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Publisher's Summary

Requiem for Battleship Yamato is Yoshida Mitsuru's story of his own experience as a junior naval officer aboard the fabled Japanese battleship as it set out on a last, desperate sortie in April 1945. Yoshida was on the bridge during Yamato's fatal encounter with American airplanes, and his eloquent, moving account of that battle makes a singular contribution to the literature of the Pacific war. The book has long been considered a classic in both Japan and the United States. As with most great battle stories, its ultimate concern is less bombs and bullets than human nature, less death than life.

©1985 University of Washington Press (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Brutally Honest Account of Institutional Idiocy

If you could sum up Requiem for Battleship Yamato in three words, what would they be?

Tragic, honest, humane

Who was your favorite character and why?

The author in the glimpses you see of the person writing the book, not his self at the time. He's able to show how he had been wrapped up in the suicidal militaristic mindset of the soon-to-be defeated Japanese while not bogging it down into moral or psychological analysis. The book is an account of what people did, said, and felt--it does not waste time performing moral or psychological analysis--the facts are too valuable here.

Which character – as performed by Graeme Malcolm – was your favorite?

I'll never forget the incredible poignancy of the senior officers going down with the ship but stopping the junior officers from doing the same. Mitsuru's crisp bureaucratic (in the sense of an excellent ship's log) prose reports only the facts, but earlier discussion of the blindness of the Japanese Navy's senior ranks leaves the reader with the thought that they were going down with more than the ship.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

It's something like a Japanese equivalent to With the Old Breed (and the brilliant movie, The Thin Red Line, although this, being set on a ship, has less interaction with nature and man's relationship to it). So I would work that into a tag line.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • jim
  • san francisco
  • 08-02-18

Nice piece of history

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of listening to a Japanese point of view the biggest disappointment was a British voice telling the story overall it was very engaging with a lot of detail

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interesting insight

Not so much a story about the battle or the ship. It is an insightful look in the culture behind the Japanese Imperial Navy. The acceptance that the game was lost, and futility of the conflict leading up to these events. Real history, not popular history.

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Gripping and factual story

the orator was very well versed, the story of the Yamato was very compelling and the fact that it was told by a survivor made it much more riveting. The use of personal memories and letters from crew members added such a insightful view of the Japanese sailor as to how they conducted themselves in battle and at rest was very telling of how and why they were so very brutal and aggressive towards lesser ranks and to prisoners. The brutality that they had to the lesser class structure on board ship, basically kept everyone in a state of fear and submission so that if they would have tried to be derelict in there duties at there post, they would be to fearful of the repercussions they would face from peers or officers.
l thoroughly enjoyed the book and will replay it again. I will also look for it in hardback edition to add to my collection.


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  • Josh
  • SF Bay Area
  • 12-25-15

Simply amazing. One of a kind.

Poetic and philosophical, this is an amazing and beautiful memoir of a very unique moment in history. Truly one of a kind. The narrator is very good too, capturing the spirit of the text and precisely conveying the atmosphere of this thoughtful work.

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Good story, mediocre writing

Great first hand account but the author is not a gifted author. Quite a bit of philosophical ideas that are probably uniquely Japanese.

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More intimate perspective of the Japanese Sailor

Would you try another book from Yoshida Mitsuru and Richard Minear (translator) and/or Graeme Malcolm?

Probably not.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The way that Mr. Mitsuru describe each person and how they were dealing with the situation. Mr. Mitsuru created a visual image of each person that felt very complete.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narration matched the pace of the story and enhanced the story. I think Mr. Malcolm's narration significantly enhanced Mr. Mitsuru's portrayal of the people and their plight.

Was Requiem for Battleship Yamato worth the listening time?

Yes

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  • S. Morris
  • 09-25-16

The End of The Battleship

This book is a fascinating and revealing first person account of the sinking
of the Japanese battleship Yamato in its ill conceived suicidal final
mission. There are few survivors of this sinking and so to find such a book
was of great interest to me.

The account is detailed and often harrowing in nature given the extent of
the carnage wrought upon the worlds most powerful battleship. The author writes in a rather introspective way and sometimes a rather poetic one too. Although short, this book provides the essence of what the final few hours were like aboard the mighty battleship. An insight into the mindset of the Japanese military man at that time shows the fatalistic acceptance of their one way mission that we in the west find difficult to understand. We also see just how wasteful the Japanese commanders were in how they threw men and other resources away in foolish missions such as Yamato's final one.

This book also illustrates how the battleship gave way as the primary capitol ship in the world's navies in favour of the aircraft carrier and air power at sea.

There seems so little material available from the few survivors of the Yamato sinking that this work is a valuable if brief glimpse into that final battle that it is a book I would recommend to any reader interested in the subject matter or in naval warfare as a whole.