Military Review

Samurai eternal battle: 60 years in the jungle after the war

Samurai eternal battle: 60 years in the jungle after the warOn December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and the Great East Asian War began - as it was called in Japan. On September 2, 1945, it ended with the signing of the Act of Unconditional Surrender of Japan. But several Japanese soldiers did not find out about this and continued to fight in the jungles of the Pacific Islands ....

Klondike at the dump

October 14 1944, Private Ito Masashi and Corporal Iroki Manakawa accidentally lagged behind their company. A few minutes later they heard strong shooting - their comrades were ambushed. Masashi and Manakawa crawled away from a dangerous place, and so began their long-term wanderings.

When the emergency supply was eaten, the soldiers began to eat insect larvae, snakes and other exotic dishes. There were enemies around - local residents or enemy units, and Masashi and Manakawa hid from them far away in the jungle.

Later, Masashi said: “We were confident that our generals retreated from tactical considerations, but a day would come when they returned with reinforcements. Sometimes we lit fires, but it was dangerous, as we could be detected. I knew that I had to stay alive in order to fulfill my duty - to continue the struggle. We survived only by chance, because we stumbled upon a dump of the American airbase. ”

This dump has become a real Klondike for lost soldiers. The Americans threw away a lot of food and various things — the Japanese made dishes from cans, made cloth from scraps of cloth. But these pathetic patches did not save them from tropical storms, without stopping the rainy season. For two months in a row, Masashi and Minakawa sat in their shelter in their shelter, eating only frogs and larvae.

Once, two brothers fell out in misfortune, and Minakawa decided to walk away. Masashi recalled: “After he left, I wanted to scream at the top of my voice. I knew that one would not survive. For several days I made my way through the jungle, searching for Manakawa and found him. We hugged and vowed never to leave again. ”

Lunch of rats and frogs

The hermit's life ended for Japanese soldiers only after 16 years ... One morning, Minakawa went hunting and disappeared. Masashi was in a panic: “I knew that I would not survive without him. In search of a friend, I searched all the jungle. Quite by chance I came across a backpack and Minakawa sandals. I was sure that he was captured by the Americans. Suddenly, a plane flew over my head, and I rushed back into the jungle, determined to die, but not to surrender. Having climbed the mountain, I saw four Americans waiting for me there. Among them was Minakawa, whom I did not immediately recognize - his face was clean-shaven. He said that when he walked through the forest, he came across people, and they persuaded him to surrender. I heard from him that the war was long over, but it took me several months to really believe it. They showed me a picture of my grave in Japan, where it was written on the monument that I had died in battle. It was terribly difficult to understand. All my youth was wasted. That evening I went to a hot bath and for the first time in many years I went to bed on a clean bed. It was delicious!"

This история not an isolated case. Some soldiers spent even more time in the jungle. A sergeant of the imperial army, Shoichi Ikoy, once hid in the jungle during an American attack. And I lived completely alone, eating exclusively frogs and rats of long 28 years!

“I was all alone for so many long days and nights. Once I tried to scream and chased a snake, which crawled into my home, but it turned out only a pitiful squeak. My vocal cords were inactive for so long that they simply refused to work. After that, I began to train my voice every day, singing songs or reading prayers out loud. ”

It was accidentally discovered only in January 1972. Ikoi by that time was already 58 years old. He knew nothing about the atomic bombings, about the surrender of Japan. When he realized that the long years of his imprisonment were completely meaningless, he fell to the ground and burst into tears.

Code of honor

Later on, in 1974, 52-year-old Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda was discovered on the remote Philippine island of Lubang. For many years, Nazal Onoda and his comrade Kinshiki Kozuka ambushed the Philippine patrol, mistaking him for the American. Kozuka died, and attempts to track down Onod failed to nothing: he hid in impassable thickets.

He spent thirty years in complete retreat, and was found by a special expedition sent by the Japanese government to search for soldiers remaining in the jungle.

To convince Onoda that the war was over, he even had to call his former commander — he did not want to trust anyone else. Onoda asked for permission to keep the sacred samurai sword he had buried on the island in 1945.

Onoda was so stunned to learn that the war was long over that he had to undergo prolonged psychotherapeutic treatment. He said: “I know that many more of my comrades are hiding in the forests, I know their call signs and the places where they hide. But they will never come to my call. They will think that I did not stand the test and broke down, surrendering to the enemies. Unfortunately, they will die there.”

After a course of psychotherapy, Ononda was brought to Japan and allowed to meet with elderly parents. His father said: “I am proud of you! You acted like a real warrior, as your heart told you "...

A year later, Lee Kuang Hwei, a Taiwanese who volunteered for the Japanese army at the start of World War II, was found. He lived in the jungle, not far from the ocean, in a hut built like a Taiwanese one. Hwei ate mainly fish, which he caught at night with a dart made of pointed bamboo. The Taiwanese threw himself at the feet of the members of the search expedition, which was accompanied by local police, asking for executions, because he had insulted the honor of the emperor by allowing himself to be captured. Interestingly, this soldier turned out to be in excellent physical shape, despite the lack of nutrition and complete loneliness for decades ...

In 2005, 87-year-old Lieutenant Yoshio Yamakawa and 83-year-old Corporal Tsuzuki Nakauchi, who disappeared in 1945, were discovered on the Philippine island of Mindanao. For 60 years they waged their war... The Japanese authorities are sure that other last soldiers of the Second World War are hiding in the jungle and continue to search for them.

Of course, many Europeans or Americans do not understand why these people live in the forest, why they are not looking for parts of the enemy to surrender to him. But in Japan, their behavior is not perplexing. These soldiers are so fanatically devoted to their emperor that they prefer to hide in the jungle in order to avoid the shame of captivity.

These Japanese are the descendants of brave samurai warriors who live according to their own code of honor. Their motto is absolute obedience to their commanders. Captivity is a shame and humiliation that would forever stigmatize them in the eyes of those they respect - friends, family, warriors. This is the mindset of a Japanese soldier during World War II. And no matter how we treat these people, but, no doubt, their code of honor inspires respect ...
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  1. kopar
    kopar 13 December 2012 11: 48
    Real soldiers. Even if their country lost the war, they are worthy of respect .....
  2. YaMZ-238
    YaMZ-238 April 15 2015 11: 44
    Stunned .... so yes ...