Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers


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The book is basically about the history of some of the Japanese kamikaze. The entires are based on diaries or other writings of the students who became kamikaze. It is not an actual collection of long diary entries, though. It's more a summation of the individual histories and thoughts of those who died. The introduction goes into how students were recruited into the war effort.

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An interesting quote from this section is: Whereas German soldiers were told to kill, Japanese soldiers were told to die. Some Japanese soldiers were subject to being shot by their own troops if they tried to escape or surrender to the Americans.


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Various forms of coercion to get students to become kamikaze are examined, including peer pressure, and punishment for not volunteering by being sent to the front lines in some really bad area. There was also the old standby that if a particular higher-up didn't like you for some reason, you could end up a kamikaze whether you liked it or not.

Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers

One of the impressions you get when looking at the diary entries and writings of these student soldiers is that the Japanese lost an terrible amount of great potential in these young men. Many of them were quite intellectual and could have ended up making very valuable contributions in society; instead, they ended up in planes, boats, subs, and rocket-propelled craft to try to die on purpose and take as many Americans with them as they could.

Another interesting thing is how the students saw the emphasis of the students as their identity as men, and the stereotyped image that they adhered to of what the proper manly man does. There were at least some of the kamikaze that didn't really believe in the war, and didn't believe in dying in the way they would, but out of loyalty to the Emperor or their family or their peer group they still went and did what they were ordered to do.

Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers - Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney - Google Книги

I had heard an interview with the author on NPR. I should have left it at that.

Book TV: 2010 Virginia Festival of the Book - Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, "Kamikaze Diaries"

This book could have been accomplished in a Vanity Fair article and that would have sufficed. Very interesting topic and the life of Kamikaze pilots is very misunderstood, but there weren't enough of their particular poems, letters, diaries in the book.

And on top of that is was boring. I think the biggest misunderstanding is that they were suicide bombers similar to our present day terrorist bombers. These were highl I had heard an interview with the author on NPR. These were highly intelligent - the intellectual elite of Japan - who did not want to die for the war that most of them didn't even believe in, and the closer they came to having to donate their lives for the Emperor, the more anti-war they became.

This was being born at the wrong time in history. Another thing this book made me think about is when we ask our soldiers to put their lives on the line, in almost sure death situations - is it murder by politics? Great topic, boring book. Feb 01, Ken rated it really liked it.

This is different take on the Japanese Kamikazes, form the men's side. To find out that the Japanese High Command knew the war was lost, and still draft their best and brightest out of their colleges and upper tier schools to go out and purposely kill themselves, as t5here were very few volunteers among the regular military. This against extremely long odds of accomplishing anything of note against the Allied advance toward Japan, is a very depressing thing. Ms Ohnuki-Tierney has assembled the w This is different take on the Japanese Kamikazes, form the men's side.

Ms Ohnuki-Tierney has assembled the writings, poems and letters of a number of these young men. She gives us a look into the minds of some very well educated and worldly young men as they move from college to their fate. Apr 02, Inky rated it it was amazing. Your enemies aren't always who you think they are. This book brings us the rarely translated thoughts and doomed hopes of the tokotai, Imperial Japan's kamikaze pilots.

The author shows us that these soldiers weren't all the rabid fanatics they're often painted as. In their diaries and letters home, we glimpse an often reluctant warrior class who serve out of duty and a desire not to shame their families. We see a sampling of highly educated men in the fullness of their youth forced to embrace d Your enemies aren't always who you think they are. We see a sampling of highly educated men in the fullness of their youth forced to embrace death when they want life.

The insights into the rituals approaching a mission and the last words sent home to mothers, sisters and girlfriends are heartbreaking. Aug 31, Jeanne rated it liked it Recommends it for: Boring academically, interesting intellectually and psychologically. Who knew there were so many fighter poets. The author gets a little too obsessed with cherry blossoms though, due to her previous book about the symbolism of cherry blossoms during war in Japan. I really like the light shed on the soldiers though, that they were not cold automatons, but feeling thinking emotional people who didn't want to do and were conflicted about it.

A amazing lesson is history, showing us that the kamikaze pilots where simple bright students lovers of life. Really loved the diaries on their own, but didn't like at the way to extensive introduction and comments of the author to the diaries, think it would be a 5 star book if she choosed to comment less and used the space to add more diaries because they are amazing on their own. Oct 05, Shannon rated it it was ok Recommends it for: This book was alright but I found the title misleading.

It's actually Tierney's writings about the diaries of the Kamikaze pilots. There are brief paragraphs from the diaries but mostly its just Tierney writing what she thought. That made me wonder just how much of the book was true and how much the author just added to make it sound good.

I wouldn't really recommend the book. Feb 02, David rated it liked it. The biggest revelation was that a good number of kamikaze were not volunteers but were volunteered by their commanding officers and that a larger number than you would think were not into the idea of suicide for their country- but weren't left with much choice. Jan 20, Jennifer rated it liked it. This book reveals the mindset of the Japanese college students who were forced to enlist during WW2 as kamikaze pilots. These young men left behind diaries full of grief over the devastation of the war and their impending death.

Three stars because parts of the book were very analytic and clunky. Apr 28, James rated it liked it. Shocking, yet sad to find out most of the Tokkotai Airmen were really University students conscripted by force by their own Country. Sad to read all they had to endure, knowing their lives would be ending very soon, all for the Emperor's benefit. A very eye-opening book and well written.


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  • Feb 11, Celestine Pride rated it really liked it. This book showed bitter stories from the Kamikaze pilots, giving us a different view of their life before and after joining the Kamikaze troops. Although I'd like to read the longer and more complete version of their diaries, but Ohnuki-Tierny summed it up pretty well in this book.

    Aug 25, Max rated it it was amazing. I've read some disturbing stuff in my day, this tops them all. One of the best books I've ever read. Feb 19, Jenny Olson rated it it was amazing. Yonina rated it liked it Oct 20, William White rated it liked it Jul 23, Gianfranco Zen rated it liked it May 06, Marlena rated it it was ok Feb 23, Aleksandra rated it really liked it Aug 16, Faced with impending death, Japan's World War II kamikaze pilots grappled with the meaning of their lives and their sacrifice.

    These struggles are made eloquently clear in this collection of their We read and read, trying to understand why we had to die in our early twenties.

    Kamikaze diaries : reflections of Japanese student soldiers

    We felt the clock ticking away towards our death, every sound of the clock shortening our lives. University of Chicago Press Bolero Ozon. Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers. This moving history presents diaries and correspondence left by members of the tokkotai and other Japanese student soldiers who perished during the war.

    Outside of Japan, these kamikaze pilots were considered unbridled fanatics and chauvinists who willingly sacrificed their lives for the emperor.

    Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers
    Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers
    Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers
    Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers
    Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers
    Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers
    Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers
    Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers

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