Holdouts and Additional Surrenders

Australian Gen. Sir Thomas Blamey accepts surrender on Morotai Island, Dutch East Indies

The logical demands of the surrender were formidable. So many different ceremonies took place across Asia and the entire Pacific. Here we will some that preceded 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.

USS Segundo SS-398 located this Japanese sub 1-401 and negotiated with the crew being that their captain had committed suicide

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.

Australian 6th Div. MGen. Robertson and interpreter explain terms of surrender to Adm. Sata aboard ML-805 (patrol boat) in Kairiru Strait

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/

Ei Yamaguchi re-entering his old tunnel

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.

Not until late 1948, did 200 well organized troops give themselves up on Mindinoa, 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.  In 1949, there was one report of two men living in the shadow of American troops finally turning themselves in.

Japanese weapons collected on Cebu, P.I.

One unusual story – On 3 January 1945, a B-29 Superfortress from the 498th Bomb Group, 875th Squadron, crashed while returning from a bombing mission. On 30 June 1951, men were sent to the area to try and recover the bodies of the plane’s crew. What they encountered were 30 Japanese who did not believe the war was over. They had had a Korean woman with them, but after she spotted an American vessel sailing by and was rescued, the information was received and interest in the “Robinson Crusoes of Anatahan Island” developed.

Kaida Tatsuichi, 4th Tank Regiment & Shoji Minoru on HMAS Moresby at Timor

Teruo Nakamura was the last known holdout 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 later on, but none that were officially confirmed.

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Military Humor – 

“IT SAYS,’I AM AN AMERICAN WITH 94 POINTS AND IF I’M LOST IN ENEMY TERRITORY, PLEASE GET ME HOME'”

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Farewell Salutes –

Mary Amonette (102) – Roslyn, NY; Civilian, Grumman fighter plane construction / WAF WASPS, pilot

Juan M. Borjon – Tucson, AZ; 11th Airborne Division

Douglas Cummings – Euless, TX; US Army, Vietnam, 82nd Airborne Division

Daniel De Anda – USA; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co G/2/23/2/8th Army, KWC (POW Camp # 5, NK)

James J. Deeds – USA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 1st Lt., B-24 pilot, 345 BS/98 BG/9th Air Force, KIA (Ploiesti, ROM)

David M. Findlay – Kitchner, CAN; RC Army, WWII, ETO, Scots Fusiliers

Thomas F. Gaffney – Honolulu, HI; US Army, Korea, Vietnam & Lebanon, Capt. (Ret. 24 y.), 101st Airborne Commander, Bronze Star, 3-Silver Stars

Mabel Hlebakoa (103) – Petaluma, CA; Civilian, WWII, Hamilton Air Force Base

Melvin B. Meyer – Pattonville, MO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 1st Lt., 569BS/390BG/13BW/8th Air Force, B-17G bombardier, KIA (Leipzig, GER)

George J. Reuter – USA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 1st Lt., B-24 navigator, 328BS/93BG/8th Air Force, KIA (Ploiesti, ROM)

Mark P. Wilson – Elizabethton, TN; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pfc., Co A/1/112/28th Infantry Division, KIA (Kommerscheidt, GER)

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About GP

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

Posted on January 23, 2023, in Post WWII, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 123 Comments.

  1. “The logical demands of the surrender were formidable” seems like an understatement. I read these stories in amazement. I wonder about the rumors of holdouts after the last known one in 1974. Sounds quite possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They could not be confirmed by any official means, such as Japanese rosters, so it was deemed they were publicity seekers.
      Thanks for stopping to read and comment, Lavinia. Hope you are feeling well these days.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Always interested in your stories. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Surrender in any situation is a difficult matter. I can understand many of the Japanese not wanting to believe the war was over/ or not receiving word that a truce had been signed. They were dedicated to the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I always appreciate it when you have a like to my posts or comments. Please have a very good day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Stole their food, outrageous! It would have to be difficult to hear the war is over and not be skeptical but to still be killed is awful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Japan abandoned their troops as they got pushed back to the mainland. They were severely short on food, even for their citizens. Japan had not been defeated in 2,000 years, so they could not comprehend being beaten.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It is unbelievable that until 1952 there were still Japanese who did not know that the war was over

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ze waren diep in de oerwouden en/of bergen en probeerden gewoon te overleven. Vaak stalen ze voedsel van de Amerikanen en Filippino’s, maar als ze de taal niet kenden, tastten ze in het duister.

      Like

  7. These wars are so disgusting. So terrible. Anita

    Like

  8. Thanks for your like of my post, “The Kingdom of God – Mysteries;” you are very kind.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. More stuff they don’t teach in history books. Enjoyed the read!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You have to admire their dedication.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “1974”?? I remember the News story about this chap. Imagine hiding in the jungle for 20+ years. I believe he was hailed as a Hero in Japan when he emerged. Amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I had no idea there were “additional surrenders” – did they not believe that the war was over?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The number of islands involved and sections of Asia, having a representative from each for the main signing would have taken even longer to accomplish and some were spontaneous. Also, Russia, Australia, etc wanted to be involved.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. 1952? Really? I don’t think anyone knows that (well…you do.) I knew of the Japanese hidden in jungles refusing to believe the war was over. Wasn’t there a plane that dropped letters from family members to convince them?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Fascinating post! I remember when a Japanese got out of the jungle in the Philippines in the 70s and thought the war was still going on.

