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The last kamikaze

8 minutes

‘The order could come at any moment’: two kamikaze pilots tell their story

‘Dying was the ultimate fulfillment of our duty.’ 

Takehiko Ena and Hisao Horiyama, respectively just 20 and 21 when they were drafted into the Japanese air force during the waning days of the Second World War, are two of the last living kamikaze pilots. One of several units known as ‘special attack units’ deployed by the Japanese military for suicide missions, kamikazes (translated as ‘divine wind’) were infamously sent to inflict as much damage on Allied warships as possible – and, as a consequence, kill themselves in the process. In The Last Kamikaze, the two would-be suicide pilots discuss how allegiance to their country, families and Emperor compelled them to accept their missions, and the two men, now in their 90s, recall their mixed feelings when they ultimately escaped with their lives shortly before Japan’s surrender.

Director: Irene C Herrera

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

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