This is an article which explains the Mural.
Shoichi Yokoi - Last Japanese WWII Straggler on Guam
Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi, a Japanese imperial army straggler who lived in the jungles of Guam for 28 years after World War II ended, died at 5:07 pm Monday Sept 22, 1997 of heart failure at JR Tokai General Hospital in Nagoya Japan. He was 82. Yokoi lived in a tunnel-like, underground cave in a bamboo grove until Jan 24, 1972, when he was discovered near the Talofofo River by hunters. Yokoi, who had been a tailor's apprentice before being drafted in 1941, made clothing from the fibers of wild hibiscus plants and survived on a diet of coconuts, breadfruit, papayas, snails, eels and rats. "We Japanese soldiers were told to prefer death to the disgrace of getting captured alive," Yokoi said in 1972. "The only thing that gave me the strength and will to survive was my faith in myself and that as a soldier of Japan, it was not a disgrace to continue on living," Yokoi said in 1986. No one in the history of humanity, except stragglers later discovered in Philippines, has equaled his record. Few have struggled with loneliness, fear, and self for as long as twenty-eight years.
The people of Guam during World War II survived atrocities committed by the Manchurian Japanese Army. This web page is offered as a medium for the healing to continue. http://ns.gov.gu/scrollapplet/sergeant.html
According to the records about Guam (called Omiya-jima island by Japan), Sergeant Yokoi's unit was located in the Fena Mountain region of the upper reaches of the Talofofo River when the Americans landed on the night of July 21. The Japanese troops made a night attack on the Americans in Nimitz (Showa) Bay; but having managed to bring U.S. tanks on shore, the Americans were on the offense. At this juncture Yokoi's unit already faced a situation in which they would soon be forced to fight until the last man had been killed. Some of them, managed to escape to the west shore of Nimitz (Showa) Bay and ultimately to rejoin the main force in Agana (Akashi). But Yokoi journeyed to the Talofofo area to which he says "I hid in the mountains."
A tailor when he was conscripted in 1941, Sergeant Shoichi Yokoi said he wove cloth from tree bark fibre from Guam's pago/hibiscus trees and made himself trousers and a jacket. He used a pair of scissors he had through the war to tailor the clothes and to cut his hair. He was heavily bearded. Besides the scissors, the only things he kept from his days as a soldier were a waistband embroidered by his mother and a Japanese flag, both of which he had hidden in the cave.
Present during the interview were Guam Police Director J.C. Quintanilla, Guam Governor Carlos G. Camacho, Major P.A. Camacho, Lieutenant M.C. Cruz, Guam American Red Cross Representative, Immigration & Naturalization Representatives and Pacific Daily News Reporters. After the interview, Sergeant Yokoi was transported to Guam Memorial Hospital by Dept Public Safety-1 ambulance for physical examination. Doctors at Guam Memorial Hospital said his blood pressure, heart and pulse were normal, but he appeared to be anaemic, as result of his salt-free diet. Sergeant Yokoi is the third former Japanese soldier to be found on Guam long after the war. Two others were discovered 16 years prior to 1972.
On January 25, 1972, the Guam Police organized a search party to search the hiding place of Sergeant Yokoi and the hiding place where Sergeant Yokoi's companions died. The search party left Talofofo Village in police jeeps as far as the end of a long dirt road through a crude map drawn by Sergeant Yokoi. After about two hours walk from where the police jeeps were parked, Sergeant Yokoi's cave was found. About twenty minutes walk from Sergeant Yokoi's hiding place was the cave where his companions died.
Sergeant Yokoi's hiding place is on a little bamboo grove on the side of a rolling slope which ended in a small stream. The entrance to the shaft of the tunnel was cleverly concealed. Bamboo slats were tied over the top and bamboo leaves scattered covering the opening of the shaft.
The shaft is about 20 inches wide and a drop of about 8 feet. The tunnel runs about 10 feet deep southwest. His stove, toilet and resting place were photographed and many homemade implements were found and seized.
