Japan kamikaze survivors debunk stereotype in stories of sacrifice

(From AP)

By Yuri Kageyama

The pilots filed into the room and were presented with a form that asked if they wanted to be kamikaze. It was multiple-choice, and there were three answers: “I passionately wish to join,” ”I wish to join,” and “I don’t wish to join.”

This was 1945. Many were university students who had been previously exempt from service, but now Japan was running out of troops. Hisashi Tezuka recalls that a few of his colleagues quickly wrote their replies and strutted away. But he and most of the others stayed for what felt like hours, unable to decide.

Okinawa 1945

Okinawa 1945

He did not know then if anyone had dared to refuse. He learned later that the few who did were simply told to pick the right answer. Tezuka so wanted to be honest to his feelings he crossed out the second choice and wrote his own answer: “I will join.”

“I did not want to say I wished it. I didn’t wish it,” he told The Associated Press at his apartment in a Tokyo suburb. Read more

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