March 11, 1974, Japanese Imperial Army Soldier Hiroo Onoda Surrenders to President Marcos Offering Him His Military Sword
March 11, 1974, former Japanese imperial army soldier Hiroo Onoda (right) offering his military sword to President Ferdinand Marcos to express his surrender at Malacañang Palace in Manila. Onoda, who hid in the Philippine jungles for three decades because he did not believe World War II was over.
For 29 years, Onoda hid in the jungles of Lubang Island, Mindoro, Philippines, believing that the war wasn’t over.
He was officially declared dead in 1959, but was tracked down by Japanese student Norio Suzuki in February of 1974. Onoda still refused to surrender, telling Suzuki that he would not return home until he received official orders. Suzuki returned that spring, this time flanked by a Japanese delegation. After nearly three decades on the run, Onoda was convinced to capitulate. He emerged from the Philippine jungle on March 9, 1974, his Imperial Japanese uniform—worn since 1945—tattered but in remarkably good shape despite the 29 years of depravation.
Laying down his sword to Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos, a weeping Onoda became one of the last Japanese soldiers from World War II to surrender. “I became an officer and I received an order. If I could not carry it out, I would feel shame. I am very competitive,”
Onoda died in Tokyo on January 17, 2014.
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