Thursday, April 08, 2021

The Japanese Map of Pearl Harbor

After Japan's successful attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 the commander of the Japanese air squadron, Captain Mitsuo Fuchida, drew up a map to show the damage he had inflicted on the American ships. The completed map was used by Captain Fuchida to brief Emperor Hirohito on the outcome of the attack. This map was acquired by the Library of Congress in 2018. 

The Library of Congress has created a story map, Through the Enemy's Eyes, in order to explain the story behind Fuchida's historic map and to allow the public to explore the map in detail. Through the Enemy's Eyes explains the history behind Japan's attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, which resulted in America entering World War II on the very next day after the attack. 

This account of the Japanese attack includes a number of other vintage maps created by the American Government Printing Office to visualize the attack from the U.S. perspective. The Fuchida map provides a unique view of the attack from a Japanese perspective.

The Fuchida map section of Through the Enemy's Eye explores the map in some detail, including an explanation of the map key. This key includes a number of different ship symbols to show the different type of damage inflicted on American ships, from 'minor damage' to 'sunk'. Red arrows on the map show the direction of Japanese torpedoes. Red dots and crosses show where Japanese bombs exploded.

Through the Enemy's Eyes also provides a brief account of Captain Fuchida's life after the war and the response of the United States to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

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