Mitsuo Fuchida ~ From Pearl Harbour to Calvary

Today marks the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbour (1941-2018). Here is an article worth reading written . . .

By Dr. Peter Hammond. This Article is available as a PowerPoint with pictures, viewable here.

Download this article as a printable A3 tract here.

Mitsuo Fuchida (1902-1976) is best known for leading the devastating air attack on Pearl Harbour, 7 December 1941. After Mitsuo Fuchidathe war, Fuchida became a Christian Evangelist, who conducted Evangelistic outreaches throughout Japan, the United States and Europe.

Japanese Naval Aviator

Fuchida was the son of the Master of the Primary School in Kashihara. His grandfather was a Samurai. Mitsuo Fuchida entered the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in 1921, graduated as a mid-shipman in 1924, was promoted to Ensign in 1925, and sub-Lieutenant in 1927. He specialised in horizontal bombing and gained combat experience during the Sino-Japanese War, when he was assigned to the aircraft carrier, Kaga, in 1929. Promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 1936, he was accepted into the Naval Staff College and joined the aircraft carrier Akagi in 1939, as Commander of the Air Group.

Attack on Pearl Harbour

Take of to Shokaku In October 1941, Fuchida was made Commander. Under the command of Vice Admiral Nagumo, with 6 aircraft carriers, and 423 aircraft, Commander Fuchida was responsible for the co-ordination of the aerial attack on the US Pacific Fleet. He was in the first wave of 183 dive-bombers, torpedo-bombers, level-bombers and fighters, which took off from carriers 370 km North of Oahu and targeted the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour. At 07:40 (Hawaiian Standard Time), Fuchida ordered "Tenkai!" ("Take attack position!"), slid back the canopy of his Nakajima Kate torpedo bomber and fired a green flare to signal attack. He then instructed his radio operator to send the coded signal "To, to, to" ("strike!").

Tora! Tora! Tora!

At 7:53, Fuchida sent the code words "Tora!

Tora! Tora!" back to the carrier Akagi, the flagship, to report that complete surprise had been achieved. Tora was the acronym for Tosugeki Raigeki (torpedo attack) and in Japanese Tora means Tiger.

Attack at Dawn

Japan attack When the attack on Pearl Harbour hit, at 7:55am, many American sailors, or soldiers, were on leave, or sleeping late. 7 Battleships were lined up on battleship row. The Oklahoma capsized. The West Virginia and California was sunk. The Nevada was damaged and beached near the mouth of Pearl Harbour. Tennessee, Maryland and Pennsylvania were damaged. 10 Other ships were sunk or seriously damaged. The Arizona sank with 2,000 sailors on board, after a stupendous explosion of its forward magazine. (Just 8 days earlier, the Americans had published a picture of the Arizona with the words: "It is significant that despite the claims of air enthusiasts, no battleship has yet been sunk by bombs." Pride goes before a fall.)

Attack on Pearl Harbour 7 December 1941 As the first wave returned to the carriers, Fuchida remained over the target to access damage and to observe the second wave attack. He returned to his carrier only after the secnd wave had completed its mission. 21 large flack holes were found in his aircraft, the main control wires were barely holding together and it is incredible that he survived so many hits to his aircraft. The Japanese lost 29 aircraft in the attack on Pearl Harbour. The US Pacific Fleet lost 21 ships including almost every battleship – 188 aircraft destroyed, another 159 damaged and 2,403 lives lost. In Fuchida’s Memoirs, he remarks being upset by the Admiral’s cancelling of the third wave attack, which would have destroyed Pearl Harbour’s fuel tanks and dry dock facilities. "I was upset and thought, ‘What stupidity!’ But the decision belonged to the Commander. It would not do any good if I complained.". Years later, Fuchida said that while he mourned those who died aboard the USS Arizona and other ships, he did not regret his role in the Pearl Harbour attack. It was war, he said. After the successful Pearl Harbour attack, Fuchida was granted an audience with the Emperor.

Wounded at Midway

Pearl Harbour bombing On 19 February 1942, Fuchida led the first of two waves of 188 aircraft in an air raid on Darwin, Australia. On 5 April, he led another series of air attacks against the Royal Navy bases in Ceylon. In June 1942, Fuchida was recovering from an emergency shipboard appendectomy, when he was wounded at the Battle of Midway. He was on the ship’s bridge during the morning attacks by US aircraft. As Akagi was hit, a chain reaction from the burning fuel and live bombs began the destruction of the ship. An explosion threw him to the deck and he broke his ankle.

