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The Soldier Who Wouldn't Quit

Article #71 • Written by Alan Bellows

On December 17, 1944, the Japanese army sent a twenty-three year old soldier named Hiroo Onoda to the Philippines to join the Sugi Brigade. He was stationed on the small island of Lubang, approximately seventy-five miles southwest of Manila in the Philippines, and his orders were to lead the Lubang Garrison in guerrilla warfare.

As Onoda was departing to begin his mission, his division commander told him, "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." It turns out that Onoda was exceptionally good at following orders, and it would be 29 years before he finally laid down his arms and surrendered.

In February of 1945, just a couple months after Onoda arrived on Lubang, the Allied forces attacked the island, and quickly overtook its defenses. As the Allies moved inland, Onoda and the other guerrilla soldiers split into groups and retreated into the dense jungle. Onoda's group consisted of himself and three other men: Corporal Shoichi Shimada, Private Kinshichi Kozuka, and Private Yuichi Akatsu. They survived by rationing their rice supply, eating coconuts and green bananas from the jungle, and occasionally killing one of the locals' cows for meat.

It was upon killing one of these cows that one of the soldiers found a note some months later. It was a leaflet left behind by a local resident, and it said, "The war ended on August 15. Come down from the mountains!" The Japanese guerrilla soldiers scrutinized the note, and decided that was an Allied propaganda trick to coax them out of hiding. It was not the only message they encountered; over the years, fliers were dropped from planes, newspapers were left, and letters from relatives with photos. Each attempt was viewed by the soldiers as a clever hoax constructed by the Allies.

The Lubang Islands, Philippines
The Lubang Islands, Philippines

Onoda and his men lived in the jungle for years, occasionally engaging in skirmishes and carrying out acts of sabotage as part of their guerrilla activities. They were tormented by jungle heat, incessant rain, rats, insects, and the occasional armed search party. Any villagers they sighted were seen as spies, and attacked by the four men, and over the years a number of people were wounded or killed by the rogue soldiers.

In September of 1949, over four years after the four men went into hiding, one of Onoda's fellow soldiers decided that he had had enough. Without a word to the others, Private Akatsu snuck away one day, and the Sugi Brigade was reduced to three men. Sometime in 1950 they found a note from Akatsu, which informed the others that he had been greeted by friendly troops when he left the jungle. To the remaining men, it was clear that Akatsu was being coerced into working for the enemy, and was not to be trusted. They continued their guerrilla attacks, but more cautiously.

Three years later, in 1953, Corporal Shimada was shot in the leg during a shootout with some fishermen. Onoda and Kozuka helped him back into the jungle, and without any medical supplies, they nursed him back to health over several months. Despite his recovery, Shimada became gloomy. About a year later, the men encountered a search party on a beach at Gontin, and Shimada was fatally wounded in the ensuing skirmish. He was 40 years old.

For nineteen years, Onoda and Kozuka continued their guerrilla activities together, living in the dense jungle in make-shift shelters. Every now and then they would kill another cow for meat, which alarmed the villagers and prompted the army to embark on yet another unsuccessful search for the men. The two remaining soldiers operated under the conviction that the Japanese army would eventually retake the island from the Allies, and that their guerrilla tactics would prove invaluable in that effort.

Nineteen years after Shimada was killed, on October of 1972, Onoda and Kozuka had snuck out of the jungle to burn some rice which had been collected by farmers, in an attempt to sabotage the "enemy's" food supply. A Filipino police patrol spotted the men, and fired two shots. 51-year-old Kozuka was killed, ending his 27 years of hiding. Onoda escaped back into the jungle, now alone in his misguided mission.

News of Kozuka's death traveled quickly to Japan. It was concluded that since Kozuka had survived all those years, then it was likely that Lt. Onoda was still alive, though he had been declared legally dead about thirteen years earlier. More search parties were sent in to find him, however he successfully evaded them each time.

