World War II in the News is a review of WWII articles providing thought-provoking collection of hand-picked WW2 information.

If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series (link)
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If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series.

Japanese Imperial Army

Japanese Imperial Army and the soldiers who battled on decades after the war ended.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Kamikazes, Hirohito - Tojo, WWII & Japanese Flags, Japanese Atrocities, WW2 Militaria, Hunt for the Japanese WWII Gold.

Five things Japan could have done differently, for a better chance of Winning in WWII
There was no possible way for Japan to compete against the US in WWII. As long as the US didn`t lose their will to fight and pushed their leaders to push to victory, Washington would claim a mandate that authorized them to use the industry available in the US to turn out a nearly limitless supply of ships, tanks, planes and weapons. Japan simply had no way to keep up with their economy about one-tenth of the US economy. But that doesn`t mean that Japan could not have won the war. Sometimes the weaker party wins the fight.

Invasion of Japan 1945 - The latest strategy game campaign from Conflict-Series out now
Invasion of Japan 1945 is a turn based strategy game set on the WWII Pacific theater. This scenario covers Operation Olympic (landing on Kyushu), which was the first part of Operation Downfall (Invasion of Japan). In this Conflict-Series campaign you are in command of the US amphibious force tasked with seizing Kyushu - the southernmost of the Japanese home islands - to set the stage for the second stage of the Operation Downfall. The geography of Japan has forced the Allies to choose a predictable strategy, and the Japanese have set up their fanatical forces very well to take on the American onslaught. To defend Kyushu Japan is planning to throw in most of their troops, as well as huge number of civilian fighting units and what's left of their naval might. The fact that Japan is starting to run low on supplies is counterbalanced by the long supply distances Allies has to deal with, not forgetting kamikaze planes and midget submarines.
(Play Store)

Japan fought with such brutality that even today Japanese scholars and diplomats have a hard time dealing with it
During World War II, Japan fought with such brutality that even today Japanese scholars and diplomats have a hard time admitting these atrocities actually happened.

Japanese were planning attack on Panama Canal in the final days of WWII
In the final days of the war the Japanese were considering a plan to attack the Panama Canal, the primary route for America`s transport of troops and supplies from the east coast of the U.S. to the Pacific Theater. The plan was put together later as Japan was building a group of super submarines, underwater aircraft carriers which housed three suicide bombers each. At the end of May 1945 final preparations for a secret mission were taking place at the aerial operations division of Imperial Japanese Headquarters. The secret operation was intended to shatter confidence among those in the U.S., much like the raid on Pearl Harbor. If it had been successful, the U.S. would have been forced to send troops and supplies overland to the West Coast, or south around South America.

Hiroo Onoda, Japanese soldier who hid in jungle for 29 years after WWII ended, dies at 91
A Japanese soldier who refused to surrender after WWII ended and spent 29 years in the jungle has died aged 91 in Tokyo. Hiroo Onoda remained in the jungle on Lubang Island near Luzon, in the Philippines, until 1974 because he did not believe that the war had ended. He was finally persuaded to emerge after his ageing commanding officer was flown in to see him. As WW2 neared its end, Mr Onoda, then a lieutenant, became cut off on Lubang as US troops came north. The young soldier had orders not to surrender - a command he obeyed for nearly three decades. "Every Japanese soldier was prepared for death, but as an intelligence officer I was ordered to conduct guerrilla warfare and not to die. I became an officer and I received an order. If I could not carry it out, I would feel shame. I am very competitive," he told in an interview in 2010.

Forgotten Japanese war diary returned home
A Japanese naval diary retrieved from a Second World War battlefield and stored in the belongings of an Australian veteran has been returned home after 67 years. When Lindy Glover, daughter-in-law of Alexander Glover, who served in the 2nd 3rd Pioneer Battalion, found the WWII diary she felt compelled to return it. Through the Australian War Memorial, Lindy found researcher Keiko Tamura, who helped her to track down the author's family members in Japan.

Private Yokoi's War and Life on Guam by Omi Hatashin [book review]
Imagine being driven into hiding and being on edge for 28 years - like Shoichi Yokoi, the Imperial Japanese Army soldier and latter-day celebrity. When American forces retook the western Pacific island of Guam in 1944, Private Yokoi went on the run, avoiding chasers real and imagined. Do not confuse him with two other high-profile imperial diehards who slightly outlasted him. Second Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda led a guerrilla task force on the Philippine island of Lubang near Manila, and emerged from the jungle in March 1974. Private Teruo Nakamura was discovered growing crops on the Indonesian island of Morotai in Dec. 1974.

US army documentary: Japanese veteran travels back to Hell Island (Iwo Jima)
The tunnels of Iwo Jima snake deep beneath the volcanic soil, their entrances camouflaged by a tangle of vines and tall grasses. In their choking heat, Tsuruji Akikusa suffered months of hunger and thirst. The bodies of dead comrades lay around him. His closest friend blew himself up with a grenade rather than surrender. Finally, Akikusa was the only one left alive in his cave. In May 1945 American troops found him wounded, unconscious and dehydrated. Akikusa, 81, relived those horrors when he stepped foot for the first time since the war on Iwo's black beaches, flown to the island for a US army-produced documentary on his life.

