Death March of Hakkoda Mountains Incident (八甲田雪中行軍遭難事件)

Death March of Hakkoda Mountains Incident was the incident in which the fifth Infantry Regiment of the eighth Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) division was stranded while on a training exercise on the Hakkoda-san Mountain. It had the greatest number of missing people in Japanese winter mountain-climbing history, with 199 of 210 who had joined the training died.

Background

Japan's consideration that wintertime training was to be the most urgent task was the background of the incident. The Japanese Army was preparing for the battle against Russia in which it would fight in colder regions than the Japanese-Sino War where the Japanese Army had had a tough fight in cold climates. This assumption became a reality two years after the incident, as the Russo-Japanese War began.

The aim of that training was to move the troops from the Sea of Japan side and the Pacific side respectively assuming the fleets of the Russian navy had entered the Tsugaru Straits (between Hokkaido and Aomori) and the train on the coast of Aomori couldn't move. One of the two routes considered was 'Hirosaki-the bank of Lake Towada-Sanbongi-Tashiro-Aomori' and the other was 'Aomori-Tashiro-Sanbongi-Hachinohe;' the 31st Hirosaki Regiment took on the former and the 5th Aomori Regiment the latter. Such allocations were by pure accident, and it appears the aim of the 5th Aomori Regiment was to research 'how to deploy the troops in the snow and whether or not it is possible to carry the goods,' while that of the 31st Hirosaki Regiment was to research 'the attire for march in the snow, the way of marching and others' as a whole.

Missing troops

The troops that got lost were members of the second Battalion, fifth Infantry Regiment whose garrison was in Aomori City. A Company Commander and Army Infantry Captain Bunkichi KANNARI led the troops. However, it is said Shin YAMAGUCHI, a Battalion Commander and Major was involved in giving directions. Captain Bunkichi KANNARI, from Akita Prefecture, was assigned as a staff sergeant of the Army Infantry after having trained in Rikugun Kyododan (an academy established to train noncommissioned officers) and became Army Infantry Captain, being promoted sequentially.

The incident became clear when Corporal Fusanosuke GOTO who, on Captain Kannari's command, was on the way to inform of the emergency and was found in a state of apparent death by the search party on January 27. All bodies of the deceased were recovered on May 28.

Final survivors were only 11 persons; Captain Hajime KURAISHI (Yamagata Prefecture), Lieutenant Masaaki ITO (Yamagata Prefecture), Sergeant Major Teizo HASEGAWA (Akita Prefecture), Corporal Fusanosuke GOTO (Miyagi Prefecture), Corporal Chuzaburo OHARA (Iwate Prefecture), Corporal Heisuke OIKAWA (Iwate Prefecture), Corporal Fumichika MURAMATSU (Miyagi Prefecture), Private First Ukichi ABE (Iwate Prefecture), Private First Sosuke GOTO (Iwate Prefecture), Private First Tokujiro YAMAMOTO (Aomori Prefecture), Private First Hisamatsu ABE (Iwate Prefecture).

Most of the survivors were forced to have their legs and arms amputated due to frostbite except Captain Kuraishi, Lieutenant Ito and Sergeant Major Hasegawa. As rather mild cases, Oikawa had his Achilles tendon and three fingers amputated and Yamamoto his left leg. Others had their extremities amputated. Captain Kuraishi, who had been injured most slightly, died in the Battle of Kokkodai in the Russo-Japanese War on January 27. Lieutenant Ito and Sergeant Major Hasegawa were seriously injured.

A bronze statue was built. Howevr, Fusanosuke KONDO himself could hardly look at it without embarrassment, though he was told to take a close look at it by the Colonel of a regiment at that time. He didn't want to talk much about the incident and got along well with Corporal Muramatsu, who was also a survivor of the incident. It was a terrible disaster to the soldiers of Iwate and Miyagi.

