The Filipino culture and the Japanese occupation

During the Japanese occupation, Filipino literature was given a break, as writing in English was consigned to limbo. Philippine literature in English came to a halt because of the strict prohibitions of the Japanese. Almost all newspapers in English were stopped except for “Tribune” and “the Philippine Review”; even American films were closed too. The drama experienced a lull during the Japanese period and the big movie houses were just made to show stage shows. After the tyranny of the Japanese, the Americans took over once again in 1945 and on July 4, 1946, the Philippines regained freedom and the Philippine flag waved joyously alone.

During the rebirth of freedom, the early post-liberation period was marked by a kind of “struggle of mind and spirit” posed by the sudden emancipation from the enemy, and the wild desire to see print. Filipinos had, by this time, learned to express themselves more confidently but post-war problems beyond language and print-like economic stability, the threat of new ideas and mortality –had to be grappled with side by side.

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In 1970-1972 the youth activism was due to domestic and worldwide causes, this was according to Pociano Pineda. Activism is connected with the history of our Filipino youth.

The seeds of activism resulted in the declaration of Martial Law in 1972. Pineda also said that this was the time when the youth once more proved that it is not the constant evasion that shapes our race and nationalism; this was in the period of the Bloody Placards. The youth became completely rebellious during the Literary Revolution.

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This was proven not only in the bloody demonstrations and in the sidewalk expressions but also in literature. Campus newspapers showed rebellious emotions. The once aristocratic writers developed awareness for society. They held pens and wrote on placards in red paint the equivalent of the word MAKIBAKA (To dare!). The irreverence for the poor reached its peak during this period of the mass revolution. It was also during this period that Bomba films that discredit our ways as Filipinos started to come out. The period of the New Society started on September 21, 1972 The Carlos Palanca Awards continued to give annual awards.

Almost all themes in most writing dealt with the development or progress of the country-like the Green Revolution, family planning, proper nutrition, environment, drug addiction and pollution. The New society tried to stop pornography or those writing giving bad influences on the morals of the people. After ten years of military rule and some changes in the life of the Filipino which started under the new society, Martial Rule was at last lifted on January 2, 1981. A historian called this the Third Republic. The first he claimed was during the Philippine Republic of Emilio Aguinaldo when we first got our independence from the Spaniards.

The second was when the Americans granted us our independence. This period was the Third Republic when we were freed from Military rule. During this era, people seethed with rebellion and protest because of the continued oppression and suppression. This was further aggravated when former Sen. Benigno S. Aquino Jr., the idol of the Filipino masses was brutally murdered. After his assassination, the people’s voices could no longer be contained; this was the effect on our literature.

Personal Citation/Insight and Comment to the Global Demand in Technology and Political Literary Urgency

Before there was no freedom of speech, even the young people had to seek for the reforms because of the society disease. The youth engages in community organizing for social change. They have taken lead roles in public protest and advocacy around anti-war activism, anti-crime and government corruption, pro-sexuality education, anti-government restriction, expanded educational access, and public transportation access. It was also proven in the bloody demonstrations and in the sidewalk expressions in literature. Campus newspapers showed rebellious emotions. I could say that in the present times it’s different. Today, rallies still happen though but this time we are given the chance to express. We could express ourselves not only through newspapers but also with the help of the modern technology and the internet.

Technology and the use of digital media have changed the way youth participate in activism globally, and youth are more active in media than older generations. People nowadays aren’t just aware through reading but also watching videos and surfing in the internet. With technology information is disseminated faster and easier and the Internet helps to increase the speed, reach and effectiveness of activist-related communication as well as mobilization efforts, and as a result has had a positive impact on activism in general. The barrier between the writer and the world has become as thin as skin. It's a skin that strokes and soaks but it's also a skin that's watched and recorded. Technology really plays an important role in our modern days. Groups involved in various forms of activism have been using technology to advance organizational goals.

History has repeatedly taught us one universal lesson – adversity produces the best in human kind. The Filipino culture is complex as this has been exposed to continuous and various streams of culture. These influences were not passively absorbed in to the Filipino culture but adapted in a selective way, and this process of acculturation varied from region to region. Our culture is now a mixture of indigenous and foreign influences that had come to bear upon the people in varying degrees during the last centuries. The Filipino culture in the past was treasured and developed even before the colonizers. The rich culture of Philippine forefathers is evident in their social classes, home, manner of dressing, body accessories, education, music and dance, science, arts and literature, even their way to courtship and marriage, burial and mourning. Filipino forefathers valued education. The early Filipinos in the past had their own beliefs and ways of burying the dead, mourning and getting married. We, Filipinos today are completely different from Filipinos back then.

