Yamamoto

Yamamoto, the man who planned Pearl Harbor increased my knowledge about the people of Japan because it introduced me to their culture, and the life and times in Japan before World War II.

In Japan, the family is the basic unit of society. For example, if a Japanese has the unfortunate occurrence of producing only daughters, they will insist that one of their daughters husbands changes his last name to keep their daughter's last name alive.

It was, also, not unusual for people to change their last names. Isoroku Tankano was born in 1884. In 1916, he changed his last name to Yamamoto, because the name Yamamoto was an honorable and ancient one in the history of Japan. One such figure was Tatekawa Yamamoto, who fought against the Emperor, and his forces at the Battle of Watkamatsu, during the Bosshin War. Since he was one of the leaders of the rebellion, when he was captured, he was beheaded at Watkamatsu. Since Tatekawa had no sons, Isoroku was also the future of the Yamamoto clan.

Not uncommon in Japan was the fact that men got married for the purpose of producing sons to keep the family name alive. This is exactly what Isoroku did. In 1918, he got married to Reiko, who, ironically, was from Watkamatsu. They had 4 children together, 2 sons, and 2 daughters. It was the standard Japanese family, the mother in charge of the household and of raising the children. He never really loved her, because he had many extramarital affairs, and 2 of the women he "loved".

The life and times in Japan right before World War 2 are simply explained: The Imperialist Japanese Army, otherwise known as the "young Turks" was steadily gaining power in the government, was assassinating anyone who did not share in their views for a united Asia (Yamamoto received many death threats, because he wanted to avoid war with the U.S.A. or with Great Britain at all costs), and was using propaganda to convince the Japanese to believe in a united Asia. The Emperor could not stop what was going on in his country because Emperors stayed out of the daily life of his people.

When I say that the government is to unstable, I mean that it is too susceptible to being taken over by an army. For example, in the 1930's, the Imperialist Japanese Army was using their influence over the Minister of War to take over Manchuria, and eventually the Japanese government, and they were using assassination as the chief method of wiping out any political opposition. Also, if I moved in Japan, the culture shock would be enormous, starting with the simple language barrier, and the difference in religion.

Isoroku Yamamoto was correct in his thinking that war between the U.S.A., Great Britain, and Japan should be avoided at all costs, and in the event of war between the U.S.A., Great Britain, and Japan, Japan would lead in the beginning, like the first 6 to 12 months, but would eventually lose the war. One quality I admire about Yamamoto is that he was able to do a task that he was totally against. For example, even though he was against going to war against the U.S.A. and Great Britain, when the Imperialist Japanese Navy appointed him Commander of the Combined Fleet, he immediately went to work on a battle plan (Which we all know resulted on the attack on Pearl Harbor). Another quality of Yamamoto's that I admire is that he led his life to the fullest. He was an avid gambler, both at the table, and at a time of war. One such gamble he took was on April 18, 1943 when he flew in a battle and was shot down. The truth is that the Americans decoded Japans naval code, found out the details of Yamamoto's flight, and F.D.R. himself ordered American pilots to ambush Yamamoto and the Japanese. Japan did not know that the U.S.A. decoded their signal. Yamamoto also had certain ideals, or standards of excellence. For example, he believed that the students at the Kasumigaura Aviation Corps were not being trained harsh enough, so he made the training there a lot tougher, he made all the students there shave their long hair, but he finished the security rounds for the students, showing he had a heart.

Isoroku Yamamoto did