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I mentioned in another conversation that I’ve been reading the new Jeff Sharra book on Pearl Harbor. In the process of looking up some of the people in critical positions, I came across this quote from Mitsuo Fuchida, who actually led the attack. He was speaking to Enola Gay commander Paul Tibbets after the war.
“You did the right thing. You know the Japanese attitude at that time, how fanatic they were, they’d die for the Emperor … Every man, woman, and child would have resisted that invasion with sticks and stones if necessary … Can you imagine what a slaughter it would be to invade Japan? It would have been terrible. The Japanese people know more about that than the American public will ever know.”
I never knew what happened to Fuchida after Pearl Harbor. Badly wounded at Midway, he served as a staff officer in Japan after his recovery. He was in Hiroshima for a meeting the day before the bombing but was recalled to headquarters. After the war, he converted to Christianity.
He was surprised to find his former flight engineer, Kazuo Kanegasaki, whom all had believed had died in the Battle of Midway. When questioned, Kanegasaki told Fuchida that they were not tortured or abused, much to Fuchida’s surprise, and then went on to tell him of a young lady, Peggy Covell, who served them with the deepest love and respect, but whose parents, missionaries, had been killed by Japanese soldiers on the island of Panay in the Philippines.
For Fuchida, this was inexplicable, as in the Bushido code revenge was not only permitted, it was “a responsibility” for an offended party to carry out revenge to restore honor. The murderer of one’s parents would be a sworn enemy for life. He became almost obsessed trying to understand why anyone would treat their enemies with love and forgiveness.
Fuchida created the Captain Fuchida Evangelistical Association based in Seattle, Washington and spoke full-time of his conversion to the Christian faith in presentations titled “From Pearl Harbor To Calvary”.
What an amazing story.