Gordon, B. (2020). Last Writings of Japan’s Special Attack Corps Members. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14418/wes01.4.9
The Japanese military carried out numerous organized suicide attacks (called tokkō or special attacks in Japanese) against Allied naval vessels during the last ten months of World War II. Nearly 6,000 young Japanese men who died while making these attacks left behind many personal letters, diary entries, and poems that they wrote after assignment to the Special Attack Corps (tokkōtai in Japanese). The present study analyzes these writings both quantitatively and qualitatively by identification of common themes and by examination of writings that expressed personal concerns including the few that voiced disagreement with government and military leadership and policies. Even though final writings of Japan's Special Attack Corps members reflect enthusiastic agreement for the military's suicide attack strategy and the emperor-focused militaristic ideology promoted by the state, the government and military channeled and restricted their written thoughts through indoctrination, propaganda, and organizational controls. The present study analyzes writings of 392 Special Attack Corps members and includes many excerpts to illustrate more frequent common themes. The Appendix provides links to web pages where complete writings and basic biographical information of Special Attack Corps members included in the present study have been translated to English.