the incredible story of the lead pilot of the December 7, 1941, raid on Pearl
Harbor. Fuchida was the one who shouted
the war cry, "Tora, Tora, Tora!" Mitsuo
Fuchida fought the United
throughout WWII and was intimately involved in the planning and leadership of
the Japanese war effort as flight commander and later as a senior operations
officer. After the war, Fuchida was a defeated warrior in occupied Japan, farming
to meet the needs of his family. In 1950, Fuchida miraculously came to know
Jesus Christ as Saviour through a tract handed to him while exiting a train
The tract was entitled, "I Was a Prisoner of Japan," written by
Jacob DeShazer who was one of the famous Doolittle Raiders. DeShazer trusted
Christ as his Saviour while held captive by Japan for 40
months. DeShazer went to Japan in 1948
as a missionary and preached to the nation who held him captive. Fuchida faithfully
served Jesus Christ as an evangelist until his death in 1976. "From Pearl
Harbor to Calvary"
is Fuchida's testimony of salvation.
admit I was more excited than usual as I awoke that morning at , Hawaii time,
four days past my thirty-ninth birthday. Our six aircraft carriers were
positioned 230 miles north of OahuIsland. As
general commander of the air squadron, I made last-minute checks on the
intelligence information reports in the operations room before going to warm
up my single-engine, three-seater "97-type" plane used for level
bombing and torpedo flying.
sunrise in the east was magnificent above the white clouds as I led 360
planes towards Hawaii
at an altitude of 3,000 meters. I knew my objective: to surprise and cripple
the American naval force in the Pacific. But I fretted about being thwarted
should some of the U.S.
battleships not be there. I gave no thought of the possibility of this attack
breaking open a mortal confrontation with the United States.
I was only concerned about making a military success.
neared the Hawaiian Islands
that bright Sunday morning, I made a preliminary check of the harbor, nearby
Hickam Field and the other installations surrounding Honolulu. Viewing
the entire American Pacific Fleet peacefully at anchor in the inlet below, I
smiled as I reached for the mike and ordered, "All squadrons, plunge in
to attack!" The time was
Like a hurricane
out of nowhere, my torpedo planes, dive bombers and fighters struck suddenly
with indescribable fury. As smoke began to billow and the proud battleships,
one by one, started tilting, my heart was almost ablaze with joy. During the
next three hours, I directly commanded the fifty level bombers as they pelted
not only Pearl Harbor,
but the airfields, barracks and dry docks nearby. Then I circled at a higher
altitude to accurately assess the damage and report it to my superiors.
eight battleships in the harbor, five were mauled into total inactivity for
the time being. The Arizona
was scrapped for good; the Oklahoma,
and West Virginia
were sunk. The Nevada
was beached in a sinking condition; only the Pennsylvania, Maryland and Tennessee were able
to be repaired. Of the eight, the California, West Virginia and Nevada were
salvaged much later, but the Oklahoma,
after being raised, was resunk as worthless. Other smaller ships were
damaged, but the sting of 3,077 U.S. Navy personnel killed or missing and 876
wounded, plus 226 Army killed and 396 wounded, was something which could
never be repaired.
It was the
most thrilling exploit of my career. Ever since I had heard of my country's
winning the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, I had dreamed of becoming an admiral
like Admiral Togo,
our commander-in-chief in the decisive Battle of the JapanSea.
father was a primary school principal and a very patriotic nationalist, I was
able to enroll in the NavalAcademy
when I was eighteen. Upon graduation three years later, I joined the Japanese
Naval Air Force, and served mostly as an aircraft carrier pilot for the next
fifteen years. So when the time came to choose the chief commander for the Pearl
Harbor mission, I had logged over 10,000
hours, making me the most experienced pilot in the Japanese Navy.
next four years, I was determined to improve upon my Pearl
Harbor feat. I saw action in the Solomon Islands,
Ocean; just before the Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942,
I came down with an attack of appendicitis and was unable to fly. Lying in my
bed, I grimaced at the sounds of the firing all about me. By the end of that
day, we had suffered our first major defeat, losing ten warships altogether.
