A Japanese Soldier Who Continued Fighting WWII 29 Years After the Japanese Surrendered, Because He Didn’t Know

Daven Hiskey 160
Hiroo OnodaToday I found out about a Japanese soldier who continued fighting World War II a full 29 years after the Japanese surrendered, because he didn’t know the war was over.

Hiroo Onoda is a Japanese citizen that originally worked at a Chinese trading company.  When he was 20 years old, he was called to join the Japanese army.  He promptly quit his job and headed off to training in Japan.  At a certain point in his training, he was chosen to be trained at Nakano School as an Imperial Army Intelligence Officer.  In this specialized military intelligence training, he was specifically taught methods of gathering intelligence and how to conduct guerrilla warfare.  He was being groomed to go in behind enemy lines and be left with small pockets of soldiers to make life miserable for Japan’s enemies and gather intelligence in the process.

On December 26th, 1944, Onoda was sent to Lubang Island in the Philippines.  His orders from his commanding officers, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, were simple:

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 then linked up with Japanese soldiers already on the island and shortly thereafter the island was overrun by enemy troops when other officers that were already on the island refused to help fulfill part of the orders that Onoda was given to destroy the harbor and airfield among other things.  This in turn made it easier for the Allied forces to conquer the island, landing on February 28th, 1945.  Shortly after the island was conquered the remaining Japanese soldiers split up into small groups of 3 or 4 and headed into the jungle.

Most of these small groups were quickly killed off.  Onoda’s group though consisting of himself, Yuichi Akatsu, Siochi Shimada, and Kinshichi Kozuka, were not.  They continued to use guerrilla warfare tactics to harry the enemy troops as best they could while strictly rationing supplies including food, ammo, etc.  Supplementing their small rice rations with bananas, coconuts, and other food from the jungle as well as doing raids on local farms when they could manage it.

In October 1945, after another cell had killed a cow from a local farm for food, they came across a leaflet from the local islanders to them saying “The war ended August 15th.  Come down from the mountains!”  The few remaining cells discussed this leaflet extensively, but eventually decided that it was Allied propaganda trying to get them to give themselves up.  They felt that there was no way that Japan could have lost so quickly since the time when they were deployed.  Indeed, this would seem strange to anyone who had no knowledge of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Also, another one of the cells had been fired upon just a few days before; they felt that this wouldn’t have happened if the war was over.

Eventually, near the end of the same year local islanders, fed up with being shot at and raided, got a Boeing B-17 to drop leaflets all over the jungle.  These leaflets had the order to surrender printed on them from General Yamashita.  The few remaining cells once again scrutinized these leaflets to try to determine their authenticity.  In the end, the wording on the leaflet pertaining to the method with which they would be sent back to Japan seemed fishy to them; largely because the wording made it seem as if Japan had lost, something they couldn’t fathom and which was a big problem in their willingness to accept the war had ended.  If Japan had won, they would come and get them.  Japan couldn’t lose, so the war must still be going.  So they once again believed it was the Allies becoming more tired of their successful guerrilla tactics and trying to get them to surrender.

When this didn’t work, more leaflets were dropped with newspapers from Japan; photographs and letters from the soldiers families; delegates were sent from Japan and went through the jungle speaking over loudspeakers begging the soldiers to give themselves up.  In every case the cells encountered, there was always something suspicious in their minds about the way it was done to cause them to believe it was an elaborate hoax by the Allied troops.

Years passed in the jungle with these four soldiers continuing to perform their sworn duty of harrying the enemy at every opportunity and gather intelligence as best they could.  At a certain point, when most everybody they saw was dressed in civilian clothing, they began thinking that this too was a ruse from the Allied forces to lull the Japanese guerrilla soldiers into a false sense of confidence.  They considered the fact that every time they fired on these “civilians” shortly thereafter search parties would arrive hunting them.  Over time they had gradually let their solitude twist their minds into thinking everyone was an enemy, even their own fellow Japanese who would occasionally come and try to find them and get them to come home.  These of course in their minds were Japanese prisoners forced to come lure them away from the safety of the jungle.

Eventually, after about 5 years in the jungle, Akatsu decided he would surrender, but didn’t tell the other three soldiers.  So, in 1949 he slipped away from the others and after 6 months alone in the jungle was able to successfully surrender to what he thought were Allied troops.  Because of this event, Onoda’s cell became even more cautious and went into deeper hiding and took fewer risks as they viewed Akatsu leaving as a security threat.  “What if he was captured”, they thought.

About 5 years later, another of the small group, Shimada was killed in a skirmish on the beach at Gontin.  Now there were only two, Onoda and Kozuka.

For about 17 more years the two lived in the jungle, gathering intelligence as best they could and attacking the “enemy troops” when they could risk it.  They were still convinced that eventually Japan would dispatch more troops and they would then train these troops in guerrilla warfare and use the intelligence they had gathered to re-take the island.  After all, their orders were to stay put and do as they had done until their commanding officer came and got them and their commanding officers had promised to do so no matter what.

Now in October 1972, after 27 years of hiding Kozuka was killed during a fight with a Filipino patrol.   The Japanese had long thought he had already died, they didn’t think he could have survived so long in the jungle.  But now when they had his body, they began thinking perhaps Onoda was also still alive, even though he had also long since been declared dead.

The Japanese then sent a search party to try to find Onoda in the jungle.  Unfortunately, he was too good at hiding with 27 years of practice.  They could not find him.  Onoda continued his mission.

Finally in 1974 a college student, Nario Suzuki, decided to travel the world.  Among his list of things to do on his journey was to find “Onoda, a panda, and the Abominable Snowman”.   He traveled to the island and trekked through the jungle searching for signs of Onoda.  Shockingly, where literally thousands of others through the last 29 years had failed, Suzuki succeeded.  He found Onoda’s dwelling place and Onoda himself.

He then proceeded to try to convince Onoda to come home with him.  Onoda refused.  His commanding officers had said they would return for him no matter what.  He would not surrender nor believe the war was over until they returned and ordered him to do so.  At this point, he would not have been allowed to simply go home; he would be required to surrender and throw himself on the mercy of the enemy.  Over the years he had been too successful at using the guerrilla tactics he had mastered.  Killing 30 Filipinos and injuring over 100 others as well as destroying various crops and the like for almost 30 years.

Suzuki then traveled back to Japan with the news he’d found Onoda; Major Taniguchi, now retired and working at a book store, was then brought back to the island and to Onoda to tell him that Japan had lost the war and he was to give up his weapons and surrender to the Filipinos.

As you might expect, after living in the jungle doing what he thought was his duty helping Japan, now only turning out to be wasting 29 years of his life, and worse killing and injuring innocent civilians, this came as a crushing blow to Onoda.

We really lost the war! How could they have been so sloppy?

Suddenly everything went black. A storm raged inside me. I felt like a fool for having been so tense and cautious on the way here. Worse than that, what had I been doing for all these years?

Gradually the storm subsided, and for the first time I really understood: my thirty years as a guerrilla fighter for the Japanese army were abruptly finished. This was the end.

I pulled back the bolt on my rifle and unloaded the bullets. . . .

I eased off the pack that I always carried with me and laid the gun on top of it. Would I really have no more use for this rifle that I had polished and cared for like a baby all these years? Or Kozuka’s rifle, which I had hidden in a crevice in the rocks? Had the war really ended thirty years ago? If it had, what had Shimada and Kozuka died for? If what was happening was true, wouldn’t it have been better if I had died with them?

On March 10th, 1975 at the age of 52, Onoda in full uniform that was somehow still immaculately kept, marched out of the jungle and surrendered his samurai sword to the Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.  Marcos, very unpopularly in the Philippines, but immensely popular in Japan, pardoned Onoda for his crimes, given that Onoda had thought he was still at war the entire time.

Now in the end, we might look at Onoda as a fool and worse, a murder of innocent people.  In the end, he was both of those things, there is no denying it.  But at the same time, not everyone who lives by strict convictions and puts their all into achieving what they believe to be the right thing, ends up having what they strive towards turn out well or end up being a good thing.  This is one of those cases where someone did something remarkable, showing extreme dedication to his country and his duty, as well as fortitude unmatched by many in history.

