Posts Tagged ‘Kamikaze’

WW2 People

|   2 September 2010


The Yasukini Shrine in Tokyo

We’ve just added onto the site, for subscribers, the testimony of Kenichiro Oonuki who trained as a Kamikaze pilot during the Second World War.

He was alive in 2000, when I met him, because in April 1945 his plane developed technical faults en route to the Allied fleet off Okinawa. As a result he made an emergency landing on a nearby Japanese island, was picked up by soldiers of the Imperial Army and then taken back to Tokyo where he was punished for not successfully killing himself by smashing his plane into an enemy warship.

Oonuki’s tetsimony is hugely significant because it gives the lie to the notion that the Kamikazes were all ‘volunteers’ who killed themselves purely out of love for their country. In fact, Oonuki and his comrades were pressurized to become Kamikazes. They knew that if they didn’t come forward then their families would suffer, and they might be sent to another dangerous part of the frontline and be killed anyway.