shoichi yokoi

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28 years hidden after WWII

Shoichi Yokoi was a soldier, conscripted into the Imperial Japanese Army in 1941 and sent to Guam shortly thereafter. In 1944, as American forces reconquered the island, Yokoi went into hiding.

On January 24, 1972, Yokoi was discovered in a remote section of Guam by two of the island’s inhabitants. For 28 years he had been hiding in an underground jungle cave, fearing to come out of hiding even after finding leaflets declaring that World War II had ended. “It is with much embarrassment that I have returned alive,” he said upon his return to Japan, carrying his rusted rifle at his side.

Japanese Holdout Timeline Masterpost

-September 2, 1945
Japan surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Harbor. 
Officially ends the war in the Pacific and WWII.

-December 1, 1945 Guam
Captain Oba and about forty-six other members of his force surrendered to U.S. forces. These were the last organized hold-outs of the Japanese forces in Saipan. Captain Oba’s company of Japanese soldiers who held out after the Battle for Saipan hiding in the caves and jungles, carrying out occasional guerrilla actions against U.S. forces.

-January 25, 1946 Philippines
A Japanese unit of 120 men was routed after a battle in the mountains 150 miles south of Manila.

-February 1946 Philippines - on Lubang Island.
70 miles southwest of Maillia Bay a seven week campaign to clear the island was begun by the Filipino 341st and American 86th Division. Intense fighting developed on February 22, 1946 when troops encountered 30 Japanese. Eight Allied troops were killed, including 2 Filipinos. The Filipino and Americans sent for an additional 20,000 rounds of small arm ammunition, but not future battles occurred of this magnitude.

-March 1946 Guam
A Japanese band of unknown size attacked and killed a six man patrol on Guam on March 1946.

-August 1946 Navy Lieutenant Hideo Horiuchi volunteered as an Indonesian volunteer Army Lieutenant Colonel. Horiuchi was arrested by Dutch troops on August 13, 1946, while his wounds were being treated in a village after the battle with Dutch troops. 

-1946  Major Sei Igawa volunteered as a Viet Minh staff officer and commander. Igawa was killed in a battle with French troops in 1946.

-Early April 1947 Philippines - on Lubang Island. 
Forty-one members of the Japanese garrison come out of the jungle, unaware that the war had ended.

-End March - early April 1947 Peleliu Island - Band of 33 Japanese soldiers, commanded by Lt. Ei Yamaguchi renews fighting on the island by attacking a Marine patrol with hand grenades. At that time, only 150 Marines were stationed on the island, with 35 dependents. Reinforcement were called in to hunt down the hideouts. American patrols with a Japanese Admiral sent to convince the troops that the war was indeed over finally convinced the holdouts to come out peacefully. The band emerged from the jungle in two groups in late April, lead by Ei Yamaguchi who turned over his sword and unit’s battle flags.

-April 1947 Philippines - on Palawan Island. 
Seven Japanese troops armed with a mortar launcher emerged from the jungle.

-June 1947 Philippines
4,000 of the 114,000 troops in the Philippines as of August 1945 were still unaccounted for in mid 1946. Only 109 miles from the capital, Manila, were signs warning about armed Japanese soldiers still in the hills.

-October 27, 1947 Guadalcanal Island
The last Japanese soldier surrenders. belongings included a water bottle, a broken Australian bayonet and a Japanese entrenching tool.

-January 1948 Philippines - Mindinao Island 
200 well organized and disciplined troops finally gave themselves up on Mindinao.

-Late 1948 China
An estimated 10-20,000 well equipped Japanese troops were trapped in the mountains of Manchuria and did not surrender until late in 1948. They were caught in a no man’s land of civil war stuck between the warring Nationalist and Communist forces and were unable to surrender.

-January 6, 1949 Iwo Jima- Two Holdouts Found
Two former IJN soldiers, machine gunners, Matsudo Linsoki and Yamakage Kufuku (24) are discovered on the island and surrender peacefully.  They had been living under the shadow of American forces and stealing supplies.

