Kamikaze (Japanese:神風, [kamiꜜkaze]; "divine wind" or "spirit wind"), officially Tokubetsu Kōgekitai (特別攻撃隊, "Special Attack Unit"), were a part of the Japanese Special Attack Units of military aviators who initiated suicide attacks for 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 possible with conventional air attacks.
Quotes about Kamikaze
- I cannot predict the outcome of the air battles, but you will be making a mistake if you should regard Special Attack operations as normal methods. The right way is to attack the enemy with skill and return to the base with good results. A plane should be utilized over and over again. That’s the way to fight a war. The current thinking is skewed. Otherwise, you cannot expect to improve air power. There will be no progress if flyers continue to die.
- Lieutenant Commander Iwatani|Taiyo, (Ocean) magazine, March 1945. Axell, p.41
- Zwei Seelen wohnen auch in mein[em] Herz[en]!! (Ah, two souls [tamashi’i] reside in my heart [kokoro]!!) After all I am just a human being. Sometimes, my chest pounds with excitement when I think of the day I will fly into the sky. I trained my mind and body as hard as I could and am anxious for the day I can use them to their full capacity in fighting. I think my life and death belong to the mission. Yet, at other times, I envy those science majors who remain at home [exempt from the draft]. … One of my souls looks to heaven, while the other is attracted to the earth. I wish to enter the Navy as soon as possible so that I can devote myself to the task. I hope that the days when I am tormented by stupid thoughts will pass quickly.
- Hachiro Sasaki, Ohnuki-Tierney, pp.65–66
- It is easy to talk about death in the abstract, as the ancient philosophers discussed. But it is real death I fear, and I don’t know if I can overcome the fear. Even for a short life, there are many memories. For someone who had a good life, it is very difficult to part with it. But I reached a point of no return. I must plunge into an enemy vessel.
- To be honest, I cannot say that the wish to die for the emperor is genuine, coming from my heart. However, it is decided for me that I die for the emperor.
- Ichizo Hayashi, Ohnuki-Tierney, p.163
- I am pleased to have the honour of having been chosen as a member of a Special Attack Force that is on its way into battle, but I cannot help crying when I think of you, Mum. When I reflect on the hopes you had for my future ... I feel so sad that I am going to die without doing anything to bring you joy.
- Ichizo Hayashi, last letter home a few days before his final flight. April 1945. David Powers Japan: No Surrender in World War Two BBC History
- There was a hypnotic fascination to the sight so alien to our Western philosophy. We watched each plunging kamikaze with the detached horror of one witnessing a terrible spectacle rather than as the intended victim. We forgot self for the moment as we groped hopelessly for the thought of that other man up there.
- Vice Admiral C. R. Brown, US Navy. John Toland, The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936–1945, Random House, 1970, p. 711.