For 29 years after the conflict had ended, Japanese soldier Hiroo Onoda hid out in the jungles and continued waging a war that was long over with.
JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images – Imperial Japanese Army soldier Hiroo Onoda offers his military sword to Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos to express his surrender at the Malacanan Palace in Manila on March 11, 1974.
Hiroo Onoda was one of the last Japanese soldiers to stop fighting World War II — 29 years after the Imperial Japanese Army surrendered to the Allies aboard the U.S.S. Missouri on September 2, 1945.
Onoda was born on March 19, 1922 in the village of Kamekawa in the Wakayama prefecture of Japan. “I was always defiant and stubborn in everything I did,” Onoda later said of his childhood.
He was also one in a long line of warriors, dating all the way back to his samurai ancestors and continuing up to his father, a sergeant in the Japanese cavalry who fought and died in the Second Sino-Japanese War in China.
Onoda followed the same path as his forebears and enlisted in the Imperial Japanese Army when he turned 18, just one year before Japan would go to war with the United States following the attack on Pearl Harbor.