Before men had tattoos on their body which symbolizes their courage for slaughtering enemies while women used it to improve their beauties but nowadays people with lots of tattoos are recognized dangerous people and often labeled as “gangsters.” Women before were modest and give respect to their selves and teach people especially men to respect their existence unlike in the present women are becoming more liberated and aggressive. Its good women in the past to the present were accredited as equal of men, and both were given reasonable opportunities in the society. Our forefathers had a simple lifestyle. They lived in small, scattered communities based on kinship ties and relied mainly on primitive agriculture which provided barely enough for their needs. Religion was likewise primitive with no organized body of beliefs or priestly hierarchy. All these made physical conquest and cultural domination quite easy for the colonizers.

Other nations with advanced social structures and a firmly recognized culture are colonized; their past achievements establish the source of their separate identity which enables the conquered to challenge their colonizers with dignity and sometimes even a feeling of superiority. They do not easily lose their sense of racial worth. Unfortunately for us, we were colonized before our own society could develop sufficiently. We had not fully established our roots to society so our culture has been easily eradicated and replaced with a completely different culture. According to Prof. Landa Jocano, “Filipinos are unconscious about who we really are,” but I would disagree to this. We still know who and what real Filipinos are, how they lived, and how did its culture changed in the course of time. I believe we clearly know about this but this are gradually eliminating because “colonial mentality.” We often hear Filipinos complain that as a nation we are suffering with a colonial mentality.

By this they usually mean that we are excessively obedient to foreigners and overly impressed by foreign possessions. But an even more harmful aspect of colonial mentality and one that is less recognized is our failure to pinpoint our real national interests apart and distinct from those of our foreign colonizers. Despite of years of independence, this trait has not been removed. Colonial mentality has deep roots in our history: first, in the level of social and economic development we attained before colonization; second, in the nature of Spanish colonization; third, in the impact of American rule; fourth, the Japanese era and in the way we obtained our independence.

It may be hard but we should eliminate this mentality. Although we were influenced before our own society could ripen amply I can still say the Filipino customs and traditions are still diverse and exceptional because it holds upright qualities. These characteristics, traits, rituals and way of living of Early Filipinos only show that the original Filipino culture is rich and simple. And considering the advantage of colonization, despite the hardships from the oppressors we can say that it we are able to absorb innovative effects and they had even contributed to the civilization and innovation of our country. We can actually compare and see how far we have been developing. I do hope as we attain progress we wouldn’t forget to enrich our own culture too.


In February 1945 Manila had been devastated. Many establishments such as churches, convents, and universities are ruined. Civilian population had been brutally raped and burned, starved and murdered, its women mutilated. No one can be saved, not even the babies were spared, and they were unjustly stabbed. The order that brought this about came directly from Tokyo. The Japanese air attack on December 10, 1941 at Cavite Navy yard. General Douglas MacArthur declared Manila an open city on the advice of commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon to avoid its destruction. Manila was occupied by the Japanese on January 2, 1942. For the sake of historical accuracy, it must be commented that the destruction of the city of Manila was done in great part by US bombers and U.S artillery. Gen. Yamashita did not declare Manila an “Open City” which would have freed Manila from hostile activity. After he withdrew most of his troops to the mountain province, a large contingent of Japanese soldiers and sailors, and Korean Marines remained and secured the city. At this time Manila had to be liberated by fighting it out, street by street and building to building.

The joint American and Filipino soldiers had finally surrendered on April 9, 1942. MacArthur escaped to Corregidor then proceeded to Australia. The 76,000 captured soldiers were forced to embark on the infamous "Death March" to a prison camp more than 100 kilometers north. An estimated 10,000 prisoners died due to thirst, hunger and exhaustion. This was followed by three years of agony, torture and despair. They showed no mercy. Millions of people have died. A situation you’d never wish to be in. The city of Manila was in distraught and was liberated by joint Filipino and American troops against the Japanese.

It is estimated that over 100, 000 died in Manila within two weeks after the U.S Forces took over the city classical edifices of pre-war vintage such as the Metropolitan Theater, as well as the Post Office Building. The three identical Manila landmarks such as legislative, agricultural, and finance buildings that stood face to face were all completely shattered by 105 mm guns of the U.S military. The famous Walled City and the historic churches inside were also wrecked. 90 percent of the beautiful buildings in the Ermita, Malate, Pasay and Sta. Ana areas were all leveled and turned to rubble. Bloodshed and lives were cut off. The Philippines had suffered great loss of life and tremendous physical destruction by the time the war was over. Furthermore, the dark past that the Filipinos had experienced had aided us to become who we right now and for Philippines to establish its roots to society.

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The Filipino culture and the Japanese occupation. (2016, Sep 01). Retrieved from

The Filipino culture and the Japanese occupation
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