Evacuation of Karafuto and Kuriles
The evacuation of Karafuto (Sakhalin) and the Kuriles refers to the events that took place during the Pacific theater of World War II
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

 as the Japanese population left these areas, to August 1945 in the northwest of the main islands of Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...


The evacuation started under the threat of Soviet invasion. As Japanese civilians evacuated Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

 and Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

, they cleared out of the Karafuto and Kurile Islands according to the terms of the Potsdam Declaration
Potsdam Declaration
The Potsdam Declaration or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender is a statement calling for the Surrender of Japan in World War II. On July 26, 1945, United States President Harry S...

 that the terms of the Cairo Declaration
Cairo Declaration
The Cairo Declaration was the outcome of the Cairo Conference in Cairo, Egypt, on November 27, 1943. President Franklin Roosevelt of the United States, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China were present...

 would be carried out, and Japanese sovereignty would be limited to the Home Islands
Japanese Archipelago
The , which forms the country of Japan, extends roughly from northeast to southwest along the northeastern coast of the Eurasia mainland, washing upon the northwestern shores of the Pacific Ocean...

of Honshū, Hokkaidō, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as the Allies determined.


The operation began with the crossing of the Horonai (Poronai) Japanese frontier river post and bombardment of the Handenzawa Japanese land frontier post in Shikuka district, as well as the advance to the north of Koton
Koton was a German Shepherd K9 Police Officer of the Kansas City, Missouri police department. He was teamed with Officer Patterson for two years and was responsible for more than 24 felony arrests at the time of his death.-Biography:...

 (now Pobedino), a powerful fortified district (FD
- Science & Technology :* Canon FD lens mount* Fermi–Dirac statistics* Ferredoxin, a molecule functioning in electron transfer* File descriptor, a component in the Unix operating system* Finite difference, a mathematical expression...

). Severe fighting with heavy losses on both sides continued for over a week, with Soviet troops breaking the enemy's defenses on August 18. The Soviets also landed their naval forces deep behind enemy frontlines to aid their ground forces.

According to some of the 6,000 refugees already evacuated from the area, Soviet forces carried out fierce naval bombardment and artillery strikes against civilians awaiting evacuation as well as Japanese installations in Maoka, Shikuka on August 10. Nearly 1,000 civilians were killed by machine-gun fire in this attack. Nine female Japanese
Japanese people
The are an ethnic group originating in the Japanese archipelago and are the predominant ethnic group of Japan. Worldwide, approximately 130 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 127 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live in other countries...

 telephone operator
Telephone operator
A telephone operator is either* a person who provides assistance to a telephone caller, usually in the placing of operator assisted telephone calls such as calls from a pay phone, collect calls , calls which are billed to a credit card, station-to-station and person-to-person calls, and certain...

s in the city decided not to evacuate, instead maintaining contact with the Wakkanai
Wakkanai, Hokkaido
is a city located in Sōya, Hokkaidō. It is the capital of Sōya Subprefecture and the northernmost city in Japan. It contains Japan's northernmost point, Cape Soya, from which the Russian island of Sakhalin can be seen....

 and Mainland Japan
Mainland Japan
is a term to distinguish the area of Japan from its outlying territories. It was an official term in the pre-war period, distinguishing Japan and the colonies in East Asia...

 until the moment that Soviet forces destroyed the telephone and postal installations in city. The town of Maoka (originally with a population of about 9,000) had approximately 2,000 civilians killed by Soviet artillery due to stiff Japanese resistance. This incident became known in Japan as the "Maoka Massacre".

On August 16, the coastguard Zarnitsa, four minesweepers, two transports, six gunboats and nineteen torpedo boats landed in Port Toro (now Shakhtersk) with the 365th Separate
Marine Battalion and one battalion of the 113th infantry brigade. The men instantly engaged the enemy in fierce battle and by morning of the next day had captured four populated areas and the port city of Esutoru (now Uglegorsk
Uglegorsk, Sakhalin Oblast
Uglegorsk is a coastal port town in Sakhalin Oblast, Russia, located on the western coast of Sakhalin 359 km west of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Population: 13,396 ; 18,402 .-History:...

), Anbetsu (now Vozvrashcheniye) and Yerinai).

On August 20, a combined marine battalion and the 113th infantry brigade landed in Port Maoka (now Kholmsk
Kholmsk is a town in Sakhalin Oblast, Russia, the administrative center of Kholmsky District. Population: 35,141 .-History:The town was founded in 1870 as a military post. After the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, the town was transferred to Japanese control, along with the rest of southern...

). They were preceded by a group of scouts, landed secretively by submarine Sh-118, in the Maoka area to successfully complete their task. However, Japanese resistance was desperate, and the landing party had to fight particularly fiercely and valiantly. Enemy fire set one of the coastguards on fire, to which the Soviet response was intense naval bombardment of the city, causing more civilian deaths.

The rest of Japanese Maoka defenders retreated by Tei
Tei can refer to:* Tei , a Korean popular music singer.* Tei, Bucharest, a neighborhood in Bucharest, Romania. It is also the Romanian name for the Tilia tree.* Tellurium monoiodide, a chemical compound with the formula TeI...

