The Japanese were known for their unmatched and undying patriotism, which proved to be true when their country joined the war. For instance, during World War II, the Japanese troops showed their willingness to give their lives for the war effort through suicide attacks. There were kamikaze attacks when pilots would intentionally crash their planes into target enemies as human-guided missiles. There were also banzai charges when ground troops would swarm into enemy positions when defeat was apparent. Along with these were suicide-specific weapons, like the lunge mine with explosions that would surely kill its user and, hopefully, inflict some damage to the target tank.

When Japanese pilot Saburō Sakai lost his vision in one eye and half of his body became paralyzed in a dogfight, his injuries did not end his military service.  Instead, he chose to keep fighting as a naval lieutenant, with only one eye.

Born a Samurai

Saburō Sakai was born in Saga, Japan, in August 1916 to a family with immediate affiliation to the samurai whose ancestors were part of the Japanese invasions of Korea back in 1592 and 1598 before they were forced to take farming for their livelihood after the abolition of the Han system. Sakai, whose name also literally meant his order in the family, was the third among his parents’ four sons and three daughters. He was 11 when their father died, and his mother struggled to raise all the seven children left under her care, so his maternal uncle adopted Sakai. He was sent to a Tokyo high school but was immediately sent back to Saga after failing his studies after his second year.

At 16, Sakai decided to enlist in the Japanese Navy as a Sailor Fourth Class at the Sasebo Naval Base. In the book Naval Air: Celebrating a Century of Naval Flying by Philip Kaplan, Sakai shared his experience as a recruit,