After the Battle of Guam in 1944, thousands of Japanese soldiers refused to surrender, and hid in the jungle, preferring to fight on their own instead of being captured by the Americans. By the time the war ended a year later, there were still 130 Japanese holding out on Guam. They ran and hid whenever they were spotted, refusing to endure the dishonor of defeat. Shouichi Yokoi was among them. Leaflets were dropped on the island, but Yokoi considered them enemy propaganda and not to be believed. He lived with other holdouts, until one by one they left, died, or were captured. Finally, he spent eight years without seeing another human being.
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In all, Shouichi Yokoi spent almost 28 years on Guam. Only in January of 1972 did he run into two fishermen, who overpowered him and took him to civilization. Back in Japan, he received a hero’s welcome, but the public was split between honoring him for his dedication to duty and pity for a life wasted. Read about Shouichi Yokoi, how he survived alone on Guam, and what happened after he was found, at Smithsonian.