Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Hiroo Onoda Finally Surrenders

Today in 1974 Hiroo Onoda, a former Japanese army intelligence officer who fought in World War II and spent 30 years holding out in the Philippines was informed by his previous commander the war was over and it was time to surrender.

Hiroo Onoda was given the order when he arrived in the Philippines in 1944;
You are absolutely forbidden to die by your own hand. It may take three years, it may take five, but whatever happens, we'll come back for you. Until then, so long as you have one soldier, you are to continue to lead him. You may have to live on coconuts. If that's the case, live on coconuts! Under no circumstances are you to give up your life voluntarily

Onoda did guerrilla warfare with three other soldiers until 1974. The other three died fighting villagers on the island. Onoda kill thirty Philippine inhabitants in this time but was given a pardon by President Ferdinand Marcos.

In 1974 Lieutenant Onoda surrender in his uniform and sword, with his Arisaka Type 99 rifle still in operating condition, 500 rounds of ammunition and several hand grenades.

He returned to a hero’s welcome in Japan, but found himself unable to adjust to modern life there. He received back pay from the Japanese government for his twenty-nine years on Lubang, but it amounted to very little. He recorded his story as a memoir, entitled “No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War,” then moved to Brazil for a calm life of raising cattle on a ranch.

In May of 1996, Hiroo Onoda returned to Lubang, and donated $10,000 to the school there. He then married a Japanese woman, and the two of them moved back to Japan to run a nature camp for kids.

Reportedly, Onoda is still alive in Japan today.