On January 27, 1972, the search party returned to the tunnel with U.S. Naval Magazine Bomb Disposal Team. Two japanese handgrenades were dismantled and a 155mm American shell was removed from a second tunnel where Sergeant Yokoi's companions died.
On the same day, Detective Scharff again explored the same tunnel and found the bones and skulls of the two companions lying close side by side. Bones and skulls were turned over to Dr. Orlando Varona for study.
Sergeant Yokoi was hosted at the Government House by Governor and Mrs. Carlos G. Camacho. Admiral Paul Pugh, commander Naval Forces Marianas paid a visit to Sergeant Yokoi at the hospital. On Jan 27, 1972, Mr. Kazunari Nakamura, director of Repatriation of the Ministry of Health and Welfare and Mr. Masato Abe, assistant to Mr. Nakamura, arrived in Guam via Japan Self-Defense plane.
On February 2, 1972, at 12:00 Noon, Sergeant Yokoi departed Guam via Japan Special Flight, accompanied by Messrs. Nakamura, Abe and Japanese TV and News Reporters and Photographers. The remains of the two companions of Sergeant Yokoi were taken back to Japan on the same flight. He brought back his army-issue rifle, which he said he wanted to return to "the honorable Emperior," adding "I am sorry I did not serve his majesty to my satisfaction." Yokoi said he was from a village in Aichi prefecture, but when officials checked they found that his home town had been amalgamated in Nagoya, Japan's third largest city. Officials at the relief bureau there found his name listed in proper Japanese "alphabetical" order in a list of the prefecture's 98,000 war dead. He was listed as having been killed Sept. 30 1944. In November 1972, Yokoi married 44 year old Mihoko and return to Guam for his honeymoon. He has returned to Guam several times over the years.
Yokoi traveled around Japan giving lectures on survival topics and even starred in television special, "Yokoi and the Seven Beauties," in which he taught Japanese women about the art of survival. He ran unsuccessfully for the House of Councillors - Parliament's upper house - in 1974.
(Shoichi Yokoi - Article #3)
The Capture of Shoichi Yokoi
On January 24, 1972, two hunters captured a Japanese soldier who had been hiding in the jungles of Guam since the American forces took the island in 1944. His name was Shoichi Yokoi, and in the summer of 1944, he had retreated into the jungle rather than surrender, and had been there ever since. He resided in a cave he had dug from a bamboo thicket, and lived on a diet of nuts, mangos, papaya, breadfruit, snails, and rats. Having been a tailors apprentice before the war, he was able to fashion clothing and footwear from tree bark, and coconut husks using needles he made from nails, and buttons he made from wood. He made a calendar from a tree trunk that he notched it at every full moon, and though he had read from a leaflet that the war had ended, he was determined to avoid capture until the Imperial Japanese Army returned. Once captured, he was taken to Guam Memorial Hospital were doctors who had examined him were surprised to find him in good health. Evidently, his first question was, "Tell me quick, is Roosevelt dead"? When news of his capture reached Japan, he became an instant hero.
People gave him gifts that totaled $80.000, and job offers and marriage proposals poured in. But there were some dissenting voices as well. Some felt that since so many Japanese men hadn’t come home from the war, why was so much attention being given to this one man? Others found his devotion to the Emperor antiquated and embarrassing. Some wondered that if he were such a good soldier, why hadn’t he committed Hara-Kiri when Guam fell. He was surprised and a little saddened at how his country had changed. He was quoted as saying, "The glories of nature that I used to know have all disappeared. Instead up in the sky we have this thing called smog. On Earth, cars are killing more people than the war". Most disturbing to him were modern Japanese women. "They are monsters whose virtue is all but gone from them, and who screech like apes". Before the war they were, "virtuous, and obedient to the commands of menfolk, lovely to look at, gentle and retiring. Eventually, his countrymen began to forget about him, and he bought a house with the money his countrymen had donated. He settled down with Mihoko Hatashin whom he married. He described her as a nice old-fashioned Japanese girl.