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On December 7th, 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor marked a turning point in American history. The surprise attack resulted in the deaths of over 2,400 Americans and led the United States to enter World War II. The phrase “Tora! Tora! Tora!” is often associated with the attack, but what does it mean? In this blog post, we will explore the origins and meaning of this iconic phrase.
The Origins of “Tora! Tora! Tora!”
The phrase “Tora! Tora! Tora!” is a Japanese phrase that means “tiger! tiger! tiger!”. It was used as a code word during the attack on Pearl Harbor to signify that the Japanese had achieved complete surprise and that their attack was proceeding according to plan.
The use of code words during military operations is not uncommon. They are used to communicate critical information quickly and efficiently without revealing sensitive information to the enemy. In the case of “Tora! Tora! Tora!”, the Japanese used the phrase to inform their forces that the attack was proceeding according to plan and that they had achieved complete surprise.
The Significance of “Tiger”
The use of the word “tiger” in the phrase “Tora! Tora! Tora!” has a deeper meaning in Japanese culture. The tiger is a symbol of strength and power and is often associated with the Japanese god of thunder and war, Raijin. In Japanese folklore, tigers are also believed to have the ability to ward off evil spirits.
During World War II, the Japanese military often used animal code words to designate different types of military operations. For example, the code word “Ne” was used to designate a naval operation, while “Chi” was used for land operations. The use of “Tora” in the phrase “Tora! Tora! Tora!” was a deliberate choice to signify the strength and power of the Japanese military and their determination to succeed in their mission.
The Planning and Execution of the Attack
The attack on Pearl Harbor was meticulously planned and executed by the Japanese military. Months of planning went into the operation, and the Japanese were able to keep their plans a secret from the United States.
The first wave of Japanese aircraft launched from carriers in the Pacific Ocean and approached Hawaii from the north. The second wave of aircraft approached from the west. The attack began at 7:48 am on December 7th, 1941, when the first wave of Japanese aircraft attacked the naval base at Pearl Harbor.
The attack lasted for approximately two hours, and the Japanese were able to achieve complete surprise. The attack resulted in the destruction of eight battleships, three cruisers, and four destroyers, as well as damage to many other ships and aircraft. The attack also resulted in the deaths of over 2,400 Americans and wounded over 1,100.
The Legacy of “Tora! Tora! Tora!”
The phrase “Tora! Tora! Tora!” has become synonymous with the attack on Pearl Harbor and has been immortalized in popular culture. In 1970, a movie entitled “Tora! Tora! Tora!” was released, which depicted the planning and execution of the attack.
The phrase has also been used in various contexts to signify surprise or unexpected events. For example, the phrase was used during the 1972 Olympics when the United States basketball team lost to the Soviet Union in a controversial game.
In conclusion, the phrase “Tora! Tora! Tora!” has become an iconic symbol of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The phrase was used as a code word by the Japanese military to signify that their attack was proceeding according to plan and that they had achieved complete surprise.