Ascent of the Fireflies

Chiran is a hike. Located on the southernmost tip of Japan, the tiny town lies hours from any major city and deep in a valley surrounded by a fortress of mountains. Yet on a mid-August national holiday, visitors throng its sleepy streets and pack its inns. They've come not for Chiran's green tea and purple yams, nor for its exquisitely preserved samurai estatesbut to honor its kamikaze pilots.

Fifty-seven years after World War II ended, Japan is finally embracing its kamikaze past. Named after the "winds of god" that saved Japan from Kubla Khan's invading ships in the...

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