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The Japanese word Kamikaze is usually translated as "divine wind" (kami =
spirit; kaze = wind). The word kamikaze seems to have originated as the name
of major typhoons in the late 13th century (1274 and 1281), which shattered
Mongol invasion fleets.
The formal term used for units carrying out suicide attacks during the last year
of World War II
tokubetsu kōgeki tai (特別攻撃隊 = special attack unit). The
Japanese Kokugaku (complicated; send us an email) scholar and working
doctor Motoori Norinaga (1730-1801) wrote a poem which we will ineptl;y
translate as:
Asked about the soul of Japan, one would say it is wild cherry
blossoms glowing in the morning sun
Most statistical treatments assert that during the last year of World War II
the Imperial Japanese Navy had sacrificed 2,525 kamikaze pilots and the Army
Air Force 1,387. One in seven hit a target: they sank 34 to 57 United States Navy
ships (depends on who is counting), mostly destroyers; damaged nearly 400
other ships; killed nearly 5,000 sailors and wounded an equal number.  Alas,
long before October 1944 there had been several critical military defeats for
the Japanese. Aerial dominance or even competitiveness was long gone due to
outdated aircraft and the loss of experienced pilots. On a macroeconomic
scale, Japan had been experiencing a dramatic decrease in capacity to wage
war. It is tempting to speculate how many lives would have been saved directly
as well as indirectly - no fire-bombing of Tokyo and other cities; no atomic
destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the bloody battles of Okinawa
and Iwo Jima ...
The courage of  reactor workers at Fukushima is very impressive, but, like
1944, asking someone to face 250 millisieverts should really be accompanied
by an admission carved in stone and translated into a couple huindred
languages on a website that strategic policies and tactical decisions were