Had circumstances been different and the war really had waged on so long; soldiers and people from both sides of the fight would have respected him for his courage and dedication.  In that respect he was more of a hero.  However, the world wasn’t the way he thought and in the end, in retrospect, he was more a fool than anything else.  But at the same time, we can’t ignore that this was a man who did something great with respect to doing something that few others could have done; had circumstances been as he thought, what he did was something to be admired.  He faced (what he thought) was death around every corner and lived in an extreme situation for 30 years, fighting for his country.  That should be respected.  It’s a rare person who could do something like that and never quite or surrender; never take the easy way out as most of us do all the time when faced with adversity that is orders of magnitude less than what Onoda faced for almost 30 years in the jungle.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy:

Hiroo OnodaBonus Onoda Facts:

  • When Onoda returned to Japan, he was seen as a hero.  He was also given his pay for the last 30 years.  Life was much different in Japan now than he remembered, and not at all to his liking.  Many of the traditional Japanese virtues he cherished such as patriotism were nearly non-existent in the culture; indeed in his view Japan now cow-towed to the rest of the world and had lost its pride and sense of itself.  So he moved to Brazil and used his pay to buy himself a ranch there and eventually married.
  • Onoda released an autobiography: No Surrender, My Thirty-Year War in which he details his life as a guerrilla fighter.
  • After reading about a Japanese teenager who had murdered his own parents in 1980, Onoda became even more distressed at the state of his country and young people in Japan.  He then returned to Japan in 1984, establishing a nature school for young people where he could teach them various survival techniques and teach them to be more independent and better Japanese citizens.
  • In May 1996, he returned to the Philippines to the island he had lived for 30 years donating $10,000 to local schools; as you might imagine, he is not too popular with the locals there, despite the donation.

Bonus Onoda Quotes:

  • Men should never give up. I never do. I would hate to lose.
  • Men should never compete with women. If they do, the guys will always lose. That is because women have a lot more endurance. My mother said that, and she was so right.
  • One must always be civic-minded. Every minute of every day, for 30 years, I served my country. I have never even wondered if that was good or bad for me as an individual.
  • Parents should raise more independent children. When I was living in Brazil in the 1980s, I read that a 19-year-old Japanese man killed his parents after failing the university entrance exam. I was stunned. Why had he killed his parents instead of moving out? I guess he didn’t have enough confidence. I thought this was a sign that Japanese were getting too weak. I decided to move back to Japan to establish a nature school to give children more power.
  • Parents should remember that they are supposed to die before their children. Nobody will help them later on, so the greatest gift parents can give their children is independence.
  • Never complain. When I did, my mother said that if I didn’t like my life, I could just give up and die. She reminded me that when I was inside her, I told her that I wanted to be born, so she delivered me, breastfed me and changed my diapers. She said that I had to be brave.

Expand for References:

Hiroo Onoda

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160 Comments »

  1. Michelle February 10, 2010 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    Wow, that was the single awesome thing I found out today. I really admire Japan and how it was back then. Never surrender. EPIC.

    • Lindsay July 21, 2014 at 12:31 am - Reply

      You do know about the Japanese human experimentation and atrocities and the chinese rape right?

  2. mike February 16, 2010 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Why in the hell would you admire Japan during WWII??? The Japanese military murdered thousands of Chinese civilians and Allied servicemen that had been taken prisoner. You ever hear of something called “The Rape of Nanking(sp)”?

    Not so nice a bunch of people back then.

  3. mike February 23, 2010 at 7:18 am - Reply

    to mike the allied forces wernt angles them selfs.. so it was ok for america to drop 2 atomic bombs on civilians then????.

  4. July 6, 2010 at 8:16 am - Reply

    Their patriotism and dedication was definitely admirable, even if some of their actions were not.

  5. Bombs July 6, 2010 at 9:38 am - Reply

    If they didn’t drop the bombs, there would have been more casualties on both sides. Its just basic logic. Also, more people died in the firebombing that preceded the atomic bombs, many of which where civilians. People who usually go crazy about the atomic bombs have a very superficial view of history during that period.

    • Geoff September 26, 2013 at 7:11 am - Reply

      There is nothing commendable about his supposed self-sacrifice, he was a victim of intense pre-war propaganda and his refusal to surrender simply shows the power of his indoctrination. The article is full of references to the inability of the soldiers to think for themselves, to use their own reason, such a handicap is never praiseworthy. He was a victim of a fascist-style government and he in turn victimized innocent people. The lesson here is that blind approval of military culture is incredibly dangerous, a lesson that we Americans used to understand, but seem to have lost.

      For the poster of the comment who claimed that the civilian slaughter in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were somehow justified because the US wasn’t forced to invade, you’re the one with the shallow view of history. There are plenty of documents showing that Japan was ready to surrender before the bombs and was very actively trying to surrender after Hiroshima. They had approached the Soviets and asked them to act as intermediaries, but it takes time for an empire to surrender; instead of allowing for the diplomatic wheels to turn we simply slaughtered another city full of civilians.

      There are various theories about why we dropped the bombs, from what I’ve read I think it’s most likely that we were attempting to demonstrate our power to the Soviet Union. Under that scenario, dropping the second bomb would be necessary to show that we were able to mass produce the weapons, something thought impossible by many countries at the time.

      When the bomb dropped, the Soviets had already declared war on Japan and invaded their holdings in mainland Asia. This was at the behest of the American government, who gave concessions in Europe to ensure Soviet help against Japan. Then, after securing their help and allowing vast swaths of territory to fall under Soviet control and domination, we use nuclear weapons on civilian and end the war without them. The Korean war and the enslavement of the North Korean people is a direct result of that blunder.

      • gizzy October 23, 2013 at 2:11 pm - Reply

        The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were fully justified. Why did the Japanese wait 3 days after the Hiroshima destruction to finally surrender? They knew the horrible power of the first bomb, yet they still did not want to surrender until Hirohito decided it was time to end the war and surrender.

        • Spencer October 27, 2013 at 8:59 pm - Reply

          Umm, apparently the whole thing was a misunderstanding/bad translation. The guy on the Japanese side said that they needed time to decide, but the verb they used had an alternate meeting of “no” or something. The translator didn’t clarify/think of a broader context before translating, so us Americans assumed they were being staid/proud Japanese people who were refusing to bow. Of course, there are probably more sides than simply this one, but also more than just “dude, they totally knew there was going to be another bomb”. I mean, you have to realize the benefit of hindsight. At the time, there were probably a shitton of mixed reports, chaos, and terror. Military/government facilities had been bombed/firebombed, people (in important roles) had died, etc. It’s kind of a big thing to tell someone they need to give up their entire way of life, depose a man they considered a living god, and surrender to people they’d been told/said were idiotic, honorless foreigners.

          • Fara August 22, 2014 at 4:27 am -

            This guy was a cog in the devilish Japanese war machine.The people who ran the unit 731,for example,must have been pretty dedicated to their “cause” too.In my opinion, the US did not have an alternative to dropping atom bombs,atleast not one apparent back then.It is sad that a lot of innocent civilians died,mainly the children,who certainly were not a part of the war,but I do not feel sorry for Japan as a nation state,the fact that there are shrines dedicated to killed war criminals,and seeing how many of the worst are still revered as heroes,makes one wonder about the Japenese national character. Have we ever heard the masses in Japan protest against this?

      • Francisco November 8, 2013 at 4:13 pm - Reply

        Thank you for this unbiased comment. I’m always angry when reading these comments. How come I can see the reality clearly and they can’t? Well you summed everything I couldn’t in my head, beautifully I may add. Thanks for this, your arguments are sound and your thinking is logic, this should be the norm.

      • TheKnowerseeker January 17, 2014 at 1:40 pm - Reply

        According to a documentary I watched, we dropped the bombs because Japan was turning their entire island of Japan into a death trap like Iwo Jima, and they were prepared to suicide-bomb their women and children against our troops out of spite.

      • Shock and awww October 16, 2014 at 4:34 am - Reply

        If Japan didn’t attack Pearl Harbor then they wouldn’t have gotten nuked. Simple.

    • mmh October 11, 2013 at 6:33 pm - Reply

      The abombs where just a convenient excuse. Stalin had just turned against them too, which really doomed their whole strategy. They where already loosing 20-30 Nagasaki type cities a day at that point. Impressive as it was technically, at that point the US was pummeling them so hard they we would be landing on Japan proper soon, and the Russians would be too via arming the Chinese (who also hated Japan).

