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Kamikaze (typhoon)

Kamikaze (typhoon)

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The Kamikaze were two winds or storms that are said to have saved Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 from two Mongol fleets
Mongol invasions of Japan
The ' of 1274 and 1281 were major military efforts undertaken by Kublai Khan to conquer the Japanese islands after the submission of Goryeo to vassaldom. Despite their ultimate failure, the invasion attempts are of macrohistorical importance, because they set a limit on Mongol expansion, and rank...

 under Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan , born Kublai and also known by the temple name Shizu , was the fifth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire from 1260 to 1294 and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty in China...

. These fleets attacked Japan in 1274 and again in 1281. Due to growth of Zen buddhism among Samurai
Samurai
is the term for the military nobility of pre-industrial Japan. According to translator William Scott Wilson: "In Chinese, the character 侍 was originally a verb meaning to wait upon or accompany a person in the upper ranks of society, and this is also true of the original term in Japanese, saburau...

 at the time, these were the first events where the typhoons were described as "divine wind" as much by their timing as by their force.

History


The latter fleet, composed of "more than four thousand ships bearing nearly 140,000 men" is said to have been the largest attempted naval invasion in history whose scale was only recently eclipsed in modern times by the D-Day invasion of allied forces into Normandy in 1944. According to James McClain, "On each of those two occasions the Mongols gained a toehold on Japanese soil, but then kamikaze, a "divine wind", supposedly stirred up by Japan's protective deities, ravaged the invasion fleets and forced the Mongols back to their continental bases."

Events


The first invasion devastated the Japanese. The battle took place on the beaches where the two forces met. The Mongols had several advantages; the Japanese were overwhelmed and began to retreat. Not knowing they had won, the Mongols feared the Japanese were coming back with reinforcements and also retreated, taking the land force on board and putting out to sea at nightfall to avoid being marooned by the oncoming typhoon. By daybreak, only a few ships had not set out to sea. Those that had, met their doom at nature's hand.

During the time period between the first and second invasion, the Japanese prudently built two-metre walls to protect themselves from future invaders.

Seven years later, the Mongols returned. Unable to find any suitable landing beaches due to the walls, the fleet stayed afloat for months as they depleted their supplies and searched for an area to land. After months of being exposed to the elements, the fleet was destroyed by a great typhoon. The Japanese called it "kamikaze", and the Mongols never returned.

In myth


In popular Japanese myths at the time, the god Raijin
Raijin
is a god of lightning, thunder and storms in the Shinto religion and in Japanese mythology.His name is derived from the Japanese words rai and shin . He is typically depicted as a demon beating drums to create thunder, usually with the symbol tomoe drawn on the drums...

 was the god who turned the storms against the Mongols. Other variations say that the god Fūjin
Fujin
is the Japanese god of the wind and one of the eldest Shinto gods.He is portrayed as a terrifying dark demon, resembling a red headed black humanoid wearing a leopard skin, carrying a large bag of winds on his shoulders....

 or Ryūjin
Ryujin
, also known as Ōwatatsumi, was the tutelary deity of the sea in Japanese mythology. This Japanese dragon symbolized the power of the ocean, had a large mouth, and was able to transform into a human shape. Ryūjin lived in Ryūgū-jō, his palace under the sea built out of red and white coral, from...

 caused the destructive kamikaze.

As metaphor


The name given to the storm, kamikaze, was later used during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 as nationalist
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 for suicide attacks by Japanese pilots
Kamikaze
The were suicide attacks by military aviators from the Empire of Japan against Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of the Pacific campaign of World War II, designed to destroy as many warships as possible....

. The metaphor, difficult to translate (as in any from another language), meant that the pilots were to be the "Divine Wind" that would again sweep the enemy from the seas. This use of kamikaze has come to be the common meaning of the word in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

.

See also

  • Protestant Wind
    Protestant Wind
    The phrase Protestant Wind has been used in more than one context, notably:#The storm that lashed the Spanish Armada. According to Protestant propaganda, the wind wrecked the Spanish fleet and thus saved England from invasion by the army of Philip II of Spain...

  • Battle of Bun'ei
    Battle of Bun'ei
    The , also known as the First Battle of Hakata Bay was the first attempt by the Yuan Dynasty founded by the Mongols to invade Japan. After conquering the Tsushima Island and Iki, Kublai Khan's fleet moved on to Japan proper, landing at Hakata Bay, a short distance from Kyūshū's administrative...

  • Battle of Kōan
    Battle of Koan
    The ', also known as the Second Battle of Hakata Bay, was the second attempt by the Yuan Dynasty founded by the Mongols to invade Japan...

  • Mongol Invasions of Japan
    Mongol invasions of Japan
    The ' of 1274 and 1281 were major military efforts undertaken by Kublai Khan to conquer the Japanese islands after the submission of Goryeo to vassaldom. Despite their ultimate failure, the invasion attempts are of macrohistorical importance, because they set a limit on Mongol expansion, and rank...