But in February of 1974, after Onoda had been alone in the jungle for a year and a half, a Japanese college student named Norio Suzuki managed to track him down.

When Suzuki had left Japan, he told his friends that he was "going to look for Lieutenant Onoda, a panda, and the abominable snowman, in that order." Onoda and Suzuki became fast friends. Suzuki tried to convince him that the war had ended long ago, but Onoda explained that he would not surrender unless his commander ordered him to do so. Suzuki took photos of the two of them together, and convinced Onoda to meet him again about two weeks later, in a prearranged location.

When Onoda went to the meeting place, there was a note waiting from Suzuki. Suzuki had returned to the island with Onoda's one-time superior officer, Major Taniguchi. When Onoda returned to meet with Suzuki and his old commander, he arrived in what was left of his dress uniform, wearing his sword and carrying his still-working Arisaka rifle, 500 rounds of ammunition, and several hand grenades. Major Taniguchi, who had long since retired from the military and become a bookseller, read aloud the orders: Japan had lost the war, and all combat activity was to cease immediately. After a moment of quiet anger, Onoda pulled back the bolt on his rifle and unloaded the bullets, and then took off his pack and laid the rifle across it. When the reality of it sunk in, he wept openly.

By the time he formally surrendered to Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos in 1974, Onoda had spent twenty nine of his fifty two years hiding the jungle, fighting a war that had long been over for the rest of the world. He and his guerrilla soldiers had killed some thirty people unnecessarily, and wounded about a hundred others. But they had done so under the belief that they were at war, and consequently President Marcos granted him a full pardon for the crimes he had committed while in hiding.

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, were Onoda could share what he learned about survival through resourcefulness and ingenuity. Reportedly, Onoda is still alive in Japan today.

Update, 17 January 2014: The BBC has reported that the reformed oblivious villain Hiroo Onoda has died, aged 91. RIP.

Article written by Alan Bellows, published on 07 December 2005. Alan is the founder/designer/head writer/managing editor of Damn Interesting.

Article design by Alan Bellows. Article suggested by Ronald..
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46 Comments
Thy Hangman
Posted 07 December 2005 at 06:47 pm

Can't wait for the movie


htid
Posted 07 December 2005 at 08:47 pm

woah. Talk about following orders.


Kirmz
Posted 08 December 2005 at 07:30 pm

I remember this epidode of Giligans island...


binx2882
Posted 25 December 2005 at 11:53 am

That was amaizing I cant believe the amount of time he spent on that little island!I wonder if they've made a doco on him yet??


Anonymous User
Posted 04 January 2006 at 02:18 am

Im at a complete lack or words... this is incredible. He wrote a book, which I have just ordered through amazon.com, I cant wait to read it, this is an amazing story...


ynggrsshppr
Posted 26 March 2006 at 08:31 pm

It is a complete wonder how Japan lost the war with guys like this in its armed forces.


NewEvolution
Posted 27 March 2006 at 10:41 pm

ynggrsshppr said: "It is a complete wonder how Japan lost the war with guys like this in its armed forces."

Sadly, we split the atom first. This kind of determination is pretty instrumental in that, really. The threat of having to invade mainland Japan, where every last woman and child would have given their very lives to stop our advances was a strong arguing point in favor of the eventual use of the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Still, this man is more than impressive in his determination and steadfast resolve to carry out his orders 'til the end.


sleepwalker
Posted 04 May 2006 at 09:27 pm

i was in high school when such news suddenly broke in. i have been hearing such rumors for years on nearby my island (panay).
we are more afraid of the hukbalahap at hose times for they were synonyms to apocalypse when mentioned.
somebody would shout "HUK! HUK! are coming" and all the windows and doors are shuts and barred, we hid under the bed, and older men keep their rusty rifles loaded.

onoda was like a hero for us. he did killed lots of those HUKS! huk cannot hunt him. he is known to have the disappearing amulet. the japanese straggler was indeed not hunted by local people and even offered foods.

few months after his surrender, Toshimi Kumai... the japanese soldier who captured and protect my army captain (Antonio Romero) grandfather and his eight daughters, came to visit his last days.

no words were exchanged, but lots of smiles and tears.