A Hand of Protection

Captain Fuchida After recuperation Fuchida spent the rest of the war as a staff officer. Two weeks before the American invasion of Guam, Fuchida was ordered to Tokyo. When the Japanese failed to repel the invasion, Vice Admiral Kakuta and his staff chose Seppuku, the Samurai suicide ritual of disembowelment. "Again the sword of death had missed me only by inches." Fuchida declared. "What did it mean?"

Hiroshima Bombing

The day before the first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, he was in that city to attend a conference. A long distance call from naval headquarters required him to return to Tokyo. As he ate breakfast in Yamato, 200km away, Fuchida learned that everyone he had been working with in Hiroshima had perished in the atomic explosion. The day after the atomic bombing, he returned to Hiroshima to access the damage. All of the members of Fuchida’s party died of radiation poisoning, but Fuchida exhibited no symptoms. Each of the Officers who had accompanied Fuchida, to investigate the devastation in Hiroshima, showed strange signs of illness. One by one they died through radiation poisoning. As Fuchida returned to Kashirhara, to help his wife raise their children, he was depressed: "Life had no taste, or meaning I had missed death so many times and for what. What did it all mean?"

War Crimes Trials

After the war, Fuchida was called to testify at the trials of Japanese military leaders. When General Douglas McArthur summoned Fuchida to testify in the Tokyo War Crimes trials, Captain Fuchida was disgusted and declared that everyone should know that "War was war" and that cruel acts occurred on both sides. The petty vindictiveness of the Allies infuriated him and he denounced the "victor’s justice."

Love For One’s Enemies

In 1947, he met his former flight engineer, Kazuo Kanegasaki, who he thought had died in the Battle of Midway. However Kanegasaki reported that a young Christian woman, Peggy Covell, had cared for them, in the prison camps, despite her Missionary parents having been killed by Japanese soldiers on the Island of Panay, in the Philippines. Peggy Covell’s parents were Missionary teachers in Japan until 1939. They then relocated to the Philippines. The Japanese conquered the Philippines in 1941. They beheaded both of Peggy’s parents on Sunday morning, 19 December 1943. To Fuchida, this love for one’s enemies was inexplicable as the Bushido code required revenge against the murder of one’s parents to restore honour. He became obsessed with trying to understand why anyone would treat their enemies with kindness and forgiveness.

Inspiring Example

The extraordinary example of Peggy Covell inspired Fuchida to know more about the God of the Christians. When Japanese Prisoners of War asked the young 18-year old Peggy Covell why she volunteered to help them, her reply was: "Because Japanese soldiers killed my parents." When Peggy considered her parent’s sacrificial service for the Kingdom of God, and their love for the Japanese people, she was convinced that she must continue their Mission, reaching Japanese for Christ. As Fuchida researched from every source in the Philippines that knew the Covells, he learned that they had been forced to their knees by their captors and they had prayed together as they were about to be beheaded. They had prayed for the Japanese!

Literature Evangelism

In 1948, as Fuchida was passing by the bronze statue of Hachiko at the Shibuya station, he was handed a pamphlet about the life of Jacob De Shazer, a member of the Doolittle Raid, who was captured when his B-25 bomber ran out of fuel in occupied China. In the pamphlet: "I was a Prisoner of Japan", De Shazer, a former US Army Air Force staff sergeant and bombardier, related his testimony of imprisonment, torture and awakening to God.

Doolittle Raid Bombers

Doolittle Jacob De Shazer was the bombardier of B-25 No.16. After taking off from USS Hornet and dropping bombs on Nagoya, Japan, they flew to China, but ran out of fuel over Japanese controlled China. They were captured after parachuting to the ground. De Shazer was imprisoned for 40 months, 34 of these months in solitary confinement. He was beaten, malnourished and 3 of his crew were executed by firing squad. The fourth member, Lt. Bob Meder died of starvation. After 25 months of hating his captives, a Bible came into his hands, for only three weeks, but it changed his life completely. He began to learn Japanese and to treat his captives with respect. He resolved to bring the Message of Christ to Japan. After returning to the USA, De Shazer attended Seattle Pacific College and returned to Japan to preach the Gospel. He established a church in Nagoya, the very city he had bombed years before. Fuchida became intrigued with the Christian Faith. The shocking examples of Christians able to forgive their enemies staggered Fuchida. "That’s when I met Jesus. Looking back I can see now that the Lord had laid His hand upon me so that I might serve Him."

