Interesting Facts: The Japanese Occupation of the United States During World War II


Japanese troops raise the Imperial battle flag on Kiska after landing on 6 June 1942.

Today I discovered something about World War II that I previously did not know. I did not realise that portion of what is now one of America’s 50 states was actually occupied by the Japanese.

I am, of course, stretching things with the title since the state in question, Alaska, was a Territory at the time and only joined the Union in 1959.  Nevertheless, it was, like the British Channel Islands, occupied by one of the Axis powers.

The Japanese occupation of Kiska and Attu in the Aleutian Islands began on 6 June 1942 (1).  There was only a very minimal US presence at the time of this successful attack on US territory:

 “When the Japanese attacked Kiska, the only people on the island were members of the U.S. Aerological Detail who ran but were caught in just a matter of days.  Senior Petty Officer William C. House avoided the Japanese for 50 days, surviving on plants and worms alone but eventually, when he weighed just 80 pounds, he made a decision to either give up or die from lack of food; he chose to give up. ” (2)

The invasion to liberate Kiska from the Japanese yoke took place on 15 August 1943, but the Japanese had already left at the end of July. (2)

He following is an American documentary about the Aleution Campaign:


(1) Japanese occupation of Kiska

(2) Japanese Occupation Site at Kiska Island.