Beyond Pearl Harbor
America's latest blockbuster, Pearl Harbor, has already been blamed for dwelling on a shallow love triangle, ignoring the sacrifices of Japanese Americans, downplaying the Japanese empire's aggression, and generally Disney-fying the "date which will live in infamy." No surprises there; as director Michael Bay told Reuters, "It's not a history lesson." But it's far too easy to shoot holes in Hollywood history. Instead, I'm going to fault the movie for missing a poignant and inspiring Christian story: the saga of Mitsuo Fuchida.
Fuchida grew up loving his native Japan and hating the United States, which treated Asian immigrants harshly in the first half of the twentieth century. Fuchida attended a military academy, joined Japan's Naval Air Force, and by 1941, with 10,000 flying hours behind him, had established himself as the nation's top pilot. When Japanese military leaders needed someone to command a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, they chose Fuchida. [Here, you can cut to the movie—it renders the attack pretty faithfully.]
Fuchida's was the voice that sent his aircraft carrier the message "Tora! Tora! Tora!" (Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!) indicating the success of the surprise mission. Later, he too was surprised when he learned that, of the 70 officers who participated in the raid, he was the only one who returned alive.
By 1945 he had attained the position of the Imperial Navy's Air Operations Officer. On August 6 he was eating breakfast in Nara, Japan, where a new military headquarters was under construction, when he heard about a bomb dropped on Hiroshima. He flew to investigate, then sent a grim report to the Imperial Command.
On the same day, an American P.O.W. named Jacob DeShazer felt moved by the Holy Spirit to pray ...