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Mitsuo Fuchida: The Japanese Pilot who led the Attack on Pearl Harbor & His Conversion to Jesus Christ

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Published on: September 2, 2014

Imperial Japan had one of the largest maritime empires in world history. 

In 1910, Imperial Japan annexed Korea, and in 1918 took control of Russian ports in Siberia. 

In 1937, Imperial Japan’s Army killed over 200,000 in Nanking, China.

In 1941, over 3,000 Americans died when Imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbor

In 1942, over 20,000 Americans and Filipinos died on Bataan’s Death March, where starving prisoners were marched 65 miles in heat and jungles to a disease infested camp.

By 1945, over 100,000 died retaking Okinawa and Pacific islands.

Democrat President Harry S Truman made the controversial decision August 6, 1945, to drop the Atomic Bomb. Though devastating, it was estimated to have prevented an additional one million casualties on both sides. 

On SEPTEMBER 2, 1945, Emperor Hirohito’s Imperial forces officially surrendered aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay. 

An interesting story occurred after the war ended. 

Mitsuo Fuchida, the Imperial Japanese Navy pilot who led the attack on Pearl Harbor, shouting, “Tora, Tora, Tora,” became a Christian in 1950. He then became an evangelist, and in 1960, an American citizen. 

His story was written in Readers Digest “God’s Samurai: Lead Pilot at Pearl Harbor.”

Mitsuo Fuchida wrote in “From Pearl Harbor to Calvary” (1953):

“I was in Hiroshima the day before the atom bomb was dropped… Fortunately, I received a long distance call from my Navy Headquarters, asking me to return to Tokyo.

With the end of the war, my military career was over, since all Japanese forces were disbanded. I returned to my home village…

Though I was never accused, Gen. Douglas MacArthur summoned me to testify…

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)…

What I read was the fascinating episode which eventually changed my life…”

Mitsuo Fuchida continued:

“Jake DeShazer…volunteered for a secret mission with the Jimmy Doolittle Squadron – a surprise raid on Tokyo from the carrier Hornet…After the bombing raid…DeShazer found himself a prisoner of Japan…

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…

The dynamic power of Christ which Jake DeShazer accepted into his life changed his entire attitude toward his captors. His hatred turned to love…”

Mitsuo Fuchida wrote further:

“DeShazer…returned to Japan as a missionary. And his story, printed in pamphlet form, was something I could not explain…

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 23:34 the prayer of Jesus Christ at His death: ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’…

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.

Right at 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…

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…”

Mitsuo Fuchida concluded:

“I have traveled 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 world…

I would 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.”

On SEPTEMBER 2, 1944, a torpedo-bomber was hit by anti-aircraft fire while making a run over Bonin Island, 600 miles south of Japan. 

The pilot headed out to sea, ejected from his burning plane and was rescued by a submarine. 

He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, graduated from Yale, worked in the Texas oil industry and entered politics, eventually being elected the 41st U.S. President. 

His name was George H.W. Bush. President Bush began his Inaugural Address, January 20, 1989, saying: 

“I have just repeated…the oath taken by George Washington 200 years ago, and the Bible on which I place my hand is the Bible on which he place his…

My first act as President is a prayer…

Heavenly Father…Make us strong to do Your work…And if our flaws are endless, God’s love is truly boundless.”

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