TOM #8

In 1271 when Marco Polo left Venice at the start of his journey to the land of the Kublai Khan, there was another Marco that traveled with the expedition



Kamikaze is a Japanese word that means ‘divine wind’.

 Kami is a spiritual deity, a ‘god’, and kaze means wind.  The word originated after two typhoons destroyed the invading Kublai Kahn’s Mongolian fleets in 1274 and 1281!  The ‘holy men’ of Japan were quick to point out that the country was saved by the intervention of a divine wind that blew away the attackers, twice in 7 years.

 Imagine an invading fleet of 1400 ships carrying some 63,000 troops landing on Kyushu island, Japan, and before full scale battles are fought, a mighty wind destroys most of the foreign boats!  Now imagine a bigger force of 140,000 men in 4400 ships on the doorstep 7 years later also being destroyed by a typhoon!  Small wonder it was not too difficult to entrench into the psyche and history of the Japanese people the idea of divine winds saving their country.


This conviction, of Japan being unassailable remained until the end of World War II.  When Japan realized that the American fleet around them could not be blown away by a third divine wind, they created a devastating force of suicide pilots to become the ‘kamikaze’ that would destroy the invading fleet.  In Japan the word ‘kamikaze’ became linked, but not officially, with the pilots that dive bombed the warships.  Tokubetsu Kōgekitai [Special attack unit] was the actual official title and abbreviated as Tokkō Tai or the action of attacking as Tokkō!  After the war the words Kamikaze pilot became the accepted title in both Japan and the west.

 Initially there were no planned suicide squadrons, but some pilots deliberately flew into ships when their planes were so severely crippled in action that getting back to base was impossible. They chose to inflict as much damage as they could with their death.  Deeply ingrained in the Japanese culture, perhaps more so in their military ethos, is the assumed disgrace of being defeated or captured.  These spontaneous suicides, especially when they were successful, eventually brought into existence an organized unit of pilots who were prepared to pay the ultimate price.

It is said that a Japanese Air Force Commander asked a group of 23 student pilots whom he had trained, if they would volunteer for these special missions.  All of them volunteered.   As the war progressed Japan lost their dominance of the sky since they could not build better planes fast enough.  Also, the number of replacement pilots in training could not keep up with the experienced pilots who were dying in combat

Diving Zero

It will never be known how many kamikaze pilots died or how many ships were sank or put out of action, since the sources differ so widely on which the statistics are based.  Estimates tell us 3850 pilots died in action.  Ship losses range from 34 to as high as 81 naval vessels sunk and over 360 damaged.  As many as 4900 sailors were killed on the ships and another 4800 wounded.

 The special attack units of suicide pilots symbolizing a man-made divine wind to blow away the invading fleet, did not stop Japan being invaded in 1946 as the original kamikaze winds had done in the 13th century.


In the book ‘The Other Marco’,  TOM is on a boat heading for Japan when the second typhoon strikes with dire consequences for the young Venetian.



It is an even numbered blog [#8] again, so it is Monster 4 Monster time.  Aydan in Portland, Oregon has used his imagination again to come up with this weirdo shark combination.  I am hoping that other youngsters out there will join in the creative fun and design a monster for me to draw OR draw it themselves and I will include it in the M4M corner for all to see!  Enjoy.



  See you again in TOM #9

16 thoughts on “TOM #8

    1. Hi Gail, If you are referring to the monsters, the imagination belongs to Aydan, my grandson. I simply draw what he suggests.

  1. Hey Laurance please go to u tube and look up sept 23 2017 you will find a very intteresting bible prediction explained and look into the sky for the star I see it each morning when I take Pat to work Oh I am enjoying your story very much keep up the good work love your drawings
    love to Ally

    1. Hi Barbara, Will certainly check out u tube and comment on it later. I trust your star is a portent of a positive event. Glad you are still on board reading my blog. Thanks. Hug 4 P

  2. O my goodness, Laurence, you get better and better. I am so proud of you and I say this because I have known you for fifty years and more. I wish you so much success and I send all my love.

    1. Hello Margie,
      Thanks for all the positive comment and the good things you say about our 51 years of friendship. I am thoroughly enjoying the research and ‘forced’ illustrating work to produce the blog. I have always felt I don’t draw enough, and this is certainly keeping my nose to the drawing board, never mind the grindstone! Lotsa Lawrence AKA TOM.

  3. Hey, Lawrence,
    You certainly dig up most interesting historical facts! I was, thanks to our Euro- and “Americocentric” culture, education, etc. blissfully unaware of the two typhoons that destroyed the fleets back in the 13th century. You’ve whetted my appetite to learn more! We can’t wait to buy your book for our grandkids!
    Love & God bless to you & Ally.

    1. Hi Pat,
      I must tell you Pat, everyone should publish a running blog that you have to service every week or two, and you will see how fast you learn about things you had no inkling of. I love it! So far, everything I have written about, directly or indirectly links to the book ‘The Other Marco’. The next question is, when do I approach a publisher again. Soon I hope.
      Thanks for the comment.

      Muchos Lawrence aka TOM

  4. I?¦ve been exploring for a little for any high quality articles or weblog posts in this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this site. Reading this info So i am happy to show that I have an incredibly just right uncanny feeling I came upon exactly what I needed. I such a lot without a doubt will make sure to do not fail to remember this web site and give it a look regularly.

    1. Hello Dario,
      I am always curious how people find my blog [I really should do more to promote it] and can see that you found it on Yahoo. I love your ‘uncanny feeling’ that guided you to it and can only wish more people out there would be guided by such an interesting directive. Thanks for your reply.
      regards TOM

    1. Hello,
      It is always good to hear from the readers of my blog. More so when you enjoy what I write and draw.
      It has been quite a while that I have posted anything. You are right, I must get going again and keep writing.
      Thanks for the encouragement.


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