The Incredible Story of Mitsuo Fuchida: From Pearl Harbor to the Cross

The Incredible Story of Mitsuo Fuchida: From Pearl Harbor to the Cross

Author: Dr. Guy Jackson
May 26, 2020

On December 7, 1941, Japanese Imperial Army Commander Mitsuo Fuchida led the shocking attack on Pearl Harbor. It was Fuchida who radioed back to the Japanese “Tora! Tora! Tora!” meaning that the Japanese attack was a complete surprise. Yet just a few years later, this same man committed his life to Christ and became an outspoken evangelist.

So how did this come about?

After the war, Fuchida was summoned to testify in Tokyo by General MacArthur, who was conducting war crime trials. There, Commander Fuchida reunited with his former flight engineer. The engineer told him about an American, Peggy Covell, who had treated him well as a war prisoner, despite her missionary parents being killed by the Japanese in 1943. In fact, the parents had requested time to pray for their executioners. But Fuchida saw Peggy as weak, failing to prove loyalty to her parents by not seeking revenge according to his moral code.

Later, Commander Fuchida was summoned to Tokyo to testify again in 1948. There he received a pamphlet entitled I Was A Prisoner in Japan. It recounted the story of Jacob DeShazer, a member of Doolittle’s Raiders in 1942. DeShazer was captured in China by the Japanese and managed to survive while some other members were killed or died of starvation. In captivity, DeShazar asked for a Bible, and for three weeks was permitted to read it. It changed his life. He learned Japanese, and some of the guards responded with less cruel treatment. After he was liberated, he went stateside and then returned to Japan to preach the gospel, establishing a church in Nagoya, the city he bombed as a Doolittle Raider.

The stories of Peggy Covell and Jacob DeShazer influenced Fuchida to read the Bible. The gospels caused the Commander to understand the principles of forgiveness that motivated Covell and DeShazer. Jesus’s words at the crucifixion, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” had a profound effect on the aviator. On April 14, 1950, Fuchida accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. He would become an evangelist, even embracing his former enemies. He wrote a booklet, From Pearl Harbor to Calvary, detailing his journey to accepting faith in Jesus. Fuchida would tour Japan,the US, and Europe, now known as the Samurai Warrior for Christ.

In February 1954, Readers Digest published "God's Samurai: Lead Pilot at Pearl Harbor," the story of Fuchida’s life and conversion. The former warrior would die in Japan in 1976 at age 73.

This is the power of the transforming message of the Bible. Reading the Bible can literally change your world. This is why the mission of WORDview Ministries is to teach others how to read the Bible for personal life change, church renewal, and community transformation. Will you join us in this mission?