This is the only memoir available in English by a Japanese military officer who helped plan the Battle of Iwo Jima. Yoshitake Horie, a Japanese field-grade Army officer who served as a liaison officer with the Japanese Navy, was in a unique position to describe in detail the respective positions, ideas, and assumptions that both services had about the Pacific War. A specialist in logistics and head of the headquarters on Chichi Jima, Horie was intimately involved with the battle plans. His insights reveal the limits to Japan's strategy and the personalities of the planners.
Robert D. Eldridge is the deputy assistant chief of staff, G-5, Marine Corps Bases Japan, and taught at Osaka University's School of International Public Policy.
Charles W. Tatum fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima. A resident of Stockton, CA, he is the author of Red Blood, Black Sand.
Advance Praise for Fighting Spirit
“This book presents an interesting insight into the Japanese side of a significant World War 2 battle…worth taking the time to read.”
— Australian Defence Force Journal, May 2012
“Fighting Spirit is an important book…It adds a Japanese perspective to an episode seen to date only through American eyes, and it shows the Japanese national character in transition.”
— The Japan Times, January 15, 2012
“Dr. Robert Eldridge and Charles Tatum, an Iwo Jima veteran, edited Horie’s memoir and deserve high praise for making the work available to a wider audience. Their preface is especially helpful because it provides the background of the book as well as detailed information about Horie’s military career. The editors’ carefull annotations and use of expository notes help Wester readers less familiar with the Japanese imperial army fully appreciate the planning and thinking behind the forlorn defense of Iwo Jima.”
— The Journal of Military History, Vol. 75, No. 4
“Every good officer should understand his enemy and this kind of book should be compulsory reading for junior and senior commanders embarking on a campaign.”
— Warships International Fleet Review, September 2011
“This memoir by one of the very few Japanese planners to survive the Battle of Iwo Jima paints a vivid and deeply moving portrait of its defenders. By laying bare their complex personalities, emotions, and loyalties, it disproves the notion that Japanese fighting men were simply fanatics. Anyone who wants to understand the fighting spirit that led to their deaths, doomed their empire to defeat, and powered postwar Japan to greatness should read this book.”
—Roger Dingman, author of Deciphering the Rising Sun: Navy and Marine Corps Codebreakers, Translators, and Interpreters in the Pacific War
“Iwo Jima was the touchstone amphibious battle of the Pacific War. The U.S. story is well known, but we’ve always lacked an authentic account in English of the Japanese commander’s desperate decisions and wrenching compromises. Major Yoshitaka Horie’s unique access to the commanding general throughout the battle provided the original breakthrough. By editing and annotating Horie’s original memoirs so masterfully, Dr. Eldridge and Iwo veteran Tatum have produced a treasure trove of new insights and revelations.”
—Col. Joseph H. Alexander, USMC (Ret.), author of Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa
“Of all the major militaries of the twentieth century, the Japanese services are the least understood outside their home nation. Eldridge and Tatum have provided a major service in making these memoirs available in English. Horie emerges from this book as an exceptionally professional military officer who understood the use of military power on the ground and on the seas. His account of Iwo Jima is important because it discusses in a rational manner the Japanese defense of the island, and the reasons the cost of taking it was so high for the United States. His book offers major insights from the other side of the hill.”
—Nicholas Evan Sarantakes, U.S. Naval War College, author of Allies against the Rising Sun: The United States, the British Nations, and the Defeat of Imperial Japan