The Power of the Printed Page

Fuchida read the tract on the spot and on the train he saw an advertisement for a book with the same title. When he disembarked, he headed for a book store and purchased it. De Shazer’s story engrossed Fuchida. Determined to understand what had motivated De Shazer, Fuchida bought a Bible from a Japanese man on the street. When he read "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:24), Fuchida realised that this was what the Covells had been praying before their execution.

Faith Comes From Hearing the Word of God

In 1949, Fuchida purchased a Bible at the same Shibuyu station where he had received a pamphlet. As he read the Gospels he came to understand the reason for the life of forgiveness and mercy that motivated Peggy and Jacob. It was the crucifixion of Jesus and His Words in the Gospel: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." On 14th April 1950, he surrendered to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour.

The Power of God

By the time he had completed reading the Gospel of Luke, Fuchida had become a Christian. He knew no Christians, but now he began to declare himself to be a Christian. As Christianity was considered the "occupation religion" in Japan, this brought him much reproach from his former friends and family. Pietsch and Glenn Wagner, of the Pocket Testament League of Japan met with Fuchida and encouraged him to join them in open air outreach.

Open Air Preaching

Open air preaching In the business section of Osaka, as the Americans stood to speak, fewer than 40 Japanese would stop to listen. But when Fuchida, Hero of Pearl Harbour, was introduced, the crowd swelled rapidly. Rush hour traffic stopped. Hundreds gathered, even the police listened in.

Japan for Christ

This was the beginning of Fuchida’s new career as an Evangelist. Soon he filled an auditorium in Osaka, 500 Japanese came forward at that rally. Almost every newspaper in Japan reported on it: He described his conversion as "It was like having the sun rise." He preached against Japanese-egocentrism and xenophobia. Like Paul on Mars Hill (Acts 17:16-34), he used Japanese cultural examples to communicate the Gospel of Christ. Captain Fuchida went from being a vital part of Japan’s military attack on the United States, to being a vital part of God’s Missionary offensive into the hearts, minds and souls of Japanese, and later Americans and Europeans too.

Fuchida and De Shazer

Fuchida and De Shazer In May 1950, Fuchida and De Shazer met for the first time. In May he visited De Shazer, knocked on his door and said: "I have desired to meet you, Mr De Shazer. My name is Mitsuo Fuchida." De Shazer recognised the name and said: "Come in! Come in!" The former enemies embraced as brothers in Christ.

War Author

Midway In 1951, Fuchida published an account of the Battle of Midway and in 1952 he toured the United States as a member of the Worldwide Christian Missionary Army of Sky Pilots. In February 1954, Readers Digest published Fuchida’sCaptain Fuchida story of the attack on Pearl Harbour. Fuchida wrote – From Pearl Harbour to Golgotha (later renamed – From Pearl Harbour to Calvary) and a 1955 expansion of his book: Midway The Battle that Doomed Japan, the Japanese Navy Story. His autobiography – For That One Day, The Memoirs of Mitsuo Fuchida, Commander of the Attack on Pearl Harbour, was published in Japan 2007 and translated into English and published in 2011.

The Turning Point

In Midway: The Battle that Doomed Japan, Fuchida wrote: "Five minutes! Who would have believed that the tide of battle would shift in that brief interval of time? … We have been caught flat-footed in the most vulnerable position possible, decks loaded with planes armed and fuelled for attack."

Courage and Self-Sacrifice

Fuchida turned down an offer from the Japanese government to organise their new Air Force, he faced down an angry pilot who pulled a knife and threatened to kill him. This man later came to Christ. Fuchida ministered in prisons and led people to Christ, even in the cells of condemned murderers. He formed Calvary Clubs in prisons.

