From Pearl Harbor to Calvary

    What a humiliation! Captain Mitsuo Fuchida had been a national hero and after leading hundreds of Japanese pilots in the historic raid on Pearl Harbor, he might have expected more. But suddenly he was a has-been -- a defeated ex flying officer in a military that had been defeated and disbanded. And this in a culture where "losing face" was the ultimate disgrace. Deeply dispirited after Japan's defeat, Fuchida returned to farming near Osaka. When American occupation forces allowed Japan to rebuild a new air force, you would think he would jump at the invitation to head the organization. What could be more appealing than to rebuild his status and prestige? But Captain Fuchida had found something much more important to do! He says: "As I got off the train one day in Tokyo's Shibuya Station, I saw an American distributing literature . . . He handed me a pamphlet entitled, 'I Was a Prisoner in Japan.' . . . Involved right then with the trials on atrocities committed against war prisoners, I put it in my pocket . . . What I read [later] was the fascinating episode that changed my life." The idea that American bombardier Jacob DeShazer could love his Japanese captors piqued Fuchida's interest. He says, "[H]is story . . . was something I could not explain . . . The peaceful motivation I had read about was exactly what I was seeking. Since the American had found it in the Bible, I decided to purchase one myself . . . " "I read . . . the prayer of Jesus Christ at His death: 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do' [Luke 23:34]. I was impressed that I was certainly one of those for whom He had prayed. The many men I had killed had been slaughtered in the name of patriotism, for I did not understand the love that Christ wishes to implant within every heart. "Right at that moment," he says, "I seemed to meet Jesus for the first time . . . I requested Him to forgive my sins and change me from a bitter, disillusioned ex-pilot into a well-balanced Christian with purpose in living." So that's why, when his country asked him to rebuild its air force, Fuchida declined. Instead, Captain Fuchida and Sergeant DeShazer traveled together throughout Japan, telling others how Christ had transformed their lives. Together and separately -- over a thirty-year span -- they saw tens of thousands of Japanese converted. The current Disney film Pearl Harbor is a fictional love story set at the time of the raid on Pearl Harbor. Most people find it kind of soapy. But, as so often happens, truth is far more riveting than fiction. If your neighbors and friends are seeing the film tell them they really ought to know the true story. And the testimonies of these two men have been reprinted in an attractive color booklet. If you call us here at BreakPoint, we'll send you a complimentary copy and tell you how you can find out more information about this inspiring story. Learning to love our enemies is important. It's something we're deeply committed to here at Prison Fellowship and it's exciting whenever it happens. But in wartime it's a miracle -- a miracle of restoration and healing that can only come through faith in Christ.   For further information: The color brochure is also available directly from: BLI or by calling 1-800-326-9673, ext. 6800. A new video is also available, at no cost for churches, from the same source. A version of the brochure is also available here, where you can also find printer-friendly versions of the two men's testimonies: Jacob DeShazer, "I Was a Prisoner of Japan." Mitsuo Fuchida, "From Pearl Harbor to Calvary."


Chuck Colson


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