Remarkable Facts: Meet Hiroo Onoda – The Japanese Soldier who fought the World War 2 till 1974
To the mankind, World War 2 ended in 1945. But Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese Military Officer kept fighting the war till 1974. Fighting the Allies from Lubang Island (Philippines), Onoda refused to believe the war ended until he was finally located and given official orders to surrender in March, 1974.
Born in 1922, Onoda hailed from Kaiso District, Japan and belonged to a Samurai Warrior Clan. He became an Intelligence Officer after joining the Imperial Japanese Army Infantry in 1940. In December 1944, he was sent to Lubang (Philippines) to thwart the Allied forces attack on the island. Onoda was given an official order not to surrender or take his own life under any circumstances.
With the Allied forces capture of Lubang in February 1945, only Onoda and three soldiers survived and eluded capture. With lack of options, Onoda ordered the remaining men to move to the hills from where he resumed fighting. After the war ended, various messages were sent mentioning the surrender of Japan which was distrusted by Onoda and his men impelling them to continue fighting.
By 1972, Onoda was left alone with two of his soldiers killed and one surrendered. A Japanese Traveler, Norio Suzuki searching for Onoda met him in early 1974. After ascertaining that Onoda was awaiting orders from his superiors to cease fighting, Suzuki returned to Japan and informed the government of the situation. His superior officer flew to Lubang on March 9, 1974 and ordered to Onoda to halt fighting and surrender.
In spite of engaging in various shootouts with the Philippines police, Onoda was given presidential pardon upon his surrender ascribed to the circumstances he fought. Upon arrival, Onoda received a hero’s welcome and became so popular in Japan prompting him to pen down his autobiography “No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War”. Relocating to Brazil in 1975, he returned to Japan in 1984 establishing Onoda Nature School, an education camp for young people.
Onoda revisited Lubang in 1996 donating $10,000 for educational purposes. He spent his remaining life supporting Nippon Kaigi, an organization endorsing the Administrative power of monarchy and militarism in Japan. Suffering a heart failure, Onoda breathed his last on January 16, 2014.