Accomplishments and Records

The Last Soldier

Private Teruo Nakamura (1919 - 1979)

Private Teruo Nakamura (1919 – 1979)

Officially, World War II came to an end on September 2, 1945 with the surrender of Japan. For Teruo Nakamura, the war would continue for another 29 years, 3 months, and 17 days.

Nakamura was serving as a private in the Japanese army in September 1944 and was stationed on the Indonesian island of Morotai when Allied armies took control of the island. Nakamura would not accept defeat, however, and went into hiding, determined to carry on the war.

Nakamura was declared dead in March 1945. Few could have suspected that he was alive and well, living in his personally-constructed camp on Morotai. There he remained, still fighting the war that he alone continued to recognize. It was a lonely war, since his camp was isolated from the rest of humanity.

When a pilot spotted Nakamura’s camp in mid-1974, it triggered a search mission by the Indonesian Air Force. Private Nakamura was taken into custody on December 18, 1974, becoming the last Japanese solider to surrender — 10,700 days after the surrender of his government.

Nakamura resettled in his native Taiwan, where he lived for five years before dying of lung cancer on June 15, 1979.


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