It’s something how the story got twisted around in the 1970s.
Hiro Onoda never surrendered at the the end of World War II. Instead, he decided to make an independent life for himself as a guerrilla in the Philippines. This went on from 1945 to about the mid 1970s, maybe 1974. His claim was that he wasn’t aware that World War II had ended. In the pre-Smartphone era, this could well be. It could also have been that Onoda was very aware that his side must have lost, and he simply refused to come to terms with that fact. When he had to be re-integrated into the modern world of the late 20th century, a nice story had to be created. A way to save face.
During his time in jungle isolation, it is estimated that Onoda murdered about 30 Filipinos.
What was the Allied-led, post World War II society (and media) to do with such an outlier? Well, he was turned into some sort of a celebrity. This fit both the right-wing Japan faction, who sees World War II as American aggression, and the American trans-Pacific business and defense establishment, that had, by then, already moved beyond the legacy of war. Instead, they were making serious money, and really didn’t need to have the Pacific War waft into public discussion. By the 1970s, Japan was already set out to conquer, in a manner of speaking, American markets.
As I read this story, I wondered how the Filipino families felt about this man.