In keeping with the idea that this blog should be a spark for contemplation and ideas I'd like to remind you of - or introduce you to - the Ultimate Soldier.
His name is Hiroo Onoda. Hiroo Onoda was the Japanese soldier who continued to fight in the mountains of the Philippines for thirty years after the World War II had ended.
Here is a guy who takes personal responsibility seriously. If everyone who take their personal responsibility more seriously, the world would be a much better place to live.
From Weird Worm:
Hiroo Onoda was a trained Japanese intelligence officer who attended the Nakano School. On December 26, 1944, he was sent to Lubang Island in the Philippines, and was ordered to do all that he could to hamper enemy attacks on the island, including destroying the airstrip and the pier at the harbor if necessary. He was ordered to not surrender or take his own life. However, on February 28, 1945, U.S. and Philippine military forces captured the island. Within a short time of the landing, all but Onoda and three other soldiers had either died or surrendered. Hiroo Onoda ordered the men to take to the hills, while he continued his military campaign. In October of 1945 the Japanese men saw their first leaflet which claimed that the war was over. The paper read “The war ended on August 15. Come down from the mountains.” However, the soldiers mistrusted the announcement and concluded that the leaflet was Allied propaganda.
Towards the end of 1945 leaflets were dropped by air with a surrender order printed on them from General Tomoyuki Yamashita of the Fourteenth Area Army. Onoda once again dismissed the letters. In 1952, family pictures were dropped from an aircraft urging the men to surrender, but the three soldiers concluded that this was a hoax. The men continued their guerilla warfare for decades after the war. In 1972, one of the Japanese soldiers was shot and killed when he was caught burning rice that had been collected by farmers. At that time, Onoda was left alone in the mountains. However, in February of 1974 he met a Japanese college dropout, Norio Suzuki, who was traveling the world. The men became friends, but Onoda still refused to surrender, saying that he was waiting for orders from a superior officer. Suzuki returned to Japan with photographs of himself and Onoda as proof of their encounter, and the Japanese government located Onoda’s commanding officer, Major Taniguchi, who had since become a bookseller. He flew to Lubang and on March 9, 1974 informed Onoda of the defeat of Japan in WWII and ordered him to lay down his arms.Lieutenant Onoda emerged from the jungle 29 years after the end of World War II, and accepted the commanding officer’s order of surrender. He was still wearing his uniform and had his sword. He also still had his Arisaka Type 99 rifle in operating condition, 500 rounds of ammunition and several hand grenades. This makes him the penultimate fighting Japanese soldier of World War II, before Teruo Nakamura. Onoda killed some thirty Philippine inhabitants of the island and engaged in several shootouts with the police over the years, but the circumstances of the events were taken into consideration, and he received a pardon from President Ferdinand Marcos.
Wikipedia adds that Onoda became disappointed in modern Japan because of a decline in traditional values of respect for elders and duty to family. He also didn't like getting so much attention for doing what he considered his obligation:
Onoda was so popular following his return to Japan that some Japanese urged him to run for the Diet. He also released an autobiography, No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War, shortly after his surrender, which detailed his life as a guerrilla fighter in a war that was long over. However, Onoda was reportedly unhappy being the subject of so much attention and troubled by what he saw as the withering of traditional Japanese virtues.
Hopefully, Japan can still hold on to the values that make this society safe and peaceful to live in for many decades to come.
Taking responsibility and respecting family and elders are things that we can all learn from Onoda.
Here are some quotes from Hiroo Onoda from an interview he gave in 2007 for the Japan Times:
Hiroo Onoda today
Have a great Culture Day 2010.
Articles about Hiroo Onoda: The War is Over... Please Come Out: http://history1900s.about.com/od/worldwarii/a/soldiersurr.htm
Read more on the life of this fascinating man at Wikipedia.