Other than the bronze statue of Corporal Goto, there stands a plate which reads, 'This is the place where Corporal Goto was found.', on the current Aomori Prefectural Highway 40, Aomori Tashiro Towada Line. However, the actual place he was found is several kilometers closer to Aomori than the statue. The location of the statue is near Umatateba, between the second camping ground and the third camping ground.

The ski course toward the statue is called the statue course. A snowslide accident in which two people were killed and eight injured occurred on February 14 on this course.

The first day (January 23)

They left Aomori regimental post at 6 a.m. A local villager offered a guide at Tamogino but they declined it, making the journey on midwinter Hakkoda-san Mountain only with a map and compass.

They managed to march without so many obstaclesuntil they reached Kotouge (small pass). However, they took a long halt near Otouge (big pass) as the weather was getting worse and the sledge troop began straggling. The provisions they had brought froze, which forced most of the soldiers to suffer from no food. Returning to the post was discussed once due to concerns about equipment and deteriorating weather, however, they continued marching even as noncommissioned officers opposed it.

They marched to Umatateba (two kilometers from Otoge) passing harmlessly through wind and snow. From there, snow became much deeper, marching speed slowed down, and the sledge troop carrying provisions and fuel dropped behind the main troop more than an hour. Captain Kannari made the second and the third platoons, 88 people in total, go to help the sledge troop and a construction party, 15 people, go first as an advance troop and patrol toward Tashiro.

At 6 p.m. the abandonment of sledges was decided near Narusawa. Things on the sled were allocated to soldiers to carry. It is said the soldiers assigned to carry copper cookers were most miserable. The construction party which was going ahead as an advance troop could not find the track, joining together the main party by accident while being lost.

After 8 p.m. they reached Hirasawa forest which was 1.5km from Tashiro Motoyu, however, they lost even the track toward Tashiro, being blinded by sundown. Therefore, they dug a moat in the snow and camped out, making a decision that it was impossible to march anymore.

The second day (January 24)

Many people complained of coldness and fatigue due to the forced march the previous day. The fuel such as charcoal fire didn't work for them to have warmth, and the troops nearly went missing. About 2 a.m. Army officers decided to return to the post, taking the matter seriously.

The troops started toward Umatateba, however, they were lost in a gorge near Narusawa around 3 a.m., forced to climb the cliff. Some soldiers dropped out, unable to climb the cliff. Although they were the first victims of this march, nobody could confirm that in such a blizzard.

On the way, around 8 a.m., Sergeant Major Sato told the top officers that he had found the track leading to Tashiro Motoyu. On receiving this news, Major Yamaguchi adopted Sergeant Major Sato's offer on his own authority. He changed the course again to Tashiro, leaving the command of the troops to Sergeant Major Sato.

They reached the stream of Komagome-gawa River, however, all soldiers were completely exhausted by then, which affected the control, breaking formation. Reaching Komagome-gawa River made them realize what Sergeant Major Sato had told was not correct. However, the way to return was erased completely in the blizzard, making the troops lose their way.

They were forced to climb a cliff again, causing more dropouts who fell. Lieutenant Mizuno of the fouth platoon fainted along with his orderly and died while they were escaping from the stream of Komagome-gawa River, which lowered the morale of the troops.

They found the depression contour near Narusawa in the evening, camping out there. The troop was out of control and, furthermore, they had to camp out literally in the windblown open because the soldiers carrying the tools to dig a moat in the snow had dropped out and disappered. Many soldiers fell unconscious and froze to death there due to nearly -50 degrees Celsius temperatures because sleepless and food-deprived since the previous day also contributed to their deaths.

At the same time, from the Aomori side, 40 people including Junior Lieutenant Kawawada went to Tamogino to meet the marching troop, which had not returned by the scheduled date and time. They waited until midnight, though there was no word about the troop.
The farewell party was given on that day for Lieutenant Matsuki, who was moving out to Hirosaki Regiment, and participants were saying 'It would be good if the marching troop returned now.'

