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Thu, Apr 26th - 7:51AM

Explaining Kamikaze

Kamikaze is a term that has enveloped the Japanese in a vicious stereotype that says that a 'kamikaze' individual is 'erratic, suicidal, chaotic - knowing no pattern.'

Definition from the online 'Free Dictionary' includes the term used as a noun and also as an adjective:

As a Noun - Kamikaze:

1. A Japanese pilot trained in World War II to make a suicidal crash attack, especially upon a ship.
2. An airplane loaded with explosives to be piloted in a suicide attack.
3. Slang An extremely reckless person who seems to court death.

As an Adjective - Kamikaze:

 1. Of or relating to a suicidal air attack: as in 'a kamikaze mission.' 

2. Slang So reckless in behavior or actions as to be suicidal: as in 'kamikaze hot rodders.'

I recently underwent 4mo of History classes at the University level - and a great deal of time was spent discussing 'War-made stereotypes,' 'War-inspired Heroes/myth,' and 'War-related psychological inconsistencies' - as well as 'propaganda,' of course.

In short.....

Each of the sub-headings in the definition is a 'social construction' - that is - the meanings of 'kamikaze' are opinions, engineered through 'construction' of ideals - derived mainly from bad or incorrect information. The term 'Kamikaze' was placed into use so long ago - during a time of intense GLOBAL STRESS - and quite frankly - the world accepted the term, along with erroneous meanings. Even Japanese people - who were appalled with the term at first - began, before the close of WW II, to adhere to the meaning of the term (partly, a 'scare tactic' - if people DID BELIEVE the meanings, then the Japanese would be more frightening to other races, citizens of other countries - as well as gaining 'support' from their own Japanese citizens who looked to the 'Kamikaze pilots' as 'heroes' and 'defenders' and 'aggressors for their cause.').

The 'suicidal' crashing wasn't originally INTENDED by the Japanese - but by the end of WWII, it was definitely a war 'tactic.' Originally - the erratic flight patterns and 'diving and swooping' were mostly 'unintentional' on the parts of Japanese pilots. They were not a true powerhouse in the World Wars and were not extremely wealthy. They were 'behind' technologically, as compared to other countries who had wealth enough to invest in the latest technologies and machines of war. In short - the Japanese had CRAPPY EQUIPMENT! Their planes were not of the latest technological design and frankly, were INFERIOR in most ways - to British, German, American aircraft.

Originally, the dive-maneouver was a way for pilots with stalled engines - to try to spare their own lives. Also - reports from mainly Americans - said that the Japanese Kamikaze Pilots were so cruel as a race that they would fly right up close to the American aircraft before firing their weapons - so that they could see 'the whites' of the American eyes they were killing...

In reality - the weapons in the Japanese pilots' aircraft 'couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.' Their guns were very poor and they would not be able to hit an enemy craft unless they came within a very close proximity.

Later on during WWII, the Japanese got caught up in the myth about themselves and actually 'acted in response to the myth.' The stories, wrong as they were at first, proved to strike fear into the hearts of the enemies - and within the insanity of the global war experience, the stories even began to bolster the confidence of pilots-in-training...and by the end of the worlds 2nd Global Conflict, Japanese pilots WERE actually being trained for 'suicide missions,' for 'dive attacks.'

There are a few more details about the history of the term 'Kamikaze' on my other blog, "Teeray's Kamikaze Money Making PitStop"

The reason I write about this so much and the reason that I keep spreading the term, Kamikaze is partly due to the fact that PEOPLE ASK ME ABOUT IT a lot. Rather, they ask why I believe the term to mean "Fearless, skilled, and dedicated" rather than 'suicidal, cruel, and erratic.'

If you visit my other blog, you'll understand more.

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