Last Japanese Soldier To Surrender Dies At 91

Karloff

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Last Japanese Soldier To Surrender Dies At 91



Lt. Hiroo Onoda spent three decades in the jungle before his war ended.

"You are absolutely forbidden to die by your own hand," Intelligence Officer Lt. Hiroo Onoda was told by his commanding officer, Major Taniguchi, in 1944. "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." Onoda followed his orders to the letter, hiding in the Philippine jungle for over three decades. It wasn't until 1974 that he was finally persuaded to surrender. Hiroo Onoda, faithful to the last, has died of heart failure, at the age of 91.

Onoda led three men when the allies arrived and recaptured the Philippines. They ignored all attempts to communicate, and dismissed messages from locals claiming the war was over. Even letters sent by relatives and newspapers, airdropped in the jungle, didn't convince them. Onoda's troops carried out guerrilla raids and sabotage missions as best they could, while subsisting on coconuts, green bananas and the occasional cow. They killed 30 people all told, and wounded close to a hundred.

In 1949, one of Onoda's troops deserted and surrendered. In 1954 another was shot dead in a skirmish. Onoda's last companion, Private Kinshichi Kozuka, was killed by police in 1972. He spent the next two years alone, before finally being tracked down by a college student, Norio Suzuki. Onoda told Suzuki that he would only give in if his former commander told him to.

At Suzuki's request, Major Taniguchi returned to the island and told the faithful soldier that the war was over. He formally surrendered to President Ferdinand Marcos in 1974.

Onoda didn't regret the time he lost. He spent his last years running nature camps for children across Japan. "I do everything twice as fast so I can make up for the 30 years," Onoda said in a 1995 interview [http://news.yahoo.com/japan-39-last-wwii-straggler-dies-91-073541136.html;_ylt=A0oG7mxCMNlSfWEAnyBXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTBybGhkdDRqBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2FjMgR2dGlkA1VJQzFfMQ--]. "I wish someone could eat and sleep for me so I can work 24 hours a day."

Source: Damninteresting [http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/17/hiroo-onoda-japanese-soldier-dies]


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-Dragmire-

King over my mind
Mar 29, 2011
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While I can't relate to him in any way, that's quite the dedication that guy had.
 

Morsomk_v1legacy

RUMBA RUMBA RUMBA RUMBA RUMBA
Jan 30, 2013
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Well, if that ain't dedication to your country and military then I don't know what. But in all honestly, I don't actually think his mind was there most of the time considering the amount of time he spent in the jungle.
 

Slash2x

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Dec 7, 2009
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That ladies and gents is the text book example of following your orders no matter what the cost or sacrifice. The current military WISHES we could get that level of commitment.
 

Dyan

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Nov 27, 2009
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Don't know what to think honestly. The article seems a little confusing, did they continue their sabotage missions after the war ended? Still, I can respect the man for his dedication and it seems that the last decades of his life were spent doing something good.
 

Colonel Mustard

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Jun 2, 2010
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On one hand, I can't really praise him killing 30 people in what is, in those circumstances, tantamount to an act of murder. On the other, I can't help but admire the sheer level of insane dedication that that would take.
 

CriticalMiss

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Jan 18, 2013
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I know I couldn't have survived off of coconuts and bananas (even with the occasional cow) for 3 weeks let alone 30 years. He sounds like a pretty interesting chap, it's just a shame he and his men killed all of those people.
 

Doclector

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Aug 22, 2009
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Well, he wasn't on the "right" side, and I doubt those thirty people deserved it, but being someone who prizes loyalty above all other qualities, I can't help but feel a little admiration for the guy.
 

blackrave

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CriticalMiss said:
I know I couldn't have survived off of coconuts and bananas (even with the occasional cow) for 3 weeks let alone 30 years. He sounds like a pretty interesting chap, it's just a shame he and his men killed all of those people.
To be honest he thought that war was still going on
And everything that implied end of war was enemy propaganda
Not an excuse, but at least some reason
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

I never asked for this
Sep 8, 2011
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-Dragmire- said:
While I can't relate to him in any way, that's quite the dedication that guy had.
That's one way to put it. Another way would be to call him a servile idiot.

Yeah, that works better.
 

TheCaptain

A Guy In A Hat
Feb 7, 2012
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People who stop thinking just because they're being told to are scary. As is the 'just following orders' type. And 30 people murdered isn't any better if it makes an interesting story afterwards.
 

Eclectic Dreck

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Sep 3, 2008
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TheCaptain said:
People who stop thinking just because they're being told to are scary. As is the 'just following orders' type. And 30 people murdered isn't any better if it makes an interesting story afterwards.
Objectively speaking, it is better. Being better doesn't make it good.
 

kailus13

Soon
Mar 3, 2013
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Why didn't they just take his commander there in the first place? It would have prevented all this.

I hope he found some peace in his later years.
 

omega 616

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May 1, 2009
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Man, if he was married he would NEVER cheat, would he?

It is a hell of a story, almost urban myth ... a crazy guy who never realized the war was over and so lived in the jungle, living off coconuts, bananas and the odd cow. He killed 30 people and over 100 more ... if that doesn't scream urban myth I don't know what does!
 

chiefohara

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Sep 4, 2009
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ExtraDebit said:
He's a war criminal, why do you people wish him peace?
George Bush and Tony Blair are war criminals, people still defend them.

This man followed his last order to the letter. Like it or not he committed no war crime.
 

Tanis

The Last Albino
Aug 30, 2010
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He's a war criminal, who should have spent his last years in a jail cell.

Instead it seems like his blind, dangerous, patriotism will be remembered fondly.

Shame really.
 

Sniper Team 4

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Apr 28, 2010
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I had always heard stories that there was a Japanese soldier who didn't surrender for years after the war ended. Never bothered to look into it, and one version I heard said that the Emperor himself had to order the man to surrender (which is funny and blows a huge hole through the story). I always thought it was an interesting story, but I never thought it was true. Just some story that became a myth over time. Guess I was wrong. Wow. Thirty years.