Skip to comments.Unconfirmed: Two Living, Ex-Japanese Soldiers Found in Philippines (Mindanao)
Posted on 05/26/2005 8:12:52 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyoEdited on 05/27/2005 12:51:25 AM PDT by Sidebar Moderator. [history]
Just only a quick blurb in the top news segement today, but Mainichi News reports that two elderly Japanese men in their 80s have turned themselves into or otherwise presented themselves to Japanese authorities in the southern Philippines in Mindanao, apparantly "surrendering" or at least talking to them, after holding our for nearly 60 years in the Philippines following Japan's WWII defeat.
A remarkable story if true.
Japanese-language Mainichi news story is linked. It is unclear what their Imperial Army unit was, if they knew the war had ended, and other details. They were said to be talking now with Japanese officials in a hotel on the island of "General Santos".
The latest from what I can tell (3:00 a.m. Eastern Time Friday, May 27, 2005). And by the way, thank you for your kind comment.
A veteran of the Pacific War living in Saitama Prefecture in Japan, a "Teraishi san", who works with the War Survivor's Group, collects the remains of fallen Japanese soldiers. He is in his mid 80s.
He received a call from another man who is married to a woman in the Philipines, who was working to collect word in a forested area in Southern Mindanao. It was only yesterday that Terauchi received this international call from the Philippines which was rather frantic.
The woman had apparantly crossed into or had been in Muslim extremist controlled territory and had heard throught Moro fighters of the existence of "two elderly men from the Japanese army". Further, she got the information that they wanted to get out and passed it on to Japan, where it got to Terauchi.
Terauchi of course worked with the Japanese government who, through the Embassy in Philippines, to get the information.
There are still some survivors around from those days (much as WWII survivors are in the States), and they still look out for their own. Terauchi was in tears in the interview, saying the men were afraid of "Japanese Military Court Martial" if they returned to Japan, but of course he urges them to get back to Japan. This is from Yomiuri news. It is in Yomiuri, Mainichi, Fuji, NHK, Asahi, you name it.
I'll try to post any links to Japanese TV about this. The Moderate might also put (UPDATE) after this thread title if they could do so. Done.
Families of the men in Japan are reported as amazed, shocked and ecstatic.
In the case of (Sgt?) Nakauchi, his sister thought he was dead all these years. She stated that even before the WWII ended, they received a report he was killed, and they even "received his remains" after wards (ikotsu, literally, 'bones') and had buried him and it was all behind them.
They even had a funeral service when the 'body' was returned to the town, but since it was not recognizable I suppose they would have no way of knowing. At any rate, they want the men home ASAP.
Yamakawa's brother said "he sure hung in there," and expressed the same thoughts.
Nakauchi's mother died some 23 years ago. The Japanese authorities had given notice to the family in June 1945 that Nakauchi had been killed. Nakauchi's relative said that if the mother were alive she would be very happy.
Nakauchi's 'gravesite' can even be visited in Kochi Prefecture. It just says his name and rank, and "June 15, 1944, Killed in the War, 28 years old" on it. By the way, I'm getting that the men apparantly are not both (83), but one I believe is 87 and the other 85--so the age might have been an inaccuracy.
War buddies of the two men, a few still around, such as one fellow in Hiroshima, a "Nagai" (84) only had reflective thoughts of how bloody their battles were and "well, that's amazing. 60 years. I want to say "yoku yatta" when he returns ('you really hung in there').
Another relative expressed some trepidation about returning after all these years, and the fact there may be Philippine families effected because (one or both, not sure) the men married locally there.
This kind of thing has not happened for at least 25 years. Perhaps more details will be known soon on these two Japanese soldiers 'in the service of the Emperor' and how they lived for all that time down there.
Turn them loose on the jihadis.
Took them sixty years to surrender? I can admire that, unlike the French who surrender in 60 seconds! :-)
That feudal nobility of duty thing is impressive, I'll say that for them. Whew!
wierd... just last week I was asking my stepdad when the last such surrender occured...
Pretty remarkable - there were sniper holdouts that preyed on the Filipinos well into the 60's, and a couple of soldiers were found in the early 70's as well.
I remember that episode on Gilligan's Island.
Sushi & Angin sound like they might be trying to cash in ($$$) on a good thing they saw a few years ago. What's the odds AITok?
The link only leaves me with question marks.
AIT....could you ping me to any follow up stories about this....thanks.
Y'all could learn a thing or two frem these 'ol boys.
Quite a find on your part.
LOL, the babelfish translation of the story on the Japanese website:
Old Japanese soldier: With the Philippine & Mindanao island information of existence? < The Manila Osawa sentence protection > When on the 26th, 2 men of 80 year old generations which are thought as the old Japanese soldier with the Philippine southern Mindanao island asked the interview with the ambassador staff, it made the resident in Philippine Japanese embassy clear. The ambassador staff on the 27th, interviews with 2 people at the hotel of the same island general sun toss city. According to the embassy authorized personnel, information of interview request from another Japanese of the Mindanao island residence was offered to the embassy. You say that 2 people live in Yamanaka who is close to the same city, possess those which show the fact that it is the Japanese soldier. The name 2, the information regarding the original permanent duty station, without knowing the termination of war of the World War II, living, it was it lives in the mosquito net and some kind of state whether, and so on, it is unclear. Everyday newspaper 2005 May 26th 23:05
And John Kerry couldn't take 4 months.
Boy! Do they have a lot of BACKPAY coming!...........
By now their uniforms must smell very bad?
If true we can count on some great television. Parades, interviews, etc.