fredag, juni 22, 2007
Return of the kamikazes
Maybe the one Japanese word most foreigners would know, divine wind and all. Down in Chiran in Kyushu, the southernmost of the Japanese main isles, they even have a "Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots". A somber memorial affair, with portraits and stories of the 1036 pilots who took off on one-way missions bound for the Allied fleets at Okinawa. Especially poignant were the many farewell letters, ranging from "I'm going to die in the Okinawan Sea. Even after my death I protect my country, Japan" to "How many people will cry for me when I die?"
The kamikazes return from time to time in Japanese debate on how to represent the war and those who fought it. This May saw the release of another kamikaze film, "I go to die for you", which received some criticism for glorifying war and the pilots. Maybe due to the fact that known nationalist and Tokyo governor, Ishihara Shintaro, was instrumental in producing the film. Trailer here, but like most movies in Japanese cinemas no English subtitles are available, so obviously it will be somewhat difficult to grasp any political subtext!