Major Istsbo Tōakenkyūjo, originally from Takao Prefecture, was the highest-ranking officer to have survived on Araido Island after sea routes to the Home Islands had been severed and the resultant starvation and typhus outbreaks. His radio transceiver had received news of the Soviet offensive as well as the Emperor’s speech to the nation, but the authenticity of either was unclear.

It was evident enough that the Soviets were up to something, as their minesweepers had been active in the strait between Kamchatka and Ariado, even straying into Japanese waters. Maj. Tōakenkyūjo’s orders, inherited from the deceased Col. Oyakoba, were also clear: Araido Island was to be held for the Emperor at any cost.

During long and restless nights, Maj. Tōakenkyūjo and what remained of his staff had listened to tales from Private Tadashi, the unit’s Ainu translator. According to Tadashi, Araido Island had once been a peak on mainland Kamchatka, until the neighboring mountains grew jealous of its beauty and cast it to the sea. That, he said, explained the island’s perfect appearance, which Ito Osamu had compared very favorably to Mt. Fuji, as well as the existence of Lake Kurile in Kamchatka–the hole that had been left behind.

Maj. Tōakenkyūjo was faced with a choice: defile the ancient and perfect peak with battle, or defile the Empire with surrender. Surviving accounts testify that he grappled with the problem for days on end in early August, 1945, before coming to a unique and unprecedented conclusion.

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