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Question about Japanese Kamakazi Pilots

kamikazi world war 2 pearl harbor

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#1    Kowalski

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 06:38 PM

Okay, many years ago when I was younger, I heard this from a physical therapist who was very interested in Eastern Medicine, and the Japanese culture. He told me a very interesting tidbit of information. He told me, that after Pearl Harbor, there were some Kamakazi Pilots who had survived. Appearantly, after participating in the attack, many of these survivors commited suicide (falling on their sword) because they believed they had messed up their "chi".
It is a very interesting story, but is it true? I have never really read anything about it, but has anyone else ever come across this information?


#2    Taun

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 06:50 PM

Kamikaze tactics didn't really get started until a couple years after Pearl Harbor... The heaviest use of their tactics was during the Battle for Okinawa in 1945... I have never heard of a Kamikaze pilot surviving the attack... Perhaps there were some who never were able to take off on missions and perhaps they committed suicide, but the ones that went on missions had just enough fuel to get there, so they could never return...

Now perhaps there were kamikaze submarine crews (yes they  had those as well) that survived missions, I don't know... - But i seriously doubt that any air craft Kamikaze's that went on missions survived...


#3    pallidin

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 06:56 PM

View PostTaun, on 23 March 2013 - 06:50 PM, said:

Kamikaze tactics didn't really get started until a couple years after Pearl Harbor... The heaviest use of their tactics was during the Battle for Okinawa in 1945... I have never heard of a Kamikaze pilot surviving the attack... Perhaps there were some who never were able to take off on missions and perhaps they committed suicide, but the ones that went on missions had just enough fuel to get there, so they could never return...

Now perhaps there were kamikaze submarine crews (yes they  had those as well) that survived missions, I don't know... - But i seriously doubt that any air craft Kamikaze's that went on missions survived...

Yes, and I also heard about what you said regarding the sub crews.
I'm not completely sure about this, but I think at one least captured sub was found to have many who committed suicide, at least the senior staff.

EDIT: I don't think the sub I'm referring to was "kamikaze" per-se. I think they were ordered to complete the mission or not return alive.

Another event I saw on Youtube was of a kamkaze(I think, not sure) plane that was shot down. The pilot survied.
But as a US ship was approaching the downed pilot floating in the sea, he suddenly blew himself apart with a hand grenade less than 30-feet from the ship. The event was filmed from onboard the US ship.

Edited by pallidin, 23 March 2013 - 07:07 PM.


#4    Kowalski

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 07:14 PM

I HAVE heard of Kamikazi pilot's surviving, like for instance doing a certain maneuver at the last minute, so they don't kill anyone and the US crew picks them up. That did happen. But, as to anyone actually participating in the attack, living, and then killing themselves??


#5    Ealdwita

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 10:10 PM

Yet another Ealdwit mega-snippet!......

Although never actually engaged in an attack, Naval pilot Shigeyoshi Hamazono was ordered to fly no less than three suicide missions! The first had to be aborted after a few minutes in the air due to poor visibility, he was forced to turn back on the second due to an oil leak and during the third flight he was attacked by three American Mustangs over Okinawa and was wounded by shrapnel. He managed to limp home but until the day he died in October 2005, said he wished he had been killed that day. He was on standby for a fourth attempt when Japan surrendered, and for the rest of his life felt ashamed that he did not have the opportunity to redeem his honour.

In the postwar years, a traumatized nation treated the kamikaze survivors like pariahs. But in the last decade, their reputation has recovered. Publishers clamor for memoirs. Scholars pick over their backgrounds in search of an explanation for their willingness to die for a lost cause. Japanese nationalists buff and shine their memory like medals.

"Kamikaze" has ceased to be a slur in Japan. If the Japanese still can't agree on whether the pilots were victims or heroes, brainwashed conscripts or volunteers, they are at least prepared to honor their spirit of sacrifice. Only the modern menace of the suicide bomber has emerged to spoil this sentiment.

The survivors bitterly resent the world's appropriation of the term 'kamikaze' -- meaning divine wind' and originally coined to describe the unexpected typhoons that saved 13th century Japan from invading Mongol ships -- as shorthand for suicide bombers of every stripe. There are the "Al Qaeda kamikazes" who flew passenger planes into office towers, "Palestinian kamikazes" who blow up pizza parlors filled with teenagers in Jerusalem, and "female Chechen kamikazes" willing to detonate explosive girdles in the middle of school gymnasiums crammed with children."