    • paul March 11, 2014 at 5:00 am - Reply

      Dropping the bombs were not necessary the japanese were going to surrender because they know they’re going to lose. USA bombed japan to show other powerful countries that they’re the most powerful and that they’re untouchable. “we just killed thousand of innocent people, fear us russia!”

  6. Trent July 6, 2010 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    Mike and Michelle,

    You are both mindless lockstep liberals who have bought the revisionist history taught by schools over the past 30 years.

    Michelle,

    Japan committed millions of rapes, murders, etc during and before WWII, The rape of Nanking and the Bataan Deathmarch to name a few. Read real histroy from those that experienced WWII and you will discover that Japan was a vicious and disgusting enemy during WWII. The USA and Allies never committed the scores of atrocities the Japanese did. So i dont know why you admire murderous nations.

    Mike,

    The Allied forces were the angels that saved the world. So with your logic I guess you think the horrors of the Nazis were acceptable too. War is hell, get over the fact that the US won; and you feel guilty because you could never have the courage that the greatest generation did. If you are so ashamed of our proud American peacemaking heritage, LEAVE. I bet there are plenty in the middle east that would be happy to have you.

    The firebombings of Dresden and other Nazi cities killed more civilians than the 2 atom bombs did. The Japanese civilians were NOT innocent civilians during WWII. When the US occupied the mainland, they discovered stockpiles of weapons stored in elementary schools. Every civilian was expected to fight the Allies on Japanese soil. Meaning, the civilian populice was an extension of the military. But, with your liberal ideology, I guess you would have been more pleased with 2,000,000 American casualities and millions more Japanese dead with a land invasion of Japan in the Fall of 1945.

    LIBERALISM IS A MENTAL DISORDER. Enough said…

    • gfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff October 18, 2013 at 4:43 am - Reply

      The U.S has done numerous bad things, for example,dropping nuclear bombs on Japanese and then putting nuclear attack on their list of bad things they’d NEVER do, or getting republicans to break down the world economy with a government shutdown over obama care [which doesn't actually work] right before a debt sealing and torturing people for nothing.

      • gizzy October 23, 2013 at 2:18 pm - Reply

        That’s debt ceiling not debt sealing. American education at it’s best.

      • St. Fum8 February 9, 2014 at 5:21 am - Reply

        Congratulations, you said words.

    • You be Wrong! November 11, 2013 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      I think you are wrong because the US has done many atrocities. They just cover up their tracks a lot. They try to make loopholes to make it seem like they didn’t do a mistake.

    • Liam December 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm - Reply

      Trent. You hit the nail on the head with your comments people should read history from that time before they post misguided comments. Liam.

    • TheKnowerseeker January 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm - Reply

      I totally agree, *except* that I have to point out that America (specifically the government and corporations) stopped being peace- and democracy-loving shortly after WWII. After WWII, through our foreign policy, we became worldwide tyrants and murderers.

  7. ljrkumar July 8, 2010 at 3:22 am - Reply

    I am really admire Onoda and his dedication

  8. zman July 21, 2010 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    The dedication and patriotism of this man is amazing.

  9. Meiliken October 10, 2010 at 10:16 am - Reply

    In war, there are hero’s on both sides. He is war hero.

  10. Pfoss March 21, 2011 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    They should have hung him in the Philipines. Japan was brutal during WW2. They never ratified the Geneva Convention wartime POW rules/guidelines etc. There butality came back to haunt them as historians estimate that at least 500,000 children were killed during WW2 bombing raids of the Japaneses mainland. what goes around comes around.

  11. Hmm May 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    He represents everything I loath about a human.
    Just a brainwashed manipulated tool.

  12. chris June 23, 2011 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    As a survivalist, he was very good. But as an intelligence officer, not at all.

    • TheKnowerseeker January 17, 2014 at 1:47 pm - Reply

      Astute observation.

  13. Nicklas July 7, 2011 at 1:25 am - Reply

    Pfoss.

    Now. Today there is an endless wave of surviving Nazi, Imperial, chinese, British, Russian And many more War vets alive. They have seen the world isnt like that today. Imagine, You lived under a corrupt leader, you are giving orderes about Never surrender and as he said. Until we pick you up or an official letter. Imagine not having radios. You are left long from home on a small island. Thinking wthere were thousands of Enemy troops. And in the end. Higher ranked couldnt give a shit more about them. He sure did show loyalty to his country. But in the end. Wasent one of his soldier buddies surrendering? What happend to him. Or were they all killed except Onoda.

    He was just… Twenty 29 years later when he realized it.

    Woudlnt you feel bad to hang a Nazi today from back then. As they say.

    Blame the leaders. Blame the persons he get is into the war. But never blame the soldiers. Because they fighting what they think is right.

    • mmh October 11, 2013 at 6:39 pm - Reply

      Nicklas,

      But when a Nazi comes out and hiding, usually Israel’s Massod isn’t too far behind. Their 5000+ old civilization has a long memory…

      He sounds like the Japanese real-life version of Rambo, and his story is sad yet amazing. But we all should give him props for trying to make some type of amends to the people he wronged…to me that there is the bright light of Honor that his people at times so brightly shine with.

  14. Michiel July 17, 2011 at 4:17 am - Reply

    The story of japanes soldiers abandoned and still fighting “the war” isn’t new to me, but I thought of it as some kind of myth, until this article.

    I admire the man for his loyalty. Whatever the ideology he was fighting for.

    @Nicklas: blaming the leaders is too easy. If there is a blame, it is on the shoulders of the people that allowed these leaders to become leaders.

  15. Mike August 12, 2011 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    This past spring I was substitute teaching at a Phoenix, Arizona high school. We had no lesson plan, so I was just talking to the class full of seniors, getting ready to graduate. We got on the subject of serial killers, which led me to compare Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito to having the mindset of serial killers but it’s really more like mass murderers. Two girls shouted me down, defending Hirohito and Japan. The class got into a debate and I asked the girls where did they learn their history? They were not backing down from their Anti-American views and accused Americans of killing innocent Japanese and accusing me of being racist against all Asians. Considering there is over 50 countries and cultures in Asia, I’m not which Asians I am racist against. I actually thought the issue was dead but on the way home I received a call from the young, never been anywhere or done anything for this country vice principal, telling me the two girls filed a complaint stating I was a racist and they were somewhat traumatized. Well, I am a 60 year old Vietnam Infantry Veteran, that almost died from injuries suffered the day before my 19th birthday. My father and uncles all fought for America in the Pacific Islands but I was told I could never earn any money at that school because I was banned from subbing there.Not for telling lies, what I said was true, but because these two 17-18 year old girls were too young to hear the truth! How about that? Only in America!One more incident report and I will be fired from the school district. Arizona is ranked 49th in education in America, can you imagine that?

    • Sumedha September 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm - Reply

      That’s so sad to hear Mike.

      • TheKnowerseeker January 17, 2014 at 1:50 pm - Reply

        I agree. That’s why I gave up on my dreams of becoming a teacher, and I will not put my kids in public school.

  16. jen August 23, 2011 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    Chris–epic!
    Mike–that’s terrible. Teens are often overconfident which can lead to some horrible things. Being overconfident while uneducated is even worse.

  17. Amazing August 26, 2011 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    Amazing article,this man is a true hero,unlike the other japanese back then.

    • TheKnowerseeker January 17, 2014 at 1:51 pm - Reply

      O_o

  18. Reznor August 31, 2011 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    Trent:

    Lol, US won the world war?

    You really believe in captain america?

    • TheKnowerseeker January 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm - Reply

      America captains *your* ship, swabbie.

  19. xzendor7 September 3, 2011 at 11:52 am - Reply

    I Heard This Story Several Years Ago, But Your Full Account Is Very Enlightening And It Shows What A Person Can Do When They Have A Sense Of Purpose And A Belief In Themselves.

    Regardless Of What He Did, We Can All Learn From Is Story About Honor And Respect – Something Many Today Have totally Forgotten.

  20. Joel September 5, 2011 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    A fantastic example of how the strict, semi-respectable disciplinary culture of the Japanese can degrade to the equivalent of brainwashing. What a mindless tool that guy was.

