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The Twisted History of Japanese Kamikazes

Welcome to Twisted History with Large and Vibbs, Produced by John Kelly. 

Our debut episode is about Japanese Kamikazes. Here are the notes from Large's wife (and now) researcher St. Anne that helped formulate today's audio. Huge thanks to Anne!      

Japanese Kamikazes                                  

Kamikaze - means “Divine Wind’ a reference to a typhoon that fortuitously dispersed a Mongol invasion from a fleet threatening Japan from the west in 1281 under Kublai Khan.                    

Kamikaze Men were taught to kill the soldier next to them if he tried to escape.             

Japanese infantrymen were thus trained to make a last-ditch suicide attack when they were all but beaten. As they ran towards enemy fire, they'd scream “Tenno Heika Banzai!” — “Long Live the Emperor!”

Kamikaze pilots were said to have yelled the same thing as they flew their planes into enemy warships.

Kamikaze Pilots 5 Point Oath:

1)  A soldier must make loyalty his obligation

2)  A soldier must make propriety his way of life

3) . A soldier must highly esteem military valor

4)  A soldier must have a high regard for righteousness 

5)  A soldier must live a simple life

Of the approximately 4,000 kamikaze pilots, around 3,000 were so-called "boy pilots." These were new conscripts and enlistees that came from a program designed to train very young boys. Around 1,000 were "student soldiers" who graduated from university early in order to make them eligible to be drafted. When the special attack force was first formed in 1944, not a single officer trained at a military academy volunteered to join.

Kamikaze Men were taught to commit suicide in case they got caught. They were taught how to do it using a rifle, pulling the trigger with their toe, and the barrel placed under their chin.

Kamikaze Men wrote farewell letters to their parents. They were only delivered if the mission was complete.

Kamikaze Men conditioned to die for the emperor from birth. 1st born sons were exempt.

Kamikaze Men would have a ceremonial shot together before taking flight. (Like the Gentleman’s Friday Parting Shot). Either Sake or Water.       

Kamikaze Pilots believed they’d meet again. The Yasukuni Shrine was built in 1869 on the order of Emperor Meiji in order to honor Japan's war dead. This was to be the earthly resting place of those who died in the service of emperor and country. It is currently home to 2,466,000 divinities, including soldiers who died in various Japanese wars. Kamikaze pilots believed that their actions earned them a place at the shrine, where they would rejoin their fallen comrades.        

Kamikaze Drink:

Equal parts vodka, triple sec and lime juice. Served straight up in a cocktail glass garnished with a wedge or twist of lime.                                                                                                                               

WAR DRUG

Kamikaze Pilots took “Pilot’s Salt”, “Pervitin” (Methamphetamine, crystal meth) before flight missions.                       

Japanese factory workers also used methamphetamine to work longer hours.

Pervitin was first used by the Third Reich, by German Army Psychologist Otto Ranke. He realized its military value.

He called the drug the “ideal war drug.”

The Battle of Okinawa 

The Battle of Okinawa was an intense 82-day campaign involving more than 287,000 US and 130,000 Japanese troops. It was considered the bloodiest battle of the Pacific Theater, and more than 90,000 men died from both sides, along with
almost 100,000 civilian casualties. During this conflict, Kamikazes inflicted the greatest damage ever sustained by the US Navy in a single battle, killing almost 5,000 men. All told, Kamikazes sank 34 ships and damaged hundreds of others during the entire war.

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