I found this story deeply moving.
Hiroo Onoda was the last Japanese imperial soldier to emerge from hiding. He finally surrendered in 1974 on Lubang island in the Philippines. Onoda’s imperial army uniform, cap and sword were still in good condition.
Two weeks ago, one of the most fascinating story about the war came to an end when a former imperial soldier, Hiroo Onoda died at the age of 91 in Japan. When the war had ended in 1945, and his troops surrendered, Onoda had refused to surrender and hid in the jungles of the Philippines for 30 years. He was accidentally discovered by a traveller, and through conversation, the traveller returned and reported Oneda’s existence to the Japanese army.
When approached, Mr Onoda still could not believe, the war was over. Only his own superior and commander from 30 years ago, had to go to the Philippines and convince Mr Onoda – the war was truly over.
Onoda struggled to adapt to normal life on his return to Japan and he emigrated to Brazil in 1975 to become a farmer. He finally returned and settled in his homeland in 1984 and opened nature camps for children.
He did not consider his 30 years in the jungle to have been a waste of time.
‘Without that experience, I wouldn’t have my life today’ he said. ‘I do everything twice as fast so I can make up for the 30 years. I wish someone could eat and sleep for me so I can work 24 hours a day.’
Read more: The Daily Mirror