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    Kamikaze last letters

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    aiyotsu

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    Kamikaze last letters

    Post by aiyotsu on Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:44 pm

    http://japandailypress.com/japan-plans-to-register-wwii-kamikaze-pilots-letters-as-unesco-world-heritage-0543656/
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    NBK

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    Location : Tokyo, Japan

    Re: Kamikaze last letters

    Post by NBK on Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:17 pm

    I'm sure lots of folks will attack the effort.

    I've been, years ago - it's very sad and sobering, mostly teenagers writing their mothers to say goodbye.

    And they weren't asked, they were forced, locked into their cockpits with barely enough fuel to get to the target area, and barely enough training to get near their targets.

    aiyotsu

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    Re: Kamikaze last letters

    Post by aiyotsu on Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:44 am

    Hello NBK,
    It was only my intention to post this news item and not comment.

    As late as WW2 when the Royal Navy went into battle, gunners were locked in the gun turrets to ensure there would be no cowards. If their ship was badly struck, they roasted alive, or drowned.
    That policy altered after the Government of New Zealand insisted that no New Zealander serving with the British, was to be locked in a gun turret. That kind of attitude has been and probably still is, common among military leaders."
    Further to that, as I have no doubt you know Kamikaze, was the "Divine Wind" a hurricane, that was believed to have saved Japan from the huge flotilla of ships and troops sent by Kublai Khan to invade.
    When the US navy was getting on top of the Japanese navy in WW2, an Admiral on a Japanese aircraft carrier ordered his personal plane to be stuffed with bombs. Without stating his intention he took to the skies, then crashed his plane into an American ship destroying it.
    Japanese onlookers roared "KAMIKAZE". There was a flood of volunteers.
    I know of one story where a young pilot was denied permission to be a Kamikaze and ritually disemboweled himself.
    I would not like it thought those young patriots were not brave, no matter how sad it was.
    They also were the products of Kosen Judo
    regards Aiyotsu

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    NBK

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    Re: Kamikaze last letters

    Post by NBK on Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:31 pm

    I did not know that about naval gunners.  Very curious.  

    I know there were serious design limitations in certain aircraft that meant you couldn't bail out from certain positions (the famous 'Ball Turret Gunner' position on heavy bombers, which meant certain death if the plane went down or the near certain death if the landing gear failed and the plane bellylanded) and certainly naval gun turrets in action [and rotated to certain angles] were hard or impossible to exit (true today, though most are remote control).  Same with many tanks' driver or gunner positions - in action near impossible to exit. (I was a tanker / armored cavalry officer and weapons systems engineer.)

    Believe what you will.  I said nothing about their bravery. There were plenty of kamikaze pilots that weren't volunteers and they were the product of a lot of factors. One of my original Japanese instructors was a teenaged naval cadet 'volunteered' with most of his class to pilot a small flotilla of leaky old fishing boats from Japan to Korea and back to bring rice to the starving homeland; he was the sole survivor, the others victims of the sea or enemy action.  Net result?  a bunch of dead kids and sunk boats, and a small load of rice.  Brave, yes, volunteers, no.  They had volunteered as naval cadets, not as teenage fishbait.

    Not sure what you mean - Kosen  judo was only a 'factor' to a relative handful of children. Wdax and a couple of others have an appreciation for what 'standard judo' was like then, which was taught to millions of boys.

    And I've known, served under, and worked with literally thousands of military leaders from a dozen countries. None I know would lock a soldier into a gun turret or airplane (the old Soviets would have, I think). Assign them a mission where the odds were they would die, yes, if needed, but not as tool to discard.


    aiyotsu

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    Join date : 2013-02-07

    Re: Kamikaze last letters

    Post by aiyotsu on Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:19 am

    Hello NBK
    I have done a bit more reading on the subject and it would seem the story of the Admiral has been re engineered, to glamorize it.
    Early on there were volunteers. In some cases one or more friends would cram into the cockpit to exhort the pilot to not waver from his target. The tanks were full of fuel to make also a firebomb. If a worthy target was not found they had an official written policy, to return to base and try again. . One who came back 9 times was shot when he landed.
    As time went by and desperation set in, the policies you have portrayed became dominant.
    One ranking Japanese officer later became very critical of the Kamikaze attacks, saying the essence of a surprise attack is surprise, it is stupid to keep a surprise attack going for ten months.
    I have read some of the letters. Some lads were desperate and knew no way out. Others were proud to do their duty but sad their mothers would never take joy in seeing them live fulfilling lives.

