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The Last Japanese Holdouts of WWII

by WDC News 6 Staff


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Podcast Transcript

On September 2, 1945, on the deck of the battleship USS Missouri, the Japanese Empire formally and unconditionally surrendered. 

With that, the second world battle was over and everybody stopped preventing, went dwelling, and lived fortunately ever after. 

Besides, not everybody. 

There have been a surprisingly giant variety of holdouts who both didn’t know that Japan surrendered, or didn’t imagine it. 

Study extra in regards to the Japanese troopers who by no means surrendered on this episode of All the things In every single place Day by day.


The Japanese Empire, at its top, was fairly massive. 

At its peak in 1942, it encompassed 7,400,000 sq. kilometers or  2,900,000square miles. Nearly all of East Asia and Southeast Asia had been underneath Japanese management. 

Along with main cities like Manila, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Jakarta this included numerous small islands and distant areas. 

There have been hundreds of Japanese troopers who had been stationed in these distant outposts. 

Because the battle wore on, the People didn’t hassle to attempt to conquer each single outpost and seize each single soldier. They might usually bypass islands realizing if they might seize strategic islands, the Japanese they skipped couldn’t be provided or evacuated. 

Because the battle dragged on, by August 1945, the People had been on the doorstep of Mainland Japan. The Soviets had entered the battle, the British, having completed up in opposition to Germany had been on the best way, as had been probably tons of of hundreds of troops from Europe. 

With all of this and the detonation of two atomic bombs, the Japanese Emperor Hirohito determined to give up unconditionally. On August 15, he addressed the Japanese individuals by radio, for the primary time in historical past. 

It was the primary time anybody outdoors of the Emperor’s internal circle had ever heard his voice. 

When the ultimate give up doc was signed in September 1945, everybody assumed that that was it. The Japanese system was very hierarchical and when the Emperor mentioned it was over, then it was over. 

For essentially the most half, it was over. 99.9% of all Japanese troopers laid down their weapons and had been carried out. There was definitely quite a lot of disappointment among the many army and the populace typically. In spite of everything, surrendering to a international enemy and having them occupy their nation is one thing nobody actually desires. 

The issue was lots of the distant outposts had been minimize off from contact with the remainder of the Japanese army. In a number of circumstances, troopers had been instructed to enter the jungle to outlive and harass the enemy, and to not cease except explicitly order to cease by their commanding officers. 

The tip consequence was that for some troopers, the battle by no means ended. The explanation why the battle by no means ended was completely different for every soldier who didn’t give up. 

For some, they only didn’t know the battle was over. For others, that they had heard the battle was over, however they merely didn’t imagine it. But others had purchased into the bushido spirit of by no means surrendering, and easily refused to give up. 

Nearly all of holdouts didn’t final very lengthy. Within the preliminary weeks and months after the give up, most of those that didn’t give up got here in from the chilly once they lastly realized that the battle was in truth over. 

Captain Sakae ?ba lead a gaggle of 46 troopers and about 200 civilians on the island of Saipan after the battle of Saipan for 16 months earlier than surrendering on November 27, 1945. 

Lieutenant Ei Yamaguchi led 33 males on the island of Peleliu, continuously attacking American troopers on the island till a Japanese admiral got here to the island to inform them that the battle was over. They lastly surrendered in April 1947.

On January 6, 1949, Yamakage Kufuku and Matsudo Linsoki, three and a half years after the tip of the battle, lastly turned themselves in on the island of Iwo Jima.

Nonetheless, a bunch of troopers who stubbornly spent just a few months and even years in a jungle isn’t what this episode is about. 

That is in regards to the actually actually hardcore holdouts. 

For years, Japanese troopers stored popping out of the jungle and turning themselves in….and once I say years, I imply years. 

In June 1951, nearly six years after the tip of the battle and 7 years for the reason that People invaded, a Japanese petty officer surrendered on the island of Anatahan within the Marianas Islands.  He indicated that there have been nonetheless 18 males on the island who thought that the battle was nonetheless happening. 

The boys had lived on fish, coconuts, and wild lizards for years. In 1945, an American bomber crashed on the island and so they had been capable of salvage sufficient from the airplane to create shelter, clothes, and different instruments. 

Finally, a ship was despatched to the island and all the lads gave themselves up after a give up ceremony on the seashore. 

This incident was the idea of the 1953 film Anatahan. 

Murata Susumu got here out of hiding on the island of Tinian later in 1953.

Sh?ichi Shimada was killed preventing Filipino troopers in Could 1954. 

In November 1955, Noboru Kinoshita was captured within the forests of the island of Luzon within the Philippines. He later dedicated suicide fairly than cope with the indignity of seize.

In 1956, 9 troopers had been discovered and surrendered on the Indonesian island of Morotai.

Additionally that yr, 4 males got here out of hiding on the island of Mindoro within the Philippines.

In 1960, two troopers, Personal Bunz? Minagawa and Sergeant Masashi It?, got here out of hiding on the isle of Guam. 