-Major Takuo Ishii continued to fight as a Viet Minh adviser, staff officer and commander. He was killed in a battle with French troops on May 20, 1950.

-30 1951 Anatahan A group of stranded survivors of a Japanese vessel sunk by the American military found their way to the island of Anatahan, 75 nautical miles north of Saipan. The island’s coast line is precipitous with landing beaches on the northern and western shore and a small sandy beach on the southwest shore. It’s steep slopes are furrowed by deep gorges covered by high grass. This brooding cone jutting from the sea floor is a large, extinct volcano with two peaks and a grass covered flat field, the final resting place for a B-29 Superfortress that crashed upon returning from a bombing mission over Nagoya, Japan on January 3, 1945 killing the aircraft’s crew.

By 1951 the Japanese holdouts on the island refused to believe that the war was over and resisted every attempt by the Navy to remove them. This group was first discovered in February 1945, when several Chamorros from Saipan were sent to the island to recover the bodies of the Saipan based B-29, T square 42, from the 498th Bomb Group, 875th Squadron, 73rd Wing under the command of Richard Carlson Stickney, Jr. The Chamorros reported that there were about thirty Japanese survivors from three Japanese ships sunk in June 1944, one of which was an Okinawan woman.

Pamphlets had been dropped informing the holdouts that the war was over and that they should surrender, but these requests were ignored. They lived a sparse life, eating coconuts, taro, wild sugar cane, fish and lizards. They smoked crushed, dried papaya leaves wrapped in the leaves of bananas and made an intoxicating beverage known as “tuba”, (coconut wine). They lived in palm frond huts with woven floor matting of pandanus. Their life improved after the crash of the aircraft . They used metal from the B-29 to fashion crude implements such as pots, knives and roofing for their hut. The oxygen tanks were used to store water, clothing was made from nylon parachutes, the cords used for fishing line. The springs from machine guns were fashioned into fish hooks. Several in the group also had machine guns and pistols recovered from the aircraft.

Personal aggravations developed as a result of being too long in close association within a small group on a small island and also because of tuba drinking. The presence of only one woman, Kazuko Higa, caused great difficulty as well. Six of eleven deaths that occurred among the holdouts were the result of violence. One man displayed thirteen knife wounds. Ms. Higa would, from time to time, transfer her affections between at least four of the men after each mysteriously disappeared as a result of “being swallowed by the waves while fishing.” In July 1950, Ms. Higa went to the beach when an American vessel appeared off shore and asked to be removed from the island. She was taken to Saipan aboard the Miss Susie and, upon arrival, informed authorities that the men on the island did not believe the war was over.

  Meanwhile, officials of the Japanese government became interested in the situation on Anatahan and asked the Navy for information “concerning the doomed and living Robinson Crusoes who were living a primitive life on an uninhabited island”, and offered to send a ship to rescue them. The families of the Japanese holdouts on the island of Anatahan , were contacted in Japan and requested by the U. S. Navy to write letters advising them that the war was over and that they should surrender. In January 1951, a message from the Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture was delivered.

  The letters were dropped by air on June 26 and finally convinced the holdouts that they should give themselves up. Thus, six years after the end of World War II, “Operation Removal” got underway from Saipan under the Command of James B. Johnson, USNR, aboard the Navy Tug USS Cocopa. Lt. Commander James B. Johnson and Mr. Ken Akatani, an interpreter, went ashore by rubber boat and formally accepted the last surrender of World War II on the morning of June 30, 1951 which also coincided with the last day of the Naval Administration of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

-1953 Tinian
Japanese soldier Murata Susumu was captured in 1953. He was living in a small shack near a swamp since the war.

-November 1955 Seaman Noburo Kinoshita, after his capture from the Luzon jungle, hanged himself rather than “return to Japan in defeat.”

-1965 Vella Lavella Straggler
One Japanese straggler was located. Sited by a women in her garden, the Solomon’s Japanese ambassador flew to the island. Fliers were dropped saying the war was over, and he was returned home to Japan with full honors.

