Teruo Nakamura

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Teruo Nakamura
Birth nameAttun Palalin
Born(1919-10-08)8 October 1919
Donghe, Taitō Prefecture, Taiwan
Died15 June 1979(1979-06-15) (aged 59)
National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Republic of China
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service1943–1945 (1974)
RankPrivate
Unit4th Takasago Volunteer Unit 高砂義勇隊
Battles/warsBattle of Morotai

Teruo Nakamura (中村 輝夫, Nakamura Teruo, born Attun Palalin;[1][2] also known as Suniuo;[3][4] 8 October 1919 – 15 June 1979) was a Taiwanese-Japanese soldier of the Imperial Japanese Army who fought for Japan in World War II and did not surrender until 1974. He was the last known Japanese holdout to surrender after the end of hostilities in 1945.

Military service[edit]

Nakamura was an Amis aborigine, born 8 October 1919. In November 1943, he enlisted in a Takasago Volunteer Unit of the Imperial Japanese Army. Nakamura was stationed on Morotai Island, in the Dutch East Indies, shortly before the Allies overran that island in the September 1944 Battle of Morotai. Allegedly, the Imperial Japanese Army declared Nakamura dead on 13 November 1945.[3]

After the Allies captured the island, it appears Nakamura remained there with other stragglers well into the 1950s, though setting off for extended periods on his own. In 1956, apparently, he relinquished his allegiance with his fellow holdouts, and set off to construct a solitary camp consisting of a small hut in a 20 m × 30 m (66 ft × 98 ft) fenced field.[5]

Discovery[edit]

Nakamura's hut was discovered accidentally by a pilot in mid-1974. In November of that year, the Japanese Embassy in Jakarta requested assistance from the Indonesian government in organizing a search mission, which was conducted by the Indonesian Air Force on Morotai, leading to Nakamura's arrest by Indonesian soldiers on 18 December 1974. He was flown to Jakarta and hospitalized there.

News of his discovery reached Japan on the 27th. Nakamura decided to be repatriated straight to Taiwan, bypassing Japan. Upon his return, the Taiwanese press referred to him as Lee Kuang-hui (李光輝), a name he learned of only after his repatriation.[3] Initially, the Taiwanese Kuomintang government did not receive him well, seeing him as a Japanese loyalist.[2][6]

At the time, the Japanese public's perceptions of Nakamura and his repatriation differed considerably from those of earlier holdouts, such as Hirō Onoda, who had been discovered only a few months earlier and was both an officer and ethnically Japanese. As a private in a colonial unit from a now-independent country, Nakamura was not entitled to a pension (due to a 1953 change in the law on pensions), thus received only the minimal sum of ¥68,000 (US $227.59 at the time, US $1,200 in 2020).[1] This caused a considerable outcry in the press, motivating the Taiwanese government and the public to donate a total of ¥4,250,000 to Nakamura.[7]

Five years after his repatriation, on 15 June 1979, Nakamura died of lung cancer.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Last Last Soldier?", Time, 13 January 1975, archived from the original on 1 February 2009
  2. ^ a b Munsterhjelm, Mark (2014). Living Dead in the Pacific: Racism and Sovereignty in Genetics Research on Taiwan Aborigines. University of British Columbia Press. p. 224 fn.8. ISBN 978-0-7748-2659-4.
  3. ^ a b c Han Cheung (2 January 2016). "The last holdout of Morotai". Taipei Times. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  4. ^ Han Cheung (16 September 2018). "Taiwan in Time: Abandoned by the rising sun". Taipei Times. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  5. ^ Webb, William (14 July 2014). No Surrender!: Seven Japanese WWII Soldiers Who Refused to Surrender After the War. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. p. 74. ISBN 978-1500527013.
  6. ^ a b Trefalt, Beatrice (2003). Japanese Army Stragglers and Memories of the War in Japan, 1950-75. RoutledgeCurzon. pp. 160–178. ISBN 0-415-31218-3.
  7. ^ Trefalt, Beatrice (2003). Japanese Army Stragglers and Memories of the War in Japan, 1950-75. RoutledgeCurzon. p. 260. ISBN 0-415-31218-3.

External links[edit]

  • Wretch (Blog), CC: article with a photo of Nakamura (on the right).