  21. smart person October 8, 2011 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    You never hear about the rape and murder the Allied forces did. War is written by the victor.

  22. Cain October 13, 2011 at 1:38 am - Reply

    For those who justify the dropping of the atomic bombs by saying that prevented the killing of more people, please, dont make me laugh… if you really wanted to prevent more killing why didnt you just surrender? doing that would have ended the war without any more casualties, huh? but no, you wanted to end the war and WIN it too, so dont be hypocrite. You yanks are the worst murders in HUMAN HISTORY and the only villains in EVERY war you have been in.

  23. B Horner October 29, 2011 at 11:37 am - Reply

    Extreme ignorance and blind obedience; what a swell guy!

  24. gina November 2, 2011 at 9:15 pm - Reply

    After reading through all these comments it saddens me to see how easily we judge this man from the comfort our beds, houses, cars, offices, where ever we read this article. By stripping away the names of countries and governments and just actually reading the story for what it is about, a mans strong belief in something, the story becomes clear. Onoda believed in something to the very core of his being. How many people now a days can actually say that they know something for sure. We are a society plagued with doubt and insecurities. Its easy to give up, much more difficult to continue on a path you didn’t even choose yourself.
    I’m not saying that I forgive Onoda for his actions or that he was a very good at gathering intelligence information. I’m just saying read the story the man has to tell and don’t judge him, but rather listen to his message for what it is…a message.

    • Sumedha September 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm - Reply

      You are right Gina

  25. Fred November 8, 2011 at 11:15 pm - Reply

    This man was a great soldier but he should not have been an intelligence officer.

  26. RobertELegal November 9, 2011 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    “No Surrender” is an excellent book. I recommend it highly

  27. GI Joe November 11, 2011 at 5:50 am - Reply

    Stumbled across this on Veterans Day 2011. I am a 21 year veteran myself, and although my 21 years weren’t spent isolated and clueless on an Island, Military men and women all over are often asked to do things that most people that have commented here would never understand. And if they did understand they wouldn’t do them, because they would come up with reasons or excuses why they shouldn’t be done that way, or it is to hard…..etc
    To Mike: Keep telling it like it is, and hopefully when the teens that you talked to get older they will realize….hopefully…
    To the Japanese cross between Chuck Norris, Rambo, and Jack Bauer: Mission Accomplished. To move back to Japan after learning that the kids are weak, and spoiled, and try and do something about it…. Above and beyond the call of duty.
    To all Veterans Past and Future: Happy Veterans Day, Thank you your service. You are welcome for mine.
    Paul

  28. Rex November 12, 2011 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    Japan was most certainly not admirable during world war 2. They killed our grandparents parents and great grandparents brothers.

    • Daven Hiskey
      Daven November 13, 2011 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      @Rex: In fairness, we Americans killed many of them too (who were brothers / parents / etc). And, given that at that time America’s entrance into the war was pretty well inevitable with the President pushing so hard for it, their preemptive strike was smart. Save bad timing on their part, they’d have destroyed enough of the U.S.’s naval arsenal in the Pacific to basically have free reign. The U.S. also ended it by killing thousands of their civilians, so we also were also did things that weren’t “admirable”. In that respect, though there was good reason for the U.S. to do what we did too. So, basically, war sucks, few behave admirably in it, and we should all stop doing that. We’re all human after all.

  29. Morseman January 29, 2012 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    Wow! You people are idiots. Soldiers obey orders and do horrible things. No denying it. Glorifying mindless obedience gets us to Nuremberg and “just following orders”. Condemning America and its conduct in wars is basic stupidity, Viet Nam era bash the U.S.A. liberal guilt nonsense. War is hell. Had we let the germans of the Japanese win their war they would have come after us and enslaved all of us. Instead we won the war, denazified germany, stopped the spread of militarism in Japan and mostly made the world a better place. Those of you who wish to can condemn as American imperialism. Which would you rather have had – America leading the world or germany or Japan or even Britain or France doing it? You don’t have to love everything America has done to see that we’re all a lot better off with the U.S.A. in the driver’s seat instead of the others. If you don’t like it here, if you don’t like what we have here, move and see if you can persuade an Assad or a Saddam Hussein if they can soften their approach and be kind to small animals and nuns. You fools have managed to elect an obama and he’s getting us to where you want to be. Fasten your safety belts because we’ve another chamberlain, an appeaser, running the free world. Wow are we in trouble. Come on November 2012. Come on Republicans/Tea Party, get us out of this mess.

  30. Hengist February 8, 2012 at 5:59 am - Reply

    A pity Onoda didn’t read Thurber’s fable ‘The Patient Bloodhound’, published in 1940 before the war with Japan. The moral at the end of the tale is:

    The Paths Of Glory At Least Lead To The Grave, But The Paths Of Duty May Not Get You Any Where.

    Thirty Filipino civilians would have lived if he had heeded the message.

  31. Josh February 8, 2012 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    It might be the case about the Nazi’s but you know what? we had camp’s to. My grandpa was a soldier in one and he has photo’s that tell that is the truth. and also this story show’s in time of stress and loyalty and hardship there are people who still are good nature and will do anything. Also this just inspires me when i’,m old enough to join my country. and guess what i can come up with this at 13.

  32. Matthew March 20, 2012 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    Trent (and others),

    I have just finished taking a College Asian History course. There is arather disturbing fact about Japan’s actions during WW2: they learned it from us! The United States used to routinely shell japanese shores killing thousands of civialians, when the Japanese refused to submit to imperial unjust treaties from the US. This was during the late 1800′s or so. Japan saw the brits and the US, and the French slaughter thousands of civilians in China so that they could have better trade agreements and extraterritoriality. What did they take from this? Be dtrong, crush all other nations in order to survive and be stronger. They applied this to their way of Bushido and this led to severe military fanaticism. Are their actions just? Certainly NOT; but don’t go pointing fingers and think we shoot rays of sunshine out our ass, cus we don’t. You simply don’t read about US atrocities during our imperial reign of the mid 1800′s-the 1900s because we don’t like to talk about it, just as the brits hide their numerous atrocities from their empire (ie-the british instigated opium war). In war no one is clean, even the side that is fighting for the greater good breaks the laws of humanity. I love the USA, and I would gladly serve her, but i’m not delusional to think we’re always so clean.

  33. Lauren April 2, 2012 at 10:53 am - Reply

    Reminds me of the Hunger Games…

  34. wow April 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    that takes true dedication im surprised that his will never broke what an amazing person just surviving out there in the jungle for years on end im surprised he didn’t go crazy and kill himself

  35. emily weirdnez April 19, 2012 at 6:05 am - Reply

    this guy a hero? i feel sorry for him yes. buy calling him a hero? BULLSHIT! you people don’t know what this japanese did to the philippines! they raped our women and killed our people! you all think this is a heroic act? fuck you all!

  36. 2poc April 22, 2012 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    Yeah like how america calls their ass clown marines heros when they rape little girls in third world countries. American ignorance is bliss.

  37. Oliver Schöning April 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    Buying his book :)

  38. Eddie May 2, 2012 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    As a Chinese whose family was shattered by the bombing of Nanjing (Nanking), I have no hatred towards this man and his beliefs. After all, everyone on the planet is brainwashed to believe in serving their leaders and slave away like cows and pay for their taxes, even when the country ultimately deceives you with false flag events and robs your children of their innocence and future. Faith and endurance is perhaps the best message from this fella, even if you must die trying. However, if you foolishly believe what is sold to you as virtuosity , you waste your time and purpose as a human being on this planet. (He must had survived on SPAM, since Hawaiian Japanese love making sushi out of spam and they last for eons)

    • markx June 22, 2014 at 6:57 pm - Reply

      Eddie.
      That is the most sensible comment here.
      Thank you.

  39. Mary Richen May 4, 2012 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    I laughed at the thought that this fact was not put in history books when revealed. Loyalty and other qualities are sometimes forgotten today. I am glad to hear of a tale of loyalty but I have to think that the sad part is that he lost thirty years of his life to a war that was over.

  40. Denise Roussel May 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    Onoda was a hero a hero because he lived true to himself never giving up. So sad he did not know the war was over and so many had to die. I know by his moral standards he has very deep regrets for that.
    But to have never given up for his country living in such harsh ways for 30 years no one else could do what he did. I would very much like to meet him and shake his hand and be taught by him. The youth that are taught by him will have the best teachings of inner morals and strenth. He even showed how much he feels so much guilt for killing innocent people by donating to the Flillipeans.

