• Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese soldiers who hid in the Philippine jungle for three decades, has died in Tokyo at age 91. He waged a guerrilla campaign on Lubang Island near Luzon until 1974.

    Onoda and three other holdouts got into a shoot-out with local Philippine troops in 1972.

    When asked at a press conference after his return what had he been thinking about the last 30 years, he told reporters, “Carrying out orders.”

    He became a national hero. He was even invited back to visit the Philippines even though he had killed dozens of Filipinos.


  • Thank you for that bit of news Worsham.
    I think he was a hell of a man and deserves to be a national hero.

  • '22 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    Well, I do take some umbrage with the slap on the wrist treatment he got. Imagine an American soldier doing the same thing in Vietnam (Iraq, Afghanistan, etc) and the response he’d get from the media. Onoda wasn’t even defending a home island, it was occupied land.


  • It could be argued that, by refusing to surrender when his country did so, he was disobeying valid orders from his superiors – something which would be considered dishonorable (as well as a court-martial offense) to a Japanese soldier.  On the other hand, the same charge could be leveled against Charles de Gaulle, and he ended up being viewed as a national hero for doing so.  In de Gaulle’s case, his rationale was probably that he didn’t regard as legitimate the leaders who surrendered to Germany in June 1940, and hence didn’t regard as legitimate their orders to cease resisting.


  • @CWO:

    It could be argued that, by refusing to surrender when his country did so, he was disobeying valid orders from his superiors – something which would be considered dishonorable (as well as a court-martial offense) to a Japanese soldier.  On the other hand, the same charge could be leveled against Charles de Gaulle, and he ended up being viewed as a national hero for doing so.  In de Gaulle’s case, his rationale was probably that he didn’t regard as legitimate the leaders who surrendered to Germany in June 1940, and hence didn’t regard as legitimate their orders to cease resisting.

    It could be argued that, by refusing to surrender when his country did so, he was disobeying valid
    orders from his superiors – something which would be considered dishonorable (as well as a
    court-martial offense) to a Japanese soldier.

    Your post brings up an interesting question: did orders to surrender reach him in the first place?


    Onoda’s orders also stated that under no circumstances was he to surrender or take his own life.

    When he landed on the island, Onoda joined forces with a group of Japanese soldiers who had been sent there previously. The officers in the group outranked Onoda and prevented him from carrying out his assignment, which made it easier for United States and Philippine Commonwealth forces to take the island when they landed on February 28, 1945. Within a short time of the landing, all but Onoda and three other soldiers had either died or surrendered and Onoda, who had been promoted to lieutenant, ordered the men to take to the hills. . . .

    The first time they saw a leaflet which claimed that the war was over was in October 1945. . . . However, they mistrusted the leaflet. . . .

    Towards the end of 1945, leaflets were dropped by air with a surrender order printed on them from General Tomoyuki Yamashita of the Fourteenth Area Army. They had been in hiding for over a year, and this leaflet was the only evidence they had the war was over. Onoda’s group looked very closely at the leaflet to determine whether it was genuine, and decided it was not. . . .

    On February 20, 1974, Onoda met a Japanese man, Norio Suzuki, who was traveling around the world and was looking for “Lieutenant Onoda, a panda, and the Abominable Snowman, in that order”.[4] Suzuki found Onoda after four days of searching. Onoda described this moment in a 2010 interview: “This hippie boy Suzuki came to the island to listen to the feelings of a Japanese soldier. Suzuki asked me why I would not come out…”[1] Onoda and Suzuki became friends, but Onoda still refused to surrender, saying that he was waiting for orders from a superior officer. Suzuki returned to Japan with photographs of himself and Onoda as proof of their encounter, and the Japanese government located Onoda’s commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, who had since become a bookseller. He flew to Lubang where on March 9, 1974, he finally met with Onoda and fulfilled the promise made in 1944, “Whatever happens, we’ll come back for you,” by issuing him the following orders: [orders to cease military operations and place himself under the command of the nearest superior officer] . . .

    Onoda was thus properly relieved of duty, and he surrendered. He turned over his sword, his functioning Arisaka Type 99 rifle, 500 rounds of ammunition and several hand grenades, as well as the dagger his mother had given him in 1944 for protection.



  • @KurtGodel7:

    @CWO:

    It could be argued that, by refusing to surrender when his country did so, he was disobeying valid orders from his superiors – something which would be considered dishonorable (as well as a court-martial offense) to a Japanese soldier.  On the other hand, the same charge could be leveled against Charles de Gaulle, and he ended up being viewed as a national hero for doing so.  In de Gaulle’s case, his rationale was probably that he didn’t regard as legitimate the leaders who surrendered to Germany in June 1940, and hence didn’t regard as legitimate their orders to cease resisting.

    It could be argued that, by refusing to surrender when his country did so, he was disobeying valid
    orders from his superiors – something which would be considered dishonorable (as well as a
    court-martial offense) to a Japanese soldier.

    Your post brings up an interesting question: did orders to surrender reach him in the first place?


    Onoda’s orders also stated that under no circumstances was he to surrender or take his own life.

    When he landed on the island, Onoda joined forces with a group of Japanese soldiers who had been sent there previously. The officers in the group outranked Onoda and prevented him from carrying out his assignment, which made it easier for United States and Philippine Commonwealth forces to take the island when they landed on February 28, 1945. Within a short time of the landing, all but Onoda and three other soldiers had either died or surrendered and Onoda, who had been promoted to lieutenant, ordered the men to take to the hills. . . .

    The first time they saw a leaflet which claimed that the war was over was in October 1945. . . . However, they mistrusted the leaflet. . . .

    Towards the end of 1945, leaflets were dropped by air with a surrender order printed on them from General Tomoyuki Yamashita of the Fourteenth Area Army. They had been in hiding for over a year, and this leaflet was the only evidence they had the war was over. Onoda’s group looked very closely at the leaflet to determine whether it was genuine, and decided it was not. . . .

    On February 20, 1974, Onoda met a Japanese man, Norio Suzuki, who was traveling around the world and was looking for “Lieutenant Onoda, a panda, and the Abominable Snowman, in that order”.[4] Suzuki found Onoda after four days of searching. Onoda described this moment in a 2010 interview: “This hippie boy Suzuki came to the island to listen to the feelings of a Japanese soldier. Suzuki asked me why I would not come out…”[1] Onoda and Suzuki became friends, but Onoda still refused to surrender, saying that he was waiting for orders from a superior officer. Suzuki returned to Japan with photographs of himself and Onoda as proof of their encounter, and the Japanese government located Onoda’s commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, who had since become a bookseller. He flew to Lubang where on March 9, 1974, he finally met with Onoda and fulfilled the promise made in 1944, “Whatever happens, we’ll come back for you,” by issuing him the following orders: [orders to cease military operations and place himself under the command of the nearest superior officer] . . .

    Onoda was thus properly relieved of duty, and he surrendered. He turned over his sword, his functioning Arisaka Type 99 rifle, 500 rounds of ammunition and several hand grenades, as well as the dagger his mother had given him in 1944 for protection.


    Thank you for the additional information.


  • Agreed. Thank you.


  • They made a movie about him, - the last surrender.
    I might look into it.


  • Like a boss. Men like him don’t come around all that often.


  • They also had him on this TV show. Apparently he has poor eyesight but he did go to UCLA before returning to Japan.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SD4Y_3hrd98


  • considering that America used the Philippines as a base for fighting in Vietnam it would have been easy for him to see the military action in the area as proof the war was still being fought.


  • I read the book about him. Very awesome story. Read the book, then watch the movie.  :-D

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