Japanese are good people. they do have hearts. only their leaders sometimes makes the wrong decissions.

soldiers always follow those decissions. either to live on coconut or protect their rights.


GMan
Posted 15 June 2006 at 02:09 am

Amazing stuff... It does however bring an interesting point to light.

How would one effectively distinguish genuine from enemy messages? How would one ever be sure that a war is really over and that it is safe to come out if there were no radio or other means of comms with headquaters? What would have happened if his commander has died in the war, unable to convince him afterwards?

I'm sure there were others alike, although most would probably give up after a year or so...


joethecoat
Posted 15 June 2006 at 03:10 am

In the Cold War, British submarine captains used BBC Radio 4 as their confirmation of the continued survival of Britain. They didn't trust anything else...


Prince
Posted 15 June 2006 at 05:06 am

NewEvolution said: "Sadly, we split the atom first."

Whats all this WE crap? It was Rutherford that split the atom, not WE.


Prince
Posted 15 June 2006 at 05:07 am

In 1911


1c3d0g
Posted 15 June 2006 at 05:51 am

Damn...that's a very interesting story. Sucks to be the only one fighting a finished war, though... :-/


lp
Posted 15 June 2006 at 06:50 am

Wow, this is awesome. I think there was a movie similar to this about a Japanese soldier and an American soldier on the same island fighting each other continuously because they didn't know the war had ended.


banana989
Posted 15 June 2006 at 07:13 am

Very interesting!


Haywood Jablome
Posted 15 June 2006 at 08:35 am

Can you imagine what this guy smelled like after all those years?!?!!? The same "dress uniform" from the 40's. omg.


PRiME
Posted 15 June 2006 at 10:56 am

It takes all kinds.......


bryon
Posted 15 June 2006 at 12:17 pm

I wonder how Suzuki got close enough to Onoda without getting capped?


FROGGY98418
Posted 15 June 2006 at 07:45 pm

sounds like the Onoda was more cunning than it seems at first glance.
He was on a tropical island. Villagers were leaving foodstuffs for him.
For a hermit type, this was paradise.
Why come out?


alias
Posted 15 June 2006 at 10:46 pm

This should be a chapter in the guidebook on how to be a commanding officer... It should be called, phrase yourself sensibly


Grey
Posted 16 June 2006 at 09:31 am

I have the English version of the book. The orginal was only published in Japanesee. It was translated into English by Charles Sanford Terry. It is very good. I was only able to find a copy in a used bookstore a few years ago. Onoda was part of a special Intelligence unit that was trained as "stay behinds". It is a 'Damn Interesting' read about the training that they had to go through to make them understand the concept of guerilla warfare. At the time it was a very alien concept to Japan's military, staying behind to fight instead of killing oneself.

There were others in other locations that were discovered long after the war ended. There was one on Guam. The last known one surrendered in 1980. You can read about them at wikipedia;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_holdout


pearltorto
Posted 16 June 2006 at 03:17 pm

sleepwalker said: "i was in high school when such news suddenly broke in. i have been hearing such rumors for years on nearby my island (panay).

we are more afraid of the hukbalahap at hose times for they were synonyms to apocalypse when mentioned.
somebody would shout "HUK! HUK! are coming" and all the windows and doors are shuts and barred, we hid under the bed, and older men keep their rusty rifles loaded.

onoda was like a hero for us. he did killed lots of those HUKS! huk cannot hunt him. he is known to have the disappearing amulet. the japanese straggler was indeed not hunted by local people and even offered foods.

few months after his surrender, Toshimi Kumai… the japanese soldier who captured and protect my army captain (Antonio Romero) grandfather and his eight daughters, came to visit his last days.

no words were exchanged, but lots of smiles and tears.

