When you see images of the sunken warships covered by shellfish and algae and serving as playgrounds for fish, you can almost hear the sounds of bombings and the cries of sailors 73 years ago.

The battleships Yamashiro and Fuso, sunken by U.S. forces during World War II, have been discovered with three destroyers off the island of Leyte in the Philippines. A team led by Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen, which found the wrecks, released the video footage.

According to his autobiography, Allen, now 64, came to know Bill Gates at a private school for grades 5-12 in Seattle. Allen was three years ahead of Gates at the school.

Impressed by Gates’ outstanding talent and anticipating the era of personal computers, Allen persuaded Gates to start a business with him.

Allen’s ability to conceive creative ideas combined with Gates’ business acumen to make their venture grow into a global powerhouse.

Although he later parted ways with Gates, Allen piled up vast wealth while he was still young.

Allen now travels around the world in his luxurious private ship, owns professional football and basketball teams and launches spacecraft.

Deep-sea exploration appears to be one of his many areas of interest.

Two years ago, Allen created a buzz by discovering the battleship Musashi, which was also sunk during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Allen started exploring this area of the sea 10 years ago.

Allen says he is fascinated with war history, inspired by his father’s service in the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II. He has expressed his wish to preserve the history of what he referred to as the largest naval battle of all time.

The Musashi sank under a furious attack of torpedoes and bombs. The Yamashiro is said to have disappeared into the sea after sending up a huge pillar of flame into the night sky.

An estimated 7,000 to 10,000 service members perished in the four days of the battle.

In his book on the Battle of Leyte Gulf, writer Kazutoshi Hando described it as “a grandiose funeral ode that decorated the final chapter of the Empire of Japan.”

It was the United States that sank the capital ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Seventy-three years later, an American business magnate discovered their wreckage at the bottom of the sea.

I was rendered speechless for a while after seeing the vivid images of massive damage caused to the ships by bombs shown in the footage taken on the seabed.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 10

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.