Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

Baguio, May 8, 1942

The Religious Branch of the Japanese army last night gave a banquet at the Pines Hotel in honor of the ecclesiastical officials of the city. About thirty of us attended, including Msgr. Taguchi of Osaka, and Col. Naruwasa, Chief of the Religious Section. General Nagasaki, new commander of the region, was also invited as a special guest.

As usual, the banquet was concluded with dinner speeches. Fortunately, the speeches were few and brief. The two Army officials spoke about cooperation and Co-Prosperity, the two big issues which always come up in speeches, articles and proclamations, but which very few can stomach. The bishop of Osaka and the Apostolic Prefect also spoke. Both of them were very discreet.

The meal was well selected and sumptuous for these times of scarcity. There was an abundance of American cigarettes which cannot be bought outside even at high prices. Three kinds of wine were served besides the cocktail and liquor for the coffee.

Conversation was animated, with the General giving life to it. I have never seen a Japanese so courteous jolly and witty. He talked to each of the guests, inquiring about their nationality, the reason for their distinct apparel and the organizations and ceremonies of the Catholic Church. Every time, he added a dash of compliment with a grain of wit.

We were all impressed by his amiability, and those who had known his predecessor noted the difference. This man had travelled and lived in Europe where two of his daughters were converted to Catholicism.