First to Give the Enemy's Perspective on the Japanese Suicide Squadrons, "Kamikaze" Celebrates 50 years as a Literary Classic

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Kamikaze, (Yasuo Kuwahara & Gordon T. Allred, American Legacy Media, $16.95) was originally published in 1957 by Ballantine, and was the first book written in English to give the Japanese perspective of the famous suicide squadrons. Now Kamikaze has been re-crafted and expanded, and the much anticipated 7th edition will be released April 1 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of this literary classic.

Just as Clint Eastwood's critically acclaimed film Letters From Iwo Jima offers a glimpse of war from the perspective of our former enemy, Kamikaze (Yasuo Kuwahara and Gordon T. Allred, American Legacy Media, $16.95) was the first book in the U.S. market to give the Japanese perspective of the infamous suicide squadrons. Initially published in 1957 by Ballantine, Kamikaze was the first English-language book co-written by a former Japanese fighter pilot. It became a national bestseller, and is viewed by many as World War II classic. Author Gordon T. Allred recently completed a two-year project to re-craft and expand Kamikaze, in commemoration of its 50th anniversary. The much anticipated seventh edition will be released April 1, 2007.

Attesting to its international appeal, recent authorized translations of Kamikaze include French, German and Italian, but authorities recently discovered "bootleg" translations in Russian, Hungarian and Chinese. Supported by a loyal readership, it remains on recommended reading lists at libraries, schools and colleges worldwide.

Kamikaze tells the true story of Yasuo Kuwahara, a teenager recruited to the suicide squadrons of Imperial Japan. He endured basic training so physically and mentally brutal that nine men of his small group committed suicide rather than suffer through it. Kuwahara trained as a fighter pilot, and was nearly killed at the hands of the American enemy. Upon receiving his suicide orders he was granted leave to say farewell to his family, but was miraculously spared from completing his mission due to one of the most cruel twists of fate of World War II.

About the authors:

Gordon T. Allred is a professor of English at Weber State University, in Ogden Utah, where he has taught for over four decades. He holds a doctorate in creative writing and modern literature and has published 20 books, both fiction and nonfiction, along with many articles and stories. He has received numerous awards for his writing and teaching. He recently served on the Hemingway Foundation Board of Directors, and is a fifth-degree black belt in the Kenpo karate system

Yasuo Kuwahara was only 15 in 1943 when he won first place at the Japanese National High School Glider contest. As Japan's war outlook grew dimmer, Kuwahara's flying prowess resulted in his being pressed into training as a fighter pilot for a Kamikaze squadron. He was spared from completing his suicidal mission in what remains one of the most amazing stories of World War II. After the war he worked for the U.S. government, and later owned a successful photography business. He died suddenly in 1980.

Additional information about Kamikaze is available at


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