-January 1972 Guam
Shoichi Yokoi, was found along the Talofofo River. He brought back his army-issue rifle and said “I am sorry I did not serve his majesty to my satisfaction.” “We Japanese soldiers were told to prefer death to the disgrace of getting captured alive,”

-1973 Indonesia
Private Teruo Nakamura surrendered after 33 years hiding on a small island of Morotai.

-1974 Philippines -2nd Lt. Hiroo Onada Lubang Island - Probably the most ‘famous’ of the Japanese holdouts, Onoda was the only survivor of a group of four.  29 years after Japan’s formal surrender, and 15 years after being declared legally dead in Japan.

-December 1974 Private Teruo Nakamura, a Taiwan-born soldier (Amis: Attun Palalin) was discovered by the Indonesian Air Force on Morotai, and surrendered to a search patrol on December 18, 1974.

-April 1980 Philippines - Mindoro Island
Captain of the Japanese Imperial Army, Fumio Nakahira, held out until April 1980 before being discovered at Mt. Halcon.

-1989 Thailand - Two ex-Japanese Army soldiers: Kiyoaki Tanaka and Shigeyuki Hashimoto went onto fight with the Malaysian Communist Party (Malaysian Communist Party), in Southern Thailand. The two were part of a group of ex-Japanese Army soldiers and civilians fighting with the MPAJA.

(NOTE - Although fascinating, these two were not true hold-outs because they knew the war was over. Rather, they were former Japanese Army Soldiers who went on to fight with another faction and never returned home.)

-May 2005 Two Japanese Soldiers on Mindanao
A report in early May 2005 talked about two former Japanese Army soldiers found on Mindanao;
Reportedly, their names were Yoshio Yamakawa, 87, from Osaka, and Tsuzuki Nakauchi, 85.

Strange that not a lot of tumblr people are speaking of the death of Hiroo Onoda. He was quite a badass…

The last Japanese soldier to come out of hiding and surrender, almost 30 years after the end of the second world war, has died.

Hiroo Onoda, an army intelligence officer, caused a sensation when he was persuaded to come out of hiding in the Philippine jungle in 1974.

The native of Wakayama prefecture in western Japan died of heart failure at a hospital in Tokyo on Thursday, his family said. He was 91.

Onoda’s three decades spent in the jungle – initially with three comrades and finally alone – came to be seen as an example of the extraordinary lengths to which some Japanese soldiers would go to demonstrate their loyalty to the then emperor, in whose name they fought.

Refusing to believe that the war had ended with Japan’s defeat in August 1945, Onoda drew on his training in guerilla warfare to kill as many as 30 people whom he mistakenly believed to be enemy soldiers.

The world had known of his existence since 1950 when one of his fellow stragglers emerged and returned to Japan. A second member of the group reportedly died in 1950.

Onoda, whose sole remaining companion was killed in a shootout with Philippine troops in 1972, held firm until two years later.

He was only persuaded to surrender when his former commanding officer travelled to his hideout on the island of Lubang in the north-western Philippines and convinced him that the war had ended.

Until then, Onoda would later explain, he believed attempts to persuade him to leave were a plot concocted by the pro-US government in Tokyo. By the time he surrendered he had been on the island since 1944, two years after he was drafted into the Japanese imperial army.

Onoda wept uncontrollably as he agreed to lay down his perfectly serviceable rifle.

He was later pardoned for the killings by the then Philippine president, Ferdinand Marcos. In his formal surrender to Marcos, Onoda wore his 30-year-old imperial army uniform, cap and sword, all of which were in good condition.

He returned to Japan in March the same year, but after struggling to adapt to life in his homeland, he emigrated to Brazil in 1975 to become a farmer. He returned to Japan in 1984 and opened nature camps for children across Japan.

Japan’s top government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, praised Onoda’s strong will to live, telling reporters on Friday: “I vividly remember that I was reassured of the end of the war when Mr Onoda returned to Japan.”

Onoda was one of several Japanese soldiers who remained holed up in their former battlegrounds long after the war ended.

