactics was revealed, it was fraught

 

with great consternation throughout the Japanese public and military. While the

 

Japanese culture did not view suicide as a disgrace, some viewed ordering a

 

person to commit suicide for the Emperor as both inhumane and unnecessary.

 

B. The Propaganda. The deteriorating situation for Japan required

 

desperate measures. Japanese leaders knew America possessed vast resources but

 

believed she lacked the stomach for the horrors of kamikaze attacks. Some

 

Japanese believed the Kamikaze tactics would raise the stakes of the war and

 

break the American will to fight. What Japan lacked in resources and equipment,

 

it attempted to make up for in fighting spirit.

 

The initial success of suicide attacks exceeded even Admiral Onishi's high

 

expectations. Yet even these reported successes failed to gain the complete

 

Japanese approval of Kamikaze tactics. The Emperor's response to the initial

 

successes of suicide squads concerned Onishi. The Emperor was critical of the

 

commander responsible for the tactics.10 In a cablegram to the special attack

 

units, Onishi described the Emperor's response as follows:

 

His Majesty said "Was it necessary to go to this extreme? They certainly

did a magnificent job!" His Majesty's words suggest that His Majesty is

greatly concerned. We must redouble our efforts to relieve His Majesty of

this concern. I have pledged every effort toward that end.11

 

Admiral Onishi believed wholeheartedly in his plan but realized the

 

continuance of his suicide program required the Emperor's approval, even if

 

through silent consent. Two grave consequences resulted from his concern about

 

what the Emperor thought. First, squadron commanders forwarded reports which

 

grossly exaggerated enemy damages inflicted by Kamikazes to Imperial

 

Headquarters to gain the Emperor and people's approval. These false reports

 

garnered additional Japanese support by assuring the people that the deaths of

 

these pilots were not without strategic reward. The second related consequence

 

was the expansion of the Kamikaze program. The purpose shifted from a

 

temporary delay tactic to the use of Kamikazes as the central focus of an offensive

 

strategy. This expansion was due in great part to the inflated battle damage

 

reports. The Imperial Headquarters, which believed these reports, created the

 

propaganda "that the Kamikazes could win the war for them."12 Onishi did

 

nothing to correct this false perceptions.

 

C. The Kamikaze Pilots and Squadrons. The initial Kamikaze pilots were

 

some of Japan's finest. As the survivors of destroyed squadrons, these pilots

 

were the best and the luckiest. There was no "rotation" of Japanese combat

 

pilots. "A warrior went to war and fought until he was victorious or dead."13

 

Almost all of them had been shot down at least once, and none expected to

 

survive the war. They flew on the ragged edge, and some were ready to try

 

anything new. As this supply of experienced pilots was rapidly exhausted, they

 

were replaced by innocent, unknowing teenagers.

 

Many Kamikazes eagerly volunteered for their one-way mission under the

 

honor of the Bushido code. Some of these pilots volunteered, not in the hope

 

of achieving victory, but due to the despair of the situation. One of these

 

"volunteers" reasoned that "since I'm going to be killed anyway, I may as well

 

make it account for something."14

 

Initially, adequate numbers of volunteers existed to staff the Kamikaze

 

squadrons. However, when the mission of these squadrons expanded and public

 

support waned, there were not enough volunteers to fill the squadrons. As a

 

result, the pressure on potential candidates was tremendous. Leaders told young

 

pilots that Japan needed selfless warriors in these desperate times to put aside

 

their worldly interests and eagerly sacrifice themselves. In doing so, their spirits

 

would forever dwell in the Yasukuni Shrine for all of Japan to pay them

 

homage.15

 

One Kamikaze squadron commander, Captain Yoshiro Tsubaki, explained

 

to his young pilots the gravity of Japan's situation and that it was now time to

 

make a great decision. He stated "Any of you unwilling to give your lives as

 

divine sons of the Great Nippon Empire will not be required to do so. Those

 

incapable of doing so will raise their hands--now."16 This was, undoubtedly, an

 

attempt to relieve the conscience of a commander who preferred to let volunteers

 

commit suicide rather than to sentence them to death. However, his patriotic

 

speech failed to rally the unanimous support for certain death that he had hoped

 

for. Infuriated, the Captain called forward the six pilots who had raised their

 

hands and "castigated the honest dissenters as cowards and then announced

 

shamelessly that he had lied to them all, that these six would be set up as horrible

 

examples to the others. These were to be the first to die."17

 

Captain Tsubaki's actions were not an anomaly. Throughout World War II

 

Japanese military leaders ordered thousands of men involuntarily to their death.

