This is a war story, but also a story of how our almighty, sovereign God worked in the lives of three very different people to bring glory to his name against backdrops of utmost cruelty.
It is based on the memoirs of Mitsuo Fuchida. They largely concern his experiences as a Japanese fighter pilot, but also trace a spiritual seam running through his life that leads to a pot of gold.
Hate your enemies
In 1905, when Fuchida was a toddler, war broke out between Japan and Russia. Japan was victorious over her mighty neighbour, and pride swept the nation. Soldiers became overnight heroes, and Fuchida decided that he would one day join the military.
At school Fuchida proved very shy, often turning bright red at any attention. Classmates dubbed him ‘octopus’, but the nickname proved doubly appropriate, because this octopus’s ambition was to join the navy.
Aged 18, Fuchida entered the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy. Among other things, the students were told that they only had one enemy: the United States of America. Japan was engaged in an intensive ship-building programme, and their putative target was the US Navy.
While Fuchida was at the Academy, it received a visit from two seaplanes. In those days aircraft were a rarity, and the students were invited to observe them take off and land. Fuchida managed to get himself a flight aboard one of them, and became hooked on aviation. He no longer aspired to be an admiral, but a pilot!