Onoda, like Shoichi Yokoi, a soldier who was found on the island of Guam in 1972, dismissed reports declaring the war’s end as Allied propaganda. On his return to a hero’s welcome in Japan, Yokoi famously
said: “It is with much embarrassment, but I have returned.”

In 2005 there were unsubstantiated claims that two former Japanese soldiers in their 80s were still in hiding in the mountains on the Philippine island of Mindanao. The men were reportedly afraid that they would be court-martialled for desertion if they gave themselves up.

Forty years ago a Japanese soldier was found in the jungles of Guam, having survived there for nearly three decades after the end of World War II.

For most of the 28 years that Shoichi Yokoi, a lance corporal in the Japanese Army of World War II, was hiding in the jungles of Guam, he firmly believed his former comrades would one day return for him. And even when he was eventually discovered by local hunters on the Pacific island, on 24 January 1972, the 57-year-old former soldier still clung to the notion that his life was in danger.

Startled by the sight of other humans after so many years on his own, Yokoi tried to grab one of the hunter’s rifles, but weakened by years of a diet consisting of venomous toads, river eels, and rats, he was no match for the local men.

Yokoio feared they would take him as a prisoner of war, the greatest shame for a Japanese soldier and for his family back home. As they led him away through the jungle’s tall foxtail grass, Yokoi cried for them to kill him there and then.

On his return to Japan he expressed embarrassment at having returned alive, rather than dying in the service of the emperor. He was given a hero’s welcome, but never quite felt at home in modern society. Japan had changed utterly during his three-decade absence—some found his stoicism and loyalty inspiring, others found it absurd. 

January 24, 1972: Shoichi Yokoi, a Japanese sergeant in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, is found hiding in the jungles of Guam, almost 28 years after American forces regained control of the island in 1944.

Despite hiding for twenty-eight years in an underground jungle cave, he had known since 1952 that WWII had ended. He feared to come out of hiding, explaining, “We Japanese soldiers were told to prefer death to the disgrace of getting captured alive." 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoichi_Yokoi

Photo:  Shoichi Yokoi weeping with emotion as he is applauded on his arrival in Tokyo after hiding in the jungle of Guam for 28 years,31 years after he had left Japan to do his military service. (Keystone/Getty)

Shoichi Yokoi, the Japanese soldier who didn’t know WW II was over

“[Exactly 43 years ago], a Japanese soldier was found in the jungles of Guam, having survived there for nearly three decades after the end of World War II. He was given a hero’s welcome on his return to Japan - but never quite felt at home in modern society.

For most of the 28 years that Shoichi Yokoi, a lance corporal in the Japanese Army of world War II, was hiding in the jungles of Guam, he firmly believed his former comrades would one day return for him. And even when he was eventually discovered by local hunters on the Pacific island, on 24 January 1972, the 57-year-old former soldier still clung to the notion that his life was in danger.

"He really panicked,” says Omi Hatashin, Yokoi’s nephew. Startled by the sight of other humans after so many years on his own, Yokoi tried to grab one of the hunter’s rifles, but weakened by years of poor diet, he was no match for the local men.

“He feared they would take him as a prisoner of war - that would have been the greatest shame for a Japanese soldier and for his family back home,” Hatashin says.

bbc.co.uk

nytimes.com
Hiroo Onoda, the Japanese solider who hid in the Philippine jungle for decades, dies at 91

TOKYO — Hiroo Onoda, the last Japanese imperial soldier to emerge from hiding in a jungle in the Philippines and surrender, 29 years after the end of World War II, has died. He was 91.

Onoda was an intelligence officer who came out of hiding, erect but emaciated, in fatigues patched many times over, on Lubang island in the Philippines in March 1974, on his 52nd birthday. He surrendered only when his former commander flew there to reverse his 1945 orders to stay behind and spy on American troops.

Onoda and another World War II holdout, Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi, who emerged from the jungle in 1972, received massive heroes’ welcomes upon returning home.

“I don’t consider those 30 years a waste of time,” Onoda said in a 1995 interview with The Associated Press. “Without that experience, I wouldn’t have my life today.”