The third day (January 25)

Around 3 a.m. the troop started off toward Umatateba. The dead and the disappeared tallied more than 40 at that point. Many of the remaining soldiers were frostbitten. They marched following their instincts, relying on the map because the compass was frozen and didn't work.

They lost their route again. Captain Kannari, who led the troop, at large ordered as follows.
You're dismissed now.'
You can return to Aomori on your own.'
This made many of the soldiers who remained, who had made great efforts not to drop out, go mad.
Many people froze to death in this way, taking off their clothes, going into the river yelling, 'I'll go down the cliff so that I can reach Aomori', or walking toward trees yelling, 'I'll make a raft to go down the river to go home.'

That caused 30 people to be frozen to death including Captain Okitsu. Captain Okitsu had been frostbitten since the previous evening and was attended to by Karuishi SANZO. When they were found on February 12, Private Karuishi was lying as if to cover Captain Okitsu. And more than a dozen soldiers disappeared including those who were found alive later such as Sergeant Major Hasegawa. Sergeant Major Hasdgawa slipped behind and got lost, finding a charcoal house in Hirasawa about 2 p.m. and stayed there along with a few people following him. Sergeant Major Hasegawa kept warm with matches. However, they put out the charcoal fire around 3 a.m. on the 26th, the next day, afraid of a fire because they were all extremely exhausted, and they never had warmth after that. Major Yamaguchi fell unconscious when the main troop returned to the camp at 5:30 a.m. and Captain Kuraishi asked the Major to leave a will. Corporal Goto assumed that the Major died then.

Around 7 a.m. Captain Kuraishi, who was relatively calm, collected some soldiers as a patrol troop and 15 people who remained relatively strong started off toward Umatateba. Thanks to this, the troop regained its calm a little. However, it didn't last long, and around 10 a.m. a soldier, having seen a tree swinging, screamed 'There comes a rescue team!', which made others start screaming, 'It's true!', 'Mummy!', one after another. It is said Captain Kuraishi made Private Trumpet Hayashidayu KASUGA blow a trumpet to calm them down every time they got into such situations. Private Trumpet Kasuga was frozen to death on the following day because the trumpet had been frozen and made his lips fall off.

Private First Shimokichi SASAKI found the way to return. Around 11:30 a.m., Takahashi, the head of patrol troop, returned and informed them that they had found the way home and were marching toward Tashiromogi. The main troop followed the patrol troop, reaching Umatateba. They waited for word from other patrol troops including Sergeant Major Konosuke WATANABE. However, they never returned. And Private First Sasaki and Corporal Takahashi, who found the way home near Umatateba, were frozen to death lying on top of each other. Lieutenant Ohashi and army surgeon Nagai had already disappeared when Captain Kuraishi realized it around 5 p.m. The people of the medical detachment, such as army surgeon Nagai and chief nurse Ryuzo SAKURAI, tried so hard treating other soldiers that they themselves fell in the end. The troop had been broken apart by that point.

Around 0 a.m. the troop of Captain Kuraishi joined the party of Major Yamaguchi. They decided to camp out in the forest of northern Umatateba that day. Many soldiers were frozen to death as the chill was too severe to camp out that day, though they burned the rucksacks of dead soldiers to scarcely preserve heat.

In Aomori, 40 people including Lieutenant Kozeki, waited for them, making rice gruel with a rice cooker they had brought with them, thinking the troop would return that day because the weather was better than the previous day. Some of them waited till night, making a bonfire at the southern edge of Tamogino Village. However, they had not returned by 10 p.m.. The people waiting in the barracks sent a telegraph to Sanbongi police, thinking the troop might be marching toward Sanbongi. Receiving no confirmation, they decided to start dispatching rescue teams from the following day on.

The fourth day (January 26)

They started off at dawn. The number of surviving soldiers was 60 to 70 at that point. The number of the people in the troop had been decreased to one third. Major Yamaguchi fell unconscious while camping out the previous day and marched being carried by soldiers. The file was in a state of chaos. Naturally, Captain Kannari and Captain Kuraishi were in the lead, but, other than that, soldiers followed them regardless of their positions or ranks. Captain Kannari and others were in the head reconnoitering a highland ahead and Captain Kuraishi was in the rear.

