Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto Quote

“A military man can scarcely pride himself on having 'smitten a sleeping enemy'; it is more a matter of shame, simply, for the one smitten. I would rather you made your appraisal after seeing what the enemy does, since it is certain that, angered and outraged, he will soon launch a determined counterattack.”

~ Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

Reply made to Ogata Taketora, the Editor in Chief of Asahi Shimbun (9 January 1942) as quoted in The Reluctant Admiral (1979) by Hiroyuki Agawa

Ratings and Comments

J Carlton, Calgary

I believe it was the same man who said "We have awakened a sleeping giant". And that is an accurate description of the American people. We have always rallied against our enemies both foreign and domestic and will do so again when it becomes necessary.

E Archer, NYC

Another reason to NOT jump into new wars in the Middle East and to get out of the old ones.

GunnyCee, Durham

I think that the Admiral was an honorable man who knew that he had done nothing more than throw a big rock at a huge hornet's nest and that what Japan had done would come to no good for them. It is hard for anyone not alive in those days to imagine Japan as a hated enemy of America. I think that speaks volumes for both our peoples.

Waffler, Smith

George Washington knew something about attacking a sleeping or at least a drunken enemey. Remember the Delaware Crossing and the attack on Trenton at Christmas time. Someone has said, "All is fair in love and war."

Byron, Fort Collins, CO

Having seen America's vast resources first-hand while a Harvard student, Admiral Yamamoto was ALWAYS FIRMLY against war with the United States. Although more honorable, wiser, and much better-informed, Yamamoto's voice was shouted-down by those around him--opportunistic politicians who hoped to gain by rallying the populace against an external enemy. Sure sounds familiar.


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