The Blood of the Martyrs

The Covells Mitsuo Fuchida related the testimony of Peggy Covell and her brave parents all over Japan. He quoted her testimony: "But the Holy Spirit has washed away my hatred and has replaced it with love." The Covells had gone to their death singing hymns joyfully and praying for the conversion of their enemies. The Blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. Mitsuo Fuchida was one of the fruit of their Faith.

Fuchida spent the rest of his life as an Evangelist, taking the Gospel of Christ throughout Japan, the United States of America and Europe.

Dr. Peter Hammond

Reformation Society
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Tel: 021-689-4480,

Email: mission@frontline.org.za This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Website: www.ReformationSA.org

See Also:

Pray for Japan

Was the Use of Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Militarily and Morally Justified?

Soli Deo Gloria

Armistice Day

Lest We Forget. Armistice Day Centenary Armistice Day, which is also known as Remembrance Day or Poppy Day, is commemorated every year on 11 November and this year is its centenary (1918 – 2018).

Armistice Day marks the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Remembrance DayWestern Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning — the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. The armistice initially expired after a period of 36 days. A formal peace agreement was only reached when the Treaty of Versailles was signed the following year.[1]

In South Africa one of the first instances where this tradition was honoured was at a church service in Cape Town. The city was in mourning after the publication of South Africa’s first casualty list from Word War I in 1916. A local businessman, Mr. J.A. Eggar, proposed that the congregation at a church service should keep a minute’s silence to honour the ‘Fallen.’ At the time it received no publicity.

Cape Town two-minute silence 1918 (Pic: SA History Online)On 27 October 1919, the famous South African author[2], politician and mining financier, Sir James Percy FitzPatrick proposed through Lord Milner, the former High Commissioner for South Africa, the idea of a two-minute silence, which proposition was presented to King George V that a moment of silence be observed annually on November 11 in honour of the dead of World War I. This had been a daily practice in Cape Town from April 1918 onward, since being proposed by Sir Harry Hands[3]. On 17 November, King George proclaimed that ‘at the hour when Armistice came into force, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, there may be for the brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of all our normal activities . . . so that in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.’

Delville-wood, 1916 First World War Trenches People observe a one or more commonly a two-minute moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. local time. It is a sign of respect for, in the first minute, the estimated 20 million people who died in the war (1914-1918), and in the second minute dedicated to the living left behind, generally understood to be wives, children and families left behind but deeply affected by the conflict.

images images-1

We remember all who have given their lives in both the World Wars I & II and all other wars of conflict around the world, not forgetting the South African soldiers who lost their lives in WWI&II, the Border War and the Rhodesian Bush War defending all people groups against communism and socialistic tyranny.

13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. ~ John 15:13

16  Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. ~ 1 John 3:16

Memorial Wall

However, there is another war that rages on daily and this conflict is for the souls of men. As millions of unsaved souls have been lost in past wars, as Christians we are commissioned to reach the souls of men who stand upon the edge of hell and damnation in the eternal lake of fire which is the second death (read Revelation 20:14, 21:8). For as a Christian this Scripture is true, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). And, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) (2 Corinthians 10:3,4).

For we have been warned,

17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? ~ 1 Peter 4:17,18

22  And of some have compassion, making a difference: 
23  And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. ~ Jude 22,23

15  And he [JESUS] said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 
16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
~ Mark 16:15,16

Soli Deo Gloria____________________

Related Blog-post: Remembrance Day 2015

Sources: King James Bible, Wikipedia, SAMVOA (South African Military Veterans Organisation of Australasia)

1 Shushkewich, Val (12 September 2005). The real Winnie : a one-of-a-kind bear. Natural Heritage Books. p. 42. ISBN 9781554883509.

2 Author of Jock of the Bushveld. Originally published in 1907. 

3 "Cape Town’s WWI Mayor – Sir Harry Hands" (PDF). wordpress.com.

[Note – Last paragraphs after the “Memorial Wall” picture added on 12 November 2018]

Mitsuo Fuchida ~ From Pearl Harbour to Calvary

By Dr Peter Hammond ~ This Article is available as a PowerPoint with pictures, viewable here.

Download this article as a printable A3 tract here.

Mitsuo Fuchida (1902-1976) is best known for leading the devastating air attack on Pearl Harbour, 7 December 1941. After the war, Fuchida became a Christian Evangelist, who conducted Evangelistic outreaches throughout Japan, the United States and Europe.