 (now Polyakovo) and Futomato (now Chaplanovo) in Ikenohata county, between the mountains in the direction of Toyohara in order to make a last stand in the capital of the province or in Kawakami Sumiyama county for sustained guerrilla resistance.

On August 25, another 1,600 men landed in Otomari (now Korsakov
Korsakov (town)
Korsakov is a town in Sakhalin Oblast, Russia. It is the administrative center of Korsakovsky District. Population: 35,079 ; The town is located some south from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, at the southern end of Sakhalin Island, on the coast of the Salmon Cove in the Aniva Bay.-History:Little is known...

). The Japanese garrison of 3,400 men laid down their arms with almost no resistance and surrendered. Some vessels of the last convoy, including civilian evacuees, had been sunk by Soviet submarines in the Aniva Gulf.


The rout of Japanese forces in Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

 and Sakhalin
Sakhalin or Saghalien, is a large island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50' and 54°24' N.It is part of Russia, and is Russia's largest island, and is administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast...

 created favorable conditions for liberation of the Kurile Islands. The key Japanese position was on Shumushu and Paramushiro Islands. On August 18, two coast guard ships, the mine layer Okhotsk
Okhotsk is an urban locality and a seaport at the mouth of the Okhota River on the Sea of Okhotsk, in Okhotsky District, Khabarovsk Krai, Russia. Population: 4,470 ;...

, four minesweepers, 17 transports and 16 special landing vessels with nearly 9,000 sailors, soldiers, and officers on board, approached Shumushu and Paramushiro to start the landing operation. The enemy offered fierce resistance. Bloody battles took place in Shumushu and Paramushiro with varying success till August 23 when the Japanese garrison surrendered.

By the end of August, all the northern Kuriles were under the control of Soviet forces, including Uruppu Island. The Northern Pacific Flotilla occupied the rest of the islands to the south of Uruppu. Up to 60,000 Japanese officers and men were taken prisoner in the Kuriles. The landing operation in the Kuriles was the last of World War II.

In the Kuriles a similar pattern was repeated when Japanese civilians desperately retired from Shumushu and Paramushiro before the Soviet invasion (the Russians only sank one war vessel transporting some Japanese troops), but did not occur at the time in some islands such as Uruppu and South Kuriles. In these cases, Russian troops arrived in aggressive form to expel local citizens and confiscate local property.

Fate of Western residents and Allied prisoners in the area

Similar treatment faced the German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Ukrainian
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 and Polish
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 citizens who resided in these provinces, the White Russians
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 in the area (living from ancient Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n administration under the Shimoda agreement
Treaty of Shimoda
The Treaty of Shimoda of 1855, formally Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between Japan and Russia , was signed between the Russian Vice-Admiral Euphimy Vasil'evich Putiatin and Toshiakira Kawaji of Japan in the city of Shimoda, Izu Province, Japan, on February 7, 1855...

), were arrested, accused of high treason and collaboration with an enemy power. Some were sent to gulags in Eastern Siberia, others were executed. Similar things happened to White Russians living in Manchukuo, Kwantung or North Chosen (Korea).

Some versions (including the work of American researchers) allege that Japanese forces during wartime sent certain Western
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 POWs (Americans
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Brits
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Dutch
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, and the like) to detention camps in Karafuto and the Kuriles from other areas in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

 as well as to detention centers in Hokkaidō
, formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japan's second largest island; it is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel...

 (Otaru POW center) and North Honshū
is the largest island of Japan. The nation's main island, it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait...

, Manchukuo
Manchukuo or Manshū-koku was a puppet state in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia, governed under a form of constitutional monarchy. The region was the historical homeland of the Manchus, who founded the Qing Empire in China...

 or Chosen
Chosen can mean:*Chosen people, people who believe they have been chosen by a higher power to do a certain thing including**Jews as a chosen people-Korean:...


The final fate of the supposed Allied POWs when Soviet forces arrived in these areas previously under Japanese administration, if unknown, is very similar to Americans
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 captured or interned in Vladivostok
The city is located in the southern extremity of Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula, which is about 30 km long and approximately 12 km wide.The highest point is Mount Kholodilnik, the height of which is 257 m...

 (during the Doolittle Raid
Doolittle Raid
The Doolittle Raid, on 18 April 1942, was the first air raid by the United States to strike the Japanese Home Islands during World War II. By demonstrating that Japan itself was vulnerable to American air attack, it provided a vital morale boost and opportunity for U.S. retaliation after the...

 or B-29 strikes against Manchukuo
Manchukuo or Manshū-koku was a puppet state in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia, governed under a form of constitutional monarchy. The region was the historical homeland of the Manchus, who founded the Qing Empire in China...

 industry) or Kamchatka (when Americans carried out some air strikes against North Kuriles Islands). Some reports also exist mentioning the possibly of identifying Americans interned in East Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

n Gulags in the same period, and possibly into the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

period. Such a topic still awaits in-depth research by historians and experts of the area.http://memory.loc.gov/frd/tfrussia/tfrhtml/tfrsplit/tfr010.html

External links

  • http://memory.loc.gov/frd/tfrussia/tfrhtml/tfrsplit/tfr010.html
  • http://hnn.us/roundup/comments/22336.html
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