About the author: Leocadio de Asis (November 1, 1919 — . High School in 1936, where he was Editor-In-Chief of “ECOS”, the San Beda College school paper. Managing Editor of the “UST Law Journal,” University of Sto. Tomas, where he obtainedLLB in 1941-1942.Assigned to the Second Regular Division of the Philippine Army which in turn was inducted into the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE).
From the citation of his 1993 Philippines-Japan Society Medal of Merit,
With the surrender of the USAFFE in Bataan, de Asis became a prisoner of war. While in confinement in the concentration Camp of O’Donnell, de Asis was selected by the Japanese, on the basis of his good track record and good health, to undergo a training program at the newly established Philippine Constabulary Academy. Upon graduation, finishing number two in his class, de Asis was assigned as one of the Instructors of the Academy to teach Criminal Law and Government regulations.
In May 1943, after careful screening by the Japanese, de Asis was again selected as one of ten constabulary officers for further training in Japan together with seventeen (17) other younger youth representing the elite Filipino families. The group left for Japan under great secrecy where they were joined by other scholars from the occupied territories in Southeast Asia. This group of scholars were later on identified as “Nampo Tokubetsu Ryugakusei” or special scholars from the South. De Asis enrolled at the Kokusai Gakuyu Kai for further Japanese Language studies and later on at the Tokyo Police Academy.
During his more than one year stay in Japan, de Asis met several Japanese families who had shown genuine concern and understanding for the Ryugakusei. This probably explains the positive attitude taken by de Asis and his companions after the war in working for the restoration of normal relations with Japan. It should also be noted that it was the special scholars from the South that spearheaded the organization of the Asean Council of Japan Alumni (ASCOJA), the first and only regional alumni association of its kind in the world.
De Asis and his wartime group actively participated in the founding in 1976 of the Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni (PHILFEJA) of which he was its first President, a position he held with distinction for 12 eventful years.
The same citation mentions Leocadio de Asis was also the Founding Chairman and First Executive Governor of the Asean Council of Japan Alumni (ASCOJA); Director of the Philippines-Japan Society, Inc.; Secretary-General of the Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation Committee (PHILJEC); Trustee of the Philippine Institute of Japanese Language and Culture (PIJLC); Member of the Joint Committee for Annual Philippines-Japan Friendship Celebration; Member of the Selection Committee, Japan Air Lines Scholarship Program, and Member of the Philippine Selection Committee, Japan Solidarity Committee for Asian Alumni (JASCAA) Fellowship Program.
About the diary: Published as From Bataan to Tokyo : Diary of a Filipino Student in Wartime Japan, 1943-1944, edited with an introd. by Grant K. Goodman, Center for East Asian Studies, University of Kansas, 1979.