Japanese Soldier continued fighting for 30 years after the End of WWII

Posted: October 9, 2011 in English, Kaffeeklatsch
Tags: , , , , , ,

Hiroo Onoda was a Japanese army intelligent officer who continued fighting World War 2 until 1974 because he did not know that Japan had surrendered.

In December 1944 he was sent to Lubang Island in the Philippines in order to group up with already existing Soldiers on the island and to fight a guerilla warfare. One of his main orders stated that under no circumstances could he surrender or take his own life. However after US and Philippine Commonwealth forces had retaken the Island the remaining soldiers grouped up in little guerilla cells and focused on sabotage. Hiroo Onoda was leading a group of 3 other soldiers.

After the end of World War 2 his group could find various left leaves stating: “The war ended on August 15. Come down from the mountains!” but they understood these papers as Allied propaganda and refused to surrender. During the coming years of guerilla warfare the Japanese and Philippine Government send various search parties, left leaves, photos of their families but nothing could persuade the men, that World War 2 was over. After the first 5 years in the Jungle one of the man decided to surrender and another 5 years later another member of the group got killed during one of the many skirmishes with the locals. In 1972, after 27 years of hiding in the Jungle and gathering information about the “enemy” Onoda’s last remaining brother in arms got killed in a fight with a Filipino Control.

The Japanese government, that had declared Onoda officially dead in 1959, sent another another search group which was unsuccessful in finding him.

Finally in 1974 a collage student, Naori Suzuki, that decided to travel around the world created a quite absurd to-do-list. His main aim was to find “Lieutenant Onoda, a panda, and the Abominable Snowman” (I really have no clue what is the story behind that, but I think its awesome) Surprisingly, where so many failed he succeeded and actually found Hiroo Onoda. But he was still not willing to surrender unless his commanding officer would give him new orders. So Suzuki, actually went back to Japan, with a photo of him and Onoda as a proof and persuaded his old commanding officer, who had become a bookseller to go to the Philippines and order Onoda to surrender.

He finally surrendered and was pardoned by the Philippine President  for the crimes he committed after the official end of World War 2.

Even though the example of Hiroo Onoda seems to be quite strange, it was not the only case. Also Private Teruo Nakamura, who surrendered in Indonesia in 1974, only 6 months before Onoda and Shoichi Yokoi who surrendered in Guam in 1972 are examples where soldiers of the Japanese Imperial army did not believe that World War 2 was over.

(Picture: unchartedphilippines.com)

  1. Maggie Leon Garcia says:

    What an incredible story!!! The huge amount of conviction this men had…Wooaaa This is a Ripley’s Believe it or not story.

    I pretty sure there is a very good story behind that student’s list =D I really want to know about it =S

    Good story Jan = )

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