These guys had been dwelling in survival situations for over 15 years….and we haven’t even gotten to the actually fascinating stuff but. 

On January 24, 1972, 27 years after the tip of the battle, maybe the best-known instance of a Japanese holdout got here out of hiding in Guam, Shoichi Yokoi. 

Yokoi was initially certainly one of 10 males which went into hiding in Guam. By 1964, there have been solely three left, and two of the three had been killed in a flood.

Yokoi survived by searching at night time when nobody may see him. He made his personal garments and lived in a cave. 

Finally, he was caught by two fishermen fishing in a river. He thought they had been going to assault him, so he attacked first, and the 2 males subdued him. 

He was shocked that they gave him heat meals and ultimately went with him to the authorities on the island.

It seems he knew the battle had been over since 1952, however he thought {that a} Japanese soldier ought to by no means give up. 

He ended up returning to Japan to a hero’s welcome. He grew to become an everyday on Japanese tv and was the topic of a documentary movie. 

He made a visit to the imperial palace and mentioned for the cameras, “Your Majesties, I’ve returned dwelling … I deeply remorse that I couldn’t serve you nicely. The world has definitely modified, however my dedication to serve you’ll by no means change.”

Japanese vacationers to Guam nonetheless go to Yokoi’s cave to at the present time. 

Nonetheless, Yokoi wasn’t the final Japanese soldier who was nonetheless in hiding. 

Later that yr Kinshichi Kozuka was killed in a shootout with Filipino police. 

Two years later in March 1974, Hiroo Onoda, who was really in hiding with Kozuka, surrendered. Nonetheless, he refused to give up till his commanding officer from the battle flew to the Philippines to formally relieve him of responsibility. 

The final Japanese soldier, Teruo Nakamura, was discovered by the Indonesian airforce on December 18, 1974. 29 years and three months after the give up of the Japanese. He really didn’t come ahead to give up voluntarily, he was discovered by a search airplane after which arrested by troopers.

Nakamura was Taiwanese and never Japanese and didn’t even communicate Japanese or Chinese language. When he was despatched dwelling, he went on to Taiwan as a substitute of Japan and by no means obtained the hero’s reception that different holdouts did. 

Whereas Nakamura was the final Japanese soldier to be discovered, that doesn’t imply he was the final Japanese holdout. 

Not one of the final holdouts got here out of hiding voluntarily. They had been all discovered or captured in some way. 

This then raises the very affordable query, had been there different holdouts who had been by no means found? Might there have been Japanese troopers who by no means surrendered and lived the remainder of their lives in hiding?

The reply is that there in all probability had been. 

A Japanese newspaper reported that Captain Fumio Nakahara was nonetheless holding out as late as 1980. He was reportedly hiding close to Mount Halcon on the island of Mindoro within the Philippines. 

A search staff was despatched there and so they supposedly discovered his hut, however they did discover him or any proof that he was alive.

There have been sporadic rumors at late because the early 90s of Japanese holdouts within the Philippines and the Solomon Islands, however no substantial proof was ever discovered. 

The phenomenon of troopers from a battle going many years with out surrendering was distinctive to the Japanese military in World Warfare II. For those who bear in mind again to the episode I did on the final Germans to give up, they had been only a forgotten staff of climate observers on a distant island, and so they solely had been there just a few months. 

I can’t consider another battle the place so many troopers refused to give up for therefore lengthy. 

In a approach, you form of should respect them. They mentioned they’d by no means give up….and so they didn’t. For years they had been keen to stay in primitive survival situations with the intention to maintain the oath that they took, although their trigger was finally a failure. 


All the things In every single place Day by day is an Airwave Media Podcast. 

The manager producer is Darcy Adams.

The affiliate producers are Thor Thomsen and Peter Bennett.

I’ve some extra boostagrams at this time. I’ve gotten quite a lot of them this previous week, and I’ll be studying extra of them in future episodes. 

Immediately’s come from Dave Jones. He despatched 2112 sats for the episode on Horses in North America and wrote “An episode on Kaliningrad Oblast can be nice should you get an opportunity someday.”

Kaliningrad has an fascinating historical past. Immediately it’s an exclave of Russia, nevertheless it used to part of Germany and it was known as Koenigsberg. 

I’ve put it on my mega record of future episodes.

Dave additionally despatched one other 2112 sat increase for the episode on tornadoes. He writes, We’ve had a number of outbreaks and single F5 tornados in Alabama. Essentially the most harmful one I ever witnessed was in 2011 close to me in a spot known as Shoal Creek. A complete nursing dwelling was actually ripped out of the bottom. Even the concrete footers had been gone.

An F5 is a really very nasty factor if you’re ever caught up in a single. Fortunately they’re fairly uncommon. For those who take a look at the record of F5 tornadoes in historical past, they normally solely happen a number of years aside.

Nonetheless, in 2011 there have been six, three of which had been in Alabama. There hasn’t been a twister with an official F5 ranking since 2013.  The distribution 

Keep in mind, should you depart a evaluation or ship me a boostagram, you can also have it learn the present.



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