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Kamikaze Course on Self Defense Japanese

Article about: Kamikaze Course on Self Defense Japanese What’s a Kamikaze course? I don’t know either, a new word for “crash course” maybe? It is just my discovery that when I use that word everyone reads

  1. #11


    Perhaps another word of caution is in order lest you think I wrote the thread just as amusement. The title is "Self Defence Japanese", because you stand to lose a lot of money by not knowing the ABCs of Japanese. Recently a grouping allegedly belonging to army general Toshizo Nishio was sold allegedly with a guarantee from Peter of Collector's Guild that it was legitimate. German collectors know Peter to be an upright guy, so it was like Peter's assurance sold the piece. The hat and jacket had the name written "Nishi 西" and "O 尾" from left to right. The deal went completely sour when I commented that the general didn't know how to write his own name as he had written Onishi, not Nishio. Perhaps the owner had even asked a Japanese student to read the name or even write it (a general's uniform will have the name embroidered anyway, not written). Dealers don't even know whether the name is Onishi or Nishio and you can't even count on a young Japanese. It is up to you to know how to defend yourself.

  2. #12


    Great article Nick which will help many of us!

    You mention Guy's excellent posts, where he un-ravels the many possibilities of what he is confronted with, with a name or phrase. His great love of the written language is clear to see to all of us, and he often says he is still learning. Contributors such as Nick and Guy, and others here, bring a whole new level to the material objects we collect, and I love them for it!



  3. #13


    Like Dancing on Paper, Stroke Order

    I added to "the Man behind the Kamikaze headband" thread a US made fake headband that was sold in the 80s. You will see that the characters appear different from the longhand versions shown here. This brings us to the next topic on how to identify fake Japanese writing. Western fakers that copy Japanese writing spend energy on replicating the shape, but miss the fact that the "process is as important as the result" when you write Japanese. There is a specific order in which each stroke is placed and if the order is not right, you still spelled it wrong by Japanese standards. Brush is an eloquent medium that leaves clear traces such as where the brush first made contact, which direction it traveled in, where it stopped and changed direction, etc. Japanese writing is done like a choreographed dance, designed so you could write fluidly in a vertical direction. It is the same as cursive writing in English and is a question of ergonomics in the end. Westerners screw these dance steps up when they chisel in Kanji on a dog tag or on a flag. To be able to recognize correct stroke order is already beyond a crash course, so I won't go any further, but I'll end with an animated demonstration of the stroke order for writing Kamikaze. Make your own headband or whatever, but as you write it, increase the speed and eventually you will see how and why Saburo Endo wrote it that way in cursive style. Cursive which is called "Sosho, grass writing" in Japanese omits what in English is referred to as crossing the Ts and dotting the Is, but otherwise follows the basic stroke order rules. Not only the order, but the direction of the stroke is critical.

    Here is Kami ??????? - ?????????(??)
    Here is Kaze ??????? - ?????????(??)

    If you want to slow it down or see it click by click, use the drop down menu to the right of the box. The second position is click by click animation and the third one is for changing the interval settings between strokes, allowing you to speed up or slow down.

    The Kanji for God you learn currently in grade 3 (9 years old) and Wind in grade 2 (8 years old), so learning these will hopefully make you feel young enough for more.
    Last edited by nick komiya; 11-24-2015 at 08:49 PM.

  4. #14


    The Kanji for God (Kami) has a box-shaped structure to the right. Notice that the top and right sides of that box need to be drawn in one continuous stroke. The same applies to the outer structure for wind. The left wall is an independent stroke, but the ceiling and the right wall is in one continuous stroke. This is the kind of thing fakers get wrong. They are nervous about making the wrong move and lift the brush at the upper right corner. This is also the reason why the grass writing version of Kami almost becomes a circle instead of a box.

  5. #15


    Just received my English copy of Eternal Zero today. I will quote the part where the siblings encounter pre-45 Japanese. The younger brother is 26 years old and this was supposed to be taking place in 2004.

