History has certainly not forgotten the kamikaze (神 風, god and wind, “divine wind”), these Japanese soldiers that during the Second World War were conducting suicide missions, crashing voluntarily planes and submarines against their enemies – indeed suicide attacks were not only confined to air attack. If the technique was rooted in despair, it was a devastating one, loaded with explosives. From their battle cry, hollywood retained only banzai.
Today, kamikaze are somehow glorified, romanticized, idealized, forgetful that while some were voluntary, many were forced into this act of sacrifice in the name of the emperor. If you look at numbers – with sadness and frustration, it is all the more cruel to find that this technique has not slowed the allies and made many more deaths in the Japanese side.
Kuwahara, a survivor of the war, said that the special unit of kamikaze attack (特別 攻 撃 隊, tokko) is not a beautiful thing. During the war, he went twice bearer of doom, twice to finally return to base due to malfunction of its equipment.
“It was de facto compulsory to commit kamikaze attacks, not based on our wills. War always sacrifices the weaks. War should not occur”.
In accordance with the escalation of battle of Okinawa, he was transfered to Kushira base in Kagoshima.
“My friend asked me to exchange places, because he did not want to die. I could not respond to his request. He fled and never returned “.
The time has finally come for Kuwahara. On May 3, he received an order to commit a kamikaze attack. He boarded a plane with two other riders and 800 kg bomb. But the engine began to malfunction, producing black smoke. They returned to their base and and were scolded.
A week later he received a second order, but this time, oil began to leak from the unit. He landed on Tanegashima and was moved to Taiwan, where he witnessed the announcement of the end of the war. His mother wept with joy at his return.
“Our unit chief never boarded a plane, and the soldiers he liked were ordered never to commit such attack. The strong makes the weak bullets“.
Kuwahara has published a book “Kushira, memory of a special unit member of attack”, relating his experience to counter the idealization and glorification of suicide bombers stories. Condemned to disgrace for such a book, he said: “It is easy to be intoxicated with romanticized stories, but war is not like that”.