27 Years in the Jungle

Japanese ‘holdout’ Shoichi Yokoi had been hiding out in the jungles of Guam since the Second World War when he was discovered by hunters on 24th January, 1972, dressed in clothes woven from tree fibre.

The 57 year-old soldier had endured 27 years living in an underground shelter he dug himself, eating toads, river eels and rats. Although he had heard the War was over, he believed it would be a disgrace to surrender to the Americans.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how Yokoi survived so much longer than his comrades; consider what life was like for him when returned home and saw his own gravestone; and reveal that, despite him becoming a household name in Japan, he wasn’t in fact the last holdout to be discovered… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Shoichi Yokoi, the Japanese soldier who held out in Guam’ (BBC News Magazine, 2012): https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16681636

• ‘Shoichi Yokoi Was the Last Japanese World War II Soldier to Surrender’ (Smithsonian Magazine, 2022): https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-japanese-wwii-soldier-who-refused-to-surrender-for-27-years-180979431/

• ’SOLDIER RETURNS HOME TO JAPAN AFTER 28 YEARS IN HIDING’ (Associated Press, 1972): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcUcBbf6PRg

#WW2 #Japan #Mystery

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

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