SHINYO TAI BOATS
 

The Chevrolet Motor can be seen in the engine compartment, and in the boat at rear, the engine compartment cover. The design allowed the driver to fall backwards into the water immediately before impact, though the concussion of any subsequent explosion would have made any form of escape a moot point.

 

 

 

What had happened to the 20 soldiers?

 

About 5 month after the total defeat of the Japanese was reported, around August 15, 1945, the Corregidor was under the complete rule of the U.S. military. There were still a few dozen surviving Japanese soldiers on the island. Under American occupation, those men were bound to be shot to death once spotted. They were cornered to the west end of the island, and hid in caves in groups of 2 to 3 or 3 to 4. They were still fighting, not to win over the enemy anymore but to sustain their own lives.

Activities in the daylight were impossible, so they came out of the caves at night, searching for food in what the Japanese warehouse used to be, or they searched for water. The major water resource was already taken by the Americans, so their lives depended on any little natural spring of water. The Americans also knew they could find the Japanese in such places, so it could be deadly without the keenest precaution. Their active hours were limited to a few hours at night, when the American soldiers were mostly asleep. Cave dwellings were always set up as far away from each other as possible. And they kept moving on to new sites. They acquired habits of sleeping during the day and moving about at night, like nocturnal animals. Once a cave is found by the enemy, it was burned up with a flame thrower, or smoked up with a smoke candle, so the men inside will be forced to go out to be shot.

The Japanese had lost the military structure, which once defined their order of direction, as well as differentiation between army and navy; yet the men were bonded strongly to each other for their survival, and for the brotherhood that they used to fight for the same motherland. (To be precise, though, even when the Japanese military was still in good shape, the 10th aero information regiment which Koike belonged to was headed by a Navy officer.) To avoid the eyes of the Americans, in small groups of 2 to 3, they kept changing shelters in caves on cliffs or where only from the water could be reached.

[The following anecdote does not indicate whose experience it was. I'll try to translate its subject as neutral as it appears in the original - Translator's Note]

One day learn the location of a colleague and when visit him a few days later, he is found dead in the cave. For fear of American soldiers finding the trace of human activity, the body cannot be moved nor buried but have to be left alone. The only thing for the surviving men can do for him is to say a prayer so he will find his way to heaven.

[ The dead who is not treated properly with respect is believed to be unable to go to heaven, for he leaves regrets in "this" world - Translator's Note]

The same was true when taking food from the old Japanese warehouse. Any change of environment will trigger a major scale cave and mountain search, so keen animal sense was required to bring everything back where it belongs, erasing any evidence of human intrusion.

Meanwhile, the number of survivors decreased one after another, some from disease, some in battles. In the midst of tight enemy guard, homesick and despair made the days of animal-like survival seem endless.

One day, 1st class private Ishikawa happened to pick up an American newspaper with a picture of General MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito standing side by side. He read the text where he could understand and together with the radio information he had heard, he finally learned for sure that Japan had surrendered.

Even then, they themselves could not decide whether or not to surrender, as days went by. The number of colleagues that could be reached decreased to 18. Christmas came and went, and another New Year came. The men finally decided to surrender to the Americans. With 2 more men found in a nearby cave, 16 were from the ex-Army and 6 from ex-Navy.

Two men, Sergeant-Major Hibata and 1st class private Ishikawa, who understood English, reported to the American headquarter with a white flag. They chose the date January 5th, for they figured the Americans may have more generosity if it was still during the holiday season. As it turned out, they had miscalculated the date by 4 days, for they were told it was in fact January the 1st.

The Americans gave them a warm welcome by praising them as "brave soldiers who had continued fighting for their country" even after the war was over. Their surrender was reported to all over the world by war correspondents of many nationalities sent from Manila.

The 20 men later moved to the 4th Calamba prisoners' camp on Luzon and met General Yasufumi Yamashita* there. Yamashita bestowed them a word of appreciation for their loyalty and endurance. Later the general was hung for his responsibility in the war. Among the 20 men, some were alleged to have committed cruelty to American prisoners, but all of them were released not-guilty and sent home by the end of Showa 21.

 

[*Generals Yamashita, Tomoyuki and Homma, Masaharu were incarcerated at Los Baňos, near Calamba, Laguna approx 30 miles south of Manila. After trials, each of which were conducted in an atmosphere that left no doubt as to what the ultimate outcome would be, they were hanged. - Ed.]

   

 

SHINYO TAI BOAT UNDERWAY
 

Although nimble, and with a speed of 25 knots, the boats were easily spotted, and were easily damaged when hit.

 

 

JAPANESE PRISONERS ON CORREGIDOR

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