    My father and my Uncle were in the Pacific war. I was born in 1946. From the age of four I heard them discussing the things they had seen and done. They spoke of Japanese atrocities and retaliation for atrocities. They spoke of cultural gaps and misunderstanding. Stories I heard then, were classified for 40 years.
    By the time I was 10 I was reading books such as Knights of the Bushido (a chronicle of Japanese torture in WW2)
    My problem is I also know many stories about mistreatment of personnel on both sides or all sides in many areas of conflict

    About 35 years ago I saw film footage made at the Nevada Test Site, .at the time of the first detonation.
    A contingent of African American troops was ordered to dig in 200 yards from the tower at ground zero. The Padre exhorted them saying they were about to witness the mighty power of God.
    The atomic device was detonated and observed from the bunkers and remote cameras.
    The African American troops were interviewed. They spoke of being blown out of their fox holes and through closed eyes, seeing their own hand and arm bones.
    For the rest of their lives they were monitored. They were stonewalled for information or proper medical assistance

    Then there was footage of Vietnam Veterans, many of them maimed, who mounted a protest against Federal inaction on payments and treatment.
    They were labeled communists, roughed up and battoned by police.

    Once I helped a guy who had been at British paratrooper. As we became friends he told me of a still classified story of being sent on a destroyer to witness the H Bomb explosion at Christmas Island. Subsequently his health began to fail as did that of his comrades. Again, no assistance and only slowly, any acknowledgement. His widow received a pittance payout after a change of Government policy
    Regards Aiyotsu


    PointyShinyBurning

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    Re: Kamikaze last letters

    Post by PointyShinyBurning on Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:06 am

    aiyotsu wrote:
    As late as WW2 when the Royal Navy went into battle, gunners were locked in the gun turrets to ensure there would be no cowards. If their ship was badly struck, they roasted alive, or drowned.
    Do you have a source for this claim?

    aiyotsu

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    Re: Kamikaze last letters

    Post by aiyotsu on Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:00 am

    PointyShinyBurning wrote:
    aiyotsu wrote:
    As late as WW2 when the Royal Navy went into battle, gunners were locked in the gun turrets to ensure there would be no cowards. If their ship was badly struck, they roasted alive, or drowned.
    Do you have a source for this claim?
    Hello. Not one I can put my hand straight on. In the 1980's I was involved with a good number of returned services personal from the Royal Navy, many of whom became good friends. Particularly on their days of annual rememberance I was with them and shared in their stories. I heard that claim from several men One was a New Zealander a veteran of the Battle of the River Plate who told me proudly his government had insisted on turrets not being locked
    Aiyotsu
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    BillC

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    Re: Kamikaze last letters

    Post by BillC on Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:34 am

    There's no monopoly on virtue. In the context of a country or a people sending their young to be slaughtered wholesale ... and expecting suicide in the process ... one can find plenty of examples in the West. By coercion or force. Far too few people are reflecting on the lessons of the Great War as we observe its centennial. The Great Game continues for example, though hidden by a fog of general and self-imposed ignorance by most people. If anyone thinks Sochi was chosen randomly, there is a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you.

    Justifying the slaughter of its own young, tribes will often point to the other side and say "they did the same thing." That may or may not be accurate depending on how closely one examines the details. Some of this thread seems to be headed in that direction.

    But this article refers to a particular museum, and the thoughts and motivations of young men in mid-war Showa Japan. To say that Japan extinguished its warrior class and militarized the general population after observing Europe is probably historically correct. The Many being sent to die by the Few, the true reasons being obscure and many. Sometimes with sincere intent to promote the common good and cause the least suffering. Sometimes for the commercial gain of those who make their living by "owning" things. Sometimes to quell the internal unrest of those who notice social differences. Sometimes powered by an ego-driven military desperate to show what it can do out of deep-seated male insecurity. Almost always a combination of these things occur before war. But certainly war almost never occurs for the reasons promoted in propaganda. To a tanker who fought bravely in one of either Gulf Wars these should all be familiar concepts.

