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Wings of Defeat tells of surviving Kamikaze pilots

JapaneseZero.jpg It seems that the idea of Kamikaze pilots is becoming a hot topic in Japanese cinema at the moment, as a new documentary is released that looks into the men who were destined to die for their country, and it reveals some fascinating insights.

There's already a dramatic film called Ore wa, kimi no tame ni koso shini ni iku (For Those We Love) that looks to the men behind this mythical name. The film is an anti-war drama that tells of the pilots before they took to the skies. It was released to a strong reception in Japan and was expected to reach over US$17 million.

Now the documentary Wings of Defeat, from Risa Morimoto, looks to the men who became Kamikazes who were destined to die in the war but came back alive.

Risa Morimoto says that she was surprised to find who these men really were. Not the focused and fanatical men ready to die for their country, but a group of gentle men who carried a mix of emotions about their job.

According to the story in Reuters through Yahoo News, many of these men have talked frankly in the documentary, and openly criticised the Emperor at the time.

"I wanted to live," Kazuo Nakajima, one of the now elderly 'failed cherry blossoms' tells the filmmakers with an embarrassed laugh. "I didn't want to die."…

…"We were told we were killing madmen. We were lied to"…

…We thought we were fighting and giving our lives for our families and our comrades," said Masaaki Kobayashi, 79, after watching the film with a group of his former comrades. "As soldiers, that was the only thing we could do."

These films mark a battle that is going on inside Japan on the field of education. Some believe, and are actively carrying out their beliefs now, that the history of Japan should be toned down when taught to the younger generation.

The Government have been altering references to the terrible battle in Okinawa during World War II where 200,000 civilians and soldiers were killed. References to the soldiers ordering the civilians to commit suicide rather than surrender have been drastically toned down.

Others believe that the past history should be taught to the young in all its harsh reality. Some of the comments from viewers of the film make much more sense:

"We shouldn't beautify it, but we shouldn't forget it either… Everyone knew Japan was losing. They should have surrendered sooner."

The documentary reveals rough figures that are quite startling. Some 4,000 kamikaze pilots died for the loss of 34 U.S. ships in the last few months of the war.

It may be controversial and tough to watch, however I do believe that none of the past events of humanity should be obscured and forgotten, and if they can be brought out and recorded in an unbiased way, then they should. Hiding the past may mean we are more likely to make the same mistakes again.



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