Four things you didn’t know about Kamikaze
I conned you people once into reading a short language course by using the word “Kamikaze”, but now I will make up for it by telling you a few things not many know about them. On top, you will see that the language course I gave you already prepared you for this one. Mr. Miyagi would have said, “Daniel-san, without knowing, you have already painted that fence”.
1.“Kami-kaze”, “Shin-Pu”, Jin-Pu”, “Shin-Fu” or “Jin-Fu”?
Kami-kaze is the Japanese style reading of the two Chinese characters, meaning “God” and “Wind”, but as I had already explained, there are also Chinese ways of reading each character, which in this case gives us the readings “Shin-Pu”, Jin-Pu”, “Shin-Fu” and “Jin-Fu” as possible reading combinations. I also explained to you that the true reading is only known by the person involved.
In this case, the man who named the suicide squad was Navy Commander, Rikihei Inoguchi, whose hometown was Tottori City. When he was asked for his recommendation for the name of the attack force, he thought of the name of the School of swordsmanship very familiar to him. The school was founded by a Samurai vassal of the Lord of Tottori by the name of Hanroku Takuma in the 19 century. That was the “Shinpu” school or “Shinpu-ryu”. So the name was “Shinpu Special Attack Force”, but because of the curse that the Japanese language carries, many read the Kanji in the Japanese style by mistake and what was named as Shinpu morphed into Kamikaze and it stuck.
After the war, Inoguchi changed his family name to Takuma, the same as the founder of the Shinpu School. He had a rightful claim to that name actually, because the swordsman, Hanroku Takuma was none other than his Grandpa on his mother’s side.
Also, “Kamikaze” in English is used to refer to all suicide plane missions, but it was actually referring only to certain navy flight missions, and the Japanese word for the broad sense of the word Kamikaze as used in English is Tokko, which is short for Tokubetsu Kougeki Tai (Special Attack Force).
2. Last Tokko in White Dresses
In Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward there is a Kannon Temple where Tokko casualties are enshrined. Within the precinct of this temple is a Tokko Kannon Hall and beside it you will find a stone monument for the Shinshu-Fumetsu-Tokko-tai (Special Attack Force of the Invincible Holy Land). Here is what it says---
“On 15th August 1945 we saw the end in the form of defeat of our homeland. After the surrender, on 19th August 1945, at 2 PM, 10 young army officers led by Lt.Hitoshi Imada, who belonged to the 16675 unit of the Manchurian Expedition Forces departed from Dahushan air field and flew to the area of Chiefeng, where Warrant Officer Ninomiya had seen Russian Tanks advancing the previous day, and there they crashed their planes into those tanks. Among them was Lt. Tanifuji, who flew with his newly wedded wife in the rear seat-----“
This monument was erected in May 1962 by comrades that survived the war. First Lt Minowa, who saw them off had actually seen off 11 planes, but one crashed shortly after takeoff and the pilot died as a POW in Siberia. Minowa himself spent many years in Siberia, but survived to return to Japan years later to learn that the sacrifice of his men had not even been acknowledged by the government as a casualty of war and neither were they accepted at the Yasukuni Shrine. He could not see his men vilified in this way and finally succeeded in getting them registered as war dead with a place in Yasukuni in 1957. He further proceeded to solicit donations with which he had the memorial erected in 1962.