Sixth Asian Studies Conference Japan
    Saturday and Sunday, June 22-23
    Ichigaya Campus of Sophia University


last update 2002/03/09

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Contact the organizers: Asian Studies Conference (ASCJ) c/o Institute of Asian Cultural Studies, International Christian University 3-10-2 Osawa, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181

Session 29
New Dimensions of Philippine History: The Commonwealth, Japanese Occupation and Independence
Organizer: Hidefumi Ogawa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies

From the 1930s to the mid-1940s was the crucial period for the Philippines toward the country's independence several decades after its experience of the aborted Revolution at the century's turn. In 1935 the Commonwealth government was inaugurated as "pre-independence polity" under the American colonial rule, with the condition that independence was given to the Philippines after ten years. However, the outbreak of the Asian-Pacific war in 1941 interrupted the "peaceful" independence process and brought the terrified Japanese occupation to the Philippines that finally enjoyed the official independence from the United States in 1946.
This panel composes four papers covering the period of the Commonwealth, the Japanese Occupation and the independence. Fumiko Uchiyama presents a paper on the educational polices in relation with the images of Filipino nation during the Commonwealth period. Ricardo Trota Jose and Lydia N. Yu-Jose deal with the Japanese occupation period. While the former discusses the role and function of KAlIBAPI, a political mobilization organization, the latter depicts how the Japanese occupation period has been described in history textbooks in high school in the Philippines. The last paper by Reynaldo C. Ileto addresses provocatively a new place for Jose P. Laurel, president of the Japan-sponsored Philippine Republic in Philippine history.

1) Fumiko Uchiyama, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. "Educational Policies and Images of a Filipino Nation during the Commonwealth Period"

In this paper, I will discuss the images of a Filipino nation that appear through the educational policies and their making processes during the Commonwealth period. In the Philippines, the basis of public educational system was established when America colonized the country at the beginning of 20th century. By the inauguration of the Commonwealth in1935, the educational system had been expanded almost all over the country. During the Commonwealth period, when the independence was already scheduled for 1946, the task for Filipino leaders was to 'Filipinize' the existing educational system. In other words, there were many attempts to innovate on the school curriculum, activities, and so on, so that Filipino youths could learn more about the Philippines and foster the common national identity and consciousness. For example, occasions to commemorate historic events were introduced into school activities. On the other hand, issues such as the creation of a national language or religious instruction gave rise to much controversy, which reveals that, among Filipinos, various images of a Filipino nation were still competing with each other and there was little consensus. Analyzing discussions and controversies on educational policies, I will discuss how Filipinos perceived Philippine society, history or culture, and what sort of nation they conceived based on those perceptions.

2) Ricardo Trota Jose, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. "The KALIBAPI (Association for Service to the New Philippines) during the Japanese Occupation"

During the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines, the Japanese Military Administration attempted to establish administrative and control organizations based on similar systems in Japan and its colonies. In the case of political mobilization and control, the Imperial Rule Assistance Association (IRAA; Taisei Yokusankai) was established in Japan, after all political parties were dissolved. This body was supposed to unite various political and nationalistic groups in Japan, as well as serve as a means of control. Japan established similar bodies in the occupied and colonized areas. This paper will examine the establishment of such a body, the Kapisanan sa Paglilingkod sa Bagong Pilipinas (KALIBAPI; Association for Service to the New Philippines) and its development. The Kalibapi was established along Japanese lines, adapted to Philippine conditions, and was used as a tool to gain greater support for the Japanese administration and its objectives. However, its character and objectives changed, particularly with the inauguration of the Japanese-sponsored Philippine Republic. The
KALIBAPI then became a means to win greater participation in the Laurel government's programs, particularly in the field of nationalism. Like the IRAA, however, the KALIBAPI's aims were never fully understood and the organization did not win the support of the people.

3) Lydia N. Yu-Jose, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. "The Treatment of the Japanese Occupation in Philippine Textbooks"

This paper will attempt to show how Philippine textbooks on the secondary level treat the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines. Before going to the main topic, it will present a short explanation of the state of academic freedom in the Philippines and the preparation of textbooks. After presenting the main topic, it will offer a prognosis on how, in the future, the Japanese occupation of the Philippines would be described, in comparison to the Spanish and American colonial periods.
There has been no significant change in the treatment of the Japanese Occupation in Philippine secondary textbooks from the 1950s to the present. This, in spite of the trend that began in the 1970s to teach history from the perspective of nation-building.
If the treatment of the Japanese occupation in Philippine books is compared to the treatment of the Spanish and American regimes, with the development of the Philippine nation as the point of reference, the Japanese would appear as the most undesirable, followed by the Spaniards and the Americans, respectively.

4) Reynaldo C. Ileto, National University of Singapore. "Laurel and the Struggles over Philippine History"

In this paper I examine various biographies of Jose P. Laurel in order to identify the different ways in which he has been inserted into the meta-narrative of Philippine history, and how these reflect various agendas in Philippine historiography. I contrast these with how Laurel, a politician-cum-educator, saw himself in terms of this meta-narrative. Laurel's view of Philippine history and how citizens should relate to its unfolding, helps to explain his resiliency as a national figure. Through a close reading of Laurel's speeches and writings, this paper explores the 1940s "collaborationist" roots of the well-known explosion of radical sentiments in the late 1960s. It also looks into the nexus (embodied by Laurel) between intellectuals and politicians in the process of "nation-building" - an interaction so much a part of Philippine political life yet just as equally obscured by functionalist and behaviorist analyses.

Discussant: Motoe Terami-Wada, Sophia University


list of panels