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The WWII Japanese Soldier Who Didn’t Surrender Until 1974


This video is brought to you by Skillshare. Hiroo Onoda – The Japanese soldier who didn’t surrender until 1974. Hiro Onoda was a Japanese intelligence officer in the imperial Japanese army who refused to surrender until decades after World War II had ended. In the Pacific theater there were many Japanese holdouts called Zanryū nipponhei, or “remaining Japanese soldiers.” They were motivated to continue on after the surrender of Japan in August 1945 because of their dogmatic, militaristic indoctrination, or simply because they were unaware of the surrender. Hiroo Onoda was trained at the Nakano School as an intelligence officer, where he was taught guerilla warfare and intelligence-gathering. Onoda was sent to Lubang Island, near Luzon, in the Philippines in late 1944, where he would soon meet up with a group of other Japanese soldiers already on the island. Major Yoshimi Taniguchi had given him orders to live off the land, and forbade him to die by his own hand. He would further reassure Officer Onoda by saying, “It may take three years, it may take five. but whatever happens, we’ll come back for you. Until then, so long as you have one soldier, you are to continue to lead them.” Higher-ranked officers made Onoda unable to carry out his mission to sabotage the enemy airstrip and pier at the harbor. This in turn made the U.S. conquest of the island, which was achieved in February 1945, easy. Once U.S. forces were on the island, the large group split up into smaller groups of 3-4 men and escaped into the jungle, and were either picked off by the U.S. troops or surrendered, until it was just Hiroo Onoda and three others under his command who were left active: Private Yuichi Akatsu, Corporal Shoichi Shimada, and Private First Class Kinshichi Kozuka, all of whom had set up base in the mountains. After Japan had formally surrendered in September 1945, Onoda and his group came across a number of leaflets. The first leaflet, left behind by locals, was discovered quite soon, reading, “The war ended on August 15th. Come down from the mountain!” However they concluded that it was an Allied propaganda trick. After this conclusion, the group continued to raid local islanders for food and other resources. General Tomoyuki Yamashita of the Fourteenth Area Army also dropped leaflets from the air with a surrender order. But again, the group decided that they were a trick. With a lack of knowledge of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it may have seemed more unlikely that Japan was willing to surrender. In 1949, Yuichi Akatsu escaped from the group and surrended to Filipino forces in 1950, causing the remaining three to cautious to disloyalty. In 1952, the search mission was expanded with letters and pictures from the group’s families dropped from an aircraft, but again, this was written off as a trick by the three soldiers. Every piece of evidence the group came across increased their paranoia and hostilities. While they were dressed in their Imperial Japanese uniforms, the people they came across were in civilian clothing, which they interpreted as Allied soldiers in disguise with the strategy of luring them out. As a result, they didn’t think twice when firing on the locals. Corporal Shoichi Shimada was shot in the leg but recovered with the help of Onoda in 1953, but on May 7th, 1954, he was killed by a search party when he fired upon his potential rescuers, who returned fire on a beach at (???). Now just two remained. Onoda and Kozuka would continue the mission to sabotage, gather intelligence on, and attack the “enemy,” which no longer existed. But on October 19th, 1972 during a skirmish, Kozuka was shot and killed by the police when he was burning a farmer’s rice collection. Lieutenant Onoda was now alone. On February 20th, 1974, a determined Japanese explorer called Norio Suzuki found Onoda. Onoda still refused to surrender. However Suzuki had the idea to locate his original commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi. In March 1974 his former commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, traveled to the Philippines to fulfill his promise to return, and end his orders in person. Onoda, still wearing his tattered army uniform from decades ago, saluted the Japanese flag and handed over his samurai sword, his functioning Arisaka Type 99 rifle, several rounds of ammunition, hand grenades, and his family dagger. The Philippine government, under President Ferdinand Marcos, granted him a pardon, taking into consideration that although he had killed 30 innocent people during his campaign on the island, he thought the war was still carrying on. When he returned to Japan, Onoda was very popular. But he found it hard to adjust to the new post-war Japan, and the decay of its traditional values. He published an autobiography and in 1975 left Japan for Brazil, where he raised cattle and later opened a series of training schools. In his last years, Hiroo Onoda said in an interview: “Every Japanese soldier was prepared for death.” “But as an intelligence officer, I was ordered to conduct guerilla warfare and not to die.” “I became an officer, and I received an order. If I could not carry it out, I would feel shame.” “I am very competitive.” This video was made possible by Skillshare. Skillshare is an online learning community with more than 17,000 classes. Some of the apps that we use to bring Simple History to life are Adobe Illustrator for drawing characters and Premiere Pro for editing. Skillshare is a great place to learn these skills, and with premium access at less than $10 a month, you get unlimited access to high quality classes from experts. So Skillshare is giving the first 200 people using the promo link in the description below two months’ free access to try it out risk-free. Give it a shot!