A group of Japanese soldiers who served in Philippines send apologies
A group of Japanese soldiers who served in Philippines in the last moments of World War II apologized for the war. The apology, in the form a videotape delivered by two young Japanese women, contained messages from the soldiers who served in Kiangan. "Some really wanted to apologize in person to the Filipino people but they are too old to do so. They really wanted to unburden themselves." Akane Aigase and Naoko Jin are members of the Bridge for Peace, which made the pilgrimage to the Kiangan Peace Memorial Shrine. In the footage, one of the members of the Imperial Army was still troubled by the image of crying babies in Kiangan.

The Ants (Ari no Heitai) - Japanese Imperial soldier left in China after WW2
The Ants (Ari no Heitai) is a documentary film about Japanese troops left in China after World War 2. The film follows Waichai Okumura, a former Imperial soldier who battled against the communists in China's civil war. The men followed orders and fought like worker ants, "for the resurgence of Japanese imperialism." When he was able to travel back to Japan 9 years after WW2 had ended, Okumura was astonished to find his government had disowned these soldiers. The men were labeled as mercenaries and denied their pensions; A handful of soldiers went after the Japanese authorities to tell the truth about why the men had been fighting.

Tora, tora, tora pilot Mitsuo Fuchida left memoirs of world war 2
Manuscripts of an autobiography by Mitsuo Fuchida, the pilot who led the air attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and sent the famous signal - "Tora, tora, tora" - that indicated that total surprise had been achieved, have been kept by his son. The manuscripts depict the briefing on the attacks that his father, then a lieutenant commander in the Imperial Japanese Navy, gave to Emperor Showa, and recount how rivalry affected major strategies, stories that had so far remained untold. Fuchida commanded the air squadron on the aircraft carrier Akagi, which was among the carriers used in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Satoru Omagari was ordered to the defense of Iwo Jima
Satoru Omagari was a sub-lieutenant in the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Force when he was ordered to the defense of Iwo Jima in 1944. Here, published for the first time in English, are some of his recollections of the battle of Iwo Jima. -- At 18:00 on March 8, 1945, 20 days after American forces had landed on Iwo Jima, we were ordered to launch a full-scale attack on Mount Suribachi. I was leading a group of 100 troops. We wandered into Commander Nishi's Tank Unit Bunker Headquarters, and I was persuaded by Nishi to stay and regroup his units. The unit had already lost all its tanks from mortar attacks and the Americans' M4 combat tanks.

Documentary about soldier of the Imperial Japanese Army   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Last year, Waichi Okumura visited China for the first time in 61 years. During World War II, Okumura, a former soldier of the Imperial Japanese Army, was stationed there and killed his first man: In 1945 an officer told novice soldiers to bayonet tied farmers. He went to the spot where he killed the man and burned incense sticks for him. While there two local man told him that, the japanese guards stopped fighting after Chinese communist troops attacked. On hearing this, the tone of Okumura's voice changed, although he was being filmed. ...Later he realized what he had been saying - horrified at the thought that he might have changed back into a Japanese soldier.

Unit 731 planned germ warfare against U.S. forces after WW2   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Imperial Japanese Army's germ warfare unit planned to stage germ attacks against U.S. troops in Japan just after Japan's surrender in World War II in August 1945, according a memorandum left by the unit's commander, Lt. Gen. Shiro Ishii. But the germ warfare team, known as Unit 731, gave up the plan after being told by then top commanders of the Imperial Japanese Army, "Don't die in vain." It is unclear how Ishii planned to carry out the attacks because statements of the memorandum are fragmentary. Unit 731 was known to have made preparations to stage "tokko" suicide germ attacks against U.S. forces just before Japan's surrender.

WWII kamikaze's life
Kamikaze pilot Masayuki Matsumuro escaped death twice near the end of World War Two. But it was a chance encounter with a U.S. soldier that changed his life forever. At 14, he signed up to be a pilot for the Japanese Imperial navy. At 15, he volunteered for a suicide squadron planning an attack on U.S.-occupied Okinawa in 1945. A month before that mission, he visited his home in Hiroshima. At dawn on Aug. 6, he boarded a train to travel back to his base. Two hours later, a U.S. B-29 Super Fortress named the Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the city, destroying everything he had ever known. The kamikaze mission was cancelled, and the war soon ended.

Japanese soldiers competed to be first to behead 100 Chinese   (Article no longer available from the original source)
The Tokyo Court dismissed a damages demand for alleged defamation over publications that said two Japanese soldiers competed against each other to be first to behead 100 Chinese soldiers during war in 1937. The Tokyo Nichinichi Shimbun reported in articles in 1937 that the two second lieutenants carried out the "hyakunin giri kyoso" (hundred head contest) to see who could behead 100 Chinese soldiers first, while on their way to Nanjing. The Asahi published a series of articles in 1971 based on accounts of Chinese survivors of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, mentioning the killing contest by the two soldiers.

