kamikaze

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Kamikaze (Jap., ‘Divine Wind’, so-called from the strong winds and storms which dispersed two Mongol invasions in 1274 and 1281). Japanese pilots during the Second World War who volunteered, from 1944 onward, to undertake missions against enemy targets in which they were ‘flying bombs’, and from which, therefore, they could not expect to return alive. Related to kamikaze were the kaiten (turning of the heaven), human torpedoes. They wore white scarves and also round their foreheads a white cloth, taken from the hachimaki, the cloths worn by samurai warriors. In a Zen perspective (often referred to by volunteers who survived), death is of no greater importance (or less) than any other event or manifestation. In a wider Japanese perspective, the spirits of warriors who die in obedience to the emperor return in any case to Japan, and in particular to the Shinto Yasukuni (Country of Peace) shrine in Tokyo. This shrine was founded in 1879 as the Tokyo Shokon Jinja (shrine).

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ka·mi·ka·ze / ˌkämiˈkäzē/ • n. (in World War II) a Japanese aircraft loaded with explosives and making a deliberate suicidal crash on an enemy target. ∎  the pilot of such an aircraft. • adj. of or relating to such an attack or pilot. ∎  reckless or potentially self-destructive: he made a kamikaze run across three lanes of traffic.

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kamikaze (kä´məkä´zē) [Jap.,=divine wind], the typhoon that destroyed Kublai Khan's fleet, foiling his invasion of Japan in 1281. In World War II the term was used for a Japanese suicide air force composed of fliers who crashed their bomb-laden planes into their targets, usually ships. The kamikaze was first used extensively at Leyte Gulf and was especially active at Okinawa.

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kamikaze in the Second World War, a Japanese aircraft loaded with explosives and making a deliberate suicidal crash on an enemy target. The word, which is Japanese, comes from kami ‘divinity’ + kaze ‘wind’, originally referring to the gale that, in Japanese tradition, destroyed the fleet of invading Mongols in 1281.

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kamikaze (Jap. ‘divine wind’) Name given to crews or their explosive-laden aircraft used by the Japanese during World War II. Their suicidal method of attack was to dive into ships of the enemy fleet. Serious losses were inflicted on the US Navy.