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The Man who Continued Fighting for 29 Years after World War II Ended

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If you underestimate what loyalty, pride, determination, and commitment can produce in a man, you need to hear the story of Hiroo Onado.

On 2nd September 1945, the World War II officially ended when Japan formally surrendered to the allied forces. Germany and Italy had already surrendered, and thus Japan’s surrender meant end of atrocities after 2194 days of hostility, deaths and bombings. However, this was not to be. Several pockets of isolated fighters continued fighting, an in one such team was a man by the name Hiroo Onoda.

Hiroo Onoda was a soldier in the Imperial Japanese Army who was stationed in the Lubag Island in the Philippines. He had been trained in the field of guerrilla warfare, sabotage, counterintelligence, and propaganda, and so when his team was overpowered by American forces, he retreated to the woods and kept fighting. His aim was to keep the allied forces busy and occupied, so that they would take longer to invade Japan. Hiroo did his duty diligently, where he would launch guerrilla attacks on the Filipino police and villages. Unfortunately, the war ended but Hiroo never got to know about it. In his thinking, he knew that Japan would never surrender until the last man was dead. His mission was to defend Japan unto death.

For 29 years, authorities tried various methods to make him surrender. They dropped leaflets in the woods announcing that Japan had surrendered and all soldiers should drop arms and surrender. Hiroo was unmoved; he thought that to be a propaganda tactic to make him surrender. They dropped photos and letters from his family asking him to come home, but Hiroo would have none of it. He continued hiding and attacking villages and civilians until the last day when something made him surrender.

When Japan realized that their man would never back down, they located his commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, who went to Philippines to give him an order to lay down his arms. With that, Hiroo emerged from the woods with his service rifle and sword still in excellent shape. He was appalled that Japan had actually surrendered 29 years earlier, and was welcomed to a new reality. Hiroo died later at the age of 91.

What can an army of 300 Hiroos accomplish?

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