Customer Review

45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars and 1/2 stars... Dedicated soldier, July 11, 2006
This review is from: No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War (Bluejacket Books) (Paperback)
Growing up I had heard the incredible stories of Japanese soldiers popping up from the jungles years & decades after the war was over. It always blew me away that someone could continue on fighting for so long after the war had ended. I could see someone doing it for 1 or 2 years because they were usually on isolated islands. No one (as far as we Know) was fighting the war for longer than Hiroo Onada.

The only thing was though Onada didn't really need to fight for longer than the one or two years after 1945 when the war ended - that is if his mind wasn't blocking out all the information that was showing him the war was over. No matter what happened he was too suspicious that it was a trap by the American's or Filipinos. I found the story amazing but after a while one has to wonder if he will ever believe anything.

Countless times the island was blanketed with notes dropped from planes that said the war was over & Japan had surrendered. One of the soldiers he lived with walked away from Onada & his friends in 1949 (after 5 years living with Onada). He walked to freedom & then came back & tried to convince the last 3 soldiers (Onada, Shimada & Kozuka) to give up - that the war was over, they were wasting their time. They dropped notes with the 3 soldiers names on it, pictures of Onada's family members...& walked around the island with bullhorns yelling that the war was over. Onada, Shimada & Kozuka heard this from their friend & saw the notes but were convinced that their friend was captured by the enemy & it was all a trap.

Over the years his brother came & yelled on speakers to get Onada to surrender, Onada got within 150 yards of his brother & recognized him & his voice but still thought it was a trap.

Another time his sister did the same thing - he still thought something was fishy & refused to fall for the trap. People always left old newspapers around - from around the world , but mostly from the Philipines & Japan. Sometimes the stacks of newspapers were several feet high. They would read them all, right down to the "want ads". They still twisted things in their minds that the Americans had edited out all these papers & taken out the parts about the war - Onada thought the Americans went to all this trouble just to trick these couple of people on some isolated island.

For about 15 years they had access to a transistor radio & they would listen to stations all over the world - mostly Japanese but others such as the BBC. Still they couldn't wrap their heads around it that things were as they were being told from ex-soldier friends & family members. Finally after 30 years somehow Onada saw the light.

The survival part of the book is pretty interesting & there is no doubt his 30 years of living out in the elements & off the land is one of the greatest survival stories in our lifetime.

He was a smart guy & had a brilliant mind for details but his mind prevented him from seeing that the war was over 29 years before he finally walked out of the jungle.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 26, 2014 7:35:25 PM PST
Alex says:
Just a minor fact check, if you don't mind. According to Wikipedia Teruo Nakamura remained in hiding longer than Onoda. Apparently, he did not enjoy the same kind of welcome because of his nationality issues, but his allegiance was still to Japan.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2014 6:18:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 5, 2014 6:21:03 PM PDT
Tudor Gazdak says:
Teruo Nakamura abandoned his fellow holdouts in 1956 to go live by himself on a little farm he built. Also, he repatriated to Taiwan, bypassing Japan. The Japanese were not impressed.
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