  41. Jacqueline May 17, 2012 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Every party of the war, no matter the race or nationality, are never innocent. Humans, at one point of time, are barbarians. There is no use defending or arguing. Let’s just learn from the past and not let war happen again.

  42. Farhan May 18, 2012 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    He should be featured in Discovery Channel. Bear Grylls has found his match.

  43. Name May 19, 2012 at 3:18 am - Reply

    Japanese are loyal people, right??

  44. Passerby May 20, 2012 at 1:28 am - Reply

    Some of the comments here are really stupid and hilarious.

    Firstly, we’re talking about an individual japanese soldier, and yes, just him and his acts as an individual. No one forgets what the Japanese Imperial Army had done during the second world war…the horrendous rape of nanking etc.

    Pls be clear about what you are reading and what you are commenting about. As an individual, Mr Onoda is indeed a patriotic guy for his country. Nothing’s wrong about that. Here in this article, we’re talking and “showcasing” his loyalty and patriotism to his nation. The article is not about praising the acts of the entire Japanese army during world war 2. So please get the facts about this article right before you comment, complain or even flame, if not it really does make you look like a bull-shitter.

    The Japanese has already learnt their lesson. Whatever has been done is history. History has thought us, the people of the current generation and also many generation to come, the importance of peace and not waging war. For the Japanese, the lesson has been a very very painful which has haunted them for many decades, which to us, it feels like days, but for them it feels like millions of centuries. The war that they waged and participated in was for the cause of expanding their kingdom and putting in the idea of improving their economy. They have been punished for their wrong-doings and sins with a screwed up economic system now which seems eternal and impossible to recover. Inhumane acts they had done in the world war 2 are purely an act with military authorization, not by the civilians themselves. If you have read up and done your research, the Japanese civillians, like those from the rest of the world, are strongly against such inhumane acts and the acts of war.

    If you hated Japan and Japanese so much, you should have let them die, perish and extinct during the earthquake and tsunami at Fukushima last year by not donating, not sending condolences, deny them of humanitarian help.

    History has taught us so much and its time to bury the hatchet and look for progress.

    Battles bring nothing, but endless battles, u morons.

  45. Lomil June 3, 2012 at 3:37 am - Reply

    I think he came back to the Philippines to take some of their hidden stolen loots or treasures.

  46. Saravana June 13, 2012 at 12:02 am - Reply

    A great deal of dedication & respect to the orders he has received from his Major.

    29 years is a longtime for us, but for Hiroo it seems short, given the fact that he is now working on his country youth and children to imbibe his courage in them.

    Hiroo! shed some of those of your courage and discipline on our country too! We people need plenty of them

  47. TrollyPonah June 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    @morseman and Trent

    Typical conservatives.

    Blame everything on the other parties that aren’t with it, the parties could be liberals, socialist, or nothing having to do with the left wing. Morseman please learn better fucking grammar, what the hell is a “an Obama?” I started to stop stereotyping but I guess after reading your comments I have more evidence to believe all conservatives are raised in swamps in the southern US and never go to school.

    People need to realize that the US won the war in the Pacific not Europe. If it wasn’t for the USSR all euros would be nazi, if it wasn’t for the USA east Asia would be controlled by Japan.

    All I got from those comments are that republicans are war hungry fools that don’t give a shit about pacifism. Yeah sure pacifism is not always the answer and we need war or else the crazy dudes like Hitler, Bush, Bin Laden would take over the world.

    Four more things

    1. Morseman you do fucking realize that Britain and France are our allies dumbass

    2.No country is better off running the world every country is horrible in some way.

    3.The US president is not the leader of the free world. I’m tired of conservatives calling him that, there are other free countries out there.

    4.Trent Civilians are innocent. That’s like saying all the japs were horrible monsters.

    I know this won’t help because a conservative skull is thick as lead.

  48. Anonymouse July 5, 2012 at 6:34 am - Reply

    I respect this man’s show of loyalty to his cause; even if it can be called brainwashing for some. I respect this man’s ability to survive, especially for 30 years in a harsh environment such as a tropical jungle compared to his comfortable climate of Japan; I respect the donations to the various communities this man made.

    However, the other comments on this page (specifically ones fighting over US politics) are ridiculous. It wasn’t brainwashing as much as your ‘democratic values’ and political/patriotic values. US shouldn’t be in the metaphorical driver’s seat for the Western world and it is not; I would appreciate having American taxes not spent on bribing my already vaguely-corrupt government. The majority of your Government officials is corrupt and the Western world surely doesn’t want to follow your lead. China’s got your nose by a lead now anyway with all your debt to them. What is now? Trillions?

  49. Andre July 7, 2012 at 6:59 am - Reply

    The dropping of the atomic bombs had a very specific aim: to announce to Russia that the US had atomic weapons, and to stop the Russians from invading Japan and setting it up as a communist client state. The Russians were mobilizing faster than the US. Their invasion of Japan was imminent. So yes, the US did not have to drop atomic bombs on Japan to get them to surrender. The Japanese were on the verge of surrender. The US had to drop the atomic bombs to keep Japan from falling into Russian hands.
    Please read historical texts. History is fascinating.

  50. SCE2AUX July 12, 2012 at 7:36 am - Reply

    “The Japanese were on the verge of surrender.”

    Which doesn’t count for a damned thing. How many people were being killed by the military that was “on the verge of surrender.”

    After Potsdam and the ultimatum given, Japan should have immediately gone from “on the verge” to “surrendering.”

    No apologies.

  51. Denise August 7, 2012 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    I am a Chinese and I really admire the guy because of his guts, I have read all the comments up there and what I have to say is stop being so closed minded, be open minded and think two ways. I’ve come to realize that many Americans are racist and think that they are the best out there, america itself is a very colonial minded country,making other countries at their mercy, i’m just a high school-er but having a broad array of this subject matter, i believe that in war, everyone is ruthless, winning is the only way and the only way to achieve it is being savage. Here in Philippines, people are very ignorant, they believe anything they hear and they worship Americans like they are gods, they believe that anything from the west is good and they blame the government every single minute when it is them who voted for the officials of the said government, most of them don’t even know the BIG debt of every citizen of Phil. to the oh so mighty states that came from bell trade act, i just can’t stop myself from posting this comment >.<

    • Tim May 3, 2013 at 4:38 pm - Reply

      Denise, what you have to realize is there are are dickheads all over the world. For instance, look in the mirror.

      • hoho December 17, 2013 at 2:23 am - Reply

        What a comment.. look at the mirror..

    • eh? June 6, 2013 at 8:57 am - Reply

      You don’t know what you’re saying. Go research first, before you do that. Don’t generalize people you only see. I wonder if you watch TV news in the Philippines and I’m surprise you’re still in this country. And I wonder if you’re praising extremist/terrorist Muslims also like that. Stupid Chinese

      • ChCY June 14, 2013 at 9:35 pm - Reply

        @eh? Don’t generalize people you only see
        I’m a Chinese but its not like I agree with what Denise said.
        Back to the main topic, this is a great article! Life during WWII was difficult. Its very impressive for Onoda to be able to survive in a jungle for that many years. He might not be a hero in everyone’s eye but he is certainly worth to be called a hero.
        I like Onoda’s quotes very much,especially “Men should never compete with women. If they do, the guys will always lose. That is because women have a lot more endurance. My mother said that, and she was so right.” ^^
        Thanks for the great article again.
        Sorry if there is any mistake in my English.

    • RuffRider October 19, 2014 at 1:32 am - Reply

      Hi Denise, I’m Filipino and I agree with you in most of what you said. Been to America several times, you can encounter a good bunch and the ignorant rotten ones as well. On time on a plane, I saw this group of Americans who were acting like everyone else in that flight are ‘enemies’ and the American couple sitting beside me has this hostile look (though they managed a half-baked, superficial smile when I made the initiative). I was thinking some of them probably are blaming the ‘brown, yellow, black, pink or violet race’ for the deep shit they are in. I can understand that.

      However, I could see that lots of Americans are now becoming liberal in their thinking. They are now challenging the long held beliefs and values. They have to otherwise, the whole world is against them. The world needs more people who can speak out and morally challenge things that have been done in the name of “PATRIOTISM”.