Japan's originals are insulted to be mentioned in the same breath.

"When I hear the comparison, I feel so sorry for my friends who died, because our mission was totally different from suicide bombers, The kamikazes attacked military targets. In contrast, the main purpose of a suicide bomber is to kill as many innocent civilians as they can," Hamazono says. That, he says, "is just murder."

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#6    pallidin

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 10:31 PM

View PostKowalski, on 23 March 2013 - 07:14 PM, said:

I HAVE heard of Kamikazi pilot's surviving, like for instance doing a certain maneuver at the last minute, so they don't kill anyone and the US crew picks them up. That did happen. But, as to anyone actually participating in the attack, living, and then killing themselves??

Yes, that happened, at least once.
When I have time I'll try to find the vid on that.


#7    pallidin

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 10:35 PM

Found it. Here it is... WARNING, GRAPHIC VIDEO.



Edited by pallidin, 23 March 2013 - 10:43 PM.


#8    Kowalski

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 11:25 PM

Great posts Eldwita and pallidin! :tu:
Thanks for the information.

If the story isn't true though, were would he have gotten such information, though? He thought it was true. Just wish I could find out where he read that.


#9    Taun

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 12:31 AM

View PostKowalski, on 23 March 2013 - 11:25 PM, said:

Great posts Eldwita and pallidin! :tu:
Thanks for the information.

If the story isn't true though, were would he have gotten such information, though? He thought it was true. Just wish I could find out where he read that.

A lot of times, people hear things and years later remember it slightly different - perhaps that is what happened ... Not saying your friend mis-remembered, but perhaps who he heard it from did... And who knows perhaps he heard something that we here haven't and is correct...


#10    Parsec

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 01:56 AM

View PostKowalski, on 23 March 2013 - 06:38 PM, said:

Okay, many years ago when I was younger, I heard this from a physical therapist who was very interested in Eastern Medicine, and the Japanese culture. He told me a very interesting tidbit of information. He told me, that after Pearl Harbor, there were some Kamakazi Pilots who had survived. Appearantly, after participating in the attack, many of these survivors commited suicide (falling on their sword) because they believed they had messed up their "chi".
It is a very interesting story, but is it true? I have never really read anything about it, but has anyone else ever come across this information?

I go with Taun and ealdwita, and I add that "chi" is a Chinese word, so you can guess that, starting from this inaccuracy, the story is probably inaccurate too.
The right word in Japanese, by the way, should be "ki" (they both mean "life energy").

Anyway, what do you mean with "messing up"? That they thought they did a wrong thing and tried to make amend killing themeselves? Or that they messed up because they weren't able to fullfill their duty, and thus committed suicide?
If you intend the second one, unfortunately it could be true, like pallidin showed us.
For the Japanese culture honor and duty are the most important things, and the benefit of the collectivity is more important than that of the individual.
Those poor young boys fought for what they believed was right, and killing as many military enemies as possible was an honor. Dying doing so, was the greatest sacrifice, thus, the greatest honor.
So it's very difficult that, convinced and brainwashed like they were, they changed their minds and felt guilty for what they did.

On a practical point of view, I don't think they could have been able to kill themeselves like you wrote. First, I don't even know if they had swords with them (I doubt it, they were unnecessary for their goal). Second, consider that their planes were more or less made of cardboard and filled with fuel: if someone survived, he would have been so wreked he could barely breath.


#11    Taun

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 03:19 AM

View PostParsec, on 24 March 2013 - 01:56 AM, said:

I go with Taun and ealdwita, and I add that "chi" is a Chinese word, so you can guess that, starting from this inaccuracy, the story is probably inaccurate too.
The right word in Japanese, by the way, should be "ki" (they both mean "life energy").

Anyway, what do you mean with "messing up"? That they thought they did a wrong thing and tried to make amend killing themeselves? Or that they messed up because they weren't able to fullfill their duty, and thus committed suicide?
If you intend the second one, unfortunately it could be true, like pallidin showed us.
For the Japanese culture honor and duty are the most important things, and the benefit of the collectivity is more important than that of the individual.
Those poor young boys fought for what they believed was right, and killing as many military enemies as possible was an honor. Dying doing so, was the greatest sacrifice, thus, the greatest honor.
So it's very difficult that, convinced and brainwashed like they were, they changed their minds and felt guilty for what they did.

