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Otoemon Hiroeda file photo [32843]

Otoemon Hiroeda

Given NameOtoemon
Born23 Dec 1905
Died24 Feb 1945


ww2dbaseOtoemon Hiroeda was born in Kataura village, Ashigarashimo District (now part of Odawara city), Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan in 1905. After serving in the Japanese Army 57th Infantry Division for some time, he became an elementary school teacher in Yugawara, Kanagawa. In 1930, he passed the Taiwanese police officer service exam. As a police officer in Japanese-occupied Taiwan, he served as an assistant inspector at Shichiku (now Hsinchu) between 1939-1942, an assistant inspector at Otani (now Daxi, part of Taoyuan city) in 1941, and an inspector at Oko (now Dahu township of Miaoli County) in 1942. In Dec 1943, he was made the head of the Chunan (now Zhunan, Miaoli County) township government. Shortly after, he was placed in charge of the 2,000-strong naval patrol consisted of Taiwanese servicemen, leading them on a journey from the port of Takao in southern Taiwan to Luzon island of the Philippines aboard merchant ship Busho Maru. His units saw action during the Feb 1945 battle for Manila. When the Japanese military units began to fall back, Hiroeda was ordered to supply his men with explosives mounted on long sticks, and the unit was to perform suicide attacks against oncoming American vehicles, slowing the American advances so that the military units could preserve their strength while falling back. Hiroeda refused to carry out his orders. Instead, along with his senior non-commissioned officer Sergeant Liu Wei-tian, negotiated for a surrender, which took place in the afternoon of 23 Feb 1945. He told his men "you have family waiting for you at home in Taiwan. It is unfortunate we cannot return together, but you men at least should return home alive. I am your commanding officer and therefore I am responsible for you." Upon ensuring that his men were taken in by the Americans without abuse, he committed suicide with his sidearm on 24 Feb 1945. His remains were never returned to his family in Japan.

ww2dbaseOn 26 Sep 1976, a spirit tablet bearing Hiroeda's name was enshrined at Shitoushan Quanhua Temple in Miaoli County, Taiwan, an effort undertaken by Liu Wei-tian. In 1985, Liu returned to the site of Hiroeda's suicide, took a sample of the soil, and delivered the Philippine soil to Japan for his family to bury. In 1988, Hiroeda's wife Fumi was also added to the spirit tablet.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Feb 2024


Portrait of Otoemon Hiroeda, circa 1930s

Otoemon Hiroeda Timeline

23 Dec 1905 Otoemon Hiroeda was born in Kataura village, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.
23 Feb 1945 Otoemon Hiroeda and Liu Wei-tian refused to carry out their orders to perform a suicide attack with Taiwanese soldiers under his command in Manila, Philippines. Hiroeda surrendered to the Americans, and ensured that his men were treated well.
24 Feb 1945 Otoemon Hiroeda committed suicide with his sidearm in Manila, Philippines.

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Event(s) Participated:
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 2

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Portrait of Otoemon Hiroeda, circa 1930s

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"The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years."

James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945

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