Hiro Onoda, a true Soldier

This is a true story of a Japanese Soldier in WW II that stood loyally until 1974, 29 years after the end of WWII. He was ordered to remain at his position until further  orders, and he did exactly that.

This is his story:

Onoda was trained by the Nakano School, after which he was stationed on Lubang Island in the Philippines. He was there when it was reclaimed by the Allies in February 1945, towards the conclusion of World War II. Most of the Japanese troops were killed or captured by Allied forces. Onoda, and several other men, hid in the jungle.

Time in hiding

Onoda continued his campaign, initially living in the mountains with three fellow soldiers (Yuichi Akatsu, Siochi Shimada and Kinshichi Kozuka). One of his comrades, Akatsu, eventually surrendered to Filipino forces in 1950 and confirmed that Onoda and the other two were alive. Shimada was killed in a gun battle with local forces in 1954, and Kozuka was killed in 1972, leaving Onoda alone in the mountains. For 29 years, he refused to surrender, dismissing as a ruse every attempt to convince him that the war was over. In 1959, Onoda was declared legally dead in Japan.

Found by a Japanese student, Norio Suzuki, Onoda still refused to abandon his mission, unless he received orders to lay down his arms from his superior officer. Suzuki offered his help, and returned to Japan with photographs of himself and Onoda as proof of their encounter. In 1974 the Japanese government located Onoda’s commanding officer, Major Taniguchi, who had since become a bookseller. He flew to Lubang and informed Onoda of the defeat of Japan in WWII and ordered him to lay down his arms. Lieutenant Onoda emerged from the jungle 29 years after the end of World War II, and accepted the commanding officer’s order of surrender in his uniform and sword, with his Arisaka Type 99 rifle still in operating condition, 500 rounds of ammunition and several hand grenades. This makes him the second-to-last fighting Japanese soldier of World War II, before Teruo Nakamura. Although many sources in modern culture poke fun at Onoda for “not believing the war was over,” the primary motivation related to his devout belief in military discipline and honor: He had been ordered to never leave his post until he received a specific order enabling him to do so. Those orders did not arrive until 1974.

Though he had killed some thirty Philippine inhabitants of the island and engaged in several shootouts with the police, the circumstances of these events were taken into consideration, and Onoda received a pardon from President Ferdinand Marcos.

After his surrender, Onoda moved to Brazil, where he became a cattle farmer. He released an autobiography, No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War, shortly after his surrender, detailing his life as a guerrilla fighter in a war that was long over. He revisited Lubang Island in 1996, donating $10,000 for the local school on Lubang. He then married a Japanese woman (at age 74) and moved back to Japan where he established a nature camp for children. At the camp Onoda shares what he learned about survival through resourcefulness and ingenuity. As of 2008, Onoda is still living in Japan. He is an assenter of The Truth about Nanjing movie.

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroo_Onoda

One Response to “Hiro Onoda, a true Soldier”

  1. Interesting article, i have bookmarked your site for future referrence :)

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