The kamikaze was a demonstration of the lengths the Japanese would go before they surrendered and is rooted in the ancient samurai code of bushido. Bushido, or “the way of the warrior”, was an essential part of Japanese samurai heritage and deeply ingrained in the Japanese culture (John T 30). It dictated that surrender was dishonorable, and in fact, it was literally “a way of dying” (Powers). But other often overlooked factors also contributed heavily to the no-surrender policy of the Japanese. Those who surrendered or returned home defeated faced dishonor and social ostracism. The Field Service Code issued by General Tojo in 1941 puts it simply: “Do not live in shame as a prisoner. Die, and leave no ignominious crime behind you.” This was the kind of societal pressure that the Japanese soldiers and even civilians were under. There was no alternative, for it was either “kill or be killed” (Powers).
This wartime image of the Japanese was one of the factors that clearly indicated to Allied leaders that an invasion of Japan would be “difficult and costly”; a fight to the bitter end (John T 30).
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John T, Correll. "The Decision That Launched the Enola Gay." Air Force Magazine April 1994: 30.
Powers, David. “Bushido.” Japan : No Surrender in World War Two. 01 June 2001. BBC. 26 July. 2005. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/war/wwtwo/japan_no_surrender_04.shtml>