Healing the body and soul|Center Hospital of National Center for Global Health and Medicine
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Healing the body and soul

Mr. Yokoi Shōichi

  • Mr. Yokoi was stationed in Guam during the WWII, and was pronounced dead in action after the Americans arrived. However, after that, he and other soldiers dug a trench in the jungle to hide in, not knowing that the war had ended. In January 1972, while creating a trap to catch shrimp and eel, he was met by local hunters. He returned to Japan on February 2. The Minister of Health and Welfare picked him up at the airport, and Mr. Yokoi told him, “Thinking that I should be of some service, it is with much embarrassment that I return.” Afterwards, at a press conference, he said, “I am embarrassed that I was alive all that time.”
  • After returning to Japan, Mr. Yokoi was temporarily admitted to the NCGM for a physical examination and rehabilitation. This was an important step in his return to Japan in an era different to the one he had left.

Mr. Onoda Hirō

  • During the WWII, he was sent to Lubang in the Philippines as an intelligence officer for the Japanese Army. After that, not knowing the war had ended, he had been hiding in the jungle until 1974, when he made contact with a Japanese person who informed him that the war was over. Upon receiving orders from his ex-superior to relieve himself of duty and return to Japan, he handed his sword to the Philippine army commander and surrendered on March 10. He was the last Japanese holdout, and he was mentally prepared to be executed. However, the Philippine army commander returned the sword to him and praised him as “a model of loyalty in the military.”
  • He returned to Japan on March 12 and was admitted temporarily to the NCGM for a physical examination and rehabilitation. As in Mr. Yokoi’s case, this was an important step in his return to postwar Japan.