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The story of the last Japanese soldier
a true story!

The last japanese soldier surrendered in 1974, fighting world war two up until that point.

His name was Hiroo Onoda, A Japanese army lieutenant. His orders were to gather intelligence and fight guerrilla warfare on the small island of Lubang, and lead attacks against enemy airfields.

His exact orders were "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. 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."

On february 28th, 1945, American troops attacked; after a four day battle, the japanese were decimated. The survivors split up into small cells for safety, Onoda was in a group of four. In March '46, 41 japanese soldiers surrendered, leaving only onoda and his three left on the island for japanese resistance.

In sept '49, one of his four, deserted. The following July, onoda found a note from him saying "When I surrendered, the filipinos greeted me as a friend.". Onoda told the other men, and they all agreed to keep fighting!

In February '52, aircraft dropped leaflets explaining that the war was over. They also dropped photo's and letters from japanese relatives and friends. One of the men's wife and two children, one of which was in the womb when he went off to war, was dropped. The man doubted it's authenticity.

In March '52, a reporter that failed to contact them left behind a newspaper that had a story circled in it. The story described the "punitive mission against japanese soldiers on Lubang". Which Onoda interpreted to mean that the war continued.

June '53, the man with the wife and children was shot in the leg, became despondent, and during a gun fight in may '54, He pretty much allowed himself to be killed.

For the next twenty years, the two soldiers lived off the land, per Onoda's orders. Both men remained healthy, using survival techniques, and things they learned on the fly. All other needs were carried out in nighttime raids upon local natives, whom called the two, "the mountain devils".

One search party during this time cost 375,000 and used 13,000 men. No trace of Onoda.

In May '59, a party arrived led by the two mens brothers that lasted for six months. As a final effort to contact Onoda, his brother, used a microphone in hope that Onoda would recognize his voice. It failed when his voice cracked from emotion and Onoda thought it to be a imposter.

In '72, another party led by Onoda's sister, and another brother, attempted to contact Onoda. This time Onoda believed it to be them, but this suggested to him that Japan were soon to recapture the island. He decided to keep his vigil.

When American Planes flew overhead, he took it as a sign that WW2 was still on, in truth, they were flying to vietnam.

On Oct. '72, Onoda and his partner went on a beacon raid, to set fire to the newly cut rice as a signal to the Japanese that they were still alive. That night, they were pinned down by gunfire, and Onoda's last soldier was shot in the chest, and died. Onoda vowed revenge.

In '73, yet another search party combed for him. Afterwards, Onoda found a poem,
"not even an echo
Responds to my call in the
Summery mountains".
It was left by his aged father.

On February '74, Onoda caught a young man, Norio Suzuki, who turned and saluted him. Suzuka was a young university dropout, who had three goals, find Onoda, A panda, and the abominable snowman. He accomplished his first in four days. Suzuki explained that the war was over, and asked Onoda to return to Japan. Onoda refused, saying that only his immediate superior could rescind all previous commands. Suzuki offered to return with him, and took pictures with Onoda in order to accomplish this.

On March 7th '74, Onoda went to a prearranged spot and found a note saying that his immediate superior was on his way to personally deliver new orders. Even at this moment, Onoda believed his orders would be a renewal of his previous ones, or an new assignment against the Americans. He also, for the first time since he left Japan saw his own face, in some photo's that Suzuki had left.

On the evening of March 9th, '74, Onoda suspecting an ambush, went to a pre-arranged spot, where Suzuki saw him, and shouted for the superior to come out. Onoda snapped to attention and said "Lieutentant Onoda, sir, reporting for orders."

His superior then informed him that he was to suspend his activities, and broke the news to him. Onoda then slowly unloaded his bullets, realizing that not only were his thirty years of fighting over, but they were a waste.

Onoda then stayed up all night, and talked until dawn, with an incredible memory for detail, which also revealed that he had kept a calendar, using nothing more than the moon, that was only six days behind the real calendar.

Much to the disgust of the islanders that Onoda had raided and shot at for thirty years, Onoda was pardoned. The deaths of two close comrades, and thirty filipino's behind him, he went home to Japan and wrote his memoirs "No surrender- My thirty year war". Bought a cattle ranch with the money, Married in '76 to a woman that said she married him because "I didn't think he could find anyone else". He then began lecturing school children about nature and health, opened up a nonprofit camp, the Onoda Nature school where he stress harmony with nature, rather than the more aggressive style. Believing that life should be focused on and not studies, and that childrn have so many problems, because their parents push them to hard and don't allow them to follow their own natural rhythm.



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