Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Captain Rikihei Inoguchi was a naval officer who became an aviation officer toward the end of the war. After spending the first half of 1944 in New Guinea as an officer with the 153rd Air Corps and then a couple of months in Celebes as a staff officer with the 23rd Air Squadron, he was named the Chief of Staff with the 1st Air Fleet in Aug 1944 in the Philippine Islands and Taiwan, holding the position until the end of the war. In this position, he was intimately involved with special attack units against American invasion operations. Inoguchi's nephew Lieutenant (jg) Satoshi Inoguchi, in fact, was a kamikaze pilot who gave his life in an attempt to crash-dive into an American ship; his brother, Captain Toshihira Inoguchi, too, sacrificed himself as the captain of the battleship Musashi ten days before Satoshi Inoguchi's death. While realizing the willingness to sacrifice was a product of the grossly corrupt version of Bushido used by the Japanese leaders to exploit the population, he was also proud of those who volunteered to carry out the attacks, believing that it reflected the strength of the human will. "A world without strife will come only when every man has learned to curb his desires", he said. "Assuming that the strongest of these is a man's desire to live, you may say this desire cannot be governed. Therefore, if our wish is for a peaceful world, it would be well to study the spirit of the kamikaze pilots."
Immediately after the war, Inoguchi was interrogated by the United States Navy. He was described by the interrogating officers as a "difficult witness, attempting continually to take charge of the interview and to return to the discussion of his favorite subject, the philosophy of Kamikaze." In 1958, the book the Divine Wind: Japan's Kamikaze Force in World War II was published with Inoguchi and Tadashi Nakajima as co-authors, detailing the stories of special attack pilots and the philosophy and doctrine of special attack.
Sources: the Divine Wind, Interrogation of Japanese Officials.
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 1, the Leyte Campaign
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» Interrogation Nav 12, Captain Rikihei Inoguchi
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Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943