The onset of 9/11 in America awoke comparisons of the suicide attacks to that of Pearl Harbor during World War II by so-called Japanese kamikaze bombers, however the attempted parallel as Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney puts it [represents] a deliberately distorted view of historical facts. The book Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers authored by Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney sheds light on the struggle of young Japanese soldiers in World War II who struggled to rationalize their inevitable' death, and an examination of how the effects of government propaganda aimed at instilling nationalist values in its citizenship faired
[...] Tadao increasingly criticized the military after being selected to be trained as a scout pilot, and his sense of patriotism that he had throughout higher school tends to disappear in face of the military's harsh stifling of the individual. Although Tadao is able to see through government propaganda and the truth of Japan's “liberating” mission in the rest of Asia he still resigns himself to the fact that he will inevitably die soon for Japan, as his death is being imposed by history as an agent of change; the individual actor in historical determinism is powerless to affect his own fate. [...]
[...] Although opposed to the war and militaristic societies Sasaki remained patriotic, and the government's effort to rouse to population partially affected Sasaki although for different reasons. He welcomes the destruction of Japan in order to create a new non-capitalist world, but adopt Socrates' view of society: no one can be free from societal rules. Sasaki's duty to Japan does not include duty in the Emperor's name. Combining Marxism and Romanticism Sasaki was at first able to justify his death for Japan in hopes a new world would be created through its defeat (it was a foregone conclusion by 1945 that Japan would probably lose, just a matter of time), but as time passed closer to his mission his ideological rationalization began to crumble. [...]
[...] Takenori is special among the pilots featured in Kamikaze Diaries as he is the sole one to attempt to establish a Japanese intellectual identity, and not a European centered one. Takenori believed in the equality of ethnicities but still attempted to follow government ideology, even with the atrocities being committed in China and Japan's other colonial possessions. With Nakao we are able to see the extent with which state ideology was successfully able to infiltrate the minds or its citizens. [...]
[...] Hachirõ was a romantic idealist who was forced to volunteer as a kamikaze pilot by the navy. As the war went on and he came closer to his mission date we can see Hachirô's thought process begin to change in the way he saw cherry blossoms. At first they symbolized youth, women, beauty, and himself, while later they would fall more in line to stand for sacrifice of the individual for the country: an altered version of a government supported association, but instead of dying for the country it was for the emperor. [...]
[...] Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney's Kamikaze Diaries is the story of the struggle of 7 student soldiers to rationalize their death and an examination of intellectual trends and government propaganda in World War II Japan. Each pilot sought rationalization in their own specific way, usually using Marxism, Romanticism, Nihilism, Historical determinism, or Christianity as a way to justify why they had to die at such a young age. We use the diaries of these pilots in order to understand why they joined the military, and to see certain general trends emerge from each one. [...]
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