Onoda was an Imperial Army Intelligence Officer, who was sent off to Lubang Island in the Philippines. The orders from his commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, were strict – not to surrender, not to take his own life and no matter how few people he had under his command, to continue leading them and fulfill his duties. And so he did. For 29 years!
Over time his group had gone down to 4 men, who one by one surrendered or were shot down. Onuda believed the war to still be going on and that every attempt of the Japanese government to collect him back was a trick of the enemies. Any letters, any newspapers, any search parties were viewed as enemy tactics. For 29 years he lived in the Philippines’ jungle, serving his country and carrying out his orders. When his former Major finally came to collect him in 1975 after believing he was long dead, Onoda surrendered his weapon to the Philippine President.
Many people say Onoda was a murderer, but he was greeted as a hero in Japan.