Isoroku Yamamoto

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Isoroku Yamamoto
Isoroku Yamamoto.jpg
Isoroku Yamamoto, Admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy
Birth date April 4, 1884(1884-04-04)
Place of birth Nagaoka, Niigata, Empire of Japan
Death date April 18, 1943 (aged 59)
Place of death near Panguna, Bougainville, Territory of New Guinea
Resting place Tama Cemetery, Tokyo[1]
Allegiance  Japan
Service/branch Imperial Japanese Navy
Years of service 1904–1943
Rank Marshal Admiral (posthumous)
Commands held Isuzu, Akagi, 1st Carrier Division, Naval Aviation Bureau, 1st Fleet, Combined Fleet, 1st Battleship Division[2]
Other work Vice-Minister of the Navy

Isoroku Yamamoto (b. 4 April 1884; 18 April 1943) was a Imperial Japanese Admiral who was the naval commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet during World War II until his death. He conceived the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was killed when American code breakers identified his flight plans and his plane was shot down during Operation Vengeance.


Yamamoto was born as Isoroku Takano (Japanese: 高野五十六) in Nagaoka, Niigata. His father was Sadayoshi Takano, an intermediate Samurai of the Nagaoka Domain. "Isoroku" is an old Japanese term meaning "56"; the name referred to his father's age at Isoroku's birth. When he was 10, his father cut his leg 12 times as a symbol of Japanese Samurai.

In 1916, Isoroku was adopted into the Yamamoto family (another family of former Nagaoka samurai) and took the Yamamoto name. It was a common practice for Japanese families lacking sons to adopt suitable young men in this fashion to carry on the family name. In 1918, Isoroku married a woman named Reiko with whom he had four children: two sons and two daughters.

Yamamoto a graduate of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy, a student of the U.S. Naval War College and of Harvard University (1919–1921).

World War II

Yamamoto held several important posts in the Imperial Japanese Navy, and undertook many of its changes and reorganizations, especially its development of naval aviation. He was the commander-in-chief during the decisive early years of the Pacific War and so was responsible for major battles such as Malaya, Pearl Harbor and Midway.


Admiral Yamamoto was killed when his aircraft (a G4M Betty bomber) was shot down during an ambush by P-38 Lightning fighter planes of the USAAF. He was on his way to an inspection tour of forward positions in the Solomon Islands. His death was a major blow to Japanese military morale during World War II.


  • Midshipman—November 14, 1904
  • Ensign—August 31, 1905
  • Sublieutenant—September 28, 1907
  • Lieutenant—October 11, 1909
  • Lieutenant Commander—December 13, 1915
  • Commander—December 1, 1919
  • Captain—December 1, 1923
  • Rear Admiral—November 30, 1929
  • Vice Admiral—November 15, 1934
  • Admiral—November 15, 1940
  • Marshal-Admiral—April 18, 1943 (posthumous)

Awards and decorations (excerpt)

  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure (23 March 1939; Second Class: 31 October 1931)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle in Gold with Star on 9 February 1940
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun on 29 April 1940
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Flowers on 4 April 1942
  • Order of the Golden Kite, 2nd and 1st Class
    • Second Class: 4 April 1942
    • First Class: 18 April 1943 (posthumous)
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum (posthumous appointment, 18 April 1943)
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords on 27 May 1943 (posthumous)

External links



  1. Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, p. 294.
  2. Yamamoto Isoroku.
  3. Yamamoto Isoroku.