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Okay let me guess at the definition here...

I'm guess that there are two senses, the original referring to a real or mythological wind which blew in a place called "元寇", and the newer sense of the WWII suicide pilots.

Please correct me if this is wrong, otherwise I'll split the defs soon. — Hippietrail 07:17, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for explaining the kanji but it's still impossible to tell if the Mongolian-invasion sense is related to suicide attacks or to a type of wind. — Hippietrail 08:52, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

On the Wikipedia article I read that The characters 神風 can be read as either しんぷう "shinpū" or かみかぜ "kamikaze". My reading of the article is that the reading "kamikaze" in Japan only applies to the wind in the Mongolian invastion and that "shinpū" only is used to refer to the WWII suicide attacks. If this is the case, why did English adopt the wrong reading? Was "kamikaze" used in Japan at the time but no longer used? Did western translators find only the older term in Japanese dictionaries current at the time? Can anybody provide any help. — Hippietrail 12:49, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

There is one man's w:folk etymology on this page, where the romanization "shimpu" also occurs. — Hippietrail 13:02, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The wrong reading was adopted probably for the same reason ginkgo was adopted for 銀杏 (ginnan): ignorance.
The folk etymology is likely to be correct, although it may not be the fault of the US military - some native Japanese misread kanji too. and are read "kami" and "kaze" when alone, so "kamikaze" is a logical reading to someone who doesn't know to use the on-yomi reading. --Vladisdead 13:17, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Can a Japanese or somebody else competent in Japanese confirm that 神風 may take the meaning of "Aircraft suicide attacks or attackers in Word War II"? I doubt it very much. This is the meaning of the english word "Kamikaze" which is not related in any way to the japanese word 神風 except for a misunderstanding. — Hokanomono 13:22, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I've reverted your changes to the article just because you deleted too much information. I'll grant that the details are in dispute and I'm not good at writing definitions. When this article was first changed I spent the rest of the day researching the characters, the terms "kamikaze" and "shinpū" plus its many spelling variations in English (shinbu, shimpu, etc). I found information on Wikipedia as well as many other pages on the Internet - most hits are mirrors of the Wikipedia article but if you persist you will find more, from both Japanese and Western writers. I also took into account articles I found written in French and German. The reading "shinpū" for "神風" comes from the Japanese term "神風特別攻撃隊" (shinpū tokubetsu kōgeki tai). Which means "神風 special attack unit". It seems that it was the name of just one unit of the pilots. Other units had different names, but the information I could find was scarce and contradictory. This same phrase is the source of the current Japanese term "特攻隊" (tokkōtai), "special attack unit".
I've checked a few Japanese<->western language dictionaries. My big character dictionary say "divine wind, kamikaze" and does not mention a "shinpū" reading. My Japanese->English dictionary has no entry for "kamikaze" or "shinpū". My Japanese<->Spanish dictionay has no entries in either language for either term. Babelfish translates "神風" to English as "kamikaze" and "神風特別攻撃隊" as "kamikaze suicide attack squadron". Jim Breen's WWWJDIC translates "kamikaze" into Japanese as "特別攻撃隊", "shinpuu" finds only "新風", "new style". "神風" returns "divine wind" and "kamikaze" in English. When I search on their Japanese->English dictionary with "神風" it returns "divine wind" etc, then also "kamikaze" in italics with the kanji "特攻隊" and "suicide pilot" with the kanji "特攻隊員".
So it's all as clear as mud! I tend to believe that the western dictionaries err on the side of telling us westerns what we expect, and even goo seems to be doing this. I find the information on this bilingual site the most trustworthy. Further investigation greatly appreciated! I'll consult a friend's electronic dictionary as soon as possible. — Hippietrail 06:48, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)
In the middle of all this, a 19-year-old Japanese friend has just brought his electronic dictionary which included "神風特攻隊" and he insisted it is pronounced "kamikaze tokkōtai". He didn't know what I was talking about when I said "shinpū tokkōtai"! The dictionary also included "神風タクシー" which I'd heard mentioned as a re-borrowing back into Japanese. — Hippietrail 12:25, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Thanks Hippietrail. The article looks good now. — Hokanomono 16:58, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

comment transferred from entry[edit]

The following was commented out in the entry:

Etymology 2[edit]

From 神風特別攻撃隊 (shinpū tokubetsu kōgeki tai)


(しんぷう, shinpū)

  1. An aircraft suicide attack squadron in Word War II.