Kamikaze: A Japanese Pilot's Own Spectacular Story of the Famous Suicide Squadrons

Kamikaze: A Japanese Pilot's Own Spectacular Story of the Famous Suicide Squadrons

Kamikaze: A Japanese Pilot's Own Spectacular Story of the Famous Suicide Squadrons

Kamikaze: A Japanese Pilot's Own Spectacular Story of the Famous Suicide Squadrons

Synopsis

Originally published in 1957, this enduring classic- the first-ever English publication cowritten by a Japanese suicide pilot- remains a touching and insightful look into the world of the kamikaze. This edition, now completely revised, reflects the valuable insight and perspective gained by the author since the time of the book's initial publication. From the age of 15, Yasuo Kuwahara began a life of military service that included suffering through brutal basic training, participating in ferocious aerial combat against the Allies, and avoiding a suicide mission when an atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, near his hometown. From being handpicked for kamikaze service to finding the discipline to die for the emperor, this history presents a firsthand account of the fascinating life of a kamikaze fighter pilot.

Excerpt

It is New Year's Day 1945 at Hiro Air Base in western Honshu, and Captain Yoshiro Tsubaki, Commander of the Fourth Fighter Squadron, has just called a special meeting. We have assembled in a mood of intense expectation … somberly, even furtively. Silence settles profoundly, accentuated by sporadic gusts of rain against the roof and windows.

We are called to swift, rigid attention as the Captain enters and commands us to be seated. For several seconds he stands before us, arms folded, eyes dark and glittering—unblinking, spearing each man to the heart. Then he speaks, sonorously: “The time, young airmen, has at last arrived. We are faced with a momentous decision.”

Again he pauses, but I feel it coming—the fear, beyond anything I have yet known. Momentarily the rain subsides, then returns with increased intensity as he continues. Death is there with us, gray tentacles, sinuous and inexorable, clasping at our throats. “Any of you unwilling to offer your lives as divine sons of the glorious Nippon Empire will not be required to do so.” I hold my breath, feeling my temples throb. “Those incapable of accepting this great honor will raise their hands.”

Once more, the silence is palpable, but the tentacles relax slightly. The rain subsides in a soft drizzle. Then, hesitantly, timorously, a hand goes up. Then another and another … five, six in all. Six members of . . .

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