Here is the story of a Japanese soldier named Hiroo Onoda who continued to fight till 29 years after the war ended, because he didn’t know. He was a Japanese citizen actually working at a Chinese trading company when he was called in Army. He was 20 years old at that time. He quit his job and joined army training centre. He was chosen as the Imperial Army Intelligence Officer and has to be trained at Nakano School.
In 1994, he was sent to Lubang Island in the Philippines. He was given the order that no matter what the officers will come for him, and he should not leave the island unless sentenced to do so. He linked up with other Japanese soldiers who were already present on the island. Enemy troops were stronger at this Island. Onoda along with other Japanese soldiers divided themselves into small groups and headed towards the jungle. Most of these little groups got killed. Only the members of Onoda’s group were alive.
He Still didn’t give up!
In October 1945 they found a leaflet saying, ‘the war has ended, come down from the mountains’. Onoda and his group ignored it as they thought it was a trap by the enemies, telling them to give up. After another year of hiding, and getting clues from the leaflet, the group thought that the war was over. One of the four walked away from the others. In 1952, family photographs and leaflets were dropped using an aircraft telling them to surrender. But they continued to think of it as a trick. In 1954, another one from the group was shot dead by a search party who was looking for the three of them. In 1972, the remaining one with Onoda, Kozuka was also killed by local police. Onoda was now left alone on that Island.
He was found!
Two years later, in 1974, Onoda met a Norio Suzuki who was travelling around the world. One of the three things he wanted to find around the world was Onoda. Luckily, while travelling around the Philippines, he found out Onoda and his temporary home. Onoda still refused to give up saying that he will only go if orders are given. Suzuki returned Japan with a photograph of him with Onoda as proof that he is alive.
Onoda’s officer Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, who was now a librarian, went looking for him on that Island. He kept his promise and ordered him to come to Japan. He then surrendered himself giving up all the ammunition he had. He was pardoned for all his crimes and was appreciated for being so respectful towards the orders.