Etymology of Kamikaze

It refers to an ancient legend that tells of a gigantic typhoon that prevented the army of the Mongolian emperor Kublai Kahn from reaching Japan twice, first in 1274 and then in 1281, both in the direction of the coast of the island of Kyushu, thus, getting its name. Kami is interpreted as god or divinity, and kame as wind. Nevertheless, it took a massive worldwide adoption to describe the Japanese suicide pilots who launched themselves as projectiles on the American bases and aircraft carriers from the skies to defend their nation, evident in 1945 in the last moments of World War II, resulting in a devastating strategy, orchestrated by the high command of the Japanese forces.

There would have been around three thousand young soldiers who signed up for the Operation Tokkōtai, carried out in October 1944, in which we can see their immaturity, the lack of experience in combat, and the propaganda about sacrificing their lives for the emperor and the nation, as an honor and symbol of eternal respect. Therefore, the disposition of the airplanes and their pilots was not a mere coincidence or a random impulse, but rather they intentionally carried an explosive charge to detonate at the moment of impact.

It would quickly become socially established as an adjective to indicate drastic individual attitudes regarding certain events. Likewise, the expression resonates in the face of certain events, such as the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.

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