'Fargo' Fact Check: Did a Japanese Soldier Really Refuse to Surrender in World War II? – TheWrap

FX series gives another interesting history lesson, this time telling the real story of Lt. Hiroo Onoda, who kept fighting World War II into the 1970s
FX
(Spoiler alert: Please do not read on if you haven’t watched Wednesday’s episode of “Fargo”)
“Fargo” fans get another interesting history lesson from V.M. Varga (David Thewlis) in Season 3’s latest episode. And like the previous instances in which the show has plumbed the real world for weird stories from the past, this one, unlike the rest of the season, is true.
In “Fargo” Episode 8, “Who Rules the Land of Denial,” Varga tells Emmit Stussy (Ewan McGregor) the story of Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese soldier who fought in World War II. According to Varga’s version of events, U.S. forces dropped leaflets over the Pacific island where Onoda was stationed in September 1945 to let Japanese soldiers know the war was over. As Varga explained in “Fargo,” Onoda, however, refused to take the message.
Allied troops landed on the Lubang Island where Lt. Onoda, 22 at the time, was stationed in February 1945. While other Japanese troops on the island were overtaken or surrendered, Onoda, an intelligence officer with orders to sabotage and disrupt the enemy and to never surrender, escaped into the hills with three other soldiers. As Mashable reports, they lived on bananas, stolen cattle and coconuts, and occasionally found themselves in shootouts with Lubang’s local police.


Also Read: 'Fargo' Fact Check: Did a Sandwich Really Help Start World War I?
Once the war had officially ended, the U.S. dropped leaflets on Lobang that said the war was over and ordering holdouts to surrender. Onoda and his companions decided the leaflets were a trick and vowed to go on fighting.
The group kept fighting for years. One surrendered in 1950, another was killed in 1954 when a search party found him. Onoda and his last companion continued for almost 20 more years, when the last man was killed in 1972 by local police. He and Onoda were doing their job: sabotage. They were caught destroying a grain store at a farm.
Alone, Onoda escaped. And he still didn’t surrender. He’d also become a legend in Lubang and beyond by that point. A young man named Norio Suzuki heard Onoda’s story and set out to find him. And eventually, in 1974, Suzuki did.


Also Read: 'Fargo' Fact Check: The Story of Laura Buxton's Balloon Really Happened
Suzuki explained to Onoda that the war was over, but Onoda said he wouldn’t surrender unless ordered by a superior. So Suzuki got in touch with the Japanese government, who tracked down Onoda’s commanding officer, almost 30 years after the war had ended. Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, by that point, was running a bookstore.
Taniguchi headed to Lubang and officially relieved Onoda of his duties. Three days later, not quite 29 years after World War II had ended, its last soldier officially surrendered.
Onoda died in 2014 at the age of 91. He and his companions had actually killed about 30 people in nearly three decades their war had persisted, but when Onoda surrendered to Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, he received a pardon.
While Varga’s story about a sandwich starting World War I on “Fargo” is a little historically dubious, the story of Onoda is definitely true. It marks another fascinating true story added to the “true” one of the show.

