WINGS OF DEFEAT is a remarkably fascinating documentary, as well as a major contribution to our understanding of the history of World War II, from a heretofore untold point of view--that of the Kamikaze pilots whose training and contributions to the Japanese cause have long been shrouded in myth.
The compelling stories told by the former Kamikaze, along with riveting wartime footage, personal snapshots and original animation, uncover a chapter of history too long buried under nationalistic and racist stereotypes. WINGS OF DEFEAT is eloquent proof of how archival material and oral history can transform our understanding of the past.
- Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University and Executive Producer,
African American Lives
WINGS OF DEFEAT is an extraordinary film, revealing the terrible
power of nationalist fervor as it seizes young minds, and makes them both
victims and accomplices in the crime of modern warfare. The interviews
with the Japanese pilots, now elderly, are poignant and totally compelling. This
film is instructive and sobering for anyone caught up in what is considered
patriotic duty to one's country.
- Howard Zinn,
Author, A PeopleŐs History of the United States
During the Pacific War and for decades after, the Kamikaze were commonly presented as true believers who embraced death without qualm or question. Wartime Japanese propagandists pumped up this myth and most foreigners still take it at face value. Wings of Defeat succeeds brilliantly in puncturing the myth by going beyond the words of war leaders and propagandists to place viewers face to face with elderly Japanese who as young men were prepared to die as Kamikaze. Hand in hand with a critique of the fanaticism of JapanŐs leaders, beginning with the Emperor, this remarkable documentary indicts the madness of war itself.
- John W. Dower,
Pulitzer Prize-winning Author, Embracing Defeat
exploring, with heart-breaking precision, the lives of the Kamikaze pilots and
the conditions which allowed their sacrifice, WINGS OF DEFEAT not only can be
used in classrooms to probe a period in history which is in need of elucidation
and discussion, but has the extraordinary educational benefit of allowing
students to deal with one of the most burning contemporary issues of our
turbulent times: martyrdom and its causes. I hope this important film can
receive the support it deserves to reach a wide audience in schools,
universities and communities so it can help us all as we confront the issues of
young people being marched off to war, cross-cultural misunderstandings, and
what happens to a nation enthralled by its own superiority and presumed destiny
as a great power.
- Ariel Dorfman, Author, Playwright, Death and the Maiden, Human Rights Activist