There are 14 islands under Common Wealth of Northern marina Islands located in the northwestern Pacific ocean. The total area of the archipelago is 475.26 square kilometers and as of 2010, the total population of those islands is 53883. The most populous islands are Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. But our article is not about these islands, but a different one, an uninhabited island Anatahan. This small island has a total area of 33.9 square kilometers and divided into two parts- western and relatively lower eastern parts. These Islands are part of the U.S.A. They are now abandoned, due to the recent volcanic activity. But once there was a family and they also grown fruits and vegetables there. So there must be a story behind all of this.
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1. The island was first leased by a Spanish explorer Bernardo de la Torre in 1543.
2. During Spanish rule on the island in 1665 local native Chamarro people were forced to relocate to neighbor island Saipan and later they were taken to Guam.
3. Spanish were determined to produce a huge quantity of coconut. They need copra and in 1884 they were able to export 124 tons of copra.
4. In 1899 the island was sold to the German empire by the Spanish. Germans administrated the island under German New Guinea territory. They leased the island to a private company named Pagan Society in 1902. The company started its coconut production with a Japanese partner.
5. During world war 1 the island was captured by the Empire of Japan under South Pacific Mandate.
6. While in Japanese rule a person was appointed to look after the coconut production on the Island. Kikuichiro Higa was given that responsibility and he appointed an associate named Soichi Higo. Soichi along with his 28 years old wife Kazuko Higa and other 45 Chamorro labors started living on the island.
7. In the meantime, world war was happening so Soichi became worried about his sister, who was living 65 nautical miles south of the island. He left for his sister and never came back.
8. Here Kazuko had no choice but to marry his husband’s boss Kikuichiro Higa.
9. In June 1944 three Japanese vessels destroyed by American planes. The survivors have taken shelter on the island. They were welcomed by Kazuko and happily lived for some more years there.
10. In 1945 an American B29 fighter plane crashed near Anatahan. The Japanese soldiers utilized every part of the plane by making utensils and for their dresses.
11. To rescue those two pilots’ bodies and 45 other Chamorro natives, the American army sent Chamorros from neighboring islands. After rescuing them they informed American soldiers about Kazuko and other Japanese soldiers.
12. The real problem started when Kikuichiro died in 1946. The remaining Japanese soldiers became crazy about Kazuko. All of them want to marry her. At last their captain Ishida decided that one of them will marry Kazuko. But one by one people started dying. About 11 of them died in Unknown circumstances situation. So they became angry at Kazuko.
13. In 1950 Kazuko once helped them to get into the deeper part of the jungle to stay safe from American soldiers but now these Japanese soldiers became dangerous for her. So she left the place and stayed in a hideout.
14. In 1951 she was rescued by an American ship while waving a white flag. She was then taken to her native place Okinawa.
15. When Sazuko left, all Japanese were devastated and horrified about the deaths of their colleague.
16. After many pamphlets dropped by American planes, the Japanese did not believe that Japan has surrendered to the Americans. The kept them hidden after 1951. But when letters from their relatives dropped they believed about the situation and surrendered in 1953.
After Life of Kazuko–
17. After returning from Anatahan, Kazuko became a small celebrity among Okinawa residents. She was known as the “Queen of Anatahan”. Kazuko met with her first husband Soichi and married him again. She lived there until she died in the 1970s.
18. According to the media, many theories raised about Kazuko and these Japanese soldiers.
19. The movie “The Saga of Anatahan” released in 1953. It was based upon Kazuko Higo’s life and the Japanese soldiers and was directed by Josef Von Sternberg.