On a practical point of view, I don't think they could have been able to kill themeselves like you wrote. First, I don't even know if they had swords with them (I doubt it, they were unnecessary for their goal). Second, consider that their planes were more or less made of cardboard and filled with fuel: if someone survived, he would have been so wreked he could barely breath.

Some might have, but most probably left them at the base... Not only was there little spare room in the cockpit for something as bulky as a sword but they most likely would have wanted their swords to go to their families - it represented their soul (or honor I forget which)...   And even if one did... drawing a sword (even the smaller wakazashi (sp) which is what they would have used for seppuku) would have been very difficult in the cockpit, or later in the water - injured...


#12    Ealdwita

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 02:40 PM

View PostTaun, on 24 March 2013 - 03:19 AM, said:

Some might have, but most probably left them at the base... Not only was there little spare room in the cockpit for something as bulky as a sword but they most likely would have wanted their swords to go to their families - it represented their soul (or honor I forget which)...   And even if one did... drawing a sword (even the smaller wakazashi (sp) which is what they would have used for seppuku) would have been very difficult in the cockpit, or later in the water - injured...

Ealdwita snippet......

I have seen a contemporary wartime photo that indicates that some fighter aircraft, had a removable external panel in the fuselage in which a sword could be clipped for the duration of the flight. However, an Army Air Force kamikaze pilot said "We were forbidden to take swords into the cockpits because they might affect the gyroscope." He added that he left his sword with other personal items in the barracks before he left on his final (aborted) mission.

Naval Kamikaze pilots did, however, carry a 'dirk' 9 or 10 inches in length which was suspended round the neck by a cord. It's been said that these dirks were for cutting the jugular vein before impact, but they were probably more symbolic than practical since a pilot would need all his concentration to fly his aircraft into the target. Crew members of Kaiten (suicide torpedoes) and shinyo (explosive motor-boats) were also presented with the dirks.

Very few of these dirks survive (for obvious reasons) and although I have a collection of Japanese swords etc., and go to as many sales and auctions as I can, I have never seen one.

"Gæð a wyrd swa hio scel, ac gecnáwan þín gefá!": "Fate goes ever as she shall, but know thine enemy!".
I can teach you with a quip, if I've a mind; I can trick you into learning with a laugh; Oh, winnow all my folly and you'll find, A grain or two of truth among the chaff!
(The Yeoman of the Guard ~ Gilbert and Sullivan)

#13    Parsec

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 01:37 AM

View Postealdwita, on 24 March 2013 - 02:40 PM, said:

Very few of these dirks survive (for obvious reasons) and although I have a collection of Japanese swords etc., and go to as many sales and auctions as I can, I have never seen one.

And I'd add maybe for the best.
It's probably hypocrite, but I wouldn't like to have such a blade in my collection.


#14    third_eye

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 02:07 AM

Quote

"It is commonly pointed out that hara-kiri is a vulgarism, but this is a misunderstanding. Hara-kiri is a Japanese reading or Kun-yomi of the characters; as it became customary to prefer Chinese readings in official announcements, only the term seppuku was ever used in writing. So hara-kiri is a spoken term and seppuku a written term for the same act."[2]
wiki

Quote

The Kamikaze (神風?, literally: "God wind"; common translation: "Divine wind") [kamikaꜜze] (Posted Image listen), official name: Tokubetsu Kōgekitai (特別攻撃隊 literally: "Special attack unit"?), Tokkō Tai (特攻隊?) or Tokkō (特攻?) were suicide attacks by military aviators from the Empire of Japan against Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of the Pacific campaign of World War II, designed to destroy warships more effectively than was possible with conventional attacks.
wiki

totally different and non related

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#15    Ealdwita

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 11:44 AM

View PostParsec, on 27 March 2013 - 01:37 AM, said:

And I'd add maybe for the best.
It's probably hypocrite, but I wouldn't like to have such a blade in my collection.

Perhaps you're right, but owing to their scarcity, I very much doubt I could afford one!

"Gæð a wyrd swa hio scel, ac gecnáwan þín gefá!": "Fate goes ever as she shall, but know thine enemy!".
I can teach you with a quip, if I've a mind; I can trick you into learning with a laugh; Oh, winnow all my folly and you'll find, A grain or two of truth among the chaff!
(The Yeoman of the Guard ~ Gilbert and Sullivan)




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