 

These "sentenced" pilots often had weeks or months before their mission to

 

contemplate the fate awaiting them. Many of these designated Kamikaze drank

 

heavy after learning of their assignment and numerous accounts exist of drunken

 

pilots being helped into their planes before taking off on their missions.18 As the

 

motivation and spirit began to diminish in the Kamikaze squadrons, several

 

methods were developed to ensure that pilots could not change their minds, once

 

airborne, and safely abandon their mission. For example, pilots who returned to

 

the base were ridiculed, labeled as cowards, and deemed unfit to serve the

 

Emperor. Even those pilots who returned to their base because they could not

 

locate their assigned target due to bad weather were subjected to ridicule.19 As a

 

result, many pilots unable to find their targets crashed hopelessly into the water.

 

Moreover, officials bolted some canopies shut to prevent the pilots from escaping

 

certain death.

 

Japanese military commanders were frustrated with the hopelessness of

 

their struggle and frantically sacrificed every available life in suicide tactics. The

 

cold brutality and commitment of commanders not to survive the defeat of Japan

 

was not directed solely at the military. During the battles for Saipan and

 

Okinawa, in the face of the approaching allies, military commanders ordered

 

civilians to commit mass suicide by jumping off the cliffs. When some families

 

hesitated to jump, soldiers shot them. A brutal incident on Okinawa was

 

described by Saburo Inenaga, "As the fighting drew to an end, civilians hid with

 

the military in the caves at the southern tip of the island. When a frightened

 

child cried out, a soldier grabbed it from the mother's arms and strangled the

 

child to death in front of everyone."20

 

D. The Effectiveness of Kamikaze Tactics. As the Japanese had predicted,

 

the kamikaze attacks did adversely affect on American morale. The number of

 

mental disease cases in the U.S. Navy from 9.5 per thousand in 1941, to 14.2 per

 

thousand in 1944. In his report to the Secretary of the Navy, Fleet Admiral King

 

attributed this increase to "the increase in tempo of modern war with its grueling,

 

unfamiliar horrors."21 In contrast to Japan's hope, however, America's will to fight

 

grew stronger despite the horrors of Kamikaze tactics.

 

Although the Kamikaze pilots did not break the American will they

 

inflicted more damage than the pilots who engaged in conventional tactics. At the

 

battle for Okinawa for example, the U.S. Navy incurred more combat casualties

 

than the Army and Marine Corps did ashore because of these Kamikazes. The

 

destructive effect to the allied fleet ships was approximately eight times greater

 

for suicide tactics than conventional aircraft attack methods.22 This figure was a

 

testament to both the failures of the conventional pilots and the large volume

 

(over 3,800 at Okinawa) of Kamikaze pilots. The destructive impact of the

 

Kamikaze was costly as "No more than 1 to 3 percent of the suicide pilots actually

 

hit Allied warships."23

 

Americans quickly adopted measures to counter the Kamikazes through

 

improved detection and gunnery skills. Additionally, during this period deep

 

battles destroyed more than 50 percent of the Japanese aircraft on the ground.

 

The combination of allied counter measures and destruction of Japanese aircraft

 

rendered the Kamikaze tactic ineffective in stopping allied advancement.

 

IV. CONCLUSION

 

The Kamikaze evolved from desperation and represented at the time,

 

Japan's greatest capability to inflict damage on the U.S. Navy. The overpowering

 

strength of allied forces had crippled Japan's military, rendering conventional

 

tactics useless. Japan put into practice the Bushido laws that followed logically

 

from generations of spiritual conditioning and developed the Kamikaze tactic.

 

Onishi viewed the Kamikaze attack for what it was, a desperate act. He

 

supported and developed these unprecedented squadrons as a temporary tactic to

 

slow the American advance and give the Japanese Army and Navy a chance to

 

recover from its defeats. Onishi had a clear hope that the employment of the

 

Kamikaze would ultimately save more lives than it would lose. He quickly

 

realized the ineffectiveness of the Kamikaze to achieve operational success but did

 

nothing to end the use of this tactic. Instead he allowed Tokyo to continue to

 

believe that Kamikazes could win the war for Japan, an idea he helped create

 

through inflated battle damage reports.