Japanese are good people. they do have hearts. only their leaders sometimes makes the wrong decissions.

soldiers always follow those decissions. either to live on coconut or protect their rights."

i would just like to mention the japanease war camps. my grandfather was in one of these so he's know


Drakvil
Posted 17 June 2006 at 12:50 pm

Just had to reply to Gman's comment
"How would one effectively distinguish genuine from enemy messages? How would one ever be sure that a war is really over and that it is safe to come out if there were no radio or other means of comms with headquaters?"

with a quote from The Matrix: "Do you think that's air you're breathing?"

Aside from seeing the results firsthand, there is no way. If you issued a code word, all it would take is the capture and interrogation of any one person who knew it... if you had an encryption method for decoding messages, they all can be broken. If his commander was captured, he could be brainwashed into issuing a false surrender message.


Korgmeister
Posted 18 June 2006 at 05:36 am

ynggrsshppr said: "It is a complete wonder how Japan lost the war with guys like this in its armed forces."

I'd actually say the real key to the Allied victory in the Pacific theatre was the same as why it won in the European theatre: Superior logistics.

While there are many countries that could perhaps legitimately claim to have superior soldiers than the Americans (I could not say for sure how many of them are right, it is such a subjective thing) nobody can claim to have a military that is better supplied than the Americans. You don't need crack shots if you have enough ammo to 'spray and pray'.

And the fact of the matter is that wars since the Industrial Age have very consistently* been won by the nation with the superior logistical infrastructure. It goes completely against the romance of war being won by genius tactics and tough-as-nails soldiers, but it pays to place your bets on the better-equipped doughboys.

*Note that I do not say always. I have not forgotten Vietnam so quickly.


needles
Posted 23 June 2006 at 09:08 am

This is slightly off topic, but anyways one of the greatest military feats in history... Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortez army of 150 men conquered the entire Aztec Empire of 6,000,000 warlike people. Amazing even though Cortez's army had guns. Suggested article.


Sassanix
Posted 02 July 2006 at 02:14 pm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5138148.stm take a look at this!!! another one found.


MuadDib
Posted 02 July 2006 at 09:05 pm

ynggrsshppr said: "It is a complete wonder how Japan lost the war with guys like this in its armed forces."

Hate to be the nth guy to quote this but... its a wonder the japanese did as well as they did.
1)True their troops had a reputation for being fearsome and determined but their tactics quite frankly sucked. Several times well fortified well supplied japanese garrisons would charge at American positions confidant that their courage would protect them, quickly getting entire regiments massacred for negligible american casualties.
2) the fact that their offesnives stalled out in the pacific islands actualy slowed down eventual defeat. In jungle fighting the lower quality of weapons like artillery and machine-guns didn't hurt the japanese much but had they reached the U.S. coast they would have been out-ranged by American artilley, their handfull of (unbeleivably bad) tanks would have been smashed, and their entire army would have been out-numbered. The only reason that Japanses troops had numerical parity in most island engagments was simply because american task forces where limited by available transport and space on the island to keep their soldiers.

In all honesty it was not a winnable war.


MuadDib
Posted 02 July 2006 at 09:18 pm

needles said: "This is slightly off topic, but anyways one of the greatest military feats in history… Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortez army of 150 men conquered the entire Aztec Empire of 6,000,000 warlike people. Amazing even though Cortez's army had guns. Suggested article."

Kinda true but not really... Cortez could have been crushed at any time during the first year or so of his conquest. The aztecs simply refrained due to some similarities between one of their prophecies and Cortez's arrival. By the time Cortez marched on Tenochtitlan he actualy had an army of tens of thousands of the Aztecs' somewhat ticked neighbors at his back.

also, saying an empire of 6,000,000 warlike people implies the entire population where eligible to become warriors when in fact it was only 1/20th and only one third of those actualy chose to become warriors (a total of maybe 80-110 thousand men). Also saying its amazing that 150 armored spaniard cavalry with guns and light cannon support beat thousands of feather armored, obsidian (if they where elite) and wood (for the vast majority) armed troops, on foot. Is like saying that it would be surprising if 150 American marines wearing Kevlar, armed with automatic weapons, supported by a 50mm mortar, and carried around in Bradley APCs broke through the French lines at Waterloo. The technological difference is staggering.


