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August 5, 2003 1:36 PM   Subscribe

The last World War Two Japanese soldier surrendered in the Philippines in 1980, ending a stream of holdouts. This is their story.
posted by ewagoner (10 comments total)
After returning to Japan, he was unable to adapt to modern life and retired to a ranch in Brazil. He revisited Lubang island in 1996, and still alive today.

That must be the one that Camel's awesome album Nude is about.
posted by goethean at 2:17 PM on August 5, 2003

fascinating site ewagoner. i've been reading it for about an hour.
thanks for the post!
posted by car_bomb at 2:30 PM on August 5, 2003

It's too bad he didn't hold out just a little bit longer. 1980 is about the time Japan really started winning.
posted by MonkeyMeat at 3:17 PM on August 5, 2003

"According to Yokoi, he had known since 1952 that the war was over, but he was afraid to come out of hiding."

Hmmm...so it's not as if he was still "fighting" or even necessarily "waiting to fight." He *knew* the war was over, and then spent nearly THREE DECADES in hiding.

Strange - but interesting site. Kudos, ewagoner.
posted by davidmsc at 4:15 PM on August 5, 2003

(this is good)
posted by ehintz at 4:26 PM on August 5, 2003

Excellent find, ewagoner.

"A tailor when he was conscripted in 1941, Sergeant Shoichi Yokoi said he wove cloth from tree bark fibre from Guam's pago/hibiscus trees and made himself trousers and a jacket." Unbelievable.

If Yokoi's hold-out comrades dying in the 1960s is any indication, how many Japanese hold-out soldiers died before they were found? Combined with fighting the locals, animal attacks, infections, etc., there are the risks of typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and floods throughout the entire Pacific Ocean. There may have been hundreds of soldiers who died anonymously.
posted by philfromhavelock at 8:41 PM on August 5, 2003

Darned quitters. We still have people fighting the Civil War here in the US.

Great post.
posted by kcmoryan at 4:18 AM on August 6, 2003

Thank you ewagoner, this is a wonderful link.
posted by vito90 at 6:17 AM on August 6, 2003

gohtean: he has an e-post address on the Links page, asking for information.

"Anode's thirty years of guerilla warfare contained many skirmishes with local police and citizens. Some sources believe that he and his two companions killed between seven and fifty civilians and injured many others in the years after 1945. "

Why the huge discrepancy in numbers? Were the locals blaming suicides and "unexplained" deaths on the hold-outs? The articles mention the fear among the soldiers, but what of the locals' fear of the murderous ones in the forest? Sounds similar to Sasquatch or Windigo, but (at least in some instances) the locals knew their Sasquatch came from another country, why they were there. But still.
posted by philfromhavelock at 8:57 AM on August 6, 2003

I've heard of this before and its fascinating. Thanks for the link.
posted by trillion at 12:12 PM on August 6, 2003

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