The standalone man




A grim, Kafkaesque story about the last remaining Japanese prisoner-of-war (POW) who has called Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic, his brand-new home.

His full story is available in Japan Subculture Research Center. And this is the excerpt:


Tetsuro is the last Japanese man still remaining in Kazakhstan out of the hundreds of thousands Stalin shipped to the most desolate parts of the Soviet Union, putting them to work in mines, in construction, and in factories. More than a tenth of them died due to the brutal working conditions.

“I think all the Japanese have gone back apart from me,” he says. “There was one from Lake Balkhash, who went to Japan because his wife was ill, and there was also one in Almaty. I think there are no other Japanese here now.”


Note: after the end of Second World War, it was estimated that as many as 560,000 to 700,000 Japanese, many of whom were soldiers stationed in Northeast China, Korea, and Sakhalin Island, were interned as forced labors in various work camps in Soviet Union and Mongolia, known as gulags. It was estimated that between 60,000 and 350,000 of them died due to the grim conditions they encountered in the camps. Read the full article on Wikipedia regarding the information.

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