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100 COMMENTS

  1. Simple History Posted on October 6, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Longer more detailed story episodes like these are made possible by our sponsors. Check out Skillshare it helps our channel immensely.

    Reply
  2. ISLAMisRIGHTaboutWOMEN Posted on August 2, 2019 at 11:48 pm

    Those are the dumbest soldiers ever

    Reply
  3. Gauti Gautam Posted on August 4, 2019 at 9:18 am

    Is this the story that found its way into just cause 2??

    Reply
  4. BatmanVsSombies Posted on August 4, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    sees children playing in the rice field.

    Onoda: smaller soldiers…

    Reply
  5. Meao Gaming Posted on August 5, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Here's the thing. Why would americans waste so much effort and time to hunt down 4 people?

    Reply
  6. NobbyNotten Posted on August 6, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Labasan mga kababayan ko dyan o!
    (Show your selves fellow filipinos!)

    Reply
  7. Meao Gaming Posted on August 9, 2019 at 3:26 am

    How did he still have several rounds of ammo after all these years?

    Reply
  8. Pizza Zombie Posted on August 9, 2019 at 11:13 am

    Dude was a straight up murderer and should have been tried for war crimes.

    Reply
  9. Paco Xispa Posted on August 9, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    The Siege of Baler (Filipino: Pagkubkob sa Baler, Spanish: Sitio de Baler) (July 1, 1898 – June 2, 1899) was a battle of the Philippine Revolution and concurrently the Spanish–American War and the Philippine–American War. Filipino revolutionaries laid siege to a fortified church manned by colonial Spanish troops in the town of Baler, Philippines for 11 months, or 337 days.[5][3]
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Baler

    Reply
  10. Aarooon 01 Posted on August 10, 2019 at 2:16 am

    Still better than the Infographics' version

    Reply
  11. Mr.Irish Posted on August 10, 2019 at 2:29 am

    Hold the fort down . As long as it takes .

    Reply
  12. Xi-chan Posted on August 13, 2019 at 8:55 am

    Lol Me at hide and seek

    Reply
  13. Jared D Posted on August 13, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    This is one of the biggest face saving spins of all time. This guy was no hero, nothing could be further from the truth. He knew that the war had ended. You can see airplanes fly overhead that are international. Clearly Japan had lost the war or their would have only been Japanese planes flying overhead. And the island would have been occupied by the Japanese. This guy was a murderous coward and nothing more. He leached off the natives and murdered them.

    Reply
  14. Wombat Five Posted on August 15, 2019 at 12:09 am

    Read the novel, Amok, by George Fox. Loosely based on Lt Onoda’s exploits in the Phillipines.

    Reply
  15. Gears Of Tech Posted on August 16, 2019 at 3:56 am

    Saw this one before in the infographics show.

    Reply
  16. Paco Xispa Posted on August 16, 2019 at 8:50 am

    Genocide and the Philippines-American War. President Rodrigo Duterte and Neocolonialism
    https://www.globalresearch.ca/genocide-and-the-philippines-american-war-president-rodrigo-duterte-and-neocolonialism/5578125

    Reply
  17. Paco Xispa Posted on August 16, 2019 at 8:54 am

    GGR: ¿Cuál es, entonces, la verdad, Su Excelencia?

    SEÑOR AGUINALDO: El comienzo de la revolución filipina es trabajo de la Masonería; pero esa revolución terminó con el Pacto de Biacnabató. Los voluntarios filipinos ayudaron al Gobierno Español aquí a casi vencerme. Por eso, opté por firmar la paz mediante el Pacto de Biacnabató y opté por autoexiliarme a Hong Kong…

    GGR: y, ¿por qué aconteció la guerra con los Yanquis?

    SEÑOR AGUINALDO: Sencillamente porque me engañaron los Yanquis. Se acercaron a mi como hermanos masones urgiéndome en nombre de la Masonería internacional que vuelva a Filipinas para reorganizar la revolución contra España dándome su palabra de hermanos masones que tras liquidado en nuestras islas el Gobierno Español me otorgarían la independencia por la que luchamos.

