A lieutenant general, Kuribayashi was a member of a sumurai family and an accomplished poet. At the height of his military career, he became a member of the Imperial Guard. In 1944, Emperor Hirohito hand-picked him to lead the crucial defense of the island of Iwo Jima. Having once been a military attache in the United States, he understood the strength of his opponents and knew that this would be his last mission. He courageously used shrewd strategies and fought a battle of attrition that maximized the difficulties for the American troops who eventually secured Iwo Jima on March 26, 1944. His physical remains were was not recovered. His spirit is enshrined at Yasukuni.
Bio by: Warrick L. Barrett
1904–2003 (m. 1911)