Japanese holdout

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Japanese holdouts (Japanese : 残留日本兵, romanized: Zanryū nipponhei, lit. 'remaining Japanese soldiers') were soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy during the Pacific Theatre of World War II who continued fighting World War II after the surrender of Japan in August 1945. Japanese holdouts either doubted the veracity of the formal surrender or were not aware that the war had ended because communications had been cut off by Allied advances.

Contents

After Japan officially surrendered in August 1945, Japanese holdouts in Southeast Asian countries and Pacific islands that had been part of the Japanese empire continued to fight local police, government forces, and American and British forces stationed to assist the newly formed governments. Many holdouts were discovered in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands over the following decades, with the last verified holdout, Private Teruo Nakamura, surrendering on Morotai Island in Indonesia in December 1974. Newspapers throughout East Asia and Pacific islands reported more holdouts and searches for them were conducted until the late 1980s, but the evidence was too scant and no further holdouts were confirmed. Nevertheless, holdouts continued to be allegedly spotted until the late 1990s. Investigators now believe that the last alleged sightings of Japanese holdouts were stories invented by local residents to attract tourists.

Some Japanese soldiers acknowledged Japan's surrender and the end of World War II, but were reluctant to demobilize and wished to continue armed combat for ideological reasons. Many fought in the Chinese Civil War, Korean War, and local independence movements such as the First Indochina War and Indonesian National Revolution. These Japanese soldiers are not usually considered holdouts.

History

1945–1949

Second Lieutenant Sakae Oba, a Japanese holdout, photo from 1937. Oba Sakae portrait.JPG
Second Lieutenant Sakae Ōba, a Japanese holdout, photo from 1937.

1950s

1960s

1970s

Sergeant Shoichi Yokoi was discovered in Guam on 24 January 1972, almost 28 years after the Allies had regained control of the island in 1944. Shouichi yokoi.jpg
Sergeant Shoichi Yokoi was discovered in Guam on 24 January 1972, almost 28 years after the Allies had regained control of the island in 1944.
Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda in 1944 while in Lubang Island, Philippines before becoming Japanese holdout. Onoda-young.jpg
Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda in 1944 while in Lubang Island, Philippines before becoming Japanese holdout.
  • In March 1974, Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda surrendered on Lubang after holding out on the island from December 1944 with Akatsu, Shimada and Kozuka. Onoda refused to surrender until he was relieved of duty by his former commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, who was flown to Lubang to formally relieve Onoda. [11]
  • Private Teruo Nakamura, a Taiwanese-born soldier (Amis: Attun Palalin), was discovered by the Indonesian Air Force on Morotai, and surrendered to a search patrol on December 18, 1974. [9] [17] Nakamura, who spoke neither Japanese nor Chinese, was the last confirmed holdout and was discovered 29 years, 3 months, and 16 days after the Japanese Instrument of Surrender was signed.

1980s

1990s

See also

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References

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