Corporal Goto woke up to find there was no one who had slept along with him left. He joined Captain Kannari, Junior Lieutenant Suzuki and Corporal Oikawa while going toward Aomori alone. They reached somewhere between Nakano-mori Forest and Sai-no-kawara (location unidentified) by evening. They were forced to camp out standing in a circle, with officers in a center and soldiers surrounding them, as they couldn't even have a warm.

The rescue team consisted of First army surgeon Murakami, Junior Lieutenant Mikami and 60 noncommissioned officers, started off the barrack. They returned to Tamogino after searching to Otouge due to temperatures as low as -14 degrees Celsius, harsh wind and snow.

The fifth day (January 27)

Captain Kuraishi joined Captain Kannari, Officers Designate Imaizumi, Lieutenant Nakano and Junior Lieutenant Suzuki where the road ahead split in two. They decided to separate into two groups to march in different directions (This is said to have been the fourth day, however, Captain Kuraishi said that this was the fifth day and it is likely to be true). They started off in the middle of the night (presumably around 3 a.m.). The number of survivors was 30 at that point and they were divided into two groups; the one was led by Captain Kuraishi and Major Yamaguchi and the other by Captain Kannari.

The group of Captain Kuraishi marched toward Komagome-gawa River and several people fell including Lieutenant Nakano. They could neither move through nor return, having been caught in a stream on the way.

Captain Kannari's group had chosen the correct route, comparatively. However, many people dropped out because, unlike the group of Captain Kuraishi, they faced a blizzard. Junior Lieutenant Suzuki, out of the four people remaining, left the group saying he was going to reconnoiter a highland, and was never to return. Tokusaburo OIKAWA fell into critical condition and died in spite of the treatment he received while the three of them stayed with him. Captain Kannari and Corporal Goto marched in the snow. However, Captain Kannari fell down. Captain Kannari ordered Corporal Goto to, 'Go to Tamogino and ask the local residents to contact the Regiment'. Corporal Goto kept walking toward Tamogino in a stupor of exhaustion.

The rescue team resumed the search. They moved to Otakidaira persuading the guide that they must meet the marching troop today at any cost. Around 10 a.m. the platoon led by Lieutenant Mikami found Corporal Goto standing in the snow near Otakidaira. He recalled, 'I was just walking forward desperately, not knowing the distance from the others, when I was saved by the rescue team'.
Tonippo (local newspaper of Aomori Prefecture) reported the circumstances of his discovery as, 'He didn't move, standing upright, just looking around.'
Sounan Shimatsusho' (report of the disaster) reported that he was standing upright like a sentry in a state of apparent death. At that point, the disappearance of the marching troop became clear.

They searched the vicinity as the Corporal had managed to say 'Captain Kannari' and found him lying down nearby. He was frozen all over. They tried to inject a stimulant into his chest, however, the needle broke because even his skin was frozen. They made him open his mouth and injected intraorally. He seemed to say something, but, froze to death without recovering consciousness. The body of Tokusaburo OIKAWA was also found. At 19:40, Junior Lieutenant Mikami ran into the official residence of regiment officers and informed them that they had found Corporal Goto near Otakidaira, all of the marching troop seem to be dead, and that about the half of 60 people of the rescue team had become incapacitated due to frostbite. Major of the fifth Infantry Regiment of Tsugaru Aomori turned white having heard that news.

After that

At night on January 27, in the group of Captain Kuraishi, Officer Designate Santaro IMAIZUMI jumped into a river along with a noncommissioned officer, though the others had tried to stop them.
Captain Kuraishi said, 'He went down the river.'
However, it is obvious from what the other survivors said that he had jumped into the river. His body was found on March 9.

