'You are absolutely forbidden to die by your own hand. It may take three years, it may take five, but whatever happens, we’ll come back for you. Until then, so long as you have one soldier, you are to continue to lead him. You may have to live on coconuts. If that’s the case, live on coconuts! Under no circumstances are you to give up your life voluntarily.'
In 1944, Hiroo Onoda was sent to the Philippines and told to defend Japan against attacks from the USA. Despite WWII ending in August of 1945, Onoda was not willing to believe it to be true. So he took up refuge with three other Japanese soldiers in the Filipino mountains. For years they dismissed the leaflets they found, claiming the war was over, as enemy propaganda and continued to fight a guerrilla war from the mountains.
Years went by and Onoda’s other comrades had either abandoned him or had been shot. Finally, in 1974 a Japanese college student named Norio Suzuki came across Lieutenant Hiroo’s hideout deep in the Filipino jungle. Norio told Hiroo that the war was over, but Hiroo still refused to believe it and told Norio that he would only surrender when he received orders from a superior officer. Norio Suzuki returned to Japan and tracked down Hiroo’s former commander (now an old man working in a bookstore) and the Japanese government flew him out to the Filipines. On 10 March 1975, Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda came out of the jungle wearing his immaculately-kept full military dress uniform and surrendered his sword to Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos.