AS today’s Japanese women give out “giri choco,” (obligation chocolate) or “honmei choco,” (true feeling chocolate) and receive “gyaku choco,” (reverse chocolate) or “tomo-choco,” we recall events of 75 years past.
“We had breakfast and started doing our housework but once in a while we would jump down the trapdoor to the dugout because of the shelling. Biring and her husband decided to butcher their pig and we all helped. Mama and Biring fried all the pork chops, made adobo, and salted the rest. We were in the shelter most of the time. Then a bunch of Japanese soldiers stopped in front of our house planting dynamite. We shivered! We noticed a fire nearby getting bigger and bigger. It was the Masonic Temple in Vermont and Taft burning and the wind was blowing the fire towards us.” [Sunday, February 11, 1945, Diary of Lydia C. Gutierrez]
As the Japanese millennials go on group dates, we mark the 75th anniversary of the Rape of Manila that also victimized non-Filipinos in the Pearl of the Orient.
“More than 90 percent of the Spanish convents, churches and religious houses have been destroyed by the Japanese, notwithstanding there being no military objectives at all in these places…The Spanish Consulate, 622 Colorado St., was destroyed, even though the Spanish flag was prominently displayed. More than 50 people, some of them Spaniards, were burned alive in the Shelter of the Consulate or killed with bayonets in the garden…Several Spanish families were killed in the massacre in La Salle College.”
[Statement by Father Tomas Tascon, Father Provincial, Dominican Order, enumerating losses suffered by the Spanish Community; South West Pacific Area Military Intelligence Section, General Staff report on the Destruction of Manila and Japanese atrocities, February 1945].
As Japanese fans celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doraemon, we re-fashion the list of the butchers liable for the war crimes. Muto, Akira (Chief-of-Staff to Yamashita in the Philippines, “During his tenure of office as such Chief-of-Staff a campaign of massacre, torture and other atrocities was waged by the Japanese troops on the civilian population, and prisoners of war and civilian internees were starved, tortured and murdered…We reject his defense that he knew nothing of these occurrences. It is wholly incredible.”)
Umezu, Yoshijiro (served as Chief of the Army General Staff from July 1944 until the Surrender). “The Member for the Philippines has filed a separate opinion concurring with the majority.” [International Military Tribunal for the Far East, War Ministry Building, Tokyo, Japan, Judgment of 04 November 1948].
“Tomoyuki Yamashita, General, Imperial Japanese Army, between 9 October 1944 and 2 September 1945 at Manila and other places in the Philippine Islands, while commander of armed forces of Japan at war with the United States of America and its allies, unlawfully disregarded and failed to discharge his duty as commander to control the operations of the members of his command, permitting them to commit brutal atrocities and other high crimes against people of the United States and of its allies and dependencies, particularly the Philippines, and he, General Tomoyuki Yamashita, thereby violated the laws of war.” [In re Yamashita, 327 US 1 (1946)]
Yamashita and Japanese war crimes were tackled by Cecilia Gaerlan of the Bataan Legacy Historical Society at the 75th Anniversary Symposium on the Battle of Manila held last 11 February 2020 at Casa Manila in Intramuros. What could not be covered in that forum was the 75th Anniversary of the Crimea (Yalta) Conference where US President Roosevelt, UK Prime Minister Churchill and USSR Generalissimo Stalin agreed that “in two or three months after Germany has surrendered and the war in Europe is terminated, the Soviet Union shall enter into war against Japan on the side of the Allies on condition that (1) The status quo in Outer Mongolia (the Mongolian People’s Republic) shall be preserved; (2) The former rights of Russia violated by the treacherous attack of Japan in 1904 shall be restored; and (3) The Kurile Islands shall be handed over to the Soviet Union.” [https://avalon.law.yale.edu/wwii/yalta.asp]
At the Crimea Conference of the heads of the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which took place from February 4 to 11, 1945, the world was told: “Nazi Germany is doomed. The German people will only make the cost of their defeat heavier to themselves by attempting to continue a hopeless resistance…It is our inflexible purpose to destroy German militarism and Nazism and to ensure that Germany will never again be able to disturb the peace of the world.” [https://millercenter.org/the-presidency/presidential-speeches/february-11-1945-joint-statement-churchill-and-stalin-yalta]
Of that event, Filipinos were informed: “The Crimea Conference was a successful effort by the three leading nations to find a common ground for peace. It spells the end of the system of unilateral action and exclusive alliance and spheres of influence and balances of power and all other expedients which have been tried for centuries—and have failed.”
As fans of the anime My Hero Academia debate the true name of one of the series’ villains to be Maruta Shiga or Kyudai Garaki and whether this name refers to Japanese human experimentation on prisoners of war during World War II (Kyushu Daigaku Seitai Kaihou Jiken or Kyushu University Live Dissection Incidents), we share the statement of a Hunters-ROTC Guerrillas high commander whose unit fought a running gun battle in Manila from February 11 to 12, 1945: “I saw piles of dead civilians in the streets of south Manila. They had been machine-gunned, some were apparently bayoneted. We entered Bayview Hotel and there were many dead women in the lobby.”
“The Japanese is an illiterate soldier. When they learn that all is lost, they go crazy (buang).” [Interview with Colonel Emmanuel V. De Ocampo (ret.), March 2, 2001, 10-12 A.M., VFP Compound, Arroceros, Manila]
As humans celebrate Valentine’s Week, we share this dialog from the movie Casablanca: Rick: Don’t you sometimes wonder if it’s worth all this? I mean what you’re fighting for. Laszlo: You might as well question why we breathe. If we stop breathing, we’ll die. If we stop fighting our enemies, the world will die.
Rick: Well, what of it? It’ll be out of its misery. Laszlo: You know how you sound, Mr. Blaine? Like a man who’s trying to convince himself of something he doesn’t believe in his heart. Each of us has a destiny – for good or for evil.