Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Journal Six-Young

     Thus far in the book, I have been completely blown away by Mr. Tanimoto, who seems nearly superhuman, and his seemingly endless capacity for compassion. From the moment of the white flash that shook Hiroshima, Mr. Tanimoto was helping people in whatever way that he could: he carried water from the river to the injured, he poled and paddled his boat across the river dozens of times to take them to a safer location, ventured back into the smoldering city to bring them food. He did not stop, even to join his wife and child or to soothe his mounting exhaustion, but continued on and became a community leader “upon whose energy and initiative many had come to depend” (39).  Even though he worked tirelessly, as he watched so many men, women, and children die, he held a certain “feeling of blind, murderous rage at the crew of the ship, and then at all doctors” (46). This tells me that Mr. Tanimoto is a man who feels deeply compassion for his fellow man and felt somewhat powerless against this unprecedented wave of death and anguish.

     It was on the 25th of October, 1944, that the first unit of 24 kamikaze suicide bombers was deployed against American warships during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
American ship hit by a kamikaze pilot
The Japanese believed that this was one of the most effective means to deal damage to an enemy that was so far ahead in productive power (that is, the means to produce supplies and weapons of war). The vast majority of the brave young men, aging from 18 to 24, which volunteered for these missions believed it was their honor to die for their country and for their emperor. Others volunteered so as not to be considered a coward, and some were even forced. This tradition of individual sacrifice and consequent honor dates back to Japan’s samurais of the middle ages.
The USS Missouri being attacked by a kamikaze pilot
during the Battle of Okinawa, April 1945
     Throughout the war, this “divine wind” (as the word kamikaze translates) of thousands (anywhere from 1,321 to over 7,000, depending on the source) of pilots flew their aircraft into dangerous air space to attempt to crash them into enemy ships, dealing significant losses to American and British forces. Alas, many pilots did not manage to hit their target—America’s naval firepower brought many down before they could come within reach—and the kamikaze’s effectiveness waned.


  1. I also agree Mr. Tanimoto is one of the most interesting characters in this book so far. He is so caring and puts forth so much energy to care for other people around him. This is incredible to see because of the horrible experience he had just gone through.

  2. Kamikaze pilots may not have been successful in stopping our forces, but it still must have been horrifying from a psychological standpoint to be on the american and British ships knowing what they are trying to do. Their culture and worship of their emperor is something that we don't really have an equivalent to that would really lead so many volunteers.

  3. Being a Kamikaze pilot is something I am in awe of. Going into a mission, knowing that you will not survive is something that I do not think I could do. I understand that some people see it as their duty to sacrifice themselves, in order to protect their country, but it is still something that I find difficult to wrap my head around.


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