Allied commanders knew that an invasion into Japan would be one of the costly events in the history of warfare. When the tiny island of Corregidor was recaptured, five thousand Japanese defended for eleven days to the death and only twenty were taken prisoner. The battle for Iwo Jima captured 200 prisoners out of 21,000 Japanese soldiers. The capture of the island had cost nearly 25,000 American casualties.
More reading at:
Fourth Marine Regiment - China Marines
Caution - realistic description of what was going on back then. Makes this little war on terror look like a school yard scuffle.
It's interesting to see the Marines viewpoint of General Douglass MacArthur. Neal Stehenson characterizes it well in Cryptomonicon as "[...] a sinister consipriacy between the Japs and General MacArthur."
(wandering off now - I'm out of scotch whisky)
My favorite quote from Cryptonomicon is still "Father John snaps awake, and Mr. Drkh looks as if he's just taken a fifty-caliber round in the small of his back. Clearly, Mr. Drkh has had a long career of being the weirdest person in any given room, but he's about to go down in flames."
I blame my mom for making me look up Chinese History. :-)