Discussion about Hiroo Onoda came up the other day on BARFCOM or Facebook, I forget which. Some one mentioned his rifle and what it must have looked like after all that time int he jungle.

In case you didn’t know about this man’s story, he was a Japanese soldier that escaped into the jungle of the Philippines and didn’t believe the war was over. He ran around the area being a really dangerous pain in the ass for the locals for damn near 30 years before the Japanese sent his original commanding officer to show up and tell him to hang it up.

“…the Japanese government located Onoda’s commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, who had long surrendered and since become a bookseller. Taniguchi went to Lubang Island, and on 9 March 1974, he finally met with Onoda and fulfilled a promise he had made back in 1944: “Whatever happens, we’ll come back for you”. Taniguchi then issued Onoda the following orders:

  1. In accordance with the Imperial command, the Fourteenth Area Army has ceased all combat activity.
  2. In accordance with military Headquarters Command No. A-2003, the Special Squadron of Staff’s Headquarters is relieved of all military duties.
  3. Units and individuals under the command of Special Squadron are to cease military activities and operations immediately and place themselves under the command of the nearest superior officer. When no officer can be found, they are to communicate with the American or Philippine forces and follow their directives”

Onoda was thus properly relieved of duty, and he surrendered. He turned over his sword, his functioning type 99 rifle , 500 rounds of ammunition and several hand grenades, as well as the dagger his mother had given him in 1944 to kill himself with if he was captured. Mom must have been a real peach. That is the most Japanese thing I have heard of though.

The Japanese guy who found him holding his rifle.


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