I started to reread a pretty old mystery of Thomas Harris, “The silence of the lambs,” which I once gave up reading because of difficulty of understanding the narrative studded with technical jargons of abnormal psychology, entomology, police and security terms, and so many idioms and slangs unfamiliar to me.
I was interested to find an apparently Japanese-origin classic word, "banzai," not "bonsai," being used in the following passage, in which Ardelia Mapp, a roommate of Clarice Starling, a trainee of FBI Academy at Quantico who is the heroine of the story gives an advice to Clarice not to skip the next day’s Criminal Code exam:
“Mapp had made the Law Review at the University of Maryland while working at night. Her academic standing at the academy was number two in the class, her attitude toward the book was pure banzai.
"You're supposed to take the Criminal Code exam tomorrow and the PE test in two days." – ibid. P.121.
OCD (10th ed.) at hand defines “banzai” as; exclaim: 1. Japanese battle cry. 2. A form of greeting used to the Japanese emperor.
We Japanese stand up and shout “banzai” when watching TV featuring the scene Japanese baseball (women’s soccer) team wins the world baseball (women’s soccer) games. We also use “banzai” for the meaning of “total surrender” in association with the gesture of banzai holding up and down both hands when crying “banzai.”
However, neither of OCD definition and our notion of “banzai” seems to relate with the usage of “banzai” in the above quote - Her attitude toward the book was pure banzai. It appears to me “banzai” is used in the meaning of “extraordinary” or “super” there.
Google Ngram indicates that the word “banzai” first appeared in circ. 1900 and its usage peaked in 1950 just after the end of the Pacific War. Its usage is low at 0.000036177% level in 2000 as against 0.0019679775% of “extraordinary”.
What does “banzai” mean in the above context? Is it commonly used in that way?