On January 28, in the group of Captain Kuraishi, Sergeant Major Sato jumped into a river along with a noncommissioned officer and froze to death. Captain Kuraishi said, 'He disappeared, going to inform the Regiment,' about that. The four of them including Captain Kuraishi went into a cave in a cliff. There were two places where divided soldiers stayed; the one place was on the riverside, where Major Yamaguchi stayed and the other was where Captain Kuraishi stayed. The latter was better in terms of location, comparatively. Captain Kuraishi tried to persuade Major Yamaguchi to move to his place.
However, Major Yamaguchi rejected it saying, 'I'm dying here.'
Tokujiro YAMAMOTO, who was relatively able to move, served water to Major Yamaguchi at that point.

On January 29, the body of Captain Kannari was recovered by the rescue team and each sentry station was completed. In the same way, the Hirosaki Party marching in the snow reached Aomori.

On January 30, the bodies of 36 people including Lieutenant Nakano were found at Sai-no-kawara. That place is the road through which Captain Kuraishi and others went down to the stream of Komagomegawa. The name of Sai-no-kawara (the Children's limbo) was named because many village people had also frozen to death there before. Sosuke Goto went to the place where Captain Kuraishi and others were.

Around 9 a.m. on January 31, Corporal Takeo MIURA and Private First Ukichi ABE, who had been staying in a charcoal making shack in the northern Narusawa, were rescued, though Corporal Miura died after being rescued. The other body, which had been alive until the morning in the shack, was also found. Private First ABE said they remembered starting on the third day and that they just realized they were going into the shack, not knowing what they had done until then. They found 16 bodies around the shack.
Major Murata sent the wrong telegraph to the Ministry of War saying '12 survivors.'
However, he corrected it immediately saying, '2 surviving soldiers and 10 dead bodies.'

Around 9 a.m. Captain Kuraishi and others started to climb the cliff. Around 3 p.m., the four including Captain Kuraishi and Lieutenant Ito were found, and as a result, the nine survivors in total were found where they had gone forward about 250 meters. However, Corporal Fusaji TAKAHASHI and Private Ichijiro KONNO died after being rescued. Major Yamaguchi, who was also rescued then, was taken to a hospital and died on February 2. His cause of death was cardiac failure in the official announcement.
However, further verification is required as there are a theory of his having committed suicide with a gun (Koshu OGASAWARA and Jiro NITTA, who interviewed him, put forward this theory) and another theory, by Akitomo MATSUKI, that needs more background says, 'It was impossible for his frozen fingers to manipulate a gun.'

At Narusawa, 33 bodies including that of Lieutenant Tadayoshi MIZUNO (the eldest son of Tadatomo MIZUNO, the 10th lord of Kii-Shingu Domain [the lord of Kii-Shingu Domain]) were found. The body of Junior Lieutenant Suzuki was found near Otakidaira.

On February 1, several bodies were found near Sai-no-kawara and more than a dozen between Yasunoki-mori Forest and Nakano-mori Forest.

Around 11 o'clock on February 2, an earthquake occurred, breaking down the roof of the shack in Hirasawa, and four survivors; Sergeant Major Hasegawa, Private First Hisamatsu ABE, Private Masanori SASAKI and Private Sahei ONODERA who were staying in the shack were found. However, Private Sasaki and Private Onodera died after being rescued. Around 3 p.m., the last survivor, Corporal Matsumura, who had parted from the file since the third day, was found along with the body of Private First Youkichi FURUTACHI at Tashiro Motoyu. Corporal Matsumura's extremities were amputated and he was in critical condition at one stage, however, he managed to recover.

Rescue effort

The rescue effort was large-scale and 10,000 people were involved, including the Aomori Regiment, Hirosaki Regiment and the fifth Sendai Artillery. Later, the Aomori Regiment continued rescue effort on their own after completing the accommodation of the survivors and the establishment of the way of searching.