From that time
on, things got worse. I did not want to surrender. I would rather have fought
to the last man. However, when the Emperor announced that we would surrender,
I was in Hiroshima the day
before the atom bomb was dropped, attending a week long military conference
with the Army. Fortunately, I received a long distance call from my Navy
Headquarters, asking me to return to Tokyo.
end of the war, my military career was over, since all Japanese forces were
disbanded. I returned to my home village near Osaka and began
farming, but it was a discouraging life. I became more and more
unhappy, especially when the war crime trials opened in Tokyo. Though I
was never accused, Gen. Douglas MacArthur summoned me to testify on several
As I got
off the train one day in Tokyo's
Shibuya Station, I saw an American distributing literature. When I passed
him, he handed me a pamphlet entitled I Was a Prisoner of Japan (published by
Bible Literature International, known then as the Bible Meditation League).
Involved right then with the trials on atrocities committed against war
prisoners, I took it.
read was the fascinating episode which eventually changed my life. On that
Sunday while I was in the air over Pearl
Harbor, an American soldier named Jake
DeShazer had been on K.P. duty in an Army camp in California. When the
radio announced the sneak demolishing of Pearl
Harbor, he hurled a potato at the wall
and shouted, "Jap, just wait and see what we'll do to you!"
later he volunteered for a secret mission with the Jimmy Doolittle Squadron
-- a surprise raid on Tokyo
from the carrier Hornet. On April
was one of the bombardiers, and was filled with elation at getting his
revenge. After the bombing raid, they flew on towards China, but ran
out of fuel and were forced to parachute into Japanese-held territory. The
next morning, DeShazer found himself a prisoner of Japan.
next forty long months in confinement, DeShazer was cruelly treated. He
recalls that his violent hatred for the maltreating Japanese guards almost
drove him insane at one point. But after twenty-five months there in Nanking, China, the U.S. prisoners
were given a Bible to read. DeShazer, not being an officer, had to let the
others use it first. Finally, it came his turn -- for three weeks. There in
the Japanese P.O.W. camp, he read and read and eventually came to understand
that the book was more than an historical classic. Its message became
relevant to him right there in his cell.
dynamic power of Christ which Jake DeShazer accepted into his life changed
his entire attitude toward his captors. His hatred turned to love and
concern, and he resolved that should his country win the war and he be
liberated, he would someday return to Japan to
introduce others to this life-changing book.
did just that. after some training at SeattlePacificCollege, he
returned to Japan
as a missionary. And his story, printed in pamphlet form, was something I
could not explain.
could I forget it. The peaceful motivation I had read about was exactly what
I was seeking. Since the American had found it in the Bible, I decided to
purchase one myself, despite my traditionally Buddhist heritage.
In the ensuing
weeks, I read this book eagerly. I came to the climactic drama -- the
Crucifixion. I read in Luke
the prayer of Jesus Christ at His death: "Father, forgive them; for they
know not what they do." I was impressed that I was certainly one of those
for whom He had prayed. The many men I had killed had been slaughtered in the
name of patriotism, for I did not understand the love which Christ wishes to
implant within every heart.
that moment, I seemed to meet Jesus for the first time. I understood the
meaning of His death as a substitute for my wickedness, and so in prayer, I
requested Him to forgive my sins and change me from a bitter, disillusioned
ex-pilot into a well-balanced Christian with purpose in living.
1950 -- became the second "day to
remember" of my life. On that day, I became a new person. My complete
view on life was changed by the intervention of the Christ I had always hated
and ignored before. Soon other friends beyond my close family learned of my
decision to be a follower of Christ, and they could hardly understand it.
headlines appeared in the papers: "Pearl Harbor Hero Converts to
Christianity." Old war buddies came to visit me, trying to persuade me
to discard "this crazy idea." Others accused me of being an
opportunist, embracing Christianity only for how it might impress our
has proven them wrong. As an evangelist, I have travelled across Japan and the
Orient introducing others to the One Who changed my life. I believe with all
my heart that those who will direct Japan -- and
all other nations -- in the decades to come must not ignore the message of
Jesus Christ. Youth must realize that He is the only hope for this troubled
country has the highest literacy rate in the world, education has not brought
salvation. Peace and freedom -- both national and personal -- come only
through an encounter with Jesus Christ.
give anything to retract my actions of twenty-nine years ago at Pearl
Harbor, but it is impossible. Instead, I
now work at striking the death-blow to the basic hatred which infests the
human heart and causes such tragedies. And that hatred cannot be uprooted
without assistance from Jesus Christ.
He is the
only One Who was powerful enough to change my life and inspire it with His
thoughts. He was the only answer to Jake DeShazer's tormented life. He is the
only answer for young people today.
entitled, "From Pearl Harbor to Golgotha"