Go For Broke

National Education Center


Term Definition
Kamikaze “Divine wind” in Japanese, a term originating from what was believed to be a typhoon sent from the heavens that thwarted the 1281 Mongol invasion of Japan. The first organized Kamikaze attack occurred on October 25, 1944, when 26 suicide planes attacked and sank the American aircraft carrier USS St. Lo in the battle of Leyte Gulf. During World War II in the Pacific Theater, Japan used Kamikaze pilots for suicide missions. Pilots would purposely crash their planes into enemy targets, losing their own lives in the process.
Kanji Japanese term for the Chinese characters used in Japanese writing.
Katonk Also, Kotonk. A slightly derogatory term for Japanese Americans from the mainland. Some theorize that the term is derived from the sound made when one’s head hits the floor during a fistfight, or from the hollow sound of a coconut falling from a tree, suggesting a “hollow” or empty head.
Kibei Japanese Americans, typically Nisei, who were educated in Japan. Many Kibei, because of their advanced Japanese and English language ability, joined the Military Intelligence Service.
Killed in action (KIA) A casualty category applicable to a hostile casualty, other than the victim of a terrorist activity, who is killed outright or who dies as a result of wounds or other injuries before reaching a medical treatment facility.
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