Inside the Mind of a Kamikaze Pilot (insights and the real truth)


Inside the Mind of a Kamikaze Pilot (insights and the real truth)

They swooped out of the sky with mythical names like “morning sun” and “mountain cherry blossoms,” hurling themselves at U.S. forces in the name of imperial pride.

Kamikaze suicide bombers, a strategy launched in 1944 toward the end of World War II, involved some 3,000 Japanese fighter pilots who sank scores of U.S. ships and killed nearly 5,000 American sailors. But the origins of the military tactic can be traced all the way back to the 13th century, when, after conquering China, the Mongols set their sights on Japan, and a fleet of 3,500 ships transported more than 100,000 warriors to the civil war-torn island kingdom. A typhoon destroyed the invading fleet, and seven years later, a devastating storm quashed another invasion attempt.

Legend pinned their good fortune on a “kamikaze” or “divine wind,” and nearly 700 years later, it became the name of Japan’s devastating squadrons of suicide planes. It was the brainchild of Vice Admiral Takijirō Ōnishi, the commander of Japan’s naval air force in the Philippines when U.S. troops landed on Leyte. Unable to stave off the allied forces there in October 1944, Ōnishi is said to have told his assembled officers: “We must deploy bomb-laden Zero fighter planes as suicide units to target enemy craft.”

“They didn’t want to do it,” but the planes only had enough gas for a one-way trip.

On Oct. 25, after Americans had sunk most of Japan’s Combined Fleet, the new Japanese attack unit’s 11 aircraft took aim, destroying two escort carriers and severely damaging another four, and the program was quickly expanded. The “divine wind” captured the imagination of generations to come, with scores of films portraying the soldiers’ willingness to sacrifice themselves in a bid to protect the empire.

Learn more about the philosophical ties between Heidegger and Tanabe at Aeon.

The kamikaze spirit of self-sacrifice has long been associated with the samurai’s Bushidō, or “way of the warrior” tradition. Clark McCauley, a psychology professor at Bryn Mawr College and an investigator for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, says that many kamikaze pilots acted out of obligation. They were ordered to do so, and refusing would heap shame on their families. “They didn’t want to do it,” McCauley says. But they also didn’t have much choice: The planes only had enough gas for a one-way trip.

A Japanese kamikaze plane burning on the deck of an allied aircraft carrier.

But was the tradition rooted in Japan? In 1943, Japanese philosopher Hajime Tanabe delivered a lecture titled “Death and Life,” in which he called on students to sacrifice themselves for their homeland to align with God’s will. Tanabe may have belonged to Japan’s influential Kyoto School of philosophers, but he’d studied with Martin Heidegger shortly before the German philosopher published his groundbreaking work, Being and Time. In it, Heidegger explained that while death represented the end of human existence, it also defined the life that came before it. Tanabe interpreted this as a calling for the Japanese to unconditionally defend the national cause, thereby preserving the “great Asian sphere of wealth.”

In response, scores of students signed up for the kamikaze units, and their diary entries suggest that many were motivated by social pressure. There can be no question, historian Wolfgang Schwentker writes, “that all pilots climbed into their machines full of enthusiasm” and flew to their deaths “in sad desperation.”

Reacting quickly to Japan’s new tactics, U.S. forces expanded their warning systems and fighter aircraft shields while strengthening their ships’ anti-aircraft defenses. While nearly 2,000 kamikaze units inflicted substantial damage during the Battle of Okinawa from April-June 1945, they could not change the course of the war.

And their contempt for death helped shape U.S. strategy. Fearing that a massive landing on Japan’s main islands would attract tens of thousands of kamikaze pilots and devastate the American fleet, President Harry Truman was soon persuaded to use the atomic bomb.

Bushidō, or “way of the warrior”

#KamikazePilot #TakijirōŌnishi #Bushidō #BattleofOkinawa #HarryTrumanAtomicBomb #KyotoSchoolofPhilosophers #HajimeTanabe

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Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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