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Born Apr. 4, 1884, in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture; died Apr. 18, 1943, over the Solomon Islands. Japanese admiral.
Yamamoto graduated from the Naval Academy in 1904 and the Naval Staff College in 1916. He served in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05. He was vice minister of the navy from 1936 to 1939, when he became commander of the Combined Fleet. An advocate of Japanese expansion into Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean, he helped originate and plan Japanese military strategy in the Pacific Theater during World War II. From 1941 to 1943 he directed naval operations, beginning with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Yamamoto was killed on an inspection tour during the fighting for the Solomon Islands; his airplane was shot down by American planes while it was en route to Bougainville Island, the Americans having received intelligence about the flight.