      On another note, China is on the road to greatness. To me, it’s just claiming it’s former glory centuries ago. There is a big BUT…. this time it’s different. CHINA has now the opportunity to show the world that it can lead us in the right way. CHINA needs to understand that hegemony will only ruin its chances in getting the trust of the global community. CHINA and the next generation Chinese have now the opportunity to “GET IT RIGHT” to be the next “USA” but a better one. Hope China uses the same wisdom that Confucius had.

  52. Kevin August 30, 2012 at 6:43 am - Reply

    You misspelled kowtowed.

  53. Ted September 11, 2012 at 9:15 am - Reply

    Thanks for the story. I was stationed on Okinawa, Japan as a U.S. Army JAGC Captain when Hiroo Onoda, San finally came out of the jungle in the Philippines. He was looked upon by my Japanese acquaintances as a hero as well as something of a dinosaur in his beliefs of loyalty and fidelity to his orders from his commander to never surrender or even to die voluntarily. But I never heard anybody, Japanese, Okinawan or American call him a fool.
    Interestingly, the newspaper articles of that time mentioned that he and his fellow holdouts had come to within sight of Clark Airbase where they saw the Americans loading bombs onto B-52s and other U.S War planes. This was during the Vietnam War; but to them it was further proof that WWII was still raging and Japan had not surrendered.
    There was another Japanese soldier on Guam who surrendered after Hiroo Onoda, San did, as I recall. This was also in 1974, I think.
    In fact, an American soldier came”home” shortly thereafter. He had been part of General Douglas MacArthur’s 1944 retaking of the Philippines. He was wounded and suffered from amnesia. He was cared for by a village mayor and his family near Manila. It took a long time for him to regain his memory. By that time he had married a local lady and had a family. He went on to be an elected representative of the village.
    In 1974 he came into the U.S. Army liaison office at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. A friend of mine was sent there to act as his attorney in an Army administrative board action to determine what to do with him. He had been in Singapore when the Japanese invaded and overran that British protectorate in 1941. He volunteered to stay behind and destroy oil tanks and other facilities of strategic importance. This was a true suicide mission. He and a few others including British and Australian soldiers escaped. They made their way south into the Malaysian island chain. Along the way he and others saved many lives of civilian and allied troops also escaping through enemy patrolled areas. He eventually ended up in a military hospital in Australia where he was awarded several metals for gallantry and being wounded. He told his appointed JAGC defense counsel of these events. Unfortunately, his Army records had been destroyed in a fire at the facility.
    Our JAGC office on Okinawa was able to assist him to obtain Australian records and newspaper articles and photos of his story and his metals being awarded. I think there was a newspaper photo of Gen MacArthur at his bedside pinning a metal on him. At any rate when the General asked for volunteers to retake the Philippines he raised his hand despite his wounds. The Army review board decided to give him an honorable discharge or a general discharge under honorable conditions thus preserving his VA Benefits as a wartime veteran.
    Several of his metals had been Money metals. He also was due earned pay at least until he was missing.
    As I recall he came from Oklahoma where I think he still had a surviving sister at that time. The last I heard about him was that he and his wife and maybe even his children visited her. I am sorry I do not remember his name. .

  54. Sheikh Nasser September 26, 2012 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    A man with a mission. A man of a great courage. A one-man-show man. A never-go-back man. A responsible man. A man full of thoughts. A man full of devotion. A man with strategic mind…. So the man with a great mission got nothing in the end but a thoughtful life to mend the lives of others who hate their lives.

  55. San October 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    Very cool story!

  56. PonyToast October 20, 2012 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    I admire this man and his dedication. I grieve for the deaths and injuries, as I grieve for every death as a result of war. This man, however, spent his life dedicated to his country and his people. How many can say they would have such dedication?

  57. Rocky Gause November 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    A Veterans Day treasure, the true, first-person account of a captured World War II soldiers incredible escape and courageous journey home, discovered after more than fifty years. Of all the heroic stories to come out of World War II, few are so extraordinary as that of Major Rocky Gause, who was captured by the Japanese, escaped from the infamous Bataan Death March, and, with a fellow soldier, endured a harrowing voyage across the enemy-held Pacific in a leaky, hand-crafted boat. In the battered notebook he kept throughout his journey and later converted to a thrilling narrative, Gause traced his steps from the besieged city of Manila on New Years Eve, 1941, to his safe landing on the Australian coast ten months later.

  58. rick December 6, 2012 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Good story. Well done. @ Ted: it’s “medals” not “metals”

  59. Rob January 2, 2013 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    I would have told him… While you where fooling around in the jungle we went to the moon……

  60. M February 7, 2013 at 8:47 am - Reply

    I like the fascinating, objective information this article provides, but the last two paragraphs are ridiculous. Onoda deluded himself into thinking that he was in danger for most of those years, despite much evidence to the contrary, and the danger of getting killed became real due to his willful, destructive courses of action. He had the same paranoid mindset as apocalyptic-type preppers, hypocritical anti-authority fanatics, and mass shooting perpetrators.

    Comments praising him as a dedicated, heroic, loyal, moral, courageous, patriotic survivalist are misguided at best considering he was a well-armed soldier hiding in a sparsely populated mountain jungle surrounded mainly by poor, civilian peasants, many of whom he murdered, injured, or stole from. It’s good to emulate heroes, right? But if more people were like this “hero”, the world would be a worse place.

  61. Toma March 21, 2013 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    Like they say, history is written by the winners. In reality history is written in blood, by blood thirty men, and most of us have the genetics of the most vicious and voracious people out there. Ghenghis Khan has 16 million people alive today who are his great great great great great great etc. grand children. So of course there is a side of every human being that appreciates a dedication to a cause whether it was right or wrong.

    In my neck of the woods one man has kept to his creed and climbed to the top of his bloody empire. Whitey Bulger who has hurt almost as many people as that Japanese soldier if not more. But he also has managed to parlay and connive his way to the top of the criminal pyramid. He was the Ghenghis Khan of Boston for years and we reward him with books and movies. Like I said before most of us are descended from people like this, because these were the people that tended to breed the most for the longest time…

  62. ANGRY ASIAN May 4, 2013 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    WE DID NOT FORGET. DON’T YOU DARE TRY TO MAKE A HERO OUT OF THIS GUY. GUYS LIKE THAT KILLED US. GUYS LIKE THAT RAPED US. THEY TOOK EVERYTHING WE HAD AND DIDN’T EVEN APOLOGIZE.

    IF YOU ARE SEEING THIS GUY AS A HERO, YOU SHOULD DO THE SAME FOR HITLER.

    • that one guy May 15, 2013 at 4:18 pm - Reply

      Yeahh…ummm the Japanese saw him as a hero because he was determined…so the Germans of Hitler’s time period saw him as a hero as well, he made the economy better and provided a lot of jobs. Sure he was a total docuehbag, but he was still a hero to some people. Also he had no idea the war was over. And youre most likely just a bad troll…. so yeaaahhhh

    • dimsky June 9, 2013 at 6:05 pm - Reply

      As another Asian whose country faced Japanese invasion I have nothing but respect for this man. It’s ppl like this that build nations and embody patriotism that is so lacking in the majority of us. As for those that raped and killed, generalisations like this don’t work. There were atrocities committed by both sides. Not every Japanese war veteran is a murderer and rapist.

      As far as being deluded is concerned let’s keep in mind the guy had no access to Wi-Fi in the jungle. They played part in a world war where every effort was made to destabilise and sabotage an enemy’s morale. No stops pulled. If he were deluded he wouldn’t have been able to look at the futility of.the 30 years that quickly or even attempt at making a donation to the locals he had harassed.

    • gfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff October 18, 2013 at 4:46 am - Reply

      you should be saying that to Asian,american,canidian{etc.} soldiers to,then.

    • RuffRider October 19, 2014 at 1:10 am - Reply

      My country was among those occupied by the Japanese but I can’t blame this man. Probably, the only flaw that he had was his blind and fanatic patriotism. But he could easily be my grandfather or grand uncle if tables are turned.

      For all the wars that had happened, I can only put most of the blame on THOSE WHO ARE IN CHARGE. The leaders, the politicians, the generals and their masters, the elite rich. They are the source of great evils in this world. They are all flawed human beings but because of their wealth and influence, those flaws are magnified at global scale.

