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Hisashi Tezuka knew his life had been spared when he heard the Emperor’s voice crackling through the wireless.

As Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s wartime surrender on Aug. 15, 1945, the young kamikaze pilot was on a train to the island of Shikoku to carry out his sacrificial mission. He received his orders just two days earlier at a base about 1,150 km to the north.

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