Kamikaze - C4 TV

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by Adrian Roberts, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    Did any of you in the UK see the Channel 4 documentary on the Kamikaze missions this evening? If not, worth finding it on any of the playback websites you can access these days (Go to Channel4.com, then to 4 on demand - I haven't tried this myself, but if it works then those of you not in the UK can presumably access it).

    Not a bad programme on the whole. Simplified of course, as a quick look at the Wikipedia article on Kamikaze confirmed. As TV docs often do, it focussed on a few incidents and personalities and so gave a skewed view. It made a lot of Vice-Admiral Ugaki (it refered to him as "Commander"), whereas in fact it seems he did not become involved until Spring '45; his Wikipedia article fills in some detail of his own final mission on August 15th 1945 (the TV doc just says he disappeared).

    The programme's strength was its focus on the human cost; the RN seaman from Formidable who still keeps four poppies in his room for his four mate who died; the young Japanese bride who never remarried. It debated the extent to which young men actually volunteered. And it made some interesting practical points, such as the fact that one-way missions were actually the only way the Japanese had of reaching the allied forces around Okinawa.

    The usual quibbles about aircraft types of course; some looked like Harvards, some were CGI; one or two may have been the preserved flying Zeros of which I think there are now three. The biggest cock-up was a shot of USN torpedo-bombers, which were clearly TBD Dauntlesses, which had been out of service since mid-42.
  2. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Some footage from Tora, Tora, Tora perhaps?
  3. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Like Adrian, I can forgive the use of certain archive material for certain purposes. And some of the interviews were interesting. But anyone who has access to UkTV History won't have learnt anything new.

    However, my biggest complaint was was that the programme had a very particular agenda, which was laid out from the beginning - that a lot of the Kamikazes were not volunteers, and even seem to imply that the majority of the Japanese, ordinary combatants and kamikazes, were 'brain washed'. Whilst there had been considerable psycho-ideological conditioning, as with Germany, Russia and even to a degree the other Allies, this use of today's sensibilities to examine historical events skews the results.

    And I did find the lack of critical analysis of what some of the kamikaze survivors said annoying. Again it seemed to be rather selective to show that the degree of cohersion was greater than may really have been the case. Ugaki's daughter-in-law (or was it daughter?) seemed to be more interested in putting a softer spin on him. It may have been better for actual historian to be used to contextualise his diary entries.

    The interview with the designer/builder of the Ohka was another that seemed more concerned with proving the futility in the concept than showing what/why/how the idea was actually conceived.
  4. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

    I know is been a few years since this posting was made but the USN TBD was the "Devastator" not the Dauntless. The Dauntless (TBD) stayed in service until the end of the war.
  5. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Slow But Deadly.

Share This Page