The Hiroo Onoda incident
The Hero they deserved
” Are you Hiroo? Dude like we were worried and shit, I mean me, the emperor and the people of japan I guess. Dude… Holy shit you exist haha, I just thought I was really high haha… have you been wearing this army stuff for 30 years? you know the war is over right? like We are the better weirder version of Allies now ourselves” – that is perhaps what Norio Suziki said to Hiroo Onada, while Hiroo had his gun aimed at Noiro’s head in the Jungles of Lubang in Philippines. Norio was a hippie who had smoked up lots and read too many mythical stuff. He was so weird he felt uncomfortable living in the Japanese society so he decided to go on a search to locate ‘Onoda’, a panda and the Abominable Snowman, in that order. (I am sure he did not sound like a white hippie while he was talking to Hiroo, but that is the furthest I could stretch my imagination #fakenews).
Hiroo who had clearly never gotten stood up on a date or a meet up before, when his boss told him “Hey there is this assignment that we really think it suits your character and skills set”. He took the assignment and did it for four decades without getting angry because his annual leaves did not get approved or not that he did not get a raise for like the last 30 years of his job but they stopped paying him after the war was over. My Middle Easterner mind once again fails me by being incapable of comprehending Hiroo’s level of obedience.
Once the villagers who he had launched guerrilla attacks on for 30 years, wrote on a cow, that they knew he is going to steal: ” DUDE!!! WTF DUDE!!! THE WAR IS OVER MOTHERFUCKER! IT AIN’T COOL SHOOTING 30 YEAR OLD BULLETS AT US!”. And unsurprisingly just like how a politician dodges a criticism by calling it an enemy’s propaganda, he did not let rationality take the better of him and stayed blindly nationalistic, assumed it’s allies propaganda shared this beautiful inspirational quote “It is not truth that matters, but victory.“ with his comrades and refused to surrender.
Eventually they found a superior officer who made a mock command and ordered him to get out of Philippines and go back to Japan he was not just pardoned by the Philippine’s president but also he was widely celebrated for killing a bunch of innocent people and continuing the war and being intellectually trapped by the man made concept of nationalism and blind loyalty in Japan.
He had lost his last soldier a couple of years before Norio decided to look for him. Perhaps Victor Frankle was right, Man’s search for meaning starts with having hope and at some point that becomes the cause of your insanity too. The story of Japanese holdouts who outlasted one another post war refusing to accept that sometimes shit happens is a good example of devotion and sacrifice for a cause that was depicted to be so great but became outdated the moment the war for it came to an end. As you’ll read(if you give enough of a shit to read about) that others were not as celebrated as Hiroo was.
Then again, that’s just me maybe fighting a war for 30 years after it ended is not really a bad thing, it perhaps is not because Hiroo was blinded by a falsely glamorized value system.
P.S: Hiroo himself is an awesome person, he left Japan to Brazil because he did not like the attention he was receiving in Japan. He was a very charitable person, he donated lots of money and started an educational camp for young people after he read about a teenager killing his parents. Hiroo went back to Lubang and donated $10,000 USD to a local school. He also advocated the restoration of the administrative power of the monarchy and militarism in Japan(#surprise). One of those guys I’d love to have a long chat with over coffee but unfortunately he died 16 January 2014 at the age of 91.