Who is Hirō Onoda?
an Imperial Japanese Army intelligence officer
Wiki - Hirō was an Imperial Japanese Army intelligence officer who fought in World War II and was a Japanese holdout who did not surrender in 1945. After Onoda spent 29 years holding out in the Philippines, his former commander traveled from Japan to personally issue orders relieving him from duty in 1974. He held the rank of second lieutenant in the Imperial Japanese Army.
This is absolutely insane and speaks to the cultural attitude of the Japanese during the Second World War as they were given orders from the Imperial War Department to never surrender.
"Do not give up under any circumstances, keeping in mind your responsibility not to tarnish the glorious history of the Imperial Army with its tradition of invincibility.” - Command from the Imperial War Department of Japan
Hirō joined the Imperial Japanese Army as soon as he turned 18. Although refusing the surrender is essentially incomprehensible for most people, the doctrine he operated under for a large part of his life was engrained in his DNA.
Picture: New York Times
On a side note, if you haven't already, definitely take a look at Bill O'Reilly's book, Killing the Rising Sun, co-authored by Martin Dugard. Despite what you read about O'Reilly in the news right now, the book paints a phenomenal picture of the days and months leading up to the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The novel also recounts the atrocities committed by both sides during the war, and as it relates to above, the Japanese soldiers (and citizens) unwillingness to surrender even in the face of complete destruction. The men and women who served our country and had to make the decisions to carry out the bombings were iron-willed and steadfast on protecting their country, their ideas, and their loved ones back home. We owe them so much, and I personally feel a pinch of guilt that I did not know they endured so much to give me the ability to do simple things, like publish this small note today. Killing the Rising Sun, sheds a bright light on a part of our country's history that must never be forgotten, especially in the broader context of tensions between nuclear powers today. It reads quick and easy, so as summer approaches and we near holidays like Memorial Day and July 4th, check it out for the beach, the lake, or wherever you're celebrating these days dedicated to the people who made them possible.