Notes from a kamikaze suicide manual

by Limbic on August 29, 2002

“The introduction of Japanese kamikaze pilots was one of the most dramatic developments of the second world war. But what motivated these young men to fly their fatal missions? There are some clues in the manual they carried in their cockpits for inspiration, and which is now published in English for the first time. Here are some extracts.”

Just before the crash
Your speed is at maximum. The plane tends to lift. But you can prevent this by pushing the elevator control forward sufficiently to allow for the increase in speed. Do your best. Push forward with all your might.

You have lived for 20 years or more. You must exert your full might for the last time in your life. Exert supernatural strength.

At the very moment of impact: do your best. Every deity and the spirits of your dead comrades are watching you intently. Just before the collision it is essential that you do not shut your eyes for a moment so as not to miss the target. Many have crashed into the targets with wide-open eyes. They will tell you what fun they had.

You are now 30m from the target
You will sense that your speed has suddenly and abruptly increased. You feel that the speed has increased by a few thousand-fold. It is like a long shot in a movie suddenly turning into a close-up, and the scene expands in your face.

The moment of the crash
You are two or three metres from the target. You can see clearly the muzzles of the enemy’s guns. You feel that you are suddenly floating in the air. At that moment, you see your mother’s face. She is not smiling or crying. It is her usual face.

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There is something terribly poignant about this last line. It seems that many soldiers call out for their mothers when they are wounded or dying.

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