Shigeyoshi Hamazono, 1945
....from They've Outlived the Stigma by Bruce Wallace:
These are the dusky days of old age that kamikaze pilots like Shigeyoshi Hamazono were not supposed to see. Three times during the final months of World War II, Japanese officers sent Hamazono off to die, ordering him to crash-dive a single-engine plane stuffed with bombs into an American warship. Bad weather aborted the first mission, an oil leak the second. On his final attempt in April 1945, he encountered three American pilots over the sea off Okinawa. In the ensuing dogfight, Hamazono was burned and took shrapnel in his shoulder, but his plane limped home. You could call him the luckiest man in Japan, though Hamazono didn't see it that way at the time. "I was, of course, ready to die," says Hamazono, who instead has aged into a bent but dignified 81-year-old. Fate allowed him to see his hair turn wispy and gray. And fate made him part of one of history's strangest and most exclusive brotherhoods: "kamikaze survivors."
Most were still waiting for orders to fly when Japan surrendered to the Allies in September 1945. A few others were spared because they did not reach their intended targets — a failure Hamazono found intolerable at the time. He was on standby to fly a fourth mission when Japan capitulated. Denied the opportunity to redeem his honor, he felt disgraced. "I wished I had died," he says. In the postwar years, a traumatized nation treated the kamikaze survivors like pariahs. But in the last decade, their reputation has recovered. Publishers clamor for memoirs. Scholars pick over their backgrounds in search of an explanation for their willingness to die for a lost cause. Japanese nationalists buff and shine their memory like medals. "Kamikaze" has ceased to be a slur in Japan. If the Japanese still can't agree on whether the pilots were victims or heroes, brainwashed conscripts or volunteers, they are at least prepared to honor their spirit of sacrifice. Only the modern menace of the suicide bomber has emerged to spoil this sentiment. The survivors bitterly resent the world's appropriation of the term "kamikaze" — meaning "divine wind" and originally coined to describe the unexpected typhoons that saved 13th century Japan from invading Mongol ships — as shorthand for suicide bombers of every stripe. There are the "Al Qaeda kamikazes" who flew passenger planes into office towers, "Palestinian kamikazes" who blow up pizza parlors filled with teenagers in Jerusalem, and "female Chechen kamikazes" willing to detonate explosive girdles in the middle of school gymnasiums crammed with children. Japan's originals are insulted to be mentioned in the same breath.
Gravity's Rainbow, p. 690:
Takeshi only had to go to Kamikaze School for two weeks, on Formosa. Ichizo had to go to Ohka school for six months, in Tokyo. There are as different as peanut butter and jelly, these two. No fair asking which is which. They are the only two Kamikazes out here at this air base, which is rather remote actually, on an island that nobody, well, really cares much about, any more.