20 OCTOBER 2001, Page 40

For Emperor and country

From Mr Jonathan Mirsky

Sir: John Keegan (Diary, 6 October) implies that Muslim terrorists are unique in 'killing themselves so as to kill others'. Not even the Mongols did this, he says. But Japan's 'kamikaze' pilots did during the Pacific war, and very successful they were too; terrifying to the crews of the ships they attacked. Their preparations were meticulous. Their families sent them off in style with embroidered bits of clothing, and even as they were about to take off they were issued with packets of cigarettes with imperial-yellow wrappers to indicate that even at their last hour the emperor was thinking of them. A few are still alive and express guilt that they did not die doing their duty.

Jonathan Mirsky

London W11