The Japanese holdout Onoda Hiroo as he surrendered in the Philippines on March 9 1974
The story of Second Lieutenant Onoda Hiroo is one of the more fascinating ones of World War II. He was sent to Lubang Island in the Philippines in late December 1944 shortly before the landing by US and Philipine forces. Trained as a commando he was tasked with the hampering of enemy attacks on the island, this included the destruction of the airstrip and the pier at the harbor. Furthermore, he was to under no circumstances surrender or commit suicide. The Allied landings quickly reduced the Japanese presence on the island to just a few soldiers and Onoda (as the highest ranking officer in the group) found himself in charge of a party of four. He led his men to the mountains and waged a guerilla war from there.
In October 1945 another group of Japanese holdouts had found a leaflet left behind by the islanders which stated that the war had in fact ended two months earlier. Taking into consideration that one cell had been fired on the day before Onoda’s group decided that the leaflet had to be propaganda. At the end of the year another set of leaflets containing an order from General Yamashita to surrender were dropped from the air. Onoda’s group did not find these to be convincing either.
Over the years the group got smaller and smaller. Pricate Yuichi Akatsu left the others in 1949 and surrendered to Filipino forces in 1950. Corporal Shōichi Shimada was shot in May 1954 by a search party looking for the men. Private First Class Kinshichi Kozuka was killed in a shootout with local police following guerilla activities in 1972, leaving Onoda alone in the jungle.
The news of the 1972 shootout was widely covered in Japanese media and led to extensive searches to find Onoda. Highschool dropout Suzuki Norio finally found Onoda in February 1974. Despite pleas from Suzuki Onoda refused to surrender unless ordered so by a superior officer. Suzuki returned to Japan with photographs of him and Onoda and convinced the Japanese government to locate Onoda’s commanding officer Major Taniguchi. On March 9 Taniguchi relieved Onoda from duty and the holdout surrendered to the Filipino government. He turned over his Arisaka Type 99 rifle (still in working order), 500 rounds of ammunition, his sword, several hand grenades as well as a dagger given to him by his mother in 1944. Onoda was pardoned by president Ferdinand Marcos of the Philipines and returned to Japan to receive a hero’s welcome.
Onoda, aged 91, passed away yesterday in a Tokyo hospital.
Oh hey! It looks like my ADVENTURE TIME: THE FLIP SIDE #5 variant cover has been released, for Boom Studios! I was given “Western Movies” as a theme for the cover, and I asked if I could do the lettering too. I had a good time with this!
Spaghetti Western posters are pretty fun, the mashup of ＊60’s design＊ with ★cowboys★ is a good combo, and I was basically taking my cues from the awesome posters for A Fistful of Dollars and Death Rides a Horse.