The Missouri's baker, Harold "Buster" Campbell, captured this photograph of the plane as it was about to strike the ship.
The Missouri's baker, Harold "Buster" Campbell, captured this photograph of the plane as it was about to strike the ship. Photo Credit: Battleship Missouri Memorial

Oahu travelers headed to Pearl Harbor in the next few months will want to set aside time for the Battleship Missouri Memorial's exhibition of rare images and artifacts from Japanese kamikaze pilots.

My recent visit produced an unexpected mix of emotion, fueled initially by black-and-white footage of actual kamikaze aircraft slamming into U.S. warships and igniting fiery explosions. But the exhibition's collection of touching last letters and even poems written by the pilots, often in their late teens, to families and children before their final missions left me with a very different view of the Japanese soldiers.

On loan from the Chiran Peace Museum in Kagoshima, Japan, the exhibition runs through Nov. 11 on the Missouri, which survived its own kamikaze attack in 1945.

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