    GGR: ¿Es que no han cumplido los Yanquis con su palabra de hermanos masones de darle a usted y a nuestro pueblo su libertad?

    SEÑOR AGUINALDO: ¡Nada de eso! Lea usted las Juntas Locales de Defensa que firmamos del Señor Apolinario Mabini. Le he pedido al Diputado Don Miguel Cuenco de Cebú que publique en los textos para la enseñanza del español ese decreto, esa proclama, que expedimos: las Juntas Locales de Defensa. Por eso que al llegar a Filipinas inmediatamente hice que se declare la independencia de Filipinas de España esperando que los Yanquis nos apoyen. Pero me traicionaron. ¡Nos traicionaron! En vez de apoyarnos como aliados nos provocaron la guerra muy adredemente porque su intención era robarnos la reserva en oro y plata que acumulamos en Malolos bajo la custodia del Gral. Antonio Luna y el Capitán Servillano Sevilla. Esa reserva vale más de mil millones de dólares y nos lo robaron al caer Malolos en manos de Arthur MacArthur. Y me persiguieron hasta Palanan, La Isabela, para capturarme. No se atrevieron a ejecutarme porque no les convenía hacer eso. Me quieren vivo para echarme la culpa del asesinato de Andrés Bonifacio y el de Antonio Luna.
    https://semanario-filipinas.blogspot.com/2010/12/entrevista-con-emilio-aguinaldo-y.html

    Reply
  18. RICK JAMEZ Posted on August 16, 2019 at 9:56 am

    I appreciate his tenacity, however what a dumbass,u have to question authority at some point

    Reply
  19. BrownyBear Posted on August 16, 2019 at 10:13 am

    when you literally live under a rock

    Reply
  20. Ian Wynyard Posted on August 17, 2019 at 11:38 am

    So basically, these 3 were assholes with a terrible commanding officer

    Reply
  21. 442J Posted on August 18, 2019 at 4:42 am

    よっこいしょういち

    Reply
  22. ChunYean Chong Posted on August 18, 2019 at 6:24 am

    Whatever it is, it goes to show that the Japanese intelligence is not very intelligent after all.

    Reply
  23. Web crawler Posted on August 18, 2019 at 7:03 am

    in his youth they played hide and seek. He wasn't found until 10 years later. He is very competetive

    Reply
  24. Rick Sanchez Posted on August 18, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Isn't one of the Bud Spencer movies based on this?

    Reply
  25. LinusOxton LA[CrossPH] Posted on August 18, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    Marcos is no hero, But I respect him for Respecting Hiro Onoda but Marcos is still no Hero

    Reply
  26. ベッカムモハメド Posted on August 18, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    As a Japanese I think he is true last samurai

    Reply
  27. Bundeswehr Posted on August 18, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    How did he stay with a single uniform for 35 years straight….

    Reply
  28. The Avatar Posted on August 19, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    4:50 Man, that must suck. As cool as it is to essentially see your homeland as an entirely new and improved place, Traditional Values gone can be pretty sad and weird, as it is in our culture, with the lack of traditional views of our current generation.

    Reply
  29. The powerful Daryll Posted on August 20, 2019 at 10:11 am

    When all ur teammates in hunger games die and you are the only one left

    Reply
  30. Miiiitch88 Posted on August 21, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Dont use skill share. They were hacked and credit card info was stolen

    Reply
  31. yolfio Posted on August 23, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    In their mind « THIS PAPER IS A PAID ACTOR »

    Reply
  32. Panday ko Life Posted on August 24, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Wow respect but you lose

    Reply
  33. jimjd1969 Posted on August 25, 2019 at 4:10 am

    I wonder if he got his back pay

    Reply
  34. ali waness Posted on August 25, 2019 at 5:44 am

    he thought a group of 3 is so important they would fake leaflets just for them!!

    Reply
  35. Blue Marshall Posted on August 26, 2019 at 12:39 am

    Some say he was guarding one of the looted Gold of Yamashita. Some of it was turned over (to who?) After his surrerder. Came back in the early 90's to get the remaining and turned it over to *** . Well, he brought home of it.

    Reply
  36. Cvo777 Posted on August 26, 2019 at 7:06 am

    Lmao his commanding officer woke up one night decades later in a cold sweat “OH NO i forgot about that one guy!!”

