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Marshal Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

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75 years ago Gensui (Marshal-admiral) Isoroku Yamamoto died in a plane crash during an engagement with the enemy while directing a strategic operation on the front line. The Imperial Japanese Navy has lost a legend.


This outstanding Japanese naval officer, who is mainly known for conceiving of the surprise attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor on Dec 7th, 1941, received his first battle experience while still an ensign. Isoroku Yamamoto took part in the Russo-Japanese war and never stopped moving through the ranks, becoming a marshal admiral and a Commander-in-Chief during the early years of the Pacific War.

Not everyone knows, that Yamamoto's original family name is Takano; his father was a former samurai warrior. Although his surname would change, he would carry on his birth family’s warrior tradition by pursuing a career in the navy. 

As a lieutenant commander, Yamamoto studied English at Harvard University and spent several years as an assistant naval attaché in Washington. In 1924, at age 40, he changed his specialty from gunnery to aviation, recognizing the upcoming trend in naval warfare and becoming one of Japan's foremost aviation officers.

Isoroku Yamamoto was an inspiring example of an exceptionally good tactician and a great leader. Throughout his career he had a strong influence on the development of Japanese naval aviation. He was against invading China and against the conflict between Japan and the United States, resulting in a constant confrontation with the Japanese army command. At the same time, he remained one of the most popular officers and took the lead of the Combined Fleet in 1939.

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