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From Zero to Hero- Saburō Sakai-The Samurai of the Skies
Feb 26, 2019 Billy Moncure, Guest Author
With over 60 victories and over 20 confirmed kills, Saburō Sakai was a legend among Japanese pilots. Not only was his record of victories remarkable, but he also flaunted his skills by performing a mocking air show over an Australian airbase.
As the most successful Japanese pilot of the war – and with more victories than any American pilot in the war – he had plenty of interesting stories to tell later in life. One of his most famous stories was of the time he came close to a kill that would have altered the course of U.S. history.
Lead-up to the War
Saburō came from a working family, but one with a proud military tradition. His ancestors had been samurai, although they were forced to settle as farmers due to the Meiji Restoration. Even though his family could afford to send him to school, he bailed out.
With few other options, he decided to take up his family’s traditional occupation and joined the military at the age of 16.