“Kamikaze” is a word that has become synonymous with all that is crazy, fanatical and self-destructive. It literally means ‘divine wind’. Kamikaze aircraft were essentially pilot-guided explosive missiles, purpose-built or converted from conventional aircraft. In the second world war young Japanese pilots would attempt to crash their aircraft into enemy ships in what was called a ‘body attack’.
“Dear mother, my one regret is I could not do more for you before I die. But to die as a fighter for the emperor is an honour. Please do not feel sad.” A lot of letters had been written in this vein. They appear to confirm the view that a whole generation of Japanese men had been brainwashed into self-abnegation and blind obedience to the Emperor.
Young school girls bid farewell to the departing kamikaze pilots with cherry blossom branches:
‘Honour’ is an abstract concept entailing a perceived quality of worthiness and respectability that affects both the social standing and the self-evaluation of an individual or an organisation such as a family, school or nation. Young minds can be moulded into believing that dying is a good idea. It has been happening for many years and continues to carry on through many generations in various parts of the world for one reason or another.