Dusty
Posted 03 July 2006 at 12:40 pm

This is a great article!


Enkidu
Posted 12 July 2006 at 01:20 pm

My favorite British band did a concept album based on this story. The band is Camel, and the album is called Nude

http://www.progreviews.com/reviews/display.php?rev=cam-nude


Zocalo_Patrick
Posted 01 March 2007 at 03:03 am

It is very interesting.

What is the name of his nature camp in Japan?


danielbb
Posted 23 April 2007 at 03:12 pm

I find this hard to beleive, 29yrs of people telling you the war is over, even one of his own men, and family according to the book!


helmett
Posted 07 May 2007 at 02:16 pm

Korgmeister said: "I'd actually say the real key to the Allied victory in the Pacific theatre was the same as why it won in the European theatre: Superior logistics.


While there are many countries that could perhaps legitimately claim to have superior soldiers than the Americans (I could not say for sure how many of them are right, it is such a subjective thing) nobody can claim to have a military that is better supplied than the Americans. You don't need crack shots if you have enough ammo to 'spray and pray'.

And the fact of the matter is that wars since the Industrial Age have very consistently* been won by the nation with the superior logistical infrastructure. It goes completely against the romance of war being won by genius tactics and tough-as-nails soldiers, but it pays to place your bets on the better-equipped doughboys.

*Note that I do not say always. I have not forgotten Vietnam so quickly."

This is a total crock of crap. The reason that the Allies (specifically the USA) was triumphant in WW2 was the men in the armed forces fought like hell, were unafraid of the sacrifices required and had the will to win. France had the largest Army as WW2 broke wide open and was defeated in weeks. Larger, even SUPERIOR forces are no garauntee of success in a fight.

Throwing more fodder in front of cannons or 'spray and pray' tactics do not win wars. You should read about WW1 as this is an example of this. A popular strategy was to send more men over the top than the enemy had bullets. It doesnt work.

Wars are won by the forces with a blend of the will to win, the best equipment they can be provided, good training and the support of the populations they come from.

I am sick to death of armchair tacticians telling people that we "out-supplied" our foes in WW2 to victory. Thats a load. We outfought our foes. Thats it.


mercforhire
Posted 21 May 2007 at 03:47 am

NewEvolution said: "Sadly, we split the atom first. This kind of determination is pretty instrumental in that, really. The threat of having to invade mainland Japan, where every last woman and child would have given their very lives to stop our advances was a strong arguing point in favor of the eventual use of the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

And ironically, the only 2 war-time uses of the dediest weapon ever invented, saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lifes.

Operation Olympic, the invasion of mainland Japan, scheduled for some months after the bombs were dropped, would have been EXTREMELY costly in lifes to BOTH sides.

In even another odd turn of fate, perhaps the H-Bomb is what prevented the Cold War from ever getting really hot....with Mutually Assured Detruction a guarentee for both the U.S.A. & the U.S.S.R.


Jawms
Posted 21 January 2008 at 11:11 am

Thy Hangman said: "Can't wait for the movie"

ahahahahahaha


bum
Posted 04 February 2008 at 04:49 pm

MuadDib said: "Hate to be the nth guy to quote this but… its a wonder the japanese did as well as they did.

1)True their troops had a reputation for being fearsome and determined but their tactics quite frankly sucked. Several times well fortified well supplied japanese garrisons would charge at American positions confidant that their courage would protect them, quickly getting entire regiments massacred for negligible american casualties.

