Additional Surrenders

Lubang Island surrender

The extraordinary reluctance of Japanese soldiers to surrender was regarded by the Allies at the time as an indication of fanatical devotion to the Emperor.  While that was doubtless a factor, particularly among the officer corps, other elements may have been at play. Inoue Hayashi, a junior Japanese Army officer, claimed that the iron rule against surrender was necessary to  prevent a total collapse of morale. (Hastings 2007):

“If we were told to defend this position or that one, we did it. To fall back without orders was a crime. It was as simple as that. We were trained to fight to the end, and nobody ever discussed doing anything else. Looking back later, we could see that the military code was unreasonable. But at that time, we regarded dying for our country as our duty. If men had been allowed to surrender honorably, everybody would have been doing it.”

“Those who know shame are weak. Always think of [preserving] the honor of your community and be a credit to yourself and your family. Redouble your efforts and respond to their expectations. Never live to experience shame as a prisoner. By dying you will avoid leaving behind the crime of a stain on your honor.”

Prince Konoye – 3 times Premier of Japan lies dead

The logical demands of the surrender were formidable. So many different ceremonies took place across Asia and the entire Pacific. Here we will look into some that proceeded peacefully and others that refused the peace. In actuality, the state of war between the U.S. and Japan did not officially end until the Treaty of San Francisco took effect 28 April, 1952.

One mass surrender did occur at Noemfoor in September 1944 when 265 Japanese enlisted men, angry at their superiors for stealing their food for their own use. And, in August 1945, another starving Japanese military unit surrendered to a lieutenant in New Guinea. On 1 December 1945, Captain Oba and 46 members of his unit were the last Japanese on Guam to surrender.

In 1946, on Lubang Island, Philippines, intense fighting developed on 22 February when American and Filipino troops met 30 Japanese soldiers. Eight of the Allied troops were killed. Then in April, 41 members of a Japanese garrison came out of the jungle, unaware that the war was over.

Ei Yamaguchi entering his old tunnel.

At the end of March 1947, a band of Japanese led by Ei Yamaguchi of 33 men renewed the fighting on Peleliu Island. There were only 150 Marines stationed on the island by that time and reinforcements were called in to assist. A Japanese Admiral also went to convince the troops that the war was indeed over. The holdouts came out of the jungle in two different groups in late April. Yamaguchi returned to his old tunnel in 1994 and Eric Mailander and Col. Joe Alexander interviewed him. To see the interview go to – http://www.pacificwrecks.com/people/visitors/mailander/ (If this link was not done correctly, please go to Pacific Wrecks. com)

In that same month, on Palawan Island, 7 Japanese troops armed with a mortar launcher emerged from the jungle and surrendered. On 27 October 1947, the last Japanese soldier surrendered carrying a water bottle, a broken Australian bayonet and a Japanese entrenching tool.

USMC base during Operation Beleaquer

Not until late 1948, did 200 well organized troops give themselves up on Mindinao, P.I.  And, in China, 10-20,000 well equipped Japanese troops who were trapped in the mountains of Manchuria between the warring Nationalist and Communist forces, finally found a chance to surrender thanks to the efforts of the USMC Operation Beleaguer.

In 1949, there was one report of two men living in the shadow of American troops finally turning themselves in.

Teruo Nakamura was one of the last known holdouts of WWII when he emerged from the jungle retreat that housed him in Indonesia, December 1974. There were rumors of men claiming to be holdouts in the 1980’s, but none were officially confirmed.

Probably the most memorable of the holdouts was Hiroo Onoda, whose story we will see in the next post.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Personal Note – 

Those expecting a D-Day post, simply type, ‘D-Day’, into the Search bar at the top-right of this post and you are bound to find one of interest.  A rather different view of D-Day will be forthcoming.

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Military Humor – 

This comic strip was found on the opposite page of the Japanese surrender article, N.Y. Daily News, 3 Sept. 1945, by Smitty’s mother.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Eli Blumenberg – Denver, CO; US Navy, WWII

William Tully Brown – Winslow, AZ; USMC, WWII, PTO, Navajo Code Talker

Dorothy “Red” Churchill (104) – Wallingford, CT; Civilian photographer for US military

Frank DeGennaro – Canonsburg, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. A/188/11th Airborne Division

Edwin Glatzhofer – Pinehurst, NC; US Army, WWII, Signal Corps

H.W. Hanks – Memphis, TN; US Army, WWII, ETO, 103rd Infantry Division

John Knauer – Des Moines, IA; US Navy, WWII, steamfitter, USS Amycus

Louis Levi Oakes – Akwesasane, NY; US Army, WWII, Co. B/442nd Signal Battalion

Louis Smith – Carlisle, AR; US Navy, WWII

Burton Walrath – Cedar Key, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 1st Sgt., Combat Engineers

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on June 6, 2019, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 89 Comments.

