The Japanese soldier who didn’t surrender and hid in the mountains for 28 years

Shoichi Yokoi was a former Japanese soldier who lived in the mountains of Guam for 28 years without knowing that the War in the Pacific was over. The War in the Pacific is regarded as one of the bloodiest episodes in World War II.

Because of his history, he ended up becoming a celebrity in Japan. Find out a little more here about how these 30 years of this soldier and his return home were.


The Hidden Japanese Soldier

When he returned home, Shoichi Yokoi revealed that he felt ashamed for his actions and for having survived. It is worth remembering that in Japanese society, he can be seen as a dishonor not to fulfill the mission with his companions, especially in a time like the one in which he lived.

Yokoi was on Guan Island in 1944 when the Americans arrived and took over the island. However, in order not to surrender, he decided to go into the woods. He was only discovered years later when Jesus Duenas and Manuel DeGracia, who were local hunters, found him.


One of them wanted to kill Yokoi as the Japanese army had killed his sister during the war. However, he was eventually convinced not to do so. And so, Yokoi began her journey back to her home and family.

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Who was the Japanese soldier?

Born in Saori Village (now Aisai City), Aichi Prefecture, Yokoi left for the former Manchuria region of northeast China to fight in the war in 1941.

He was sent to Guam in March 1944 and continued to live in the jungle, not knowing the war was over, before being found and returning to Japan in February 1972. His first words upon returning home were, “I have shamefully returned home”. This became a famous phrase at the time that is remembered as Yokoi’s to this day.


Yokoi married Mihoko in November 1972 after an agreement with an acquaintance, and he has lectured across the country as a “poor lifestyle advocate”. In his later years, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease.

In her sickbed, Yokoi confided in Mihoko her dream of building a memorial museum before she passed away in September 1997 at age 82. Mihoko opened the memorial in June 2006. In the exhibition space on the first floor of her two-story wooden house, approximately 70 items were displayed, including a life-size model of a jungle cave in which Yokoi lived during her survival. in Guam, reproduced with bamboo and Japanese “washi” paper, Yokoi’s handcrafted loom and his ceramic work, which he started doing at age 60.

However, the museum was permanently closed in 2022.


Source: Mainichi.JP.

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