Kazuo Odachi joined the Japanese navy during World War II at
the age of 16, becoming a pilot in the Kamikaze Special Attack
force. He completed 8 suicide missions without spotting a target.
After surviving the war, he returned to Japan and became a police
officer in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, and then a
detective retiring as a Director in the 3rd Investigation Division
of the Criminal Affairs Bureau. Having possessed a passion for
Kendo since he was a youth, he has taught the art to children for
the last 33 years.
Author and Translator Shigeru Ohta, is a former prosecutor, having worked for 34 years at the Ministry of Justice in Tokyo, Osaka, and other cities. He taught law at Waseda University for 5 years and is currently a professor in the Department of Crisis Management at Nihon University.
Hiroyoshi Nishijima worked for the Yomiuri newspaper in Tokyo, retiring as Chief of the Editorial Bureau. He is currently a member of the Japan National Press Club and the Editorial Committee of the Shibat Ryotaro Memorial Foundation magazine Ryo.
Alexander Bennett is a professor of Japanese history, martial arts and Budo theory at Kansai University. He co-founded and publishes Kendo World, the first English-language journal dedicated to Kendo. He holds black belts in several martial arts. His published works include Japan: The Ultimate Samurai Guide, The Complete Musashi and Hagakure: The Secret Wisdom of the Samurai.
"...[an] eye-opening and informative account...Enhanced with
helpful historical sidebars and footnotes, Odachi's memoir
humanizes a much-mythologized aspect of the war in the Pacific.
WWII history buffs and Japanophiles will savor the many
insights." - Publishers Weekly
"...expertly translated...Odachi provides personal insight on the last days of empire, and his stories of crime in Tokyo give this memoir life. This book deserves a spot next to Yasuo Kawahara's classic autobiography Kamikaze." - Library Journal
"In preparing the English edition, Ohta and Bennett took great care to provide context to help international audiences understand the historical and cultural background of Odachi's story. Augmented by the meticulously researched details, the focus is fixed on telling Odachi's life in his own words. While the subject matter is often heavy, the text is laced with humorous anecdotes and wry comments, allowing Odachi's personality to come through." -The Japan Times
"Kazuo Odachi is one of the last living members of a group never meant to survive. He wants to remind Japan that before its modern success came the sacrifices of the young pilots who gave their lives." -The New York Times
"Incredible book. Personal narrative unlike any I have ever encountered, focusing on the futility of sacrifice. Harrowing, human read for war memoir aficionados." -Roger Bennett, co-host of Men in Blazers television show and podcast
"...a remarkable story of youth, comradeship, courage, honor, despair, recovery, introspection, and closure." -Asian Review of Books
"...[Odachi] never talked about his wartime experiences, until two fellow kendo enthusiasts persuaded him to share his personal recollections in this book...With the horrors of WWII receding from social memory, there is much to be learned from detailed, clearsighted, unsentimentalized first-hand accounts like Odachi's." -Kyoto Journal