  1. One always suspected that it was more a matter of deeply entrenched honour than of loyalty.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I did not know the war between the US and Japan officially ended in 1952! The holdout found in 1974 is also fascinating.

    Yes, modern technology and communications would probably prevent such lengthy endings, but I can envision a future war where technology is the primary target.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. They survived. They got to go home and rebuild their country to create a new era in their history. The world is better for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. An interesting insight into the psychology of the Japanese during WWII.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It was a great pity that eight Allied troops had to die in 1946, killed by the Japanese. And to be honest, it may well have been completely unpreventable, given the type of landscape in the Philippines.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Shame and guilt are somewhat different, and it intrigues me to ponder whether part of the unspoken conflict during WWII was between a guilt culture (the Allies, or at least the Americans) and a shame culture. There are increasing attempts today to shame people for various beliefs; perhaps a close study of Japanese culture could help us understand how to deal with that here.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Again thank you and we’ve seen a lot on television about many of the fellows were still here not that many beds many fillets that are still here and I praise them

    Read: http://www.sheilaclapkin.com

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have to agree with the thinking of some of the Japanese at the end, that surrendering without orders was unthinkable, fighting to the finish is inherent in all true warriors, many of Australia’s Victoria Cross winners displayed the same trait.
    Thanks for an interesting read gp.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Poor old Teruo Nakamura didn’t have a great reception when he surrendered, did he? He wasn’t considered Japanese enough, by the Japanese and was thought too Japnese by the country of his birth, Taiwan.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Excellent retelling of the story, GP !

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Extraordinary, there were still fighting after 1945 when some of these troops got found. Thanks for sharing GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Gosh so interesting… it’s always so powerful to hear in their own words the mentality of the time too!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I understand the mental discipline of the Japanese soldier, and within they culture that was very respectable. Deception with their own people to enforce discipline was less so. I remember a story told by an Okinawan woman, how her mother had her and her sisters gather around a hand grenade she triggered so they might avoid being raped and tortured. The grenade didn’t go off and the Americans brought them food and water five minutes later.

    Have a thoughtful June 6th.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for adding that story, Keith. I suppose their military type gov’t at the time and deceiving the people was a broadened idea of the war lord mentality. They lived in a world so different from ours.

      Like

  14. Wow. Can you imagine living on an island and it’s 1980 and you’ve been there for 40 years thinking you are at war?

    Liked by 2 people

  15. The war ended but it restarted in spots

    Liked by 1 person

  16. WOW. I knew there were hold-outs, but not to that extent. Whatever their reason, loyalty, shame etc, it’s really pretty amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Anxiously awaiting the next post.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. The Japanese warriors in caves and thick jungles had no way of knowing the war ended. It was amazing to see them came out of the jungle in the ’70s and still did not know the war had ended. Great post GP!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. It’s hard to imagine living in such isolation for months, let alone years.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Dang it GP, you’ve got me reading the Oba book again now! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. As one who really likes loose ends tied quickly this would have been totally frustrating.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Another great post, GP. I’ve earned the equivalent of an MA in history just since I began reading your blog. Happy D-Day (even if it’s not on your patch of WWII.)

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Great post GP. The code by which the Japanese forces fought and died never ceases to amaze me. They fought like a colony of insects, with a singular focus and complete disregard for self. The fact that the Allies dug deep enough to defeat such an indoctrinated and fanatic force is extraordinary.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Pierre Lagacé

    A+ GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Pierre Lagacé

    The link is working GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Staggering to imagine that soldiers waited until 1974. Their loyalty and dedication was incredible. Also that they could have imagined that the war was still going on.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating. Learning so much, I sometimes feel overwhelmed. Thankyou:)

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Amazing how long after the war ‘ended’ all this was still going on.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Thank you very much, Ian!!

    Like

  1. Pingback: Additional Surrenders // Pacific Paratrooper #AceHistoryDesk reports | ' Ace Worldwide History '

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