Much has been written as to the thinking of the Japanese who would rather die than live. Americans who value life have never understood the reasoning behind the Kamikaze or suicide attacks. Japan through the centuries has been militaristic. Anyone protesting or disagreeing with the governments military policies was imprisoned or killed. The cherry blossom was the dominant symbol associated with Kamikaze pilots from the beginning of their operations. The first recognized attacks were instigated by Vice Admiral Ohnishi in the Philippines in Oct 44, who named several units after cherry blossoms.

JAPANESE OHKA - Ctsy. A.F. Museum
The "OHKA, a piloted rocket powered bomb means cherry blossom in Japanese. Each plane attacking American ships at Okinawa had a painted cherry blossom on each side. The Japanese military demanded unquestionable obedience, and intense social pressure persuaded everyone to conform. Soldiers did not want to be shunned by their fellow soldiers, family or friends, They were trained through the years that death with honor could be achieved by suicide, or self sacrifice. The soldier believed that surrender was a cowardly act and unacceptable. They were required to fight to their death. Americans did not agree with the Japanese act of killing themselves in order to kill others. It was inhuman, and they considered the Japanese as being fanatical. It was Admiral Onishi who first encouraged pilots to crash their aircraft into American ships and planes.

MAYO INSPECTS THE OHKA - Photo by Wayland Mayo

Index - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9
Part 10 - Part 11 - Part 12 - Photos A - Photos B - Photos C

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