Isoroku Yamamoto (1884-04-04 – 1943-04-18) was a Fleet Admiral and Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during World War II. He was a graduate of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy and an alumnus of the U.S. Naval War College and Harvard University. He died during an inspection tour of forward positions in the Solomon Islands when his transport aircraft was ambushed by American P-38 Lightning fighter planes. His death was a major blow to Japanese military morale during World War II.
- 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.
- In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success.
- Statement to Japanese cabinet minister Shigeharu Matsumoto and Japanese prime minister Fumimaro Konoe, as quoted in Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan (1985) by Ronald Spector.
- You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.
- I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.
- Statement made after the attack on Pearl Harbor by Yamamoto as portrayed in the film Tora! Tora! Tora!, this is one of the most quoted remarks attributed to him. Though it is thought that it summarizes his sentiments well, a definite source for this quote has never been provided. For more information see the Wikipedia article "Isoroku Yamamoto's sleeping giant quote".