banzai charge



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banzai charge


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Banzai is a Japanese word derived from the traditional battle cry of the Japanese warrior, "Tenno heika banzai," "Long Live the Emperor!" In World War II, banzai or a banzai charge was the term applied to an all-out infantry attack Japanese soldiers employed, en masse, against opponents, regardless of disparity in numbers. Typically, the banzai charge did not come at the beginning of an attack but was the last-ditch, even suicidal, response to imminent defeat. In many Pacific battles, and most notably at Saipan, banzai charges were as terrifying and costly as they were, in any tactical sense, futile. It was clear that the purpose of the banzai charge was to salvage military honor, in fulfilment of the Bushido, or ancient warrior code, rather than to achieve a tangible military advantage. For the traditional Japanese warrior—and, apparently, the majority of World War II Japanese soldiers—death in combat was infinitely preferable to surrender as a prisoner of war. The single-word exclamation Banzai! was also used as a victory cheer, after an objective had been achieved or a battle won.

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