 

Onishi was not the only Kamikaze advocate. Many other military leaders

 

supported the continuation of Kamikaze and other suicide tactics and encouraged

 

their expansion in both the military and civilian population. These leaders

 

adopted the suicide slogan: "100 million die together." This death wish embodied

 

the dream that Japan could be saved through the total sacrifice. These suicide

 

tactics, divorced from any hope of victory, became a method of achieving glorious

 

death and saving face. Japanese military leaders were more than willing to

 

sacrifice every man, woman, and child in Japan.

 

Japan's inability to meet the industrial demands of the war against the U.S.

 

and its leadership's refusal to recognize its deficiencies led to Japan's defeat.

 

Although Japan's young soldiers and sailors were well trained and disciplined, its

 

military leadership refused to face the reality of Japan's impending doom. Japan's

 

solution, and the coward's way out. Unfortunately they imposed their choice on

 

both willing and unwilling Japanese boys and men. Japan's military leaders

 

senselessly wasted the lives of many of Japan's best brains and men (and boys).

 

Never had a nation needed its young men greater than Japan during its post-war

 

period of rebuilding. Military leadership held the fate of Japan in its hands and

 

chose to throw it away for "glorious death." The Kamikaze should not be

 

remembered solely for the courage of the individual pilots. The Kamikazes

 

should also be remembered for the disgraceful egos of the leaders that abused

 

their power and hopelessly sentenced these great warriors to death.

 

We must study history accurately and completely. Lest we repeat it, we

 

must study the failures as closely as we study the victories. As the 50th

 

anniversary of "V-J" day approaches, the news has been replete with attacks on

 

the United States' decision to drop the atomic bombs. These articles cite the

 

horrors the bombings inflicted and the 140,000 Japanese that perished. However,

 

little mention has been made of the Kamikaze. The Kamikaze represented the

 

failure of Japanese military leadership. This leadership was ready to willingly

 

offer every man, woman, and child in a senseless suicidal gesture.

 

1Bernard Millot, Divine Thunder: The Life and Death of the Kamikazes (New York:

McCall Publishing Co., 1970), 7.

 

2Ibid., 8.

 

3Hatsuho Naito, Thunder Gods: The Kamikaze Pilots Tell Their Story (New York:

Kodansha International, 1989), 4.

 

4Edwin P. Hoyt, The Kamikazes (New York: Arbor House Publishing Co., 1983),

83.

 

5Ibid., 12.

 

6Ibid., 201.

 

7Edwin P. Hoyt, The Kamikazes (New York: Arbor House Publishing Co., 1983),

11.

 

8Ibid., 23.

 

9Ibid., 82.

10Rikihei Inoguchi and Tadashi Nakajima. The Divine Wind: Japan's Kamikaze Force

in WW II. (Wisconsin: George Banta Co., 1958), 64.

 

11Ibid., 64.

 

12Edwin P. Hoyt, The Kamikazes (New York: Arbor House Publishing Co., 1983),

94.

 

13Edwin P. Hoyt, The Kamikazes (New York: Arbor House Publishing Co., 1983),

27.

 

14Ibid., 121.

 

15Edwin P. Hoyt, The Kamikazes (New York: Arbor House Publishing Co., 1983),

53.

 

16Edwin P. Hoyt, The Kamikazes (New York: Arbor House Publishing Co., 1983),

221.

 

17Ibid., 221.

 

18Bernard Millot, Divine Thunder: The Life and Death of the Kamikazes (New York:

McCall Publishing Co., 1970), 197.

 

19Ibid., 267.

 

20Saburo Inenaga, WWII and The Japanese: 1931-1945. (New York: Random House,

1978), 185.

 

21Richard O'Neil, Suicide Squads: WW II. (New York: Saint Martin Press, 1981),

158.

 

22Richard Fine, Anti-Aircraft Action in the Philippines Campaign, 17: Oct 1944-Jan 13,

1945, AAORG Study No. 4, (LO) 376-45, Feb 3, 1945.

 

23Saburo Inenaga, WWII and The Japanese: 1931-1945. (New York: Random House,

1978), 185.

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

 

 

Howard, Warren S. Who Were The Kamikaze? Proceedings, 72 (October 1947), 1240-41.

 

Hoyt, Edwin P. The Kamikazes. New York: Arbor House Publishing Company, 1982.

 

Inoguchi, Rikihei and Tadashi Nakajima. The Divine Wind United States Naval Institute,

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