On this Date in History… January 24th… Shoichi Yokoi was a Sergeant in the Japanese Army during World War 2. Although the war ended in 1945 when Japan surrendered, Shoichi didn’t believe it and for years he hid out in the jungles of Guam.
One of the last of the Japanese soldier holdouts, Shoichi Yokoi was discovered on Guam on January 24th of what year?
Shoichi Yokoi arrived to fight on Guam in February 1943. When American forces captured the island in the 1944 Battle of Guam, he went into hiding with ten other Japanese soldiers. Seven of the original ten eventually moved away and only three remained in the region. These separated, but they visited each other until the other two were killed in a flood. The last eight years on Guam he lived alone. Yokoi survived by hunting, primarily at night. He used native plants to make clothes, bedding, and storage implements, which he carefully hid in his cave.
On the evening of January 24, 1972, Yokoi was discovered in the jungle by two local men checking their shrimp traps along a small river. They had assumed Yokoi was a local villager, but he thought his life was in danger and attacked them. They managed to subdue him and carried him out of the jungle.
“It is with much embarrassment, but I have returned”, he said upon his return to Japan. The remark would become a popular saying in Japanese.
For twenty-eight years, he had hidden in an underground jungle cave, fearing to come out of hiding even after finding leaflets declaring World War II had ended, believing them to be false Allied propaganda.
Yokoi was the third-to-last Japanese soldier to surrender after the war, preceding second lieutenant Hiroo Onoda (relieved from duty by his former commanding officer March 9, 1974) and Private Teruo Nakamura (arrested December 18, 1974).
After a whirlwind media tour of Japan, he married and settled down in rural Aichi Prefecture. Yokoi became a popular television personality and an advocate of austere living. He was featured in a 1977 documentary called Yokoi and His Twenty-Eight Years of Secret Life on Guam. He eventually received the equivalent of $300 in back pay, and a small pension.
Yokoi died in 1997 of a heart attack at the age of 82.
Tonight we had a total of 30 people check in to the Net and, of those, 6 had the correct answer to the Trivia Question. Congratulations to:
- KD6JEV – John
- KD6JPD – Jerry
- N6RRY – Greg
- AD6UP – Louie
- WA6USL – Murray
- KB6YVA – Bob
Thanks to all who supported us by checking in to tonight’s Net.