Tora, tora, tora: the testimony of Mitsuo Fuchida

While looking through my old comic-book collection this week, I came across an interesting artifact from my youth, and I thought it might interest the historians and fellow comic-book geeks among you. Stacked at the bottom of my collection was a badly-tattered (from countless childhood re-readings) comic called Attack!

Why do I mention this here? Well, Attack! isn't just any old war-story comic; it's the amazing testimony of Mitsuo Fuchida, a World War 2 fighter pilot in the Japanese navy. He led the first wave of Japanese planes in the Pearl Harbor strike, and made the famous "Tora, Tora, Tora" radio transmission that kicked off the surprise attack.

Fuchida was injured at Midway, and later in the war missed being caught in the Hiroshima bombing by just one day. After the war, he read the testimony of Jacob DeShazer, an American airman who was captured by the Japanese after participating in the Doolittle raid. DeShazer's story described his hatred for the Japanese who abused him in a prison camp, until DeShazer found Christ and was able to forgive his tormenters. Deeply moved, Fuchida accepted Christ himself, and went on to write many religious tracts until his death from diabetes in 1976.

click for larger version

It's a powerful story, and I remember being quite affected by the comic-book version of the tale as a kid. A Christianity Today piece from several years ago compares the testimonies of both DeShazer and Fuchida and the improbable, providential ways their lives intersected. Wikipedia has more information on the comic writer/artist Al Hartley and Spire Christian Comics, which published Fuchida's story along with many other Christian comics.

Does anybody else remember reading Attack! or any of Hartley's other Christian comics?

Update: much more on Hartley's life and comic-book work here.

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