What was the name of the WWII Japanese soldier discovered in the jungles of Guam on 24 January 1972?
Shōichi Yokoi (March 31, 1915 – September 22, 1997) was a sergeant in the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) during the Second World War and was among the last three Japanese holdouts to be found after the end of hostilities in 1945. He was discovered in the jungles of Guam on 24 January 1972, almost 28 years after U.S. forces had regained control of the island in 1944.
On the evening of 24 January 1972, Yokoi was discovered in the jungle by Jesus Dueñas and Manuel De Gracia, two local men checking their shrimp traps along a small river on Talofofo. They had assumed Yokoi was a villager from Talofofo, but he thought his life was in danger and attacked them. They managed to subdue him and carried him out of the jungle with minor bruising.
"It is with much embarrassment that I return," he said upon his return to Japan. The remark quickly became a popular saying in Japan.
Despite having hidden for twenty-eight years in a jungle cave, he had known since 1952 that World War II had ended. He feared coming out of hiding, explaining, "We Japanese soldiers were told to prefer death to the disgrace of getting captured alive."