Those of us who grew up during WW II were conditioned to hate and fear Japan’s kamikaze pilots, who intentionally flew their airplanes into American Navy vessels in the Pacific.
Wikipedia defines the word thusly, “The Kamikaze (神風?, common translation: “divine wind”) [kamikaꜜze]( listen) Tokubetsu Kougekitai (特別攻撃隊?) Tokkō Tai (特攻隊?) Tokkō (特攻?) 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.”
“Divine wind!” Doesn’t that send shivers down your spine? Wikipedia goes on to say: “The tradition of death instead of defeat, capture, and perceived shame was deeply entrenched in Japanese military culture. It was one of the primary traditions in the samurai life and the Bushido code: loyalty and honor until death; or in the Western vernacular “death before dishonor!””
Today, a new kind of kamikaze worker has burst forth on the world scene. It’s clear that killing (others) and bravery are not inextricably linked, but the code of honor still lives among the Japanese, indeed, among all men.
CBS reports on “Fukushima heroes: Not afraid to die.” Our first thought was: the workers are like those pilots, not afraid to die for their Emperor and country, but now, rather than having as a horrible side-effect the deaths of American sailors, the side-effects will be far more positive.
Here’s how CBS put it: A handful of workers “have stayed on the job, risking their lives, to try to save the lives of countless people they don’t even know. The exact number of workers is unclear and has been reported to be anywhere from 50 to 180.”
Courage, bravery, desire to help their fellow human beings – these are the positive values that come forth at every crisis. The Chilean miners come to mind, though their goal was to save each other and themselves, rather than people outside the mine where they were trapped.
Could it be that we human beings need these horrible crises to remind us of our positive side?