10 Facts About The Kamikaze You Probably Didn’t Know

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8. Battle Of Okinawa’s Heavy Loses

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The Battle of Okinawa was an intense 82-day campaign involving more than 287,000 US and 130,000 Japanese troops. It was considered the bloodiest battle of the Pacific Theater, and more than 90,000 men died from both sides, along with almost 100,000 civilian casualties. During this conflict, Kamikazes inflicted the greatest damage ever sustained by the US Navy in a single battle, killing almost 5,000 men.

All told, Kamikazes sank 34 ships and damaged hundreds of others during the entire war.

7. The Emperor Personally Visited Them

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Hisao Horiyama is one of the few surviving Kamikaze pilots. At the time, he was a 21-year-old airmen caught in a faltering war. Horiyama has said, “We didn’t think too much about dying. We were trained to suppress our emotions. Even if we were to die, we knew it was for a worthy cause. Dying was the ultimate fulfillment of our duty, and we were commanded not to return. We knew that if we returned alive that our superiors would be angry.

“When we graduated from army training school, the Showa emperor visited our unit on a white horse. I thought then that this was a sign that he was personally requesting our services. I knew that I had no choice but to die for him.”

As for why his duty insisted he volunteer, he added, “At that time, we believed that the emperor and nation of Japan were one and the same.” Ultimately, the war was over before Horiyama was sent into battle as a Kamikaze pilot.

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