    Reply
  37. Aaron Posted on August 27, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    I wish more girls appreciated us dudes' loyalty

    Reply
  38. JULIO MAGDALENO Posted on August 27, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    is called loyalty mr
    history

    Reply
  39. 鄭漢洋 Posted on August 29, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    haha, pretty scary to think about my grandfather was almost drafted to be a kamikaze pilot towards the end of the war under japanese-rule taiwan, lmao I almost didn't exist.

    Reply
  40. 6969 subscribers with 0 videos challenge Posted on August 30, 2019 at 7:40 pm

    think about it, his clothes lasted 30 years but i can't keep it for more than a couple

    Reply
  41. Angelo Taban-ud Posted on August 31, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    I wonder what intelligence he had gathered in a small
    Island of Lubang. Its even smaller than Okinawa. What info for 30 years can you even get there. Animal species?

    Reply
  42. Allan Anaya Posted on September 2, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Imagine being his family and thinking he died a long time ago and it turns out this dumbass is still fighting an imaginary war 😂😂😂 I’d roast him as soon as he got home

    Reply
  43. Antonio Bromelini Posted on September 3, 2019 at 1:13 am

    Not very intelligent to waste your life. Even the emperor had surrendered. The modern Japanese army should have had to go and arrest this fool.

    Reply
  44. Daisuke Imiya Posted on September 3, 2019 at 5:46 am

    小野田さんのことですね

    Reply
  45. Crackers Posted on September 4, 2019 at 2:28 am

    Did he get his 35 years of back pay?

    Reply
  46. worldagency Posted on September 5, 2019 at 12:36 am

    I blame everything to Major Taniguchi for not returning back. Promises are meant not to be broken.

    Reply
  47. Pyrox Posted on September 5, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    Some japanese soldiers: we will never surrender

    Japan: we surrender

    Reply
  48. Dan boi Posted on September 5, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    1974, pathetic, someone found a man that was still on an island in January 2019

    Reply
  49. El Mundo 22 Posted on September 5, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    so bassically he still in war vs United States during Korea war,and Vietnam war,he was near 30 years killing people with his uniform.

    Reply
  50. Ha Tu Posted on September 6, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    He killed innocent rice farmers. Stole their cattle and terrorised the locals. What an idiot.

    Reply
  51. Rusty Shakelford Posted on September 7, 2019 at 1:24 am

    Wow his blind loyalty cost him a whole life idiot

    Reply
  52. DEATHWOLF 771 Posted on September 8, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Hiroo Onoda:WW2 is still happening and Japan will never surrender!! I must carry on!!
    USA dropping lafelet: dude you should update man! war is over..I just like…finished the Korean war DLC and about to finish the Vietnam war DLC….

    Reply
  53. david barnett Posted on September 10, 2019 at 5:31 am

    He killed 30 innocent people a fact he struggled with for years to come. He was drove insane in those woods with his 2 mates. The first guy that surrendered was like yall are crazy af.

    Reply
  54. TRACKACARDIA Posted on September 10, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    My guess is his wife was a nag..

    Reply
  55. Mikhail Gaming Posted on September 12, 2019 at 12:39 am

    Y’all know he killed innocent people right?

    Reply
  56. Mike Perkins Posted on September 12, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    Commendable but deplorable.

    Reply
  57. xxBOUNTYxxHUNTER Posted on September 13, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    He should have been trialed for manslaughter
    30 innocent civilians died because of this fool.

    Reply
  58. Young digger dick Posted on September 14, 2019 at 1:43 am

    I’m kinda Canadian sooooooo yea

    Reply
  59. Adam Scott Posted on September 14, 2019 at 6:13 am

    Hide and seek champion '44 – '72

    Reply
  60. fu yeoh Posted on September 14, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Commanding officer:" It's over Onada, it's OVER!"
    Onada: "NOTHING IS OVER! NOTHING!! You just don't turn it off!!"

    Reply
  61. BulletKingIsHere Posted on September 14, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    It's like traveling back in time to the future

    Reply
  62. Anusheel Anusheel Posted on September 15, 2019 at 2:45 am

    Japan was the land of warriors, bravest of the brave , now it is a land of technology dependent virtual girlfriend loving shy japanese salary men.

    Reply
  63. Michael H Posted on September 15, 2019 at 3:50 am

    Onoda: Well don't I just look silly…

    Reply
  64. angel marte Posted on September 15, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    Onoda…what a character… Intelligence officer? This must have been a joke… His lack of "INTELLIGENCE" didnt allow him to be able to determine the truth of the leaflets. Common sense would dictate that if
    1-Leaflets advertised war was over
    2-People NOT in uniform told them the war was over
    3- Many years had passed without encountering enemy troops
    …MAYBE THE WAR WAS OVER!
    Intelligence officer never collected gathered intelligence to determine the amount or strength of hostil troops, for if he did he would have found out that THERE WERE NO TROOPS! WACKO!