There’s always somebody trying to desperately get away with crimes in “Fargo,” often thanks to confusion, misunderstandings and screw-ups. In Season 3, we’re already seeing characters losing control of their lives. Here’s every “Fargo” character in the show, ranked from least to most clueless. Spoilers beyond this point!
19. Paul Marrane (Ray Wise)
The interesting plane passenger Gloria meets on her way to Los Angeles just seemed like a nice guy. But his appearance in the bowling alley in Episode 8 suggests he’s something more. Is he a metaphysical interventionalist? A representative of a higher power? Whoever or whatever he is, Marrane is pulling some big strings.
18. V.M. Varga (David Thewlis)
Cool, collected and creepy, V.M. Varga is the crime boss villain of “Fargo” Season 3. The mind games he plays with his stories are matched only by the ickiness of his teeth. He doesn’t have the level of malevolence to rival Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) in Season 1 or Hanzee Dent (Zahn McClarnon) in Season 2, but the calculating shrewdness in handling people more than makes up for it. As the season comes to a close, though, it becomes obvious he’s not infallible.
17. Mr. Wrench (Russell Harvard)
Returning from Season 1, the hitman who went up against Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) and actually survived the encounter pops up by coincidence to team up with Nikki. It’s nice to have a singularly dangerous person on the side of the (relatively, kind of) good guys for once.
16. Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead)
Nikki seemed like a two-bit criminal with a little talent at the start of the season. By the end, she’s very nearly a tactical genius and a criminal mastermind. She manages to execute an incredibly intricate plan almost perfectly. 
15. Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon)
This season’s “Fargo” cop, Gloria can handle a shotgun even if she can’t handle automatic doors. That already puts a lot of points in her “under control” column. She’s obviously the most competent cop in the state, and with Winnie Lopez’s help she’s basically already solved the case. Too bad everyone conspires to get in her way of actually keeping people alive and bringing perpetrators to justice.
14. Winnie Lopez (Olivia Sandoval)
It only took one conversation between Winnie and Gloria for Winnie to realize their two cases were related. Within a day, the pair could pretty much solve the case of Ray, Emmit, Maurice and Ennis. Despite a tendency to overshare, Winnie’s just as on-the-ball as Gloria.
13. Meemo (Andy Yu)
He doesn’t have much to say, but compared to Yuri, Meemo’s an equally scary dude. His disaffected air about hurting people makes him generally creepy. But it’s his completely believable turn as a no-nonsense tax attorney who easily dismantles the IRS agent (Hamish Linklater) nosing around the Emmit Stussy that shows his real prowess.
12. Ruby Goldfarb (Mary McDonnell)
A savvy businesswoman who Sy seems to think might the answer to getting away from Varga. But as it turns out, the widow Goldfarb is playing the partners of Stussy Lots Ltd. from the very beginning. She’s a pretty good liar, as it happens.
11. Larue Dollard (Hamish Linklater)
The IRS agent investigating Emmit Stussy shows his skills in the finale of Season 3. With a huge room filled with information, he’s able to use forensic accounting to finally fill in the holes in Gloria’s investigation — the why of it all. Not bad for a guy who previously got schooled at his own game by a hitman.
10. Yuri Gurka (Goran Bogdan)
Varga’s enforcer has finally gotten a chance to say some scary stuff to the other characters, as is a “Fargo” tradition for hitmen. We finally know just how dangerous Yuri is, and what a big threat he poses to the bumblers who populate the rest of the cast of characters.
9. Nathan Burgle (Graham Verchere)
Gloria’s son is great at sitting around his boring job at a convenience store. His key moment in the premiere is forgetting a gift his grandfather made him. All things considered, could have been a little more considerate, kid.
8. Grace Stussy (Caitlynne Medrek)
Marrying Emmit technically makes Grace the Parking Lot Queen, so it seems like she did well for herself there. But you’d think that, seeing a blackmail tape of her husband, she’d immediately consider the identical twin angle. Then again, she doesn’t really seem to be up on current brother feud affairs.
7. Chief Moe Dammick (Shea Whigham)
Echoing Bob Odenkirk’s role as the chief who won’t get out of the way of good police work is Chief Dammick. He doesn’t seem like a dumb cop, just one much more concerned with politics, chain of command and putting people in their place than actually solving crimes. He seems to be making it his personal mission to get in Gloria’s way.
6. Thaddeus Mobley (Thomas Mann)
Before he was Ennis Stussy, crotchety old man, he was Thaddeus Mobley, sci-fi author and dumb kid. Poor Thaddeus got conned hard and nearly committed murder because of it. His reward for not being too bright: exile in Minnesota.
5. Buck Olander (Dan Willmott)
It’s not clear yet if Emmit and Sy’s contact Buck is a criminal con man or just as clueless as they are, but evidence so far seems to suggest it’s the latter. Buck seems like he has no idea what he’s into, what he’s getting other people into, or even who he works with. So that’s good.
4. Emmit Stussy (Ewan McGregor)
The Parking Lot King of Minnesota isn’t completely terrible at business, but he and Sy still managed to bumble into giving away part of their business to a criminal enterprise. Emmit manages to survive his entanglement with Varga only barely, and more or less in spite of himself.
3. Sy Feltz (Michael Stuhlbarg)
Sy comes off as a savvy businessman and a bit of a bruiser when he’s pushing Ray around or dealing with parking lots. The moment Varga shows up, though, it’s clear he’s in way over his head. Where Emmit adapts to Varga at least to some extent, Sy is constantly terrified of him and his goons. He never quite figures out that the less trustworthy he seems, the more danger he’s in.
2. Ray Stussy (Ewan McGregor)
Ray gets himself into a lot of trouble. While the guy is smart about consequences when it comes to Nikki, he also hired one of his parolees to rob his own brother. And the parolee he picked was falling asleep drunk when Ray gave him the job. Ray’s lucky he’s got Nikki around to do the thinking, that’s for sure, but it’s his dopey pride that gets him in the most trouble.
1. Maurice LaFay (Scoot McNairy)
Maurice is definitely the biggest screw-up on “Fargo” Season 3 so far. He not only robs the wrong place, he bungles the job when he gets there. And while his deep thoughts are the highlight of the premiere, it’s kind of stunning how badly he bungles everything he touches.
Everybody’s a little bit confused in the third installment of the cult FX series, but some are much more inept than others
There’s always somebody trying to desperately get away with crimes in “Fargo,” often thanks to confusion, misunderstandings and screw-ups. In Season 3, we’re already seeing characters losing control of their lives. Here’s every “Fargo” character in the show, ranked from least to most clueless. Spoilers beyond this point!

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