Tokyo PE Honors Memory of Filipino-Japanese Communities in Photo Exhibit

17 May 2019, Tokyo. The Philippine Embassy in Tokyo graced a photo exhibit featuring an unrivaled collection of historic photographs that capture the lives of Japanese and Filipino-Japanese nationals in the Philippines at the turn of the century.

More than 100 images of family portraits, working life, street scenes and school pictures of Filipino-Japanese nationals who lived in the cities of Baguio and Davao, dating from the early 1900s through to the 1940s, were made available for public viewing at the Kumin Gallery in Shinjuku Central Park, Tokyo.

From left to right: Viewers watch a documentary on the lives of Japanese-Filipino nationals during World War II; Rare photograph of school children in a Japanese school in Baguio; Locals enjoying the photo exhibit

The photographs provided an exceptional visual record of the daily lives of Japanese workers and their families in the 1900s, covering their day-to-day lives, the work they carried out to survive as well as their social lives, including sport and leisure.

Japanese workers arrived in the Philippines in significant numbers in the early 1900s to help build Kennon Road, a roadway that connected the mountain city of Baguio to the lowlands. After the road was completed, many of the workers migrated to Davao to work for a Japanese-run plantation which produced abaca or Manila hemp. Some of them married into Filipino families and integrated into local communities. World War II, however, disrupted the peaceful coexistence between local Filipinos and Japanese migrants, with many Filipino-Japanese families suffering because of their ancestry.

“This group of pictures captures the contributions made by Filipino-Japanese communities to early 20th century Philippines,” Mr. Norihinro Inomata of the Philippine Nikkeijin Legal Support Center (PNLSC) said. PNLSC put together the exhibit from donations of photographs made by descendants of Japanese migrants to the Philippines who returned to Japan after the war.

On the occasion of National Heritage Month, Tokyo PE has been tirelessly supporting community events and programs that offer an insight into the different cultures, traditions and stories that helped shape Philippine society to how it is today.

Pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 439, National Heritage Month is celebrated every year in May to create among Filipinos, love and respect for Philippine cultural history and heritage.