Japanese repatriation from Huludao

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The Japanese being repatriated from Huludao, China

The Japanese repatriation from Huludao (Japanese: 葫蘆島在留日本人大送還 Koro-tō Zairyū Nihonjin Dai-sōkan or Chinese: 葫芦岛日侨大遣返) refers to sending back to Japan the Japanese people who were left in Northeast China after the end of World War II in 1945. In this operation, done by the American forces' ships under the auspices of the Republic of China government, over one million Japanese were carried back to their homeland, from 1946 to 1948.

General description[edit]

Immediately after the end of World War II in August 1945, about 1.5 million Japanese people were left in China. The majority were in Northeast China, mostly farmers and merchants. Some of the able-bodied men among them were being sent by the Soviet forces to Siberia for forced labor. Engineers and medical doctors were beginning to be asked for cooperation by the Chinese Communist forces.

The Japanese government did almost nothing for this population in the confusion after their defeat in the war. Three young men from Anshan (Kunio Maruyama, Hachiro Shimpo and Masamichi Musashi) volunteered to report the situation to Japan, escaped from Manchuria and met with the Japanese government in Tokyo. They later met with General Douglas MacArthur, then the head of the Allied Occupation Forces, who immediately decided on the Japanese repatriation from Huludao.[1]

The American forces who were assisting the Chinese Nationalist government were aware of this dangerous situation and sent ships on a tripartite operation to:[2]

  • carry Chinese soldiers from Southern China to north in Huludao, for reinforcement
  • repatriate Japanese to Hakata Port, Fukuoka City, Japan
  • transport to China the Chinese people who had worked in Japan mostly under forced labor

Huludao in Liaoning Province was the only strategic seaport and corridor to Northeast China that was held by the Nationalist forces, who were battling against the Chinese Communist forces for control of Northeast China.

From May 7, 1946 (when the operation began) till August 1948 (when it ended as Huludao was under pressure from the Communist forces), about 1,050,000 Japanese people were repatriated. Many had died in Haerbin, Changchun, Shenyang during the 1945-46 winter before this repatriation began. Those who reached Huludao in the worst conditions and died there were buried in the nearby Cishan mountain (Chinese: 茨山), in simple tombs facing east, toward their homeland.

A stele commemorating this event in the Sino-Japanese history stands on the seaport in Huludao. It cannot be easily visited because it is in a restricted area — Huludao is a strategic submarine base in China.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Paul K. Maruyama, Escape from Manchuria (iUniverse、2009) ISBN 978-1-4502-0581-8 (hard cover), 9781450205795 (paperback), based on the earlier books in Japanese by K. Maruyama (1970) and M. Musashi (2000) and other sources
  2. ^ Japanese repatriation from China, an NHK World Premium program, broadcast on December 8, 2008, 22:00-22:49, Japan Time