A Japanese Kamikaze pilot's nylon scarf circa 1945
Tassled at each end, possibly made from parachute material, painted with picture of a zero, and lettered (in translation) 'The 251th Navy Air Force. Solomon Base, Kamikaze Corps. Tanimura Masanobu.' 55in. x 8.5 in..
Exhibited: The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, 1995-2007
Provenance: The War Museum
A rare kamikaze scarf, probably recovered when the Americans captured the Solomons in August 1945. The Solomon Islands off New Guinea were taken by the Japanese early in 1942; there followed a campaign to try and oust the Japanese from their bases in the area. Over three years the Japanese lost over 80,000 men, over 50 ships destroyed and over 1500 aircraft lost. The Japanese 251st Navy Air Force was based on the Solomons; this scarf probably dates from the last year of the war when Kamikaze Corps became more fully established in the air force. The Kamikaze Corp was established in October 1944, after the Japanese air force had lost its aerial dominance to American forces. In reality only 14% of all kamikaze pilots inflicted damage on their targets, and around 4000 kamikaze pilots died in the last few years of the war.
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