    Like

  15. As your stories indicate, war does not have a neat and tidy ending. Never has, never will. Yamaguchi re-entering his old tunnel – that must have been a bit surreal for him. And a holdout emerging as late as 1974!

    Thank you, as always, for the education, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. 1952 for the final end, with the Treaty of San Francisco. How’d I miss that! Fascinating post.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This was as interesting as your posts always are but I couldn’t get the Gilligan’s Island episode, “So Sorry, My Island Now” out of my head.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Dear Sir, i always have felt deeply an appreciation of what you have illuminated with such wonderful/terrible truths. How it has become that i must read aloud all the farewell salutes. This is a small thing i do, for this may i thank you for being able to respect, in profound humility, my brothers and sisters on whose shoulders everything i know stands upon. Thank you for your work.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I am always fascinated by the strange and the unusual, so I found that post extremely interesting. I am no lover of the WW2 Japanese, but my heart goes out to soldiers of both sides who were casualties after the end of the war, many of them for want of effective communication.
    Don’t forget though, that at least one battle was fought between the Americans and the British two weeks after the end of the war, so it can happen to the best of us!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is right! With just about everyone having a smart phone these days (except me that is), not many can blame poor communication on anything, eh?
      Thanks for everything, John.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Great, informative post, GP. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I couldn’t help laughing at the name of the Australian general, Sir Thomas Blarney. I expect there was a lot of blarney being thrown around by all sides as attempts to bring the war to a conclusion went on. I was intrigued by your comment down the page that the Japanese had to develop a word for ‘retreat,’ since it wasn’t a part of their language. All things considered, “about face and follow the officer” was a great solution.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I’ve heard stories of Japanese soldiers emerging from the jungle not knowing the war was over. I wonder what they did all those months.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. GP, your recent posts are so interesting to me. I never, ever thought about the complexity of “shutting down” a war like this. Declaring it over is just the beginning because so many locations and individuals are involved, and some folks aren’t ready to surrender just yet, if ever.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. 1952..wow! Another interesting article…Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Compelling and informative, GP. Your blog always presents a lot of facts that take some time for me to digest. Great job!

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Excellent report and interview, GP. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to elude capture for that last hold out until 1974.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Our son was born in 1974. How awful for those still hiding.

    Like

  28. I had no idea that the fighting continued at all after the surrender in August 1945.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. I guess communication was poor over such a vast area in the Pacific region. So not having been able to receive orders, the Japanese honour code did not allow the soldiers to surrender.

    Liked by 2 people

    • They did not even have a word in their vocabulary for it, nor retreat. When they learned that the US used a retreat as an important part of their strategy, it had to be developed in their language as “about face and follow the officer”.

      Liked by 2 people

  30. Sad that so many didn’t get the news or refused to believe it. Regarding the first photo, FWIW my dad was a Tec 4 in the 93rd Infantry Division and served on Morotai. I don’t have much info on his service. I didn’t see him in the picture (ha ha).

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I remember the Nakamura story. I suppose communications were more precarious in the days

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I did not realise how many incidents there were after the official surrender by the Japanese. Thank you for recording them.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. It is amazing how messy ending the war turned out to be! I recall history in school made it look like the end of the Pacific War was a done deal in the signing of surrender documents on the USS Missouri on 2 September 1945.

    Liked by 3 people

  34. With so much leaflet dropping and other assorted propaganda that had been spread throughout the war by both sides; if I had been one of the holdouts, I’d be skeptical too. I can clearly understand why high-ranking officers were needed in many instances to confirm the Japanese surrender to outliers.

    Liked by 3 people

    • True. They had been handed so many lies over the years and been abandoned by their country – while the war was still on – I don’t know what I would believe in their shoes.

      Liked by 3 people

  35. 1974? My goodness, that’s a whole generation since the war’s end!

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Another great post, GP. I’ve been reading about the 1940s and learning a lot about the action off the coast of California. There’s so much I don’t know, and your post consistently enlightens me. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. How sad to be living in fear, fighting and dying after the war was over.

    Liked by 3 people

  38. Fascinating tales, GP. I have a feeling that is we were to maroon Congress in a jungle, it would quickly turn into Lord of the Flies. 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  39. every so often, and it was always surprising, we’d hear of a holdout

    Liked by 2 people

  40. So sad that soldiers were still being killed by Japanese long after the war was officially over. I remember reports of the man who surfaced in 1974. Simply amazing that he could survive for so long in the jungle.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  41. Thank you, Ned.

    Like

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