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Kejsarens fula sköld: Kamikaze, kristendom och hotet mot hemlandet i Hayashi Ichizōs efterlämnade skrifter
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, History of Religions.
2013 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to analyze the writings of Hayashi Ichizō, a Christian from southern Japan who on the 30th of May 1945 died while carrying out a kamikaze attack against Allied ships outside Okinawa. Hayashi’s writings, most notably his diary and some of the letters he sent to his mother, have been published posthumously by his sister in a volume called Hi nari tate nari. In this thesis, I conduct an in-depth analysis of these writings in an attempt to understand for what Hayashi died.

In the two parts of the thesis, divided by two major themes in Hayashi’s writings – faith/family and nation/emperor, I discuss his thoughts around these issues. Using the idea of intertextuality as presented by Norman Fairclough, I have tried to see what lies behind Hayashi’s own words. Hayashi’s bounds to his mother were particularly strong, and through his Christian faith he found solace in the thought that he would one day reunite with her in Heaven.  At the same time, he was worried about whether dying in action in the name of the emperor would prevent this from happening, yet in the end he seems to have put his faith in providence. While Hayashi’s thoughts about the imperial system are ambivalent, a thorough reading of the material suggests that he remained critical of the cult surrounding the divine emperor. Though he does refer to himself as “the emperor’s ugly shield”, there seems to be more to his use of this term than state-promoted nationalism.

Though it is difficult to say for what Hayashi died, we can reach a few conclusions about his fate. After he was conscripted in 1943, he chose to enter the Navy and he volunteered to be a pilot, yet it was never his choice to become a kamikaze pilot – death was given to him. While Hayashi never considered his death to be a suicide, contradicting his Christian belief, he was clearly worried about the prospect of his soul being enshrined in Yasukuni Shrine. To his death, his thoughts remained with his mother and with God, never with the emperor.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 55 p.
Keyword [sv]
Kamikaze, andra världskriget, kristendomen i Japan, Shinto, japansk nationalism
National Category
History of Religions
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-192741OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-192741DiVA: diva2:600733
Subject / course
History of Religions
Educational program
Master Programme in Theology and Religious Studies
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2013-03-20 Created: 2013-01-25 Last updated: 2013-03-20Bibliographically approved

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