They put a material distributing base in Kohata and a searching headquarters in Tamogino as the main posts, building base camps called patrol posts, then made them move forward. 15 patrol posts in total were set up between Otakidaira and Narusawa, which was the first point the disaster had occurred.

The method of searching was like this; determining the marching route according to the stoies of the survivors and the marching plans, making people walk forward along that route in a 30 meters wide line (about 30 people in one line) stabbing a 10 meter long stick into the snow, and digging up the places where something strange was felt. Such operations were carried out for about six hours in the daytime with the patrol post as a base. Bodies were accommodated in the patrol post once and moved to searching headquarters later. After one month, the snow had become hard like sherbet as the snow had been tread down by the rescue team and the temperature had changed. The bamboo sticks didn't work anymore, so they substituted iron sticks for them.

In the early stages of the search, they invited a party of Ainu tribe from Hokkaido, searching with them and their hunting dogs, finding bodies successfully.

A body found was dug up by several people and carried to the patrol post. It was frozen to such an extent that it would have fallen apart to pieces from its joints if you had treated it roughly. In the patrol post, the bodies were stripped off, thawed by direct heat, and carried to the headquarters in coffins.

Most of the bodies sunken in the water had drifted away because it was difficult to salvage them. Therefore, they made a sandbar to prevent the bodies from drifting away in the Komagome-gawa River that runs Kohata Village and recovered the bodies which were caught on it.

The bodies recovered in that way ended up being stored in the fifth Regiment post, where they were cremated or sent home after their bereaved family had met and confirmed them.

Cause

The cause of the disaster has not been determined, though there are several theories. The causes accepted widely now are shown below.

Weather condition

The march was carried out on the day of the lowest temperature ever recorded in the country (on January 25, -41.1 degrees Celsius, the lowest temperature ever observed in Japan, was recorded in Asahikawa) when Typical winter pressure patterns such as, the high-pressure area to the west, and the low-pressure area to the east, and an unprecedented cold air mass was covering the Japanese archipelago. The temperature in Aomori was 8 to 10 degrees Celsius lower than usual years. The fifth Aomori Regiment recorded that the temperature in the mountain on which the troop got lost was lower than -20 degrees Celsius, though it's not clear because the hospital corpsman who was in charge of observations died before leaving a record. Such harsh weather conditions are regarded as the biggest factor of the disaster.

Poor equipment

The equipment soldiers had during marching was as follows; ' a woolen coat' ' a woolen service cap' ' a winter military uniform of cotton flannel' ' cotton work gloves' 'long ammunition boots' 'long straw boots for snow', for soldiers whose ranks were Sergeant Major or higher, and ' wearing two woolen coats' ' an ordinary felt service cap' ' an ordinary military uniform of Ogura fabric' ' cotton work gloves' 'short ammunition boots' for noncommissioned officers or lower. Those were hardly enough for protection from the cold in winter mountains. In particular, noncommissioned officers were given only two woolen coats as their cold protection equipment (about the military uniform of Japanese Army at that time, see also Military Uniform [Imperial Japanese Army]). It is said that Captain Kuraishi had escaped frostbite thanks to his rubber boots which he had happened to buy when he had been in Tokyo at New Year's.

The chaotic chain of command

The officer in total command of the marching troop was Captain Kannari, captain of the troop, and Major Yamaguchi and several Captains came along to attend the troop. Major Yamaguchi was Captain Kannari's boss in terms of rank and their relationship in ordinary duty. Other Captains who came along were commanders of equal rank with Captain Kannari, even though he was the officer in charge. That resulted in defective transmission of information and disunion in decision-making.

Terrible lack of information

It was just before the march was carried out that they had decided to make Captain Kannari in charge of the marching troop. The person who had been in charge was discharged to attend to his wife who was giving a birth. Therefore, Captain Kannari started preparations, which was conducting only a single-day march to Kotoge in small troop as a preparatory exercise, without any advance knowledge. That march was carried out on a fine day, which resulted in extracting no basic information on the risk of climbing winter mountains or actions in snow.

