Over the almost 30 years of his partisan work, Onoda has carried out more than a dozen attacks on US and Philippine military installations, as well as local police stations. They were killed more than 30 military and civilians, about another 100 people were injured. The authorities of Japan and the Philippines had to perform a rather complicated operation in order to stop the activities of Hiroo Onoda, who did not want to believe that the war was over and that Japan was defeated in it. Taking into account the uniqueness of the case and the urgent requests from the official Tokyo, Onoda was pardoned by the Philippine government (he was facing the death penalty) and was able to return to his homeland.
The Epic of Junior Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda
Hiroo Onoda was born 19 March 1922, in the small village of Kamekawa, and before the start of the Second World War led a completely ordinary life. In December 1942, he was drafted into the imperial army. He began his service in the usual infantry units, managing to rise to the rank of corporal. From January to August 1944, he was trained in the city of Kurume on the basis of the First Army School for the training of commanders. At the school, he was promoted to the rank of senior sergeant and was assigned to continue his studies at the General Staff of Japan, but he refused it, choosing another fate for himself. He decided to pursue a career as a military officer and enrolled in an intelligence college.
Hiroo Onoda with her brother 1944 year
It is worth noting that before 1942, Hiroo Onoda managed to work in China, where he learned English and a local dialect. A young man, brought up in the old Japanese traditions, according to which the emperor was equated with a deity, and his service was akin to a feat, could not remain aloof from the fighting. In August, 1944, he entered the Nakan Army School, which was engaged in the training of intelligence officers. In addition to the martial arts and guerrilla warfare, the school also taught philosophy and history. Without completing the training, Onoda was sent to the Philippines in December 1944 as the commander of a special detachment to conduct sabotage in the enemy's rear.
In January 1945, he was promoted to junior lieutenant and was sent to the Philippine island of Lubang. At the same time, he received an order from his immediate commander to continue the struggle under any circumstances, while at least one soldier was alive and the promise that, whatever happened, maybe in 3 years, maybe in 5 years, but he will return. Upon arriving on the island of Lubang, he immediately invited the Japanese command to prepare an in-depth defense of the island, but the proposals of the junior officer were not heard. February 28 American soldiers landed on Lubanga, easily defeated the local garrison. Hiroo Onoda, along with his three-man detachment - Corporal Shoichi Shimada, the upper class private soldier Kinsiti Kozuki and the first-class private soldier Yuichi Akatsu - was forced to take refuge in the mountains and start guerrilla activities behind enemy lines.
Lubang Island was relatively small in area (about 125 square kilometers - slightly less than the Southern District of Moscow), but it was covered with dense rainforest and cut by a mountain system. Onoda and his subordinates successfully hid in numerous caves and refuges in the jungle, fed on what they could find. From time to time, they organized raids on local peasant farms, where they managed to shoot a cow or profit with bananas and coconuts.
At the very end of 1945, a leaflet came into the hands of the sabotage detachment that contained an order from the commander of the 14 Army General Tomoyuki Yamashity about surrender, but the junior lieutenant at Lubang perceived it as American propaganda. Likewise, he applied to all the information that he was able to obtain in subsequent years. However, not all members of the detachment bravely endured difficulties. Private Yuichi Akatsu, unable to bear the weight of life in the jungle, gave up the Philippine police in 1950 and was able to return to Japan in the summer of next year. Thanks to him, in the Land of the Rising Sun, we learned that Onoda and his two subordinates are still alive.
The case of Junior Lieutenant Onoda was not the only one. For this reason, in 1950, a special commission was formed in Japan to rescue Japanese soldiers who remained abroad. However, the commission could not proceed to active work, since the political situation in the Philippines was very unstable. For the same reason, the Philippine authorities did not take adequate measures to search for the Japanese officer and his group who had “entrenched themselves” on Lubanga, and they had more urgent problems.
7 May 1954, a lieutenant squad collided with local police in the mountains, and Corporal Shoiti Shimada was killed during a shootout, covering his friends ’retreat. After this incident, the government of the Philippines gave permission to members of the Japanese commission to start searching for their soldiers. Based on the testimony of Yuichi Akatsu, the commission conducted searches in May 1954 of the year, the entire 1958 of the year, and the period from May to December of the 1959 of the year. However, the Japanese did not succeed in finding Onod. After 10 years 31 May 1969, Hiroo Onoda was officially declared dead, the Japanese government introduced him to the Order of the Rising Sun 6-th degree.
However, on September 19, a Japanese soldier was shot by police by police in Lubang, trying to requisition rice from the population. Kinsiti Kodzuka, the last subordinate of Junior Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda, was shot dead. Taking this into account, on October 1972 a delegation was sent to the island from the Ministry of Defense of Japan, which consisted of the relatives of the deceased and Onoda, as well as members of the intelligence commission to rescue Japanese soldiers. But this time the search ended in nothing.
