Japanese Navy Admiral. He was the commander-in-chief of the combined Japanese fleet, and Japan's greatest naval strategist in World War II. His original family name, Takano, was changed through adoption. Graduated from the Japanese Naval Academy in 1904, he was wounded in action during the Russo-Japanese War. Yamamoto attended the The U. S. Naval War College and later studied at Harvard University. As a Captain, he served as Naval Attache to the United States in 1925-28. In the late 1920s and during the 1930s, he held a number of important positions, many of them involved with Japanese naval aviation. Admiral Yamamoto commanded the Combined Fleet before the outbreak of the Pacific War and during its first sixteen months. He was responsible for planning the Attack on Pearl Harbor and most other major operations during this time. His scheme for eliminating the U.S. fleet as a major opponent led to the June 1942 Battle of Midway, in which the Japan lost naval superiority in the Pacific. Despite Midway's adverse outcome, Yamamoto continued as Combined Fleet commander through the following Guadalcanal Campaign, which further depleted Japan's naval resources. While on an inspection tour in the Northern Solomon Islands, the code for his itinerary was broken. He was then killed in an aerial ambush by U.S. Army Air Force planes. Yamamoto was posthumously promoted to the rank of Admiral of the Fleet.
After his ashes were returned to Japan, he received one of the largest state funerals since that of the esteemed Admiral Togo. Half of his ashes are interred at Tama Cemetery. The other half of his ashes were returned to his hometown, Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, where they are interred at the Chokoji Temple cemetery.
Bio by: Warrick L. Barrett