Born on 3/19/1922. Hiroo Onoda is a former imperial Japanese army intelligence officer who refused to surrender in 1945. Onoda fought on until his commanding officer traveled to the island where he was in hiding and ordered to lay down his arms. He was a second lieutenant.
With little more than eight months left in the war, on December 26th 1944, Onoda was posted to Lubang Island in the Filippines and ordered to conduct a guerrila interdiction campaign scuttling Japanese airstrips so Americans can’t use them. On the 28th of February, the Allies took the island anyway, and Onoda, then the ranking officer of his small coterie of resisters and so he ordered everyone to take to the hills.
Onoda and three others continued to resist for years, killing 30 Fillipino inhabitants. He also wounded over 100 people, many of them innocent of any crime. During his campaign the Japanese government dropped leaflets, left notes, and communicated through loudspeakers. He knew the war was over and simply refused to stop shooting.
He says that he believed the surrender notices were simply a ruse. But General Tomoshita, commander of the Japanese Fourteenth Army signed the leaflets.
In September 1949 Yuichi Akatsu walked into Police headquarters and surrendered. The remaining three resisters receded further into the depths of the jungle. In June 1953 Shichi Shimada was shot in the leg by a police officer but Onoda helped him recover. A year later a search party sent out to find him shot and killed him. Kishichi Kozuka was killed in 1972 by local police.
In March of 1974, a Japanese college drop out was wandering and ran into Onoda. They became friends. The friend helped enable Onoda’s surrender. Later that month He surrendered to his commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi who ran a book store.
Today he splits his time between Brazil, where he met his current wife, and Japan. He started a conservative school for boys. Many consider Onoda a murderer who has not been tried for killing innocent people during the thirty years he hid in the jungle. Former Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos pardoned Onoda.