How WWII Trivia Applies to the Pennsylvania Primary

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


In 1944, the Japanese army sent a man named Hiroo Onoda to the small Philippine island of Lubang with orders to guard the island until the army sent for him. Shortly after Onoda landed Allied forces took the island, killing or capturing all of the Japanese soldiers save for Onoda and three comrades. Onoda took the men into the jungle and hid there.

The Japanese surrendered in August 1945, but no one in the Japanese military got word to Onoda and his men. As time went by, locals tried to convince them that the war was over but the soldiers believed that every note left and every leaflet dropped was a trick of the enemy. The emotional and physical strain growing, the four soldiers started to fired on the locals. One of the four was eventually killed in a skirmish. Another walked away.

Onoda and his single remaining comrade, Kinshichi Kozuka, lived together in the jungles of Lubang until 1972, when Kozuka was shot by Filipino police. News of Kozuka’s death alerted Japan to the possiblity that Onoda, who had been declared legally dead years earlier, was still alive. Eventually, he was found by a traveling student, who arranged a meeting between Onoda and his one-time superior officer. In 1974, they met on Lubang and Onoda’s superior officer told him that the war was over. In 29 years of hiding, Onoda and his men had killed a reported 30 people and injured over 100 more. Nevertheless, Onoda was pardoned by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and given a hero’s welcome in Japan.

I mention this only because Ron Paul received 16 percent of the vote in yesterday’s Republican primary in Pennsylvania.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate