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Human Bullets A Soldier's Story of the Russo-Japanese War by Tadayoshi Sakurai, Roger J. Spiller

Human Bullets A Soldier's Story of the Russo-Japanese War



Human Bullets A Soldier's Story of the Russo-Japanese War by Tadayoshi Sakurai, Roger J. Spiller

The impact of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5 was incalculable. It was the first victory by an Asian power over a European one since the Mongol invasions of the thirteenth century. Japanese victory was ascribed to the spirit of the Japanese people, which helped their soldiers to overcome superior numbers and technology. A fascinating glimpse into prevailing nationalistic and militaristic attitudes in early-twentieth-century Japan, Human Bullets is also an engaging story of combat and an excellent source of insights about a relatively obscure but immensely influential conflict. Tadyoshi Sakurai was a junior officer in the Japanese campaign against Port Arthur, Russia's ice-free port in China. His account is an interesting introduction to the concept of yamato-damashii, or traditional Japanese spirit. This spirit was something greater than mere high morale. Japanese soldiers were the emperor's human bullets. Like bullets, they were unconcerned with victory, comfort, or self-preservation, existing only to strike the enemy.


On 24 August 1905, twenty-five year old Lieutenant Tadayoshi Sakurai of the Imperial Japanese Army was badly wounded during an assault upon Russian defences at Port Arthur in Manchuria... The experiences he relates are often graphic, relayed in a florid style and at a breathless pace which eerily portray the chaos and confusion of battle. But this is not just a moving and outstanding account of the horror of war. Sakurai's account of operations are relevant to the modern officer... This book is a fascinating portrayal of a junior leader's experience of war. --The Wish Stream, Summer 1999

About the Author

This long-overlooked, classic memoir of the Japanese military is introduced by Roger J. Spiller, the George C. Marshall Professor of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Spiller is the general editor of Dictionary of American Military Biography and Combined Arms in Action since 1939.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st April 1999


Tadayoshi Sakurai, Roger J. Spiller

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University of Nebraska Press


270 pages


European history
20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000
Asian history
War & defence operations



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