    In Showa Japan this had a particular flavor though, right? In the context of a judo forum it's important to note that this flavor had "bushido" written on the bottle ... bushido being not some marvelous and chivalric way of life rather a running propaganda piece manufactured to extract the supreme sacrifice from young men and their families.

    Personally, what Japan did to its people angers me. Not just in some abstract way, not even because it colored judo inappropriately. Japan added another dimension of horror to my father's last hours as he (finally) shared and relived the suicides he had witnessed ... the kamikaze that nearly took the bridge on which he was standing off the ship; the women and children jumping from cliffs ... "and I couldn't stop them" ... no abstraction there.


    _________________
    Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
    But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
    When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

    - Kipling

    aiyotsu

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    Join date : 2013-02-07

    Re: Kamikaze last letters

    Post by aiyotsu on Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:07 am

    BillC wrote:There's no monopoly on virtue.  In the context of a country or a people sending their young to be slaughtered wholesale ... and expecting suicide in the process ... one can find plenty of examples in the West.  By coercion or force.  Far too few people are reflecting on the lessons of the Great War as we observe its centennial.  The Great Game continues for example, though hidden by a fog of general and self-imposed ignorance by most people.  If anyone thinks Sochi was chosen randomly, there is a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you.

    Justifying the slaughter of its own young, tribes will often point to the other side and say "they did the same thing."  That may or may not be accurate depending on how closely one examines the details.  Some of this thread seems to be headed in that direction.

    But this article refers to a particular museum, and the thoughts and motivations of young men in mid-war Showa Japan.  To say that Japan extinguished its warrior class and militarized the general population after observing Europe is probably historically correct.  The Many being sent to die by the Few, the true reasons being obscure and many.  Sometimes with sincere intent to promote the common good and cause the least suffering.  Sometimes for the commercial gain of those who make their living by "owning" things.  Sometimes to quell the internal unrest of those who notice social differences.  Sometimes powered by an ego-driven military desperate to show what it can do out of deep-seated male insecurity.  Almost always a combination of these things occur before war.  But certainly war almost  never occurs for the reasons promoted in propaganda.  To a tanker who fought bravely in one of either Gulf Wars these should all be familiar concepts.  

    In Showa Japan this had a particular flavor though, right?  In the context of a judo forum it's important to note that this flavor had "bushido" written on the bottle ... bushido being not some marvelous and chivalric way of life rather a running propaganda piece manufactured to extract the supreme sacrifice from young men and their families.

    Personally, what Japan did to its people angers me.  Not just in some abstract way, not even because it colored judo inappropriately.  Japan added another dimension of horror to my father's last hours as he (finally) shared and relived the suicides he had witnessed ... the kamikaze that nearly took the bridge on which he was standing off the ship;  the women and children jumping from cliffs ... "and I couldn't stop them" ... no abstraction there.
    I long ago realized that the cynical comedian mask hides great wisdom. Thanks BillC
    Kind regards Aiyotsu
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    seatea

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    Location : England.

    Re: Kamikaze last letters

    Post by seatea on Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:59 pm

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26256048


    "Dear mother, my one regret is I could not do more for you before I die. But to die as a fighter for the emperor is an honour. Please do not feel sad."

    A lot of the letters are in this vein. They appear to confirm the view that a whole generation of Japanese men had been brainwashed in to self-abnegation and blind obedience to the Emperor.

    But there are others, which show a minority of kamikaze pilots had not swallowed the propaganda, and even some that appear to reject Japan's cause.

    One of the most extraordinary is by a young lieutenant, Ryoji Uehara.

    "Tomorrow, one who believes in democracy will leave this world," he wrote. "He may look lonely but his heart is filled with satisfaction. Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany have been defeated. Authoritarianism is like building a house with broken stones."

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