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Isoroku Yamamoto

Military Leader / Sailor / World War II Figure
Date Of Birth:
4 August 1884
Date Of Death:
18 April 1943
shot down by U.S. forces
Place Of Birth:
Nagaoka, Japan
Best Known As:
Japanese admiral who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor

Name at birth: Isoroku Takano

Isoroku Yamamoto is the Japanese admiral who planned and led the Japanese attack on United States forces at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Isoroku was born in Japan and adopted by the Yamamoto clan as a child. He graduated from the Japanese Naval Academy in 1904 and took part in the Russo-Japanese war, where he was severely injured (losing two fingers) at the battle of Tsushima in 1905. Yamamoto later went to America to study at Harvard from 1919 to 1921, and he returned to the United States in 1925 on a diplomatic mission, before returning to Japan and continuing his rise through the ranks of the Imperial Navy. He was an early advocate of air power and helped drive the Navy to build up its fleet of planes and aircraft carriers. As war began brewing in the 1930s, Yamamoto didn't want to go to war with the country he was so familiar with, even telling the prime minister Prince Konoe, "I hope you will make every effort to avoid war with America." But his duty to his country called, and he planned the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor and then led the Japanese navy to its early victories in World War II. The successes didn't last. When the U.S. decoded a Japanese message in 1943 that included Admiral Yamamoto's itinerary, they ambushed his plane in the south Pacific and shot it down, killing him.
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Isoroku Yamamoto married the former Reiko Mihashi in 1918; they had four children together.

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