Lack of knowledge

Most of the soldiers who joined the march were from farm families in Iwate Prefecture and Miyagi Prefecture, having had no chance to climb winter mountains before. Little did they know about Mt.Hakkoda in winter. Therefore, they had little knowledge about cold protection and most of them thought marching in snow and trekking was the same. As for the fifth Regiment, a send-off party was held on the day before departure and the banquet continued until midnight.
Sergeant Major Hasegawa recalled ' I brought only one hand towel like going to dip in a hot spring because Tashiro was just about five ri ("ri" is about 3.927km) away from there.'
Hasegawa prevented his feet from being frozen by wrapping them with the leather used on a gun.

According to 'Sounan Shimatsusho,' several soldiers (who they were is unclear) replaced their ordinary leather military boots with tabi socks to climb the mountain. According to survivor, Corporal Ohara, they had no spare gloves and socks to change into when their clothes got wet. Frostbite occurred from the wet parts, depriving them of temperature and power, and causing them to freeze to death.
Corporal Ohara recalled, he himself ' wouldn't have lost my legs and fingers and half of the soldiers would have been alive, if we had had only one pair of gloves and socks to change.'

All the survivors who were nonofficial soldiers were from mountain-ringed regions and normally helped Matagi hunter groups or worked in charcoal making. They were acquainted with winter mountains to some extent and used their original cold protection techniques such as ' rubbing red peppers on one's feet to make the temperature of the feet stable' 'wrapping water-resistant paper coated with oil around one's feet to prevent water from invading' ' tucking newspaper between underwear and clothes to make body temperature stable and shut out the cold air' 'wrapping water-resistant paper coated with oil around food (rice balls) to prevent them being frozen'. It is said that one of the reasons why the survival probability of the officers was high is because their equipment had better cold protection functions than those of nonofficial soldiers.

Other things

It is said that not only soldiers who marched in the snow but local people who gathered as guides also suffered from frostbite and other ailments. Some say that local people who had guided the troop were more miserable than missing soldiers who received handsome compensation, because unlike them, local people weren't given sufficient reward.

The incident became known to the public by a novel, "Death march on Mount Hakkoda" written by Jiro NITTA and a movie which was based on that novel "Hakkoda-san Mountain."

In January, the second march in snow was carried out. All participants succeeded in marching through Hakkoda-san Mountain safe and sound.

In January, the fifth Infantry Regiment (Japan Ground Self-Defense Force ninth Division [Japan Ground Self-Defense Force]) of Aomori post succeeded in marching in snow on Hakkoda-san Mountain with modern equipment.

In July, 15 trainees and 8 instructors, 23 in total, of the fifth Infantry Regiment of Aomori post fell on a low-lying depression at the entrance of Tashirodaira farm near Hakkoda hot spring with gas poisoning-like symptoms during the training of rangers, and 12 of them were carried to hospital, of whom 3 died.

There have been many theories about the cause of death of Major Shin YAMAGUCHI in recent years. However, his status by birth and his career are barely known.

Yamaguchi (original family name was Narisawa, changed as he was adopted) was born to a vassal of the shogun in 1856, growing up in Numadu because his brother-in-law On WATANABE, English scholar and translator, was a professor at Numadu Hei School (Numazu officer academy) (Yamaguchi was too young to enter). Later, he studied French at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (also because the principal was Watanabe), going from the Military academy (Japan) to Army Toyama School. After serving in Japanese-Sino War, his post was Yamagata (the 32th Infantry Regiment) before Aomori. The army surgeon who was at Yamaguchi's bedside when he died mysteriously was Sadae NAKAHARA, who had come from Yamagata Military Hospital, and it was hardly a coincidence. Anyway, it is possible his different profiles from that of the novel and the movie will be revealed by further study.

Haakon VII of Kingdom of Norway, sent two skis to Emperor Meiji as a get-well present, having heard about Death March of Hakkoda Mountains Incident.