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Senri Nagasue 

 

Senri Nagasue, a former Japanese Navy kamikaze pilot, has kept up with changing information technology. He personally creates web pages that he regularly adds to Aozora no hateni (To the blue sky's end), his huge website with many stories related to the kamikaze corps. Since his retirement from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, he has written four books related to the kamikaze corps and another book on his Air Self-Defense Force experiences. He took an IT course in 2001 at the age of 74, when he got the idea to publish CD versions of two of his books. Nagasue regularly corresponds with readers through e-mails, and he frequently posts messages on electronic message boards related to kamikaze.

Nagasue's purpose in writing books and creating this web site is to provide unique insights into the kamikaze corps' history. The stories in his books and web site come from firsthand war experiences, accounts from others with whom he served in the Japanese Navy, and interviews of several families of kamikaze pilots who died in the war. Many stories on the web site have been excerpted directly from his books. Nagasue's web site generally includes individual episodes rather than a general history of kamikaze operations. Also, his web site focuses almost entirely on the Navy kamikaze corps, even though the Army carried out about a third of the kamikaze attacks during the war.

One section of the site contains 18 stories related to the families of kamikaze pilots who died in the war, and another section has 15 web pages of reminiscences of his classmates in the Yokaren (Japanese Naval Preparatory Flight Training Program). Other sections cover Nagasue's experiences with the Naval Air Corps at bases around Japan, including Kagoshima, Yatabe, Hyakurihara, and Ooi. Some of the information in these sections does not deal specifically with kamikaze. Another site section contains a list of those who died in kamikaze attacks. Nagasue also has several web pages related to the mystery of the final kamikaze attack led by Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki. In addition to Aozora no hateni (To the blue sky's end), Nagasue also maintains another large site named Jieitai kobarebanashi (Assorted stories about Self-Defense Force).

Although this site has easy-to-follow navigation to get to its wealth of information, some design features will cause distractions for visitors. Moving images of planes can be distracting on a few pages, and full-screen background photos on some contents pages can make reading difficult. Several pages also have accompanying World War II music, but this can be easily stopped by putting the sound volume on mute. A few pages have numerous large photos, which will mean a very slow download time unless readers have a high-speed connection.

In an effort to extend his reach to English speakers, Nagasue has developed an English section for his web site. Although he has limited English capabilities, he tried to create English pages with translation software. Since his Japanese sentences can be complex and since his material often includes specialized words related to aviation and the Imperial Japanese Navy, translation software often leads to incomprehensible results. Therefore, I have tried to assist Nagasue in some of the translations of his section on Sadness of Bereaved Families.