Hello! It’s time for Fact Friday with Screenhog. I am Screenhog, and today we’re talking about a Japanese man named Hiroo Onoda.
The year is 1942, it’s the middle of World War II, and a 20-year-old man named Hiroo Onoda joins the Japanese army. He is trained to be an officer, skilled in guerilla warfare, and after two years of training is sent to the remote Philippine island of Lubang. His mission? Stay on the island, holding it for the nation of Japan. Stay there at all costs, until a commander comes and tells you otherwise. So, that’s what Lieutenant Onoda did. Arriving in 1944, he commanded a small troop of Japanese soldiers and held the island of Lubang. But not for long… Onoda and his men were soon outnumbered by Allied forces, and fled to the hills, refusing to surrender.
The next year, 1945, was the year that World War II ended. Leaflets were dropped from the sky all over the Philippines, proclaiming the end of the war! But Onoda didn’t believe them. He thought they were propaganda, sent by the enemy, and so he stayed hidden in the hills with his troops. More leaflets were dropped, claiming to be orders from commanders to surrender, but Onoda and his men didn’t believe them either. Over the next dozen years, countless people tried to send messages to them, convincing them that the war was over, but each time, Onoda did not believe them and continued hiding. Onoda was eventually declared dead.
In 1974, a college student who had heard the story went on a mission to try and find Lieutenant Onoda, and he succeeded. Lt. Onoda was still alive, and was still following his orders, refusing to leave Lubang unless his commander ordered him to. So, the college student found Onoda’s original commanding officer from 1944, who flew to Lubang and gave Onoda his orders in person. On March 9, 1974, almost 30 years after World War II ended, the last Japanese soldier stopped fighting.
This has been Fact Friday. Screenhog out.