Teruo Nakamura

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Teruo Nakamura
Born(1919-10-08)8 October 1919
Taiwan, Empire of Japan
Died15 June 1979(1979-06-15) (aged 59)
Chenggong Township, Taitung, Taiwan, Republic of China
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service1943–1974
RankPrivate
Unit4th Takasago Volunteer Unit 高砂義勇隊
Battles/warsBattle of Morotai

Private Teruo Nakamura (中村 輝夫, Nakamura Teruo, 8 October 1919 – 15 June 1979) was a Taiwan-born soldier of the Imperial Japanese Army from the indigenous Amis tribe, who fought for Japan in World War II and did not surrender until 1974. He is the last known Japanese hold-out to surrender after the end of hostilities in 1945.

His name in his native Amis language was Attun Palalin.[1][2] He was also known as Suniuo.[3][4] The Taiwanese press referred to him as Lee Kuang-hui (李光輝), a name of which he learned only after his repatriation in 1975.[3]

Military service[edit]

Nakamura was an Amis aborigine from Taiwan. Born in 1919, he was enlisted into a Takasago Volunteer Unit of the Imperial Japanese army in November 1943. He was stationed on Morotai Island in Indonesia shortly before the island was overrun by the Allies in September 1944 in the Battle of Morotai. Nakamura was declared dead on 13 November 1945, by the Imperial Japanese army.[3]

After the capture of the island, it appears that Nakamura lived with other stragglers on the island until well into the 1950s, while going off for extended periods of time on his own. In 1956, he apparently decided to relinquish his allegiance with the other remaining holdouts on the island and set off to construct a small camp of his own, consisting of a small hut in a 20 x 30-metre fenced field.[5]

Discovery[edit]

Nakamura's hut was accidentally discovered by a pilot in mid-1974. In November 1974, the Japanese Embassy in Jakarta requested the assistance of the Indonesian government in organizing a search mission, which was conducted by the Indonesian Air Force on Morotai and led to his arrest by Indonesian soldiers on 18 December 1974. He was flown to Jakarta and hospitalised there. News of his discovery reached Japan on December 27, 1974. Nakamura decided to be repatriated straight to Taiwan, bypassing Japan, and died there of lung cancer five years later in 1979. The Taiwanese Kuomintang government initially did not receive him well, because it considered him a Japanese loyalist.[2][6]

Nakamura's repatriation and his perception in the Japanese public at the time differed considerably from that of earlier holdouts, such as Hiroo Onoda, who had been discovered only a few months earlier and who was both an officer and an ethnic Japanese. As a private of a colonial unit, Nakamura was not entitled to pensions after a 1953 change in the law on pensions, and thus received only a minimal sum of ¥68,000 (US $227.59 at the time, now US $1,100 in 2018).[1] This raised a considerable outcry in the press, motivating the Taiwan (ROC) government and the public to donate a total of ¥4,250,000 to Nakamura.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Last Last Soldier?", Time, January 13, 1975.
  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. No Surrender!: Seven Japanese WWII Soldiers Who Refused to Surrender After the War. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. p. 74. ISBN 978-1500527013.
  6. ^ 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).