Seventy years ago today, on Sunday, December 7, 1941, Japanese pilot Mitsuo Fuchida led and early morning air assault on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor.
The assault claimed 2,403 U.S. lives.
After Pearl Harbor, Fuchida returned to Japan and continued to help his country's war effort. When the war ended, he learned he was the only one of the 70 Japanese officers participating in the Pearl Harbor raid who had not been killed in action during the war. The news shook him. He became a recluse and took up farming near Osaka.
A friend, recently released from an American prison camp, told Fuchida that in the camp he had met a young woman whose missionary parents had been executed by the Japanese in the Philippines. After overcoming her bitterness, she decided to minister to Japanese prisoners of war in the United States - visiting them, bringing magazines ,caring for the sick. Fuchida was touched by her story.
Then Fuchida came upon a pamphlet written by Jacob Deshazer, an American bombardier who had been shot down during Doolittle's raid on Tokyo in 1942. He had been captured and tortured by the Japanese. But during his imprisonment, Deshazer turned to the bible and gradually learned to forgive his captors. In 1948, he returned to Japan as a Methodist missionary.
Deshazer's story inspired Fuchida, a Buddhist, to purchase a bible. In 1950, Fuchida converted to Christianity. he later became an evangelical missionary and lectured extensively in Japan, and to Japanese-Americans in San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles.
On May 30, 1976, Mitsuo Fuchida died at age 75. Source: The Little Blue Book