2) the fact that their offesnives stalled out in the pacific islands actualy slowed down eventual defeat. In jungle fighting the lower quality of weapons like artillery and machine-guns didn't hurt the japanese much but had they reached the U.S. coast they would have been out-ranged by American artilley, their handfull of (unbeleivably bad) tanks would have been smashed, and their entire army would have been out-numbered. The only reason that Japanses troops had numerical parity in most island engagments was simply because american task forces where limited by available transport and space on the island to keep their soldiers.

In all honesty it was not a winnable war."

Russo-Japanese War? Iraq War?


kniesten
Posted 25 September 2008 at 09:55 am

Awesome article, got to admire the japanese fortitude!


mcwizard
Posted 05 February 2010 at 09:26 pm

He couldn't see the mushroom cloud from there?


aten
Posted 06 April 2010 at 06:45 pm

See, a man does not surrender, a man is soldier, a man is a fighter, a man is a warrior, a man is a captain.
The story of this soldier should be taught in all military and research schools.

Other thing: he must be in very good health after spending 29 years in the jungle: No chemical foods, no sex, no pollution,no worries about jobs,no noise. This man will live for long.


Cyric
Posted 12 August 2011 at 12:18 am

lp said: "Wow, this is awesome. I think there was a movie similar to this about a Japanese soldier and an American soldier on the same island fighting each other continuously because they didn’t know the war had ended."

Thi way after the act, but to answer that, if it is the movie that I am thinking of, then it is "Hell in the Pacific" with Lee Marvin and Toshirô Mifune


Izzuddin
Posted 13 February 2013 at 09:14 am

Haywood Jablome said: "Can you imagine what this guy smelled like after all those years?!?!!? The same "dress uniform" from the 40's. omg."

Well, I don't know about uniform, but from an article I read, it seems the medical check-up result showed that onoda was in good health. Not even cavities found in his teeth.

bryon said: "I wonder how Suzuki got close enough to Onoda without getting capped?"

Apparantely, it was easier for onoda to trust a single exploring man, rather than a band of search parties. furthermore, at first sight of onoda, suzuki said to him: "Onoda-san, the emperor and the people of japan are worried about you."


Garreth W
Posted 09 December 2013 at 10:07 am

I feel the same way about the 2013 Poke War on facebook. It's officially over, the war has been won, and the fuhrer has been topped in the Pokebunker. But still the poking goes on. Poking the dead corpses of the fallen sure reminds me of the Japanese resolve of Hiroo


JD
Posted 17 January 2014 at 07:17 am

Hiroo Onoda died today in Tokyo aged 91:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25772192


Brian
Posted 19 January 2014 at 03:16 pm

aten said: "See, a man does not surrender, a man is soldier, a man is a fighter, a man is a warrior, a man is a captain.
The story of this soldier should be taught in all military and research schools.

Other thing: he must be in very good health after spending 29 years in the jungle: No chemical foods, no sex, no pollution,no worries about jobs,no noise. This man will live for long."

He did. He died age 91.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25772192


Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Posted 22 January 2014 at 09:37 pm