During his 30-year stay in the jungle of Lubang Hiroo, Onoda managed to adapt very well to their conditions. He led a nomadic life, not staying long in one place. The lieutenant collected information about the enemy, events occurring in the world, and also carried out a series of attacks on Filipino police and military personnel. He ate dried meat of wounded cows or buffalo, as well as the fruits of local plants, mainly coconuts.
During the attacks on one of the enemy bases, the scouts were able to obtain a radio receiver, which Onodo managed to convert to receive UHF waves, thanks to which he began to receive information about everything that was happening in the modern world. He also had access to magazines and newspapers that members of various Japanese search missions left in the jungle. At the same time, his faith was not in a position to shake any messages - neither about the post-war restoration of the country, nor about the Olympics held in Tokyo, nor about the first manned flight into space. He perceived the Vietnam War as a part of the successful military operations of the imperial army of Japan against the Americans. Onodo was sincerely convinced that an American puppet government was acting on the islands, traitors, while the present government of the country was able to strengthen itself in Manchuria. It is also necessary to note the fact that Onode, in the intelligence school, was told that the enemy would resort to mass disinformation about the possible end of the war, for this reason he gave many political events a distorted interpretation.
The last two years of his stay at Lubanga Hiroo Onoda spent all alone. So far in February, 1974 was not accidentally met by an adventurer, a young Japanese hippie student Norio Suzuki. Suzuki went on a journey around the world, intending to find many different phenomena, such as, for example, a snowman or Lieutenant Onoda. With a snowman somehow did not work out, but he really managed to find a saboteur. He managed to make contact with him and even make friends. Most likely, by this time he was already deeply resigned to defeat.
Despite this, the lieutenant refused to give up, he was ready to lay down weapon only after receiving the appropriate order from the higher command. As a result, the immediate superior of Hiroo Onoda during the war, Major Taniguchi, was sent to the island in March 1974, who brought an order on behalf of the Japanese emperor to cease hostilities. In a worn and patched military uniform, which Onoda had managed to keep for 30 years, as well as with a personal weapon — an operational Arisaka 99 rifle, five hundred rounds of ammunition, several hand grenades and a samurai sword — he surrendered to the arriving delegation. At this war for Hiroo Onoda ended.
After the war
In post-war Japan, the war hero felt ill at ease. At this time, the Western way of life in the Americanized form became widespread in the country. In addition, pacifist and leftist ideas were spread in the country, not all segments of Japanese society perceived him as a hero, and the left and centrist press began his persecution. The retired saboteur chose to move to 1975 in Brazil, where at that time there was a fairly large Japanese community that retained traditional values. In Brazil, he married and in a relatively short time managed to found a successful ranch, taking up cattle breeding. It is worth noting that as a letter of congratulations on his return to his homeland, the country's cabinet gave the officer 1 a million yen, which he chose to donate to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. In this shrine, the souls of the Japanese soldiers who died for their country in the 19th and 20th centuries are revered.
Hiroo Onoda hands his sword to the President of the Philippines
He returned to Japan again only in 1984, while he tried to spend at least 3 months in a year in Brazil until the end of his life. In Japan, a former saboteur organized a public organization called the School of Nature. Its main goal was to educate the younger generation. Onoda was disturbed by reports of the criminalization and degradation of Japanese youth, so he decided to study based on personal experience gained in the jungles of Lubang. He was engaged in the dissemination of knowledge about how, thanks to ingenuity and resourcefulness, he managed to survive in the jungle. The main task of the "School of Nature" he saw the socialization of the younger generation through the knowledge of nature.
Since 1984, the school, which was led by Onoda, annually held summer camps not only for children, but also for their parents throughout the country, she organized assistance to children with disabilities, organized various scientific conferences that addressed the problems of parenting. In 1996, Onoda again visited the island of Lubang, where he made a donation to the local school in the amount of 10 thousand dollars. For successful work with Japanese youth, in November 1999, Hiroo Onoda was awarded a prize in the field of social education from the Ministry of Culture, Education and Sports of the country.
Hiroo Onoda was rightly considered almost the last true guardian of the samurai spirit, who not only survived, but remained faithful to the oath to the end. He was engaged in sabotage activities until he received an order to stop. Shortly before his death in an interview with the American television channel ABC, he stated: “Every Japanese soldier was ready to die, but I was an intelligence officer, and I had an order to fight a guerrilla war at any cost. If I could not fulfill this order, I would be painfully ashamed. "