    Two weeks later, I received a response from one group saying that they had someone who'd served as a pilot with my grandfather in Rabaul. The reply was from an executive member, and not only was it ornately handwritten, there were kanji characters I didn't know. Unable to make out the whole letter, I brought it to my sister's attention.
    ......... Even Keiko, who had majored in literature, had a hard time deciphering the ornate penmanship.
    "Just a sixty-year difference between generations and their writing becomes illegible to us," I said innocently as I watched her stare down the letter.
    "We only see the postwar simplified forms of these characters and never learned their traditional forms. Some bear no resemblance at all. Like this one," she said, pointing to a word. "Can you read this?"
    I could not.
    " I just happened to know it. It's Combined Fleet".
    "So I guess this character means combined? It's totally different. It has the "ear" radical instead of the "advance" radical, and the right half is completely different."
    Keiko laughed. "Plus it's written in cursive which makes it that much harder to read."
    I sighed. "I feel like I'm dealing with a different race of people."
    "They're Japanese, like us. Does Grandpa seem like a foreigner to you? Ah, I mean our living grandfather."

    The kanji they are discussing in this scene is the third one in my list above. Note also that here they are even having it easy, because they are reading a vertically written letter not being required to read backwards.

  6. #16

    Default Okay, I'm Rambling On A Little ...


    I had the pleasure of meeting on a few occasions Dr. Benjamin Hazard -- what a name! He was a hakujin linguist who learned Japanese in university, then entered the Army language program then in Michigan [or somesuch place -- not Monterey where it now is]. He was as fluent in Japanese at the PhD level as he was in English. Anyway, in addition to being able to warn a unit of an approaching Gyokusai ["banzai"] assault, he was a great champion of recognizing Nisei soldiers and pushing to have some Silver Star recipients upgraded to Medal of Honor, etc. He retired as a full colonel in Military Intelligence. Then retired as a professor at San Jose State University. But I knew only the martial artist-side of him: the UCLA fencing team captain and the police-kendo practitioner who also held rank in iaido, kyudo, and koryu naginata.

    Anyway ..... To Nick's point (finally) I was interviewing Dr. Hazard for my master's thesis and he stated (paraphrased):
    "I never felt comfortable with the new kanji after the war. Give me an old Japanese manual or bit of literature with the old kanji and I have no problem; ...but this new stuff?????"

    Saipan 1944

    Third from the left with moustache; second from the left is Gordon Warner, a well-know kendoka (and Marine Major who earned the Navy Cross and Purple Heart).

    Last edited by ghp95134; 12-01-2015 at 09:06 PM.

  7. #17


    Quote by nick komiya View Post
    Just received my English copy of Eternal Zero today.
    I saw Eternal Zero in the San Jose Kinokunia Book Store some months ago, back-to-back with the Japanese-language version and (I think) either the movie or TV Tokyo drama rendition; along with a large color poster display from the movie (now I wish I could have grabbed the poster). I was not enticed to buy it then. However, Nick, after your comments on the book I bought it last week and read it quickly. I must say that I enjoyed the book -- the author must have interviewed pilots (or read interviews of them). I really enjoyed the book, but there were two areas that I, as a retired military man, do not find realistic: (1) what the downed American pilot said: in essence what happened to him "wasn't wrong"; and the epilogue scene where the ship's skipper calls "all hands" for the next day's event.

    If you've read the book, you'll know what I'm talking about -- I don't want to give out any spoilers.

    Very good book, indeed!!

    Attached Images Attached Images  

  8. #18


    I think I read that the author's uncles were fighter pilots and hearing their stories was the inspiration for the story. The description of tactics, equipment and lives of the pilots are factual, but the rest is fiction after all, so there are many that feel the existence itself of a character like Miyabe is already unrealistic. I enjoyed the kind of insights to the timidity of the top brass in the military and how their advancement in the ranks hinged on factors more befitting government bureaucrats of today.

  9. #19

    Thumbs down

    Rare picture of Kamikaze pilot wearing a post war headband.
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