      To me, for humanity to advance, we each should learn to have a sense of self-importance and be able to question any leader, and not just blindly follow them. I think this is the root cause of the problem.

      American Patriotism? I think that at one point in history, this was all-important. However, as the world has changed, it no longer serves it purpose. In fact, this is causing so much suffering in the world now and is being exploited by those people who are “too smart” and profiting from it.

      Every soldier should now learn to ask the morality of what he is being asked to do. And for future generations, we should teach our children to do the same. Regardless of what their jobs will be when they grow up.

  63. Simon May 31, 2013 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    How should one view this amazing story? Is he a hero? If an American, Brit or other westerner had endured the same predicament, with history reversed, and survived, armed and active in the jungle until 1974, the press would have had a field day. After the initial reconciliation with family, presented in emotional gushes that the press just can’t resist, there would have then been interest stories documenting one of his typical days and opinion pieces discussing his dilemna. His ‘crimes’ against villages would have been, quite rightly, minimised in these articles. Overall, there would have been incredible respect, as is due anyone who has lived in the jungle for 30 years, albeit under false assumptions. The word hero may have been used, but that word, worn out by so many Hollywood war movies, would have been avoided by most good journalists. A good writer would have concentrated on the following: First, his initial devotion to duty – a quality which was not lacking in the second world war on either side of the conflict, with the objectives for either side abundantly clear, but absolutely admirable and praiseworthy under the circumstances. Secondly, the dilemna – that all they saw was a ruse – civilian clothes, leaflets, even Japanese newspapers – all ‘tricks’ by the enemy. Parallels exist with anyone who has ever tried to get a family member out of a cult – whatever one does or says is interpreted suspiciously. Thirdly, within his isolated company of only four, then three, two and finally one, and with the accretion of years and actions performed, his false view that the war was continuing must only have been solidified over time, not undermined.
    With great respect to Hiroo Onoda, it is the mix of the above three that tragically led to the ‘crushing blow’ – missing the love of his family for thirty years.

  64. Sasory July 7, 2013 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    You know Angry Asian, it’s a war, it is inevitable. Sometimes you must do things that must be done, isalute that japanese man giving his whole life for the mission, what else would be great as to die as a soldier serving your country. You dont know nothing because your ain’t a soldier.

  65. Louie July 11, 2013 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    My father was born and raised in Lubang Island (the one where Onoda lived). He was friends with some of the people Onoda killed.

    It is disgusting that Onoda is praised as a hero and his victims’ names are not even mentioned. Far more disgusting is how another visitor from China (Denise in the first comment) even insults us for thinking of Onoda as a murderer.

    Just flip over the situation and imagine if a Filipino did the same thing in China or Japan or the US. We’d probably be nuked the next day.

    So much hypocrisy. Yes, you Denise!

  66. Adrian July 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    This man is a really really soldier.. He must finished his mission no matter what if to take his life.. That’s a true soldier.. N the problem is there is nothing wrong in both side couse the filipino side assume the japanese soldier is terrorist, n the japanese soldier assume war isn’t over.. For the japanese soldier, he must kill the enemy before they kill him.. That soldier do, same with the fillipino patrol, they think the japanese soldier is terrorist, therefore the fillipino take a battle with the japanese soldier to protect his country, same with the japanese soldier too, he must do that for his country. This is a misconception for the soldier n the fillipino…

  67. Garetz August 9, 2013 at 2:19 am - Reply

    Truly a great man, greater than most generals or presidents, a true hero.

  68. RayC September 12, 2013 at 10:59 am - Reply

    I recall when this happened, I was working at a Defense Contractor. As we discussed the story of Onoda’s eventual surrender, a friend of mine humorously observed that perhaps Onoda could not believe Japan had lost the war because they came for him in Toyota trucks, took his picture and recorded his voice with Panasonic and Sony equipment, and planned to fly him home in a Mitsubishi airliner :-)

  69. dont make sense September 13, 2013 at 10:41 am - Reply

    The way the article was written try to portray him as a hero. It is true maybe in the perception of Japanese or some people, but I personally dont find the conclusion convincing. I do however find him to have very strong beliefs and values, which makes him a very extraordinary man if not in a context of war.

  70. johan October 25, 2013 at 2:21 am - Reply

    japan lost but onoda won. a great soldier !!

  71. Borat Kaskomovic October 30, 2013 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    They taught him everything but they didn’t tell him that when there are no gunshots heard for a few years, it means the war has ended.

  72. BEG November 6, 2013 at 6:54 am - Reply

    The man deserves consideration for his dedication and his survival skills. He was raised with traditional Japanese virtues and his efforts to follow orders to harass the enemy and gather intelligence was what drove him to survive. I cannot imagine why it took so long, or such special effort to convince him the war was finished, but it did and I don’t find fault with Onoda-san. He has tried to be a good citizen since his surrender and I can find little fault with his actions, if in fact he truly thought the war continued.

    That all said…America, specifically Theodore Roosevelt, by playing secret international politics, set the whole war in the Pacific in action long before Pearl Harbor. It was American meddling and greed that instigated the invasion of Korea and China by the Japanese, and why the Japanese felt compelled to launch into WWII. Read your history (A good book that lays this and more out is “The Imperial Cruise”). Don’t be too quick to judge.

  73. Jack November 20, 2013 at 10:54 am - Reply

    Just calm down with the politics. Okay, to people of the Phillipines: You’re right. WW2 was terrible to your people and a whole lot of other people. I wish we could fix this. We can’t. My message: Sad as it is this guy was cool and loyal, but yeah, he was messed up. He was a patriot, but he also killed 30 civilians, so let’s put him there with paranoid soldier with an incredible story who deserves respect, but not admiration. To people like Trent: Like I said! Japan sucked, but um… So did the Allies. But we got the advantage , so we got to say we were heroes with unquestionable morals and the ability to save the world, which we helped, but we did do our fair share of screwing people over.
    To Liberals: Yeah, the U.S. also sucks, but not that much. We screwed up but we’re doing our best. This government stuff is hard, which is where we screw up. Just like other countries. And to everyone: This man isn’t even in the same park as Hitler. He’s also not some godly version of Japanese morals. He messed up, but he was only doing it cause he was told to. There’s plenty of blame to go around. Let’s share the blame shall we? And the pride, maybe. At least a bit of it,

  74. JJ November 27, 2013 at 1:36 am - Reply

    Japan has invaded neighboring countries for several hundred years, killing and taking women there.

    Someone might say “War”, only remembering WWII.

    I say the Japans have pillaged every village, islands, & countries they passed on their route, long before starting the WWII.

    Plundering and looting is in their blood, and in the nature. You might want to say “Is it anybody’s human nature?”

    He was one of the looters, and he is a slave of his King.

  75. percy November 29, 2013 at 7:02 am - Reply

    the story of onoda is remarkable ,one man vs the world .it would seem that Japan has moved on but the outward serenity of that nation is a veneer .If the Chinese want to keep taunting the Japanese then the veneer will dissolve and Japanese soldiers will unleash such a halaucost on China that the rest of the world will shrink away with fear and not dare to interfere lest the same thing happens to them

  76. Checkov November 29, 2013 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    First of all I am a conservative but don’t agree on all matters with other conservatives, to classify all of us as thick skulled is a prejudicial statement . Just as I’m sure you would be offended if I referred to all liberals as being lazy, brainwashed and only relying on emotions for their belief systems.

    Case is point I am horrified my country has the distinction of being the ONLY country in history to have used atomic weapons on civilians. I also condem the brutal firebombing of civilian targets in Europe and Japan. It’s bloody murder.

    I disagree the atomic bombing saved millions of lives. That statement is conjecture as the Invasion Olympic never occurred. Take in consideration the following alternative realities that might have occurred instead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki:

    1. We dropped a nuke as a demonstration on Mt Fuji or a relatively isolated military target. The Japanese still surrender with harsh terms and the war ends the same minus 300,000 dead women, babies and old men.
    2. We offer a negotiated peace with unfavorable but acceptable terms ( such as respecting the emperor and some concessions to a limited defense force of the home Islands). The war also ends similarly to # 1 and with much less expense to the US taxpayer.
    3. We ( gasp) offer mutually beneficial terms to the Japanese who readily accept. They give up remaining offensive Naval forces and territorial gains in the pacific to the Allies, pay damages, surrender over war criminals and agree to an organized but gradual withdrawal from mainland Asia. In return they are allowed to keep control of their Economy, army, Air Force and limited coast guard. Also in return they become our armed allies.

