I hope you all have had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was very good. Our son, his wife, and their children came over, entertained us, and helped us eat enchiladas and all the trimmings. I drank too much soda and ate too much, but all in all, a great day.
As the food settles, I’m going to do something most of you have never done…
I’m mentioning Pearl Harbor and Mount Yushan in the same sentence.
Prett daring, eh?
Actually, it’s not as provocative as it seems, as we’ll see.
On November 26, 1941, the Kido Butai left Kyushu in northern Japan. It’s destination?…Pearl Harbor. Better known as the Japanese 1st Air Fleet, Kido Butai was led by Admiral Chuichi Nagumo. Comprised of six aircraft carriers with more than 400 aircraft, two battleships, numerous escorts, and 23 submarines, it was the largest naval fleet in the world at that time. It’s job was to attack the U.S. fleet stationed at Pearl and do enough damage to knock the U.S. out of the war before it could get started.
But before the fleet could commence its attacks, it needed to get the green light from higher up. It would come in the form of a coded message, and that’s where Mount Yushan comes in.
Mount Yushan is the tallest mountain…on the island of Taiwan. But in 1941, Taiwan was not a sovereign nation (and some still believe that to be true). Having been annexed in 1900, Taiwan was under Japanese control, and Yushan had been named Niitaka by the new owners.
So as the 1st Air Fleet pulled out of port, Admiral Nagumo awaited the coded message that would come from his superiors. Its contents, “Niitakayama Nobore” (“Climb Mount Niitaka”), would give the fleet permission to complete its mission. But against the day that the final order came, the trick would be to keep this massive fleet a secret as it moved south as east. That would prove to be a most delicate task.
Recommended Reading: At Dawn We Slept