|Hiroo Onoda at age 22|
There had been several efforts to communicate with Onoda and his comrades, but sadly they had resisted all such attempts to get them to surrender, dismissing the Japanese search parties and leaflet drops as "enemy trickery." The leaflets were filled with mistakes, and Onoda judged them as a plot by the Americans.
|Hiroo Onoda surrenders his sword to Ferdinand Marcos|
As he arrived at the Lubang Island Police Station, he bowed to the people assembled there and laid down his weapons, saying, “I am Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda and I have received orders to surrender to you.” On the morning of March 10, 1974, in Manila, the lieutenant, wearing his old Japanese military uniform, gave his sword to President Marcos in a traditional gesture of surrender.
Although Lieutenant Onoda had killed at least 30 people in as many years, Ferdinand Marcos granted him a full official pardon, and Hiroo Onoda at last returned to Japan.
|Hiroo Onoda and Norio Suzuki arrive in Japan March 1974|
The central metaphor and lesson embodied in this tale of the loyal soldier invites each of us to ask what may be a very painful question: What defensive tactics or "orders" do I tenaciously cling to when they no longer serve me or those close to me (even though they may have served me well in a different time, place, or circumstance)? When we explore this question fully, and step into surrendering behaviors and patterns that clearly no longer serve us, we open to the possibility of a powerful transformation into a new life.
By 1984 the Loyal Soldier Hiroo Onoda had taken what he had learned in the jungles of Lubang and founded the Onoda Nature School, a youth camp focused on teaching wilderness survival skills to Japanese youth.
I submit that this Loyal Soldier archetype also extends beyond our individual psychology, so that it can take root in a culture, a religious or ethnic group, or a nation. Examples that come to mind are the incitements to ethnic cleansing by the Serbs of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s that explicitly used the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 as a rationale, or similar Crusades-era thinking that is taking root here in America that feeds the anger, fear and xenophobia of today's political climate in the United States.