On the off chance someone knows this, or is interesting in joining the search with me… here’s the story:
Sometime in 1974, almost 30 years after the end of WW2, a pilot flying over the beautiful Indonesian island of Morotai saw a naked man walking about a hut in the remotest of place on the island. He reported it to the Indonesian government, afraid that it might be a Japanese holdout. In December of 1974, Indonesian military sent out an 11 men team. They searched over 30 hours and finally found the naked man, chopping wood in front of his hut.
He had an IJA standard type 38 rifle in pristine condition next to him. The search team sang the Japanese national anthem Kimigayo as they approached him. They explained to him that the war had been over for 30 years. The named man didn’t put up a fight and went with the search team. He was the last Japanese holdout to be found after WW2.
The Indonesians found out this man is called Nakamura Teruo(中村輝夫). He defended Morotai island when the Allies arrived in 1944 and got separated from the rest of his unit. He then decided to not surrender unless ordered to and began living in the jungle.
Just earlier that March, Japan had a hero’s welcome for Hiroo Onoda (小野田 寛郎), the last holdout in the Philippines to return to Japan, and they were excited about this one as well, until they realized Nakamura is actually an Amis Pangcah Aboriginal from Taiwan. Serious debate about what makes someone Japanese ensued while no one had any idea where to repatriate Nakamura.
Nakamura obviously identified himself as a Japanese, but he had never been to mainland Japan, nor did he know anyone there. In the end he was sent to Taiwan. Before he left for Taiwan in 1975, a press conference was held in Indonesia. Since Nakamura is from Taiwan, the Indonesian press got a Holo speaking Chinese expatriate to translate for him. Nakamura understood Holo, but replied every question in Japanese.
When Nakamura got home, he soon realized things had changed. He was forced by KMT to rename himself to Li Guang-hui(李光輝), his parents both passed away, so were some of his siblings. His wife met him at the airport with a son he had never seen. When they finally returned to his village in A’tolan Hualian (花蓮都蘭), his wife revealed to him that she has been remarried 25 years ago.
It was all a lot to take in. Nakamura became a recluse, perhaps from the language and culture shock, or the lost of family, or perhaps he had gotten used to being a recluse. Even though KMT tried to shape him out to be some kind of a national hero as well, Nakamura, I mean Lee Guang-hui rarely talked of the past. At least not to people who spoke Mandarin. In 1979, 4 years after he returned “home”, he passed away from lung cancer. He was 60.
Or was he? You see that’s when all the sources diverge like crazy. Some sources say he died in 1979, some say in 1981. The man died only 30 some years ago, and documents somehow can’t agree on when he died.
But the bigger mystery is what was his name. Not Nakamura Teruo, he was forced to use that name sometime in the 1940s. Not Li Guang-hui, he was forced to use that name in 1975. What was his Aboriginal name? Well, the Japanese say it’s スニヨン(Suniuo). Apparently Suniuo was quite a baseball player and a Sumo wrestler. He was named MVP catcher when he played for Team Taidong in Taipei. But all western sources say his name is Attun Palalin. Which is it? I have no clue. Someone on the Talk page of the English wikipedia also asked the same question:
Suniuo or Attun Palalin? Or both?
The main source of this Attun Palalin name seems to be a Times magazine article:
content.time.com/time/magazine/a … hix-sphere
But I have no way of reading the full story…
Attun Palalin itself is obviously an Amis Pangcah name. Palalin possibly means where there is ocean, similar to clan names such as Pacidal, which means where the sun shines.
I don’t know about Suniuo, the spelling is very Japanese… The only Pangcah name I know that starts with Su is Suming. But that’s just due to me lack of knowledge I’m sure.
Just wondering if anyone can help solve this mystery.
Picture of Suniuo/Attun Palalin