Japanese Naval Aviator

Mitsuo FuchidaFuchida was the son of the Master of the Primary School in Kashihara. His grandfather was a Samurai. Mitsuo Fuchida entered the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in 1921, graduated as a mid-shipman in 1924, was promoted to Ensign in 1925, and sub-Lieutenant in 1927. He specialised in horizontal bombing and gained combat experience during the Sino-Japanese War, when he was assigned to the aircraft carrier, Kaga, in 1929. Promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 1936, he was accepted into the Naval Staff College and joined the aircraft carrier Akagi in 1939, as Commander of the Air Group.

Attack on Pearl Harbour

In October 1941, Fuchida Take off to Shokakuwas made Commander. Under the command of Vice Admiral Nagumo, with 6 aircraft carriers, and 423 aircraft, Commander Fuchida was responsible for the co-ordination of the aerial attack on the US Pacific Fleet. He was in the first wave of 183 dive-bombers, torpedo-bombers, level-bombers and fighters, which took off from carriers 370 km North of Oahu and targeted the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour. At 07:40 (Hawaiian Standard Time), Fuchida ordered “Tenkai!” (“Take attack position!”), slid back the canopy of his Nakajima Kate torpedo bomber and fired a green flare to signal attack. He then instructed his radio operator to send the coded signal “To, to, to” (“strike!”).

Tora! Tora! Tora!

At 7:53, Fuchida sent the code words “Tora!

Tora! Tora!” back to the carrier Akagi, the flagship, to report that complete surprise had been achieved. Tora was the acronym for Tosugeki Raigeki (torpedo attack) and in Japanese Tora means Tiger.

Attack at Dawn

Japan attackWhen the attack on Pearl Harbour hit, at 7:55am, many American sailors, or soldiers, were on leave, or sleeping late. 7 Battleships were lined up on battleship row. The Oklahoma capsized. The West Virginia and California was sunk. The Nevada was damaged

and beached near the mouth of Pearl Harbour. Tennessee, Maryland and Pennsylvania were damaged. 10 Other ships were sunk or seriously damaged. The Arizona sank with 2,000 sailors on board, after a stupendous explosion of its forward magazine. (Just 8 days earlier, the American’s had published a picture of the Arizona with the words: “It is significant that despite the claims of air enthusiasts, no battleship has yet been sunk by bombs.” Pride goes before a fall.)

As the first wave returned to the carriers, Fuchida remained over the target to access damage and to observe the second wave attack. He returned to his carrier only after the secnd wave had completed its mission. 21 large flack holes were found in his aircraft, the main control wires were barely holding together and it is incredible that he survived so many hits to his aircraft. The Japanese lost 29 aircraft in the attack on Pearl Harbour. The US Pacific Fleet lost 21 ships – including almost every battleship – 188 aircraft destroyed, another 159 damaged and 2,403 lives lost. In Fuchida’s Memoirs, he remarks being upset by the Admiral’s cancelling of the third wave attack, which would have destroyed Pearl Harbour’s fuel tanks and dry dock facilities. Pearl Harbour bombing“I was upset and thought, ‘What stupidity!’ But the decision belonged to the Commander. It would not do any good if I complained.”. Years later, Fuchida said that while he mourned those who died aboard the USS Arizona and other ships, he did not regret his role in the Pearl Harbour attack. It was war, he said. After the successful Pearl Harbour attack, Fuchida was granted an audience with the Emperor.

Wounded at Midway

On 19 February 1942, Fuchida led the first of two waves of 188 aircraft in an air raid on Darwin, Australia. On 5 April, he led another series of air attacks against the Royal Navy bases in Ceylon. In June 1942, Fuchida was recovering from an emergency shipboard appendectomy, when he was wounded at the Battle of Midway. He was on the ship’s bridge during the morning attacks by US aircraft. As Akagi was hit, a chain reaction from the burning fuel and live bombs began the destruction of the ship. An explosion threw him to the deck and he broke his ankle.

A Hand of Protection

Captain FuchidaAfter recuperation Fuchida spent the rest of the war as a staff officer. Two weeks before the American invasion of Guam, Fuchida was ordered to Tokyo. When the Japanese failed to repel the invasion, Vice Admiral Kakuta and his staff chose Seppuku, the Samurai suicide ritual of disembowelment. “Again the sword of death had missed me only by inches.” Fuchida declared. “What did it mean?”