LAST TO SURRENDER-NO HONOR JUST TERROR
NOW HE IS DEAD

The History Channel ran a documentary about WW II, Japanese Army 2nd Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda. He was the Japanese solider who spent 30 years hiding in the hills of the Philippine Island, of Lubang. He was a 23-year-old officer who had been trained in guerrilla warfare. His first combat assignment was in December of 1944 to Lubang Island. This was not some combat seasoned Japanese Army officer who had spent years fighting the War. This was by his own admission a young man who had problems with authority figures and following the rules. However if the orders were to his liking, he was fanatical about blindly following rules. When the Second World War ended, because no one sat Onoda down and explained the fighting had officially stopped, Onoda took it upon himself to continue the struggle. He started out with three other Japanese soldiers. One ran away and surrendered after almost five years of living in the jungle. The other two were killed in firefights with Filipinos. In some of the more politely written information I found, Onoda lived on coconuts & bananas and he killed an occasional Filipino cow. What he really did was develop a thirty-year reign of terror on the inhabitants of Lubang Island. He raided the local villages, stealing what he could carry off and burning what he could not. He kept this up even after he was the last of the four Japanese, left on the island. It is believed he killed between 30 and 50 local Filipinos and wounded up to 100. One Filipino tells how his brother was shot while gathering coconuts up in a tree. After the man fell to the ground Onoda hacked him to death. He finally gave it up in 1974 after his old Army commander came to the jungle and read an order for Onoda to surrender. This way, Onoda did not have to take the personal responsibility for his actions. Someone else made him give up. He stated “I have never regretted anything I have done,” apparently to include the killing of up to 50 innocent civilian Filipinos. Of course Onoda was part of the Army of Japan that brutally invaded and occupied the Philippines. Now having President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines pardon Onoda right a way, for the sake of relations with Japan (read money), went a long way to excuse the atrocities of Onoda. Onoda lived on a cattle ranch in Brazil. He believes Japan is a puppet-state and their current constitution was forced onto that nation at gunpoint. You know what, it probably was and there are good reasons for that? Approximately one third of the US Marine Corps is stationed on Okinawa at any given time. This is not because Marines love Sushi. Japan continues to be an occupied nation (whether anyone admits it or not) and one of the reasons for this, is that there are still people like Onoda on that chain of islands. So what does this have to do with anything in regards to current political situations? During WW II the US, a nation made up largely of European, Judeo-Christian descended people did not truly understand the fanatical practices of the Japanese military and we suffered because of that failure to understand the enemy. Our current enemies are no less fanatical than the Japanese were and with modern communication and transportation they can be just as deadly. Onoda returned to Japan in the 1990s as a guest speaker, at the very Army officer training facility where he himself was trained. He was met at the airport as if he was a great national hero, instead of a murderer. The Japanese crowd loved him and he received over 100 proposals of marriage from adoring Japanese women. He was giving a $160,000 book deal. Later in life he returned to the Philippines and generously bestowed $10,000 to a group of people he terrorized and murdered. There are numerous third world countries that hate the US as much as the Japanese did back in 1941. They too treat their murdering, terrorist-patriots, with similar displays of affection and we do not understand this anymore now, than we understood the 1940’s Empire of Japan. But we as a nation must protect our country from the likes of Onoda as we did with Osama Bin Laden. The intolerant-dogma that breeds the uncompromising desire to destroy America and what we stand for must be stopped. If we cannot prevent hostile actions against our country through peaceful negotiation, then we have to strike with as much destructive force as we can muster. It is better to be preemptive on their soil, rather than reactive on our soil. Hiroo Onoda has died at the age of 91. No more one man banzai charges into unarmed post-war Philippine villages—so much Japanese honor in that act. Modern day Japan needs to increase and improve the ability of its current day military to meet future threats to that country and region of the world. However war criminals such as Hiroo Onoda and Emperor Hirohito offer strong reasoning why Japan’s military should not be allowed to go nuclear. But let us not fool our western peace of mind; do you really believe that Japan does not already have “nukes”?

Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
vanharl@aol.com


Reryn
Posted 19 May 2014 at 06:34 pm

NewEvolution said: "ynggrsshppr said: "It is a complete wonder how Japan lost the war with guys like this in its armed forces."

Sadly, we split the atom first. This kind of determination is pretty instrumental in that, really. The threat of having to invade mainland Japan, where every last woman and child would have given their very lives to stop our advances was a strong arguing point in favor of the eventual use of the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Still, this man is more than impressive in his determination and steadfast resolve to carry out his orders 'til the end."

Splitting the atom helped end the war faster... but Japan would have never won the war. Even if we had to invade, it's doubtful we would have to tromp across the entire island to force surrender. In the end it was a small island nation who added another enemy to its list when it couldn't even successfully manage the rest of its current enemies.

Also, the motivation for much of Japan's heroic soldering was the false assumption that the rest of the world was populated by inferior people. Arrogance destroyed Japan, so its greatest assest was also its largest detriment. To this day Japan has a large subset of people who are openly racist and bigoted.


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