The Secret of All Secrets

Zenji Abe was a 25-year-old Zero pilot on his first mission when he attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. He continued flying bombing raids until June 1944, when he was shot down and stranded on the Mariana Islands. On Sept. 2, 1945, he paddled a rubber raft to a U.S. ship offshore and signed his recognition of Japan's surrender.

Many years later, Abe visited Pearl Harbor again, this time as part of a tour group. Today, retired from Japan's Self-Defense Force, he lives in a small apartment in Koganei, a suburb of Tokyo, his living room decorated with a...

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