In 1944, Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda was sent by the Japanese army to the remote Philippine island of Lubang. His mission was to conduct guerrilla warfare during the war. Unfortunately, he was never officially told that the war had ended and so for 29 long years, Onoda lived in the jungle completely convinced that the war was still going on. He managed to survive on berries, coconuts and bananas and cleverly evaded searching parties that he believed to be enemy soldiers. Only when Onoda’s former commander, Major Taniguchi travelled to the Philippines in 1974 and commanded the lieutenant to lay down his arms, did Onoda finally surrender.
Many Japanese have a deeply held religious belief that they are the direct descendents of the sun-goddess Amaterasu-Omi-Kami. Such descent destines them to be the supreme people of the world. Therefore, the final place of loyalty is to the Japanese nation. This religious belief had a profound impact upon many Japanese soldiers during World War 2. For such men obedience to their divine emperor (Hirohito) was absolute. Capture was an unthinkable disgrace and surrender was the highest form of betrayal. Indeed the famous Kamikaze pilots actually gave their lives by flying their planes directly into American warships.