What Happened to the Japanese Submarine Crews?
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The fate of the I-16tou and her two crewmen, Yokoyama and Kamita, was unknown until the wreck was identified by a Lone Wolf expedition in March 2009. The condition of the wreck – disassembled and dumped – indicated that the wreck was originally sunk inside the harbour, very likely from the West Loch. However, as the interior of the control room has not yet been explored (the wreck has, since its discovery, been classified as a protected war grave), the ultimate fate of Yokoyama and Kamita remains unknown.

Some speculate that the remains of the I-16tou crew are still inside the wreck. I don’t agree with this assumption, for the following reasons:

"If they escaped from their boat after it had settled to the bottom, it would have been possible for them to reach the surface. If they were able to swim the mile to shore across placid Keehi Lagoon, they could easily have melted into the local populace of Hawaii with its many Orientals. Had they been able to do this, their determination to avoid capture might have caused them to seek aid from those friendly to their cause, a difficult task indeed. Their devotion to Japanese ideology would likely have caused them to reveal to no one, either during or after the war, that they failed their mission. Therefore, it is a remote possibility that one or both may be alive today."

- Lieutenant Commander A.J. Stewart, "Those Mysterious Midgets," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, December 1974

Granted, this is not proof, but I am following the precedent set by the I-24tou and Keehi Lagoon sub when I make the assumption that the crew of I-16tou managed to escape before scuttling their sub. To assume otherwise deviates from the precedent established by the other subs.


It is quite possible that as many as four Japanese submariners made it safely ashore on O’ahu. After that, there is absolutely no evidence to indicate exactly where they might have gone. More research is required to uncover that evidence. I have offered a possible scenario that incorporates the known evidence, but it is woefully incomplete.