    Consider the immense historical favorable impact that #3 would have had:
    A. Mao Tse Tung is defeated. Caught between the US supplied Chaing Kai Shek armies and The Japanese Army of the Kwangtung Mao Tse Tung is defeated and China becomes a billion strong ALLY of the US. 50 million freedom loving Chinese are not murdered by the commies.
    B. The Korean War and Vietnamese never occur. A couple of hundred thousand American boys never die or are wounded.
    C. Russia having to watch their “back door” never becomes agressive in Central Europe. Cuba remains free. The Cold War never happens.
    D. The Soviet Union implodes earlier, more millions of freedom loving people prosper
    E. The US is not as universally hated as we seem to be now.

    Unlikely…perhaps. What is just as unlikely is the statement that the atomic bombing saved lives and made the world a better place.

  77. caleb December 3, 2013 at 11:58 am - Reply

    The reason we don’t have as corrupt leaders anymore is because U.S keeps a close eye on everyone

  78. caleb December 3, 2013 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    and i think thats a good idea but they should stop taking care of other countries before there own

  79. Ruben December 3, 2013 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Honestly what is there to say? There are too many ridiculous comments for me to respond to. Most of the comments here are posted either by trolls/liars or extremely biased people with no conception of history. True the things Onoda did were bad but no-one here is praising him for that, people are respecting him because after 29 years he kept doing what he thought he had too, which is probably 29 years longer than most of you could even handle. Also his reasoning that the pamphlets were fake was in its own way smart. Would you surrender a war because a pamphlet told you too? Those who say we could have prevented the atomic bombs by having the allies surrender is ridiculous, the loss of life would have been much higher had we surrendered to Hitler not even including the fact the Jewish population and religion would have been wiped out along with anyone else Hitler had a whim to kill. I am not saying the allies were innocent, I’m just saying they were much better than the alternative.

  80. Jay December 27, 2013 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    The Japanese were perhaps the most brutal people to EVER wage war. They were like robots who could kill with no feelings.

  81. kelly January 4, 2014 at 1:17 am - Reply

    this disscussion is so offensive.
    obviously the Japanese were terrible and wrong but its HISTORY its not like they`re still doing it! and i bet it`s not like the Japanese are proud of doing it and yeah the US probablly made the worst judgement ever but it was during war and now thanks to them we know what would happen if atomic bombs are dropped and that`s why there aren`t any being dropped eventhough we could and no one today is still acting like how the people did during the time war so dont judge

  82. Potato January 6, 2014 at 3:06 am - Reply

    This is a soldier, not a politician. Lets talk about him as a soldier, and stop blaming him for everything bad that’s happened. I have seen and read and talked to former Axis soldiers of WWII and I tell you, they’re not slack people, they’re real men, they would do anything to help a comrade, a family, a friend, I’ve seen them sacrifice so much just to make people happy after WWII regardless of the fact that no one bats an eye for them, they are worth more than you will ever be.

  83. D'zuza January 7, 2014 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    War is War ,
    We humans Fight for No reason ! Accept it or not!

    All these wars was intentional for a purpose ..people are expendable ..Death is like for a purpose !
    We are Animals accept it when u fight ! u r no less than Animal ..
    War and Stories will always remain a reminder of what we really are!
    He fought for 30 years just to follow his simple instructions for country and his people !
    Dont blame him ..
    US/UK they were the one who started all these..British took over the world sold drugs … created a world of war and terror ..for a purpose to kill and do business in name of what ever u can call it ..
    Any Person away from home in an UNKNOWN land turn in to an Animal !.. rapes are common as far it goes in war .

  84. Zeph February 15, 2014 at 9:31 am - Reply

    Can’t we accept that this is not black and white?
    Persistance & determination: extraordinary
    Jungle survival skills: extraordinary
    Rational evaluation of evidence: weak
    Brainwashing: lots – unable to conceive the Japan could possibly lose and therefore irrational
    Was he a murderer of civilians? yes; even if the war had NOT ended, he should have known that most of the filipino’s he killed over the years were not soldiers
    Was he performing heroism? not in the sense of voluntarily risking himself for others (except in the way that all soldiers are heroic). The wartime indoctrination of Japanese soldiers was that they would be killed, perhaps in ugly ways, if they surrendered, so his not surrendering was motivated by self preservation. Of course if you think that any exhibition of extraordinary talent, skill or effort is “heroism” them you might include his jungle craft and endurance in that category, so it depends on what you consider heroism.
    In some ways I’m more impressed by his post-war decision to return to Japan to try to help kids mature better through connection to nature – that was not based on indoctrination and paranoia but on individual thought and concern for society (which I respect more than robotlike endurance).

  85. Zeph February 15, 2014 at 9:43 am - Reply

    It’s interesting how people evaluate the effect of dropping the atomic bombs. Those who are very sure that Japan would have surrendered anyway should read the details of the internal struggle over whether to surrender even AFTER the bombs – if it was such a close call which faction would win out even with two bombs and the threat of more and with Russia entering the war, how can you think it would have been a slam-dunk without the bombs, or with only a demo? And of course one big issue was that the Allies were demanding “unconditional surrender” which would allow them to unseat the militarist government to avoid repeated wars – just as they had done in Europe. Japan would have more easily accepted a truce with US & the UK which allowed them to continue the war in China etc and continue the Co-prosperity sphere with some limitations, and kept the military in totalitarian control of their society. Would that have led to a better and more peaceful next half century, than the unconditional surrender?

  86. Jonathan Wong March 1, 2014 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    If not the military force, it was the will of the Japanese soldiers of that time that was truly a forced to be reckoned with. They had such immense loyalty and dedication and some of these elements can be apparent in modern day Japan with the stereotypical Japanese salaryman being an immense workaholic with no time for family.

    Even if this man can be considered a fool for refusing to believe that his country had lost the war for 29 years, his lengthly service was proof of his pride in his own country (refusing to believe it could loose even after such a time), loyalty and honor and for that I respect him a great deal. After all, how few soldiers would spend such a massive part of their life in a jungle fighting an already ended war without deserting?

  87. Captainfactoid March 12, 2014 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    So, it’s possible that a soldier can can put his (or her) whole heart and soul into doing his job, and that it can actually be counterproductive? That all of your dead companions have wasted their lives, and your country is less safe?

    Don’t tell that to the brave and well-intentioned men and women who have served in Iraq only to see hatred of, and attempted violence towards, the United States blossom worldwide.

  88. nemoskull April 8, 2014 at 1:30 am - Reply

    wow, just wow. there is something noble and tragic in this story. such devotion to duty is amazing. such dedication is something we should emulate.
    and dont start hating on me cuz said it. im talking about emotions here, not action.

  89. jmdelavega June 18, 2014 at 4:20 am - Reply

    To end it all, the Japanese murdered thousands of Am/Phil. Soldiers, if neither of you know The Death March you should read about it. Hiding for 30 years was epic but not heroic and he is a murderer too, there’s no way he’s a hero but just somebody that’s so dedicated to their job

  90. Mike October 11, 2014 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    Guys, war is war, you cant have a war without casualties and there will always be bad things that occur in war. You guys say Americans were so bad for killing Japanese people with the A-Bombs and say that there were peace talks going on already, but by dropping those bombs America eliminated the possibility that the war would start up again. This isn’t the only case either where the Japanese were brainwashed and carried on their duties log after the war was over. What about all those POW camps that lasted well after the war ended.

  91. RuffRider October 19, 2014 at 12:55 am - Reply

    The poor, the ordinary people, the masses… we are always the cannon fodder during wars. As for the aristocrats, the elite, the politicians, rarely do they suffer the consequences, a few exceptions maybe. Most likely they are all part of a “big boys” club and they just settle a war in a table with papers while those under their command are spilling blood needlessly.

    I would hope to live and see the day that all soldiers would morally question each and every mission he is going to.

  92. roy October 22, 2014 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    i wouldve done the same thing

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