Hiroshima Bombing

The day before the first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, he was in that city to attend a conference. A long distance call from naval headquarters required him to return to Tokyo. As he ate breakfast in Yamato, 200km away, Fuchida learned that everyone he had been working with in Hiroshima had perished in the atomic explosion. The day after the atomic bombing, he returned to Hiroshima to access the damage. All of the members of Fuchida’s party died of radiation poisoning, but Fuchida exhibited no symptoms. Each of the Officers who had accompanied Fuchida, to investigate the devastation in Hiroshima, showed strange signs of illness. One by one they died through radiation poisoning. As Fuchida returned to Kashirhara, to help his wife raise their children, he was depressed: “Life had no taste, or meaning… I had missed death so many times and for what. What did it all mean?”

War Crimes Trials

Picture1After the war, Fuchida was called to testify at the trials of Japanese military leaders. When General Douglas McArthur summoned Fuchida to testify in the Tokyo War Crimes trials, Captain Fuchida was disgusted and declared that everyone should know that “War was war” and that cruel acts occurred on both sides. The petty vindictiveness of the Allies infuriated him and he denounced the “victor’s justice.”

Love For One’s Enemies

In 1947, he met his former flight engineer, Kazuo Kanegasaki, who he thought had died in the Battle of Midway. However Kanegasaki reported that a young Christian woman, Peggy Covell, had cared for them, in the prison camps, despite her Missionary parents having been killed by Japanese soldiers on the Island of Panay, in the Philippines. Peggy Covell’s parents were Missionary teachers in Japan until 1939. They then relocated to the Philippines. The Japanese conquered the Philippines in 1941. They beheaded both of Peggy’s parents on Sunday morning, 19 December 1943. To Fuchida, this love for one’s enemies was inexplicable as the Bushido code required revenge against the murder of one’s parents to restore honour. He became obsessed with trying to understand why anyone would treat their enemies with kindness and forgiveness.

Inspiring Example

The Covell FamilyThe extraordinary example of Peggy Covell and Jacob De Shazer inspired Fuchida to know more about the God of the Christians. When Japanese Prisoners of War asked the young 18-year old Peggy Covell why she volunteered to help them, her reply was: “Because Japanese soldiers killed my parents.” When Peggy considered her parent’s sacrificial service for the Kingdom of God, and their love for the Japanese people, she was convinced that she must continue their Mission, reaching Japanese for Christ. As Fuchida researched from every source in the Philippines that knew the Covells, he learned that they had been forced to their knees by their captives and they had prayed together as they were about to be beheaded. They had prayed for the Japanese!

Literature Evangelism

In 1948, as Fuchida was passing by the bronze statue of Hachiko at the Shibuya station, he was handed a pamphlet about the life of Jacob De Shazer, a member of the Doolittle Raid, who was captured when his B-25 bomber ran out of fuel in occupied China. In the pamphlet: “I was a Prisoner of Japan”, De Shazer, a former US Army Air Force staff sergeant and bombardier, related his testimony of imprisonment, torture and awakening to God.

Doolittle Raid Bombers

DoolittleJacob De Shazer was the bombardier of B-25 No.16. After taking off from USS Hornet and dropping bombs on Nagoya, Japan, they flew to China, but ran out of fuel over Japanese controlled China. They were captured after parachuting to the ground. De Shazer was imprisoned for 40 months, 34 of these months in solitary confinement. He was beaten, malnourished and 3 of his crew were executed by firing squad. The fourth member, Lt. Bob Meder died of starvation. After 25 months of hating his captives, a Bible came into his hands, for only three weeks, but it changed his life completely. He began to learn Japanese and to treat his captives with respect. He resolved to bring the Message of Christ to Japan. After returning to the USA, De Shazer attended Seattle Pacific College and returned to Japan to preach the Gospel. He established a church in Nagoya, the very city he had bombed years before. Fuchida became intrigued with the Christian Faith. The shocking examples of Christians able to forgive their enemies staggered Fuchida. “That’s when I met Jesus. Looking back I can see now that the Lord had laid His hand upon me so that I might serve Him.”

