Christina A. Sharik

HIDING

ALT
In January 1972, this Japanese Soldier named Shoichi Yokoi was finally convinced to come out of hiding. He arrived on Guam since before the American Invasion of that island after having left his home in Japan 30 years earlier.
Twenty-some years after World War II ended
Jap soldiers still hid in the hills they defended –
doing their duty to Emperor and country –
loyal beyond all logical meaning –
hidden behind their branch-and-leaf-screening
in caves and in hidey-holes,
alone and afraid –
year after year, and day after day…
Amazing, you say??
Some of our ‘Nam vets
still hide out today.

Author’s Note: World War II did not neatly end with Japan’s surrender on September 2, 1945. At its height the Japanese Empire was more than 20 million square miles of land and sea. Soldiers in isolated regions fought on for years after the surrender some unaware the war had ended, other refusing to believe. Some hide in the jungles alone, others fought in groups and continued to make attacks and conduct guerilla warfare. These men were called Japanese Holdouts, or Stragglers and their stories are some of the most fascinating human interest stories of the 20th Century.