January 8, 2011
The characters in Fires on the Plain and Harp of Burma may have made fateful interpretations of events and evidence, but Hiroo Onoda is the king of fateful interpretations. No Surrender: My Thirty Year War is his book about continuing to fight WW2 on Lubang, a relatively small island in the Philippines, all the way into the 1970s because he thought the war was still going on.
It wasn’t as if Onoda didn’t have access to news about current events. He had a radio to listen to news broadcasts and many newspapers that were left in the jungle for him to read. But he determined they were fake…ploys of the Americans to lure him out for capture. This belief further entrenched his dedication to duty, preparing for Japan’s triumphant return to the Philippines.
Onoda’s war finally ended in 1974 when a young Japanese tourist convinced him the war was over and a still-living commanding officer came to give him new orders.