This highly regarded war memoir was a best seller in both Japan and the United States during the 1960s and has long been treasured by historians for its insights into the Japanese side of the surface war in the Pacific. The author was a survivor of more than one hundred sorties against the Allies and was known throughout Japan as the Unsinkable Captain.
A hero to his countrymen, Capt. Hara exemplified the best in Japanese surface commanders: highly skilled, hard driving, and aggressive. Moreover, he maintained a code of honor worthy of his samurai grandfather, and, as readers of this book have come to appreciate, he was as free with praise for American courage and resourcefulness as he was critical of himself and his senior commanders.
©1967 Tameichi Hara (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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This book was first published in Japan in 1958 and then in 1961 by the Naval Institute Press. The autobiography was highly regarded at the time both in Japan and the United States. The book was released as an audio book on November 11, 2013. Historians have used the book for insights into the Japanese side of the surface war in the Pacific. The author was a survivor of more than one hundred sorties against the Allies and was known in Japan as the “unsinkable captain.”
The book begins with Captain Hara recounting his early life and his time at Eta Jima, Japan’s Naval Academy. The book has anecdotes about his personal life, life aboard ship and “behind-the-scenes” events which made the book absolutely a super read. Captain Hara was highly regarded in Japan. He wrote a manual for the Navy on torpedo warfare. He followed a code of honor similar to his grandfather who was a samurai.
The author was free with praise for American courage and resourcefulness. He also had praise for and was critical of the Japanese Navy and himself. Hara states that the Japanese combatants made more tactical mistakes than their American counterparts. He also specifically faults Tokyo with cronyism and acquiescing too often to the Army. He states the military would have been much better if advancement in rank was based on merit rather than political and birth class.
Hara’s war began around Formosa and the inland sea during the 1930s. He was part of the diversionary forces that attacked the Philippines. Contrary to the title of the book he was not at Pearl Harbor. Captain Hara was a destroyer squadron commander aboard the destroyer Shiqure. Most of the book describes the battles in the Java Sea and the Solomon Island Campaign where Captain Hara participated in most of the major actions. Brian Nishii narrated the book. If you are interested in World War II Pacific theatre this is a book for you.
If you want a page tuner – this is it!
The author, Captain Tameichi Hara is a brave, resilient and a lucky individual. He himself states that his survival in WWII is owed to luck rather than any strategic brilliance. But throughout his surface campaigns, he shows that he is a brilliant commander to his loyal men and a tough and experienced naval fighter. He pulls no punches on his superiors for their ineptitude in battle, the suicidal and piece-meal deployments, and utter chaotic command strategy. Even the famed Admiral Yamamoto does not escape his criticism. Yet, he himself is self-deprecating in more than one occasion.
This is the first book I read about the Japanese view point in WWII. It is a fascinating history of the men who fought this war against a far superior opponent who eventually annhilated the IJN. Even to the end, knowing fully that the war was lost, these men fought on. The final IJN sortie, Operation Ten-Go, is harrowing in its description.
This is the finest WWII book I have ever read.
This is an excellent book from Captain Hara who was on numerous major missions including the invasion of the Philippines, Guadalcanal, Savo Island, and Midway. He criticized the admirals including Yamamoto who he felt should not have commanded the Japanese Navy. And he saw that the Japanese were reacting to the US and not proactive in the war. Most books I have read on the Pacific War are from the US point of View, so this is refreshing to read it from a Japanese Captain. He was also a Nanking, but he played down the atrocities. He later admitted to being an alcoholic so there was honesty there. There are real accounts of his battles with the allies, and he notes a few time how the allies evasive tactics were superior to the Japanese. He goes through the battles concisely and meticulously so if you want details of what happen that night then this is the book for you. He also fired upon John Kennedy;s PT boat, which he give a brief account.
a very interesting story of the Japanese naval effort in the Pacific leaves one wondering why they ever started the war with Pearl
Military History and Archaeology
The Japanese perspective of the naval war in the Pacific, as well as his observations on the Japanese High Command and political system. He brought a human face to the Japanese fighting men.
His observations and discriptions of the Soloman Islands Campaign. The Americans use of Radar, Tactics and industrial might vs that of the Japanese.
this book was writen before the release of information on Allied decoding of Japanese radio transmissions. While Hara was a Torpedo expert, he wrote Japans pre-war manual, he was silent on the very poor performance of American Torpedos.
An interesting look at the Japanese navy during WWll. Well written and performed. I like to listen to the names and places in real Japanese.
Yes. The narrator did a very fine job reading the story, varying the intensity of speech well according to the flow of the book. Also, his pronounciation of Japanese words seems very correct.
Captain Hara of course, not simply because he's the main character but also because he epitomizes a person driven by duty to his country and fellow human beings while at the same time being a human being with respect for human lives and suffering, among both friends and foes.
His pronounciation brings a deeper sense of reality, as if spoken by the Japanese author himself. It provides for a very vivid and realistic narration.
Combatting an inevitable fate
I thouroughly enjoyed this book. Having listened to several accounts of the Pacific Theatre of WWII, this account from a Japanese gives provided me with a more balanced view of the war situation. It has a very nice pace, not repeatedly getting into nitty gritty details of warship technical aspects and logistics. Some battles are described in detail, yet the overall development of the Pacific war toward an inevitable defeat of the Imperial Navy is clearly outlined. I warmly recommend this audiobook to anyone interested in the Pacific part of WWII, especially the trials of the Japanese naval forces.
My name is Laz O. I'm a firefighter. I enjoy listening to books on tape. I've been hooked since the first one. Enjoy!
A little too technical for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. My favourite parts were he was talking about himself and his family.
"Great account of a remarkable Captain"
I am disappointed that the book ends rather suddenly after the sinking of Cruiser Yahagi, no mention of the Atomic Bombings of Japan, or her eventual surrender.
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