|Born||8 Oct 1919|
|Died||15 Jun 1979|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseAttun Palalin was born in Japanese-occupied Taiwan in 1919. He was of the Amis aborigine tribe and he spoke his tribe's native Austronesian language; he had only trivial Chinese and Japanese language skills. In Oct 1943, he joined the Japanese Army 4th Takasago Volunteer Unit, where he would be known by his adopted Japanese name Teruo Nakamura. In Sep 1944, while stationed on the island of Morotai in occupied Dutch East Indies, he was engaged in battle with invading Americans and became missing in action. He was declared to be dead in Nov 1944, but he was actually living with other survivors of his unit on Morotai well into the 1950s. He later recounted that, at the end of the war, his personal property included only his uniform, an Arisaka Type 38 bolt-action rifle with under 20 rounds, a helmet, a bayonet, an aluminum mess kit, a mirror, and a few other trivial items. In 1956, he decided to venture off on his own, setting up a small camp at a clearing. He sustained himself by stealing from nearby villages and limited growing. In Nov 1974, in response to local residents' report of a "wild nude man" in the jungles, Indonesian authorities dispatched search parties. When he was found shortly after, he became the last known Japanese Army hold out to be discovered. Defense AttachÃ© Masao Yuno of the Japanese Embassy in Jarkarta immediately traveled to Morotai to supervise his internment. He was hospitalized in Jarkarta for observations while his future was being determined. Japan offered a very small amount of money, 68,000 Yen, as back pay and offered to repatriate him to Japan. Attun voiced his wishes to return to his home land of Taiwan, which was met with enthusiasm by the government of the Republic of China. He boarded a flight for Taiwan in Jan 1975. At the airport, he was met by his wife (who had since re-married) and his eldest son. A small amount of controversy was stirred up in Taiwan as he received such a negligible amount of back pay, especially when compared to that given to Hiro Onoda, who was discovered months before Attun. The Japanese government ultimately relented and gave him well over 20,000,000 Yen, an amount comparable to what Onoda received. In Taiwan, he was often referred to by his Sinicized name of Lee Guang-hui (Pinyin: Li Guanghui), but that was a name given by the press and unknown to him until his return. He passed away from lung cancer in Taitung, Taiwan in Jun 1979.
Last Major Revision: Mar 2017
Attun Palalin Timeline
|8 Oct 1919||Attun Palalin was born in Taiwan.|
|13 Nov 1944||Attun Palalin, also known as Private Teruo Nakamura of the Japanese Army 4th Takasago Volunteer Unit, was declared dead on Morotai, Dutch East Indies.|
|27 Dec 1974||Attun Palalin, also known as Teruo Nakamura, was interned in Morotai, Indonesia.|
|8 Jan 1975||Attun Palalin returned to Taiwan.|
|15 Jun 1979||Attun Palalin passed away in Donghe village, Taitung, Taiwan, Republic of China.|
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