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The man behind the Kamikaze Headband

Article about: The man behind the Kamikaze Headband The printed Kamikaze headbands that dealers try to sell as those worn by Kamikaze pilots, has been long been exposed as fabricated fantasy. They were act

  1. #11


    Here's a photo of the factory worker's headband being worn by flight crew, and on the other hand a variant Kamikaze headband for a factory worker with even a Kikusui emblem. Collectors would have wanted these two characters to swap their headbands back then before getting photographed. In the end, solid provenance is the only way to be sure of the context in which they were once worn.
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    Last edited by nick komiya; 11-19-2015 at 01:08 PM.

  2. #12


    As this thread is pinned, I might as well use it to showcase a fake you'll find already in circulation in the collector's world.
    Back in the 80s there was a US dealer calling themselves "House of Swords and Militaria", who issued thick catalogs. The headband below was one of their regular catalog items at $45 a piece. It was done like the fake Tojo flags made by the CBs. They took the Saburo Endo headband and copied it by hand. These were hand done, so there are some minor differences from the catalog photo, but you can see that it was written by the same person. These will show age and staining, but don't get excited when you see one at a garage sale.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture The man behind the Kamikaze Headband   The man behind the Kamikaze Headband  

  3. #13


    Their catalog read as follows.
    "JAPANESE KAMIKAZI HEAD BAND. 100% authentic of linen with full hand lettered inscription, chop mark, rising sun meat ball design. Recovered from a local veteran. One of the most famous of all Japanese headbands......$45.00 "

    From a vet, of course, where else? Photos borrowed from zachb's post at WAF
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture The man behind the Kamikaze Headband  

  4. #14


    Accurate repros with Endo's name along the bottom are now available in Japan and sell for $5. Great news for Halloween Cosplayers.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture The man behind the Kamikaze Headband  

  5. #15


    Watching wartime newsreels gives us some additional background on why the Kamikaze headbands for girls came about.

    The headbands were issued to students and women conscripted into military production labor by two programs launched in August of 1944. The women's labor conscription program required women between the age of 14 to 40 to work at munitions factories or in food production. Students had been involved in military production ever since 1938 on a part time basis, but from August 1944, it became a full-time responsibility, so that 81.9% of junior high school kids were in factories by 1945.

    When these programs kicked in in August 1944, these workers were only wearing plain white tenugui as headbands, as shown in these newsreels of 31 August 1944 and 12 October 1944.

    And in end of October 1944, soon after the second newsreel above, the first wave of navy Kamikaze attacks began, making big news.

    At that time Endo, who had been Chief of the Aircraft Production Bureau since the previous year must have gotten the idea of adding Kamikaze as a message of national resolve to all the plain white tenugui he had seen the women wearing. Thus by end of 1944, he had the Kamikaze headbands mass produced and they were issued to the girls and students, probably in December 1944, making their news reel debut on 4th January 1945.

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