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Blossoms in the Wind: Human Legacies of the Kamikaze (Hardcover)
A revelatory and groundbreaking account of Imperial Japan’s kamikaze—the suicide pilots of World War II—as told through the eyes of the survivors
In the final year of World War II, a horrific new weapon was unleashed in the Pacific: the kamikaze. Idealistic, young Japanese men had been taught that there was no greater glory than to sacrifice one’s life to defend the homeland. Now, with the war all but lost, thousands of these determined warriors were hastily trained in the basics of piloting an airplane, then sent out in waves to crash into enemy warships, suicide attacks that killed altogether some seven thousand American sailors.
But what of those men who took the sacred oath to die in battle and lived? In the wake of 9/11, ethnographer M. G. Sheftall was given unprecedented access to the cloistered community of Japan’s last remaining kamikaze survivors. As an American fluent in Japanese, Sheftall was the only westerner to ever sit face-to-face with these men and hear their stories. The result is a fascinating journey into the lives, indoctrination, and mindsets of the kamikaze, through the eyes of participants who are now lost to time.
About the Author
M. G. Sheftall is a professor of Modern Japanese Cultural History and Communication at Shizuoka University. He has a PhD in International Relations/Modern Japanese History, awarded by Waseda University in Tokyo, the most highly regarded private university in Japan. A native New Yorker, Sheftall has lived in Japan since 1987.