    Reply
  65. Soc Aledro Posted on September 16, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    They did made a film about then tho, i saw it on CinemaOne one day. A pinoy film to be exact. Forgot the title tho

    Reply
  66. julián millione Posted on September 17, 2019 at 12:45 am

    WWII end in 1974 xd

    Reply
  67. White Person Posted on September 17, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    I am very competitive.. Literally discipline is way too good..thanks to imperial japan's technique

    Reply
  68. D Billycheck Posted on September 17, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    GENUINE JAPANESE HONOR..AND TRULY A BADASS MAN….USA

    Reply
  69. Grace Rivard Posted on September 17, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    The Japanese version of an anti vaxxer

    Reply
  70. im replying to this comment Posted on September 18, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    Can't even fathom the paranoia

    Reply
  71. J W Posted on September 19, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    everyone talking about "loyalty" these dudes were retards who kept killing random people on the island lmao

    Reply
  72. Rickertsred Posted on September 20, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    They should have messed with him, and told him "Japan won! You are now the Emperor!"

    Reply
  73. Llew Adamson Posted on September 22, 2019 at 9:38 am

    Hiroo Onoda: Hide and Seek World Champion 1944 – 1974

    Reply
  74. ت كم Posted on September 23, 2019 at 4:13 am

    Welcome to phillipines we got lots of muddafucking coconut (x3)
    Oh no its america stealing oir rice again (x3) then i fight with chopstick in their bum until there bum is worn and i play ping pong with chopsticks in bum then they learn never mess with an asian man~~

    Reply
  75. Timothy Gordon Posted on September 23, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    So technically he is a war criminal

    Reply
  76. DeutschwehR Posted on September 23, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    Image this were a german like Ulrich Rudel.
    You need an entire Divisionen to stop him.

    Reply
  77. Johnny12575 Posted on September 24, 2019 at 8:36 am

    Lol at all those anti-anime supremacists in the comments

    Reply
  78. Pollution & Extinction Posted on September 25, 2019 at 10:21 am

    3:30 Brokeback mountain

    Reply
  79. Iso Gyro Posted on September 26, 2019 at 2:05 am

    I can relate, I kept the dead memes running.

    Reply
  80. galactic x7 nova Posted on September 27, 2019 at 5:55 am

    Person:the war ended come down from the mountain

    Hiroo onoda:no,no i dont think i will

    Reply
  81. Robert Posted on September 27, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    For some reason this story really touches me 👍

    Reply
  82. Liquid cs Posted on September 28, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Rip to those innocent people not knowing wtf was going on

    Reply
  83. SHaYma Mohammad G Posted on September 29, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    Holy cow! imagine his life just went away while others are living thier lifes, have families, grew older and the soldiars who were with him passed away. Just so at the end he won't feel ashamed. AND ALL THAT TIME IN THE PHILIPPINES.. that dedication thu.

    Reply
  84. Dave Posted on September 30, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    This would be a cool movie I guess.

    Reply
  85. Gotobar 1313 Posted on September 30, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    Not a very good Intelligence officer 😂

    Reply
  86. ClassicalPrecizion Posted on October 1, 2019 at 12:35 am

    What a fucking morron,didn't he know How to use Google News?

    Reply
  87. Just some guardsman Posted on October 2, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    Surround yourself with friends as loyal as this guy

    Reply
  88. Natan Shick Posted on October 3, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Moral of the story: Japanese are f*cking lunatics!

    Reply
  89. the Russian Doge Posted on October 3, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    3:47 TrIgGeReD ViEtNaMeSe NoIcE

    Reply
  90. Nick Spillman Posted on October 4, 2019 at 5:21 am

    During my search, it would seem he was not the last.

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1990-01-15-9001040661-story.html

    Reply
  91. Eddy Que Posted on October 4, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    and i bet he believed japan would win

    now they make anime

    Reply
  92. Richard Richardson Posted on October 6, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Intelligence officer who don't know the war is over lol

    Reply
  93. Vinta Gaming Posted on October 6, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    Rice farmers exist
    Capitalist Spy's.

    Reply
  94. Andy G Posted on October 7, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Oh yeah. I saw this on Gilligan's Island

    Reply
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