Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (1884-1943) led the Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The U.S. Naval Historical Center provides the following information about the admiral:
Isoroku Yamamoto was born in 1884. His original family name, Takano, was changed through adoption. Graduated from the Japanese Naval Academy in 1904, he was wounded in action during the Russo-Japanese War. Yamamoto attended the Japanese Navy's Staff College during the "teens" and later studied at Harvard University. As a Captain, he served as Naval Attache to the United States in 1925-28. In the late 1920s and during the 1930s, he held a number of important positions, many of them involved with Japanese naval aviation.
Admiral Yamamoto commanded the Combined Fleet before the outbreak of the Pacific War and during its first sixteen months. He was responsible for planning the attack on Pearl Harbor and most other major operations during this time. His scheme for eliminating the U.S. fleet as a major opponent led to the June 1942 Battle of Midway, in which the Japan lost naval superiority in the Pacific.
Despite Midway's adverse outcome, Yamamoto continued as Combined Fleet commander through the following Guadalcanal Campaign, which further depleted Japan's naval resources. While on an inspection tour in the Northern Solomon Islands, he was killed in an aerial ambush by U.S. Army Air Force planes on 18 April 1943. Isoroku Yamamoto was posthumously promoted to the rank of Admiral of the Fleet.
Photo and quoted passage, courtesy U.S. Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center.