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A Kamikaze Who Lived to Tell the Tale

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  Quote tjadams Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: A Kamikaze Who Lived to Tell the Tale
    Posted: 29-Nov-2011 at 22:44

A Kamikaze Who Lived to Tell the Tale

By Laurence Rees
Published Online: November 28, 2011 

A few years ago, when I was making a BBC TV documentary series about the Japanese and World War II, I mentioned to a colleague that I was leaving for Tokyo in order to meet a kamikaze pilot. "Are you crazy?" he said. "How can you meet a kamikaze pilot? These guys all killed themselves in suicide attacks on Allied ships! They disintegrated into a million pieces 60 years ago!"

He was wrong. Unlikely as it may seem, a number of Japanese kamikaze pilots did survive the war. All had been instructed to return to base if their planes developed a fault on the way to their targets. That is how I came to meet Kenichiro Oonuki. Back in April 1945 he had been forced to land his plane—stuffed with explosives—because of engine trouble while he was en route to attack the American fleet off Okinawa. He was rescued by the Japanese navy and interrogated about the reasons for the failure of his mission. Meanwhile, the war in the Pacific ended.

http://www.historynet.com/a-kamikaze-who-lived-to-tell-the-tale.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Historynet+%28HistoryNet+|+From+the+World%27s+Largest+History+Magazine+Publisher%29


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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Nov-2011 at 08:28
Zero San fighter without protection was projected to be fast!That had been your only protection till you crashed.But this one survived and haven't killed himself in ritual suicide?!?
http://www.aviation-history.com/mitsubishi/zero.html


Edited by medenaywe - 30-Nov-2011 at 09:00
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  Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Nov-2011 at 10:35
Originally posted by medenaywe

But this one survived and haven't killed himself in ritual suicide?!?
 
That is because he might have been a "volunteer" and not a volunteer.  The Kamikazes can be divided into two broad groups: 
 
Initial Group (Phillipines Oct. 1944):  These volunteers were professional officers and NCOs and were all genuine and completely dedicated. There was no pressure to volunteer, volunteering was done in private and men with familes were specifially told they were not expected  to volunteer.
 
Okinawa and later Group (April 1945):  Now the Japanese are very desperate.  Though there are still volunteer Kamikazes, unit commanders increasingly use pressure to find "volunteers".  Young conscripts are publically shamed if they do not volunteer, volunteering was done during ceremonies with all present, some men who refused were still transfered to Kamikaze units as "assistants to heros" and then had to make formal requests to leave etc. etc.  


Edited by Cryptic - 30-Nov-2011 at 17:22
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Nov-2011 at 10:39
Thanks Cryptic,now I knew this. 
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  Quote pelle1953 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Nov-2011 at 17:59
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Edited by pelle1953 - 30-Nov-2011 at 18:04
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Nov-2011 at 19:07
How did he manage to land his plane? I thought the wheels were designed to drop off once the plane was airborne in case the pilot had second thoughts
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  Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Dec-2011 at 08:10
Originally posted by Nick1986

How did he manage to land his plane? I thought the wheels were designed to drop off once the plane was airborne in case the pilot had second thoughts
There were many myths about the Kamkazes including one myth that the cockpits were welded shut.  There was a certain degree of pressure, especially in the last months of the war, but it was mental and social pressure.
 
But... even Japanese will was fracturing.  The book Kamikaze about Yushi Kuahara (non Kamikaze who escorted Kamikaze missions) relates an incident where Kuahara was forced by U.S. interceptors to divert to Taiwan after an Okinawa mission. 
 
He then saw one Taiwan based Kamikaze crash his plane into the base's hanger, destroying seven other Kamikaze planes.  The pilot left a note saying he did it to save the lives of the Kamikaze pilots.   This link has a sentence or two about it. tp://wgordon.web.wesleyan.edu/kamikaze/books/fiction/kuwahara/index.htm


Edited by Cryptic - 01-Dec-2011 at 08:20
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