We're all familiar with some of the more famous Japanese soldiers who held out for years (or decades) following the surrender in 1945... but I had no idea that there were so many.

I stumbled across an interesting web site that lists the enormous number of individuals or small units that held out for years, and in some cases, engaged in stiff battles all the way up to the 1950's.

Japanese Holdouts

Peleliu:
March 1947 - Ei Yamaguchi's Band Attacks US Marines
Peleliu is a small six mile long by three mile wide island. It was originally secured by American Marines in November of 1944 after fierce fighting. A band of 33 Japanese soldiers renews fighting on the island by attacking a Marine patrol with hand grenades. At that time, only 150 Marines were stationed on the island, with 35 dependents. Reinforcement were called in to hunt down the hideouts. American patrols with a Japanese Admiral sent to convince the troops that the war was indeed over finally convinced the holdouts to come out peacefully.
Unbelievably, there are still strong rumours of elderly soldiers remaining. While no longer active as soldiers or guerillas, having "gone native", they are still in hiding and refuse to be repatriated.

This all makes sense when you consider the isolation, the widely scattered Japanese units, and the survival-friendly Pacific island environment.