The amazing story of a Japanese woman stuck on an island with 32 men (10 photos)

Category: Nostalgia, PEGI 16
2 March 2024

This is what happens to the only girl who finds herself on an island with a crowd of men...

In 1939, during World War II, Japan aggressively invaded and successfully occupied many islands with the goal of capturing as many resources as possible. The Japanese government encouraged people to develop uninhabited lands.

The brother of the heroine Higa Katsuko, whom you will learn about later, answered the call and went to the island of Saipan. Higa came to the island after him from Okinawa, hoping for her brother’s support in a new place to live. Then she moved to Bakan Island and became a waitress in a coffee shop. There she met a young man (also from Okinawa) and married him at age 18.

This young man worked as a gardener on a coconut plantation. In 1944, he was transferred to manage twenty indigenous coconut farmers on Anatahan Island. Then there was another Japanese on the island, his boss, Masami Kusakabe.

By that time, Japan was already losing in the Pacific theater of the war. Very little time passed after the newlyweds arrived on the island. The husband went to pick up his sister from another island, but at that moment the US Army launched a fierce attack on Saipan, which is closest to Anatahan Island. Katsuko's husband did not return.

Katsuko later became close to Masami Kusakabe, her husband's boss. A few months later, Japanese soldiers and sailors washed up on the shores of Anatahan. It turned out that on June 12, 1944, the Japanese fleet was almost completely destroyed. The soldiers had to hire three fishing boats "Hyosuke Maru", "Akebono Maru" and "Kaifuku Maru" to transport military ammunition. They were attacked by the American army and the survivors swam to the nearest island. There are only 31 people and all are men.

At this moment, Katsuko was very happy, because she had not seen her compatriots for a long time. But she had no idea of the approaching danger and how it would change her future.

At first they lived separately, in several small groups, but gradually united into one community. When the food ran out, the soldiers' experience showed. They began working together using survival skills. Everyone lived peacefully for a whole year.

When Japan was struck in 1945, the community on Anatahan Island also learned about it by finding leaflets on the shore. However, they thought that this was a conspiracy and propaganda of the Americans and therefore did not believe it.

The views of men on the only woman on the island fell more and more often, and some did not even hide their desires. Her husband Kusakabe noticed this, but he was afraid to enter into conflict, so he warned his wife to be more modest and not provoke men.

The survivalists' clothes were long worn out and they were partially naked, which only increased the men's desires as they looked at Katsuko.

In August 1946, the islanders discovered the wreckage of an American B-29 bomber. In the wreckage they found terrible objects that changed peaceful life on the island: 4 damaged pistols and 90 rounds of ammunition. 10 of the 32 men were soldiers who knew very well how to use weapons. They assembled the four damaged pistols into two complete ones.

As soon as weapons appeared, the rules on the island changed. There is no previous social order or hierarchy here. All power passed into the hands of two men - Tanaka and Matsuo.

One of the crew members died on the second day after the weapons appeared on the island. This man had conflicts with Tanaka and Matsuo, so everyone understood what had happened. An atmosphere of fear engulfed the island, and Tanaka and Matsuo became kings.

They soon declared Higo Katsuko their servant. Under threats, she had no choice but to agree. At that time, they had not yet completely abandoned normal social laws and still recognized the relationship between Kusakabe and Katsuko. But soon the three of them began to “share” the woman.

One day, one of the team members, who could not control his desires, tried to pester Katsuko. She called for help and Tanaka and Mutsuo shot the man.

Kusakabe saw this scene andI knew that he would soon become the next target for Tanaka and Matsuo. Then he staged a riot, gathering other islanders against the leaders.

But the problem resolved itself. The conflict between Tanaka and Matsuo escalated when they started possessing a woman together. Any minor disagreement led to hostility between them. Finally, Matsuo could not restrain himself and shot Tanaka, taking his gun. So he became the sole ruler of the island, having complete control over the men and exclusive access to the women.

After some time, it became known that Matsuo had drowned. Everyone was puzzled by the fact that he was a naval sailor and a good swimmer... Strange things!

After Matsuo's death, the pistols fell into the hands of two other soldiers, and their thirst for power swelled to unimaginable proportions. History repeats itself in a surprising way: they ended up quarreling over Katsuko, one killed the other and became the boss.

He and Katsuko spent two years happily on a desert island. Despite the soldier's caution, he too eventually died at the hands of another man. History repeated itself and the number of people on the island was reduced to 24 men and 1 woman. The time has come to think about how to break this cycle of cruelty - the survivors decided to hold a meeting to discuss their situation.

At the council, it was decided to throw the gun into the sea and allow Katsuko to choose the man she would marry to put an end to the killings. Of course, every man wanted to have her, and the situation was getting out of control. In the following days, people continued to disappear and die one after another.

Once again, it was decided to gather a council, but this time someone suggested executing Katsuko to prevent a repetition of the tragedies. However, their plan failed. On the night before the execution, someone secretly informed Katsuko about the impending massacre, and she rushed to flee the camp.

Without the help of men, Katsuko survived in the jungle for 33 days. Then the woman saw an American warship. She did her best to call for help. Eventually, the Americans saw her and she managed to get on board, where she spoke about the 19 other men on the island.

The Americans found 19 Japanese men who looked like primitive people. They still did not believe the words of the American military, believing that Japan could not lose. Everyone refused to board the warship.

The Americans took the woman home alone, and after her return, the story of survival on the island received wide coverage in the media. The men's families learned they were still alive and sent letters to the island announcing the end of the war and urging them to return home.

Even after this, the islanders continued to insist on an American conspiracy, and again refused to board the ship. Later, a second batch of letters arrived on the island, and one of the men recognized his wife’s unique handwriting. Only then did they believe that Japan had truly been defeated. The men one by one surrendered to the American army, boarded a rescue ship, and returned to Japan.

Higa Katsuko has been dubbed by the Japanese media as the "Queen of the Island", and has even been demonized as the cause of deaths on the island. At the age of 34, she remarried a man with two children and opened a coffee shop with him. Nine years later, her husband died. Another 8 years later, Katsuko herself died of cancer. This is the tragic fate of the “Queen of the Island”.

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