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Coen van Wyk

The "Editor's column" of the first edition of Business & Aviation is entitled, "Return of the Kimakaze". That is an error since the Japanese word for "Divine Wind" is "Kamikaze" and the word "Kimakaze" was obviously intended to refer to the Japanese of "Divine Wind". Incidentally, Business & Aviation is the sister magazine of SA Flyer and the first edition appeared at the end of September 2001. The quality of production is as classy as that of SA Flyer and it contains some superb articles.

Nevertheless, leaving aside the mentioned error, the origin of the Japanese Kamikaze pilots is quite interesting and dates back to 1284, long before the first Japanese pilot took to the skies in his Zero. The Kublai Khan was the fifth of the Mongol great khans, and the founder of the Yüan Dynasty in China. Korea had been tributary to the Mongols since 1217, and through this state and with the co-operation of its sovereign  Kublai, launched two naval expeditions against the Japanese. The first in 1274 was little more than a raiding party, but in 1284 a great armada landed a force of some 150000 men on the Japanese mainland. However, a sudden typhoon, which became famous in Japanese history as the Kamikaze, or "Divine Wind" (lit. "god winds"), scattered the ships and the invaders were, almost to a man, massacred or taken prisoner. The storms (kamikaze) were viewed by the Japanese as unmistakable proof that the gods had favoured and protected them in their time of need.

Later, in WWII, Japanese suicide-fighter pilots were called kamikaze for they, in effect, become the winds sent down from the gods to destroy their enemy. The Emperor was revered as a living kami, that was directly descended from the sun goddess, Amaterasu. The Japanese pilots that were sent into battle by their emperor were therefore regarded as a "Divine Wind" (Kamikaze).