Japanese WWII Imperial Army soldier found alive
A Japanese ex-soldier who disappeared after WWII and was officially declared dead in 2000 has turned up alive in Ukraine. Ishinosuke Uwano was serving with the Japanese Imperial Army in Russia's Sakhalin Island when the war ended. He lost contact with his family in 1958. The 83-year-old has now reappeared, in Ukraine, where he has a family. He was one of thousands of Japanese soldiers and civilians who were left stranded across the Pacific and in parts of China and Russia after the war ended.

Trooper of the Japanese Imperial Army - Battlefield Kuala Pak Amat
At midnight on Dec 7, 1941, Japanese transport ships carrying 5,300 men had anchored off Kuala Pak Amat and Sabak beaches. By 12.25am the next day, the first wave of Japanese shock troops had landed, meeting by fierce resistance by the British units. The onslaught against Kuala Pak Amat was one and half hours before Japanese dive-bombers attacked on the US naval fleet at Pearl Harbour. "The battle was fierce ... to the extent that the water turned red due to blood from the bodies of dead soldiers." A monument to mark the first landing of Japanese invaders in the country may be be set up soon, with the conservation of 7 British war-time bunkers in area.

Battle of Okinawa mass suicides recalled, debated
Masahide Ota fought as a member of a "Blood and Iron Corps" of students mobilised to defend the southern Japanese island against American invaders. As many as one-third of Okinawa’s inhabitants were killed in the battle, described by many historians as a doomed sacrifice ordered by Japan’s military leaders to delay an invasion of the mainland. Many civilians, often entire families, died in mass suicides, by some accounts at the order of fanatical Japanese soldiers. Ota and others argue that whether or not there was a direct military order to commit suicide is not the point.

Kamikaze pilot - We were ready to die for Japan
The story of a kamikaze pilot: He was 21 and preparing for what was supposed to be his valedictory contribution to the Japanese war effort as a member of the elite Tokkotai Special Attack Squadron - the kamikaze. Late 1944 he was in the Philippines preparing for a suicidal attack on a British cruiser. But for the first time in his flying career, his beloved Zero fighter let him down. When the aircraft developed engine trouble, Mr Hamazono was forced to return to another base in Taiwan. By the time he returned to Japan, doubts were surfacing about the value of the men of the Tokkotai: the 2,000 kamikaze aircraft dispatched had managed to sink only 34 ships.

Japan close to giving up on WW2 "stragglers"
Diplomats and journalists were losing hope of meeting two Japanese soldiers left over from WWII as suspicion mounted that the story was false. Media have named the pair as Yoshio Yamakawa and Tsuzuki Nakauchi. The last known Japanese straggler from the war was found in 1975 in Indonesia. Officials have said the mediator admitted he had not met the men himself and had only heard about them from Filipino contacts. On a roster of Imperial Japanese Army members, the two men were registered as dead. General Santos residents said it was well known that some Japanese soldiers had avoided surrendering and had settled down with tribal communities in the nearby mountains.

US troops accused of murder - Not all Japanese cruel and robotic   (Article no longer available from the original source)
American and Australian soldiers massacred Japanese POWs, according to one of the most detailed studies of memoirs of the WW2 in the Pacific. It also discloses that the soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army were far from the cruel, mindless troops of popular legend. Prof Richard Aldrich said "We have this stereotypical idea that the Japanese were all cruel and robotic while the Allied forces were tough but fair." American generals worried about the abuse of human remains by their troops. Skulls of dead Japanese soldiers were often displayed as gruesome mascots by some units, while US marines made a speciality of collecting ears.

Three Japanese airmen - Attack on the US fleet in Pearl Harbor   (Article no longer available from the original source)
After the war, the three Japanese airmen, together with their surviving comrades from all branches of the Imperial Japanese military were either ignored or shunned by their fellow citizens. ---Kaname Harada was a natural pilot. Of the 1500 men who signed up with him to become navy pilots, only 26 completed the brutal four year selection and training process. Harada was awarded a watch by the Emperor for being the best graduate in his cohort. Strong, handsome and intelligent, he was the perfect candidate for the Japanese military.

Japan: Unconditional Surrender - Front page from Aug 15, 1945
Re-published below is The Daily Telegraph's front page article from Aug 15, 1945, reporting that the Second World War had ended. Japan has surrendered unconditionally. This was announced simultaneously at midnight in London, Washington and Moscow. Gen MacArthur has been appointed Supreme Allied Commander to receive the Japanese surrender. --- 3. His Majesty is also prepared to issue this communication to all military, naval and air authorities to issue all forces under their control wherever located to cease active resistance and to surrender arms. - Signed, Togo