AGORA
: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.


CRITICAL WOMEN HEADLINES

10/29/08

Wings of Defeat: Targets The Kamikaze


Neda Ulaby

By Jan Aaron

Have you heard about the elderly kamikaze pilots?

It sounds like the punch line to a bad joke. But, it’s not

About 4,000 Japanese pilots killed themselves during WW II, bombing only 34 U.S. ships. Hundreds survived for various reasons: like having missions canceled, or the war ending before their number came up.

“Wings of Defeat” director Risa Morimoto, a New York based Japanese American was drawn to the story of these one-way “boy pilots” (some were teenagers) for personal reasons. Her late uncle, who trained to be a kamikaze in the Japanese Imperial forces, survived the war.

With Linda Hoaglund, born and raised in Japan, and a daughter of American missionaries as producer/writer, Morimoto went to Japan and began her investigation by contacting her family for background on her uncle. She discovered that he was a kindly man who wasn't forthcoming about his war time activities with his children, her cousins.

They find other subjects: four elderly men who survived the harsh training, and so-called volunteerism of the Tokkotai Corps, who believed they would be elevated to the status of gods upon completing their missions. (A similar promise is made to today’s Middle East suicide bombers.) The surviving men seem to have been given a zest for life. They don't seem proud of their past as kamikaze. They, in fact, look rather embarrassed about it.

By weaving in top notch archival material, such as wartime propaganda posters and movies, the filmmakers establish how we were during the war effort. Some of the most heart-breaking footage shows Japanese teens posing for their funeral portraits and toasting with sake to numb themselves before their fatal flights. Their planes held only enough fuel for one-way journeys.

The kamikaze corps wasn't established until 1944 when the Japanese government realized they had no chance of winning the war. Things disintegrated so much that emperor decreed all citizens were kamikazes.

During Morimoto’s interview, a survivor of the USS Drexel, one of the sunken U.S. vessels, makes this shocking admission: “We would have done that,” referring to the kamikaze missions, “We had people who were that patriotic.” Thus the border between patriotism and blind obsession is blurred and “Wings of Defeat” causes us to think. It’s revelatory about war and the government’s responsibility to their people during war.




Wings Of Defeat: Another Commentary

By Linda Z

This documentary explores the intimate details through memory of the surviving kamikaze Japanese warriors during WWII

The kamikaze were the Japanese warriors trained to crash their planes into Allied targets in World War II. Around 4,000 of them died during the war's last days.

This is an extraordinary documentary in terms of the ebb and flow of the interviews and information presented and the wealth of information that the warriors were willing to convey

Clearly Neda Ulaby has a gift that enables people to trust her even with the cameras running. The results is a long overdo

In this masterpiece documentary done with the delicate touch of a woman and the persistence that is seemingly inherent in her gender, we now have a discussion, a view of what it was like to be Japanese and to face the potential of certain death at a young age. What did inspire the boys to give their lives for their country knowing that the deck was stacked against their ever coming home once they hit the skies.

was it love of Japan?
love of the Emperor to whom they had been indoctrinated into believing blindly from the time they were born, something like the way millions of people are brainwashed into believing the religious saga of choice. Was it the Saki they downed deep into their bodies before they ran off to their death machine, their all too small and inadequate plans, or was it an inherent nature that pushed them into believing that they were doing the right, the only thing: to die for their country and meet whatever there is in the hereafter?

Are the kamikaze a portrait of a terrorist or a picture of people trapped into a world that did not value human life, (much as the world today fails to value human life) and were forced to do what they didn't want, what their parents didn't want, what no sane man in tune with the reality of the potential of their own death, would ever do of their own free will.

Spend the money, take the time, see Wings of Defeat and then buy it to keep as a reminder.

More information is online at: http://www.edgewoodpictures.com/wingsofdefeat

Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective
RT Vine: Witches Brew

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