The Power of the Printed Page

Fuchida read the tract on the spot and on the train he saw an advertisement for a book with the same title. When he disembarked, he headed for a book store and purchased it. De Shazer’s story engrossed Fuchida. Determined to understand what had motivated De Shazer, Fuchida bought a Bible from a Japanese man on the street. When he read “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:24), Fuchida realised that this was what the Covells had been praying before their execution.

Faith Comes From Hearing the Word of God

In 1949, Fuchida purchased a Bible at the same Shibuyu station where he had received a pamphlet. As he read the Gospels he came to understand the reason for the life of forgiveness and mercy that motivated Peggy and Jacob. It was the crucifixion of Jesus and His Words in the Gospel: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” On 14th April 1950, he surrendered to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour.

The Power of God

By the time he had completed reading the Gospel of Luke, Fuchida had become a Christian. He knew no Christians, but now he began to declare himself to be a Christian. As Christianity was considered the “occupation religion” in Japan, this brought him much reproach from his former friends and family. Pietsch and Glenn Wagner, of the Pocket Testament League of Japan met with Fuchida and encouraged him to join them in open air outreach.

Open Air Preaching

Open air preachingIn the business section of Osaka, as the Americans stood to speak, fewer than 40 Japanese would stop to listen. But when Fuchida, Hero of Pearl Harbour, was introduced, the crowd swelled rapidly. Rush hour traffic stopped. Hundreds gathered, even the police listened in.

Japan for Christ

This was the beginning of Fuchida’s new career as an Evangelist. Soon he filled an auditorium in Osaka, 500 Japanese came forward at that rally. Almost every newspaper in Japan reported on it: He described his conversion as “It was like having the sun rise.” He preached against Japanese-egocentrism and xenophobia. Like Paul on Mars Hill (Acts 17:16-34), he used Japanese cultural examples to communicate the Gospel of Christ. Captain Fuchida went from being a vital part of Japan’s military attack on the United States, to being a vital part of God’s Missionary offensive into the hearts, minds and souls of Japanese, and later Americans and Europeans too.

Fuchida and De Shazer

In May 1950, Fuchida and De Shazer met for the first time. In May he visited De Shazer, knocked on his door and said: “I have desired to meet you, Mr De Shazer. My name is Mitsuo Fuchida.” De Shazer recognised the name and said: “Come in! Come in!” The former enemies embraced as brothers in Christ.

War Author

MidwayIn 1951, Fuchida published an account ofpicture the Battle of Midway and in 1952 he toured the United States as a member of the Worldwide Christian Missionary Army of Sky Pilots. In February 1954, Readers Digest published Fuchida’s story of the attack on Pearl Harbour. Fuchida wrote – From Pearl Harbour to Golgotha (later renamed – From Pearl Harbour to Calvary) and a 1955 expansion of his book: Midway – The Battle that Doomed Japan, the Japanese Navy Story. His autobiography – For That One Day, The Memoirs of Mitsuo Fuchida, Commander of the Attack on Pearl Harbour, was published in Japan 2007 and translated into English and published in 2011.

The Turning Point

In Midway: The Battle that Doomed Japan, Fuchida wrote: “Five minutes! Who would have believed that the tide of battle would shift in that brief interval of time? …We have been caught flat-footed in the most vulnerable position possible, decks loaded with planes armed and fuelled for attack.”

Courage and Self-Sacrifice

Fuchida turned down an offer from the Japanese government to organise their new Air Force, he faced down an angry pilot who pulled a knife and threatened to kill him. This man later came to Christ. Fuchida ministered in prisons and led people to Christ, even in the cells of condemned murderers. He formed Calvary Clubs in prisons.

The Blood of the Martyrs

Mitsuo Fuchida related the testimony of Peggy Covell and her brave parents all over Japan. He quoted her testimony: “But the Holy Spirit has washed away my hatred and has replaced it with love.” The Covells had gone to their death singing hymns joyfully and praying for the conversion of their enemies. The Blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. Mitsuo Fuchida was one of the fruit of their Faith.

Fuchida spent the rest of his life as an Evangelist, taking the Gospel of Christ throughout Japan, the United States of America and Europe.

Dr. Peter Hammond

Reformation Society
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Tel: 021-689-4480

See Also:

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