15th August 1945

The war is over. At noon today the emperor personally broadcast his rescript proclaiming peace. The Times, which ran the complete text under a modest three-column head (His Majesty Issues Rescript to Restore Peace), was held until the broadcast was over and we did not get the English translation until late in the afternoon. Dated “the 14th day of the 8th month of the 20th year of Radiant Peace”, it read:

“To our good and loyal subjects:

“After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in Our Empire today, We have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.

“We have ordered Our Government to communicate to the governments of the United States, Great Britain, China, and the Soviet Union, that Our Empire accepts the provisions of their Joint Declaration.

“To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well-being of Our subjects is the solemn obligation which has been handed down by Our Imperial Ancestors and which We lay close to heart. Indeed We declared war on America and Britain out of Our sincere desire to ensure Japan’s self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far
from Our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement. But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone — the gallant fighting of military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of Our servants of the State, and the devoted service of Our one hundred million people, the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest. Moreover the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is indeed incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation but would also lead to the total extinction of human civilization. Such being the case, how are We to save the millions of Our subjects or to atone Ourselves before the hallowed spirits of Our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers.

“We cannot but express the deepest sense of regret to our Allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with the Empire toward the emancipation of East Asia. The thought of those officers and men as well as others who have fallen on the fields of battle, those who died at their posts of duty, or those who met with untimely death, and all their bereaved families, pains Our heart night and day. The welfare of the wounded and the war-sufferers and those who have lost their home and livelihood are the objects of Our profound solicitude. The hardships and sufferings to which Our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great. We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all ye, Our subjects. However it is according to the dictate of time and fate that We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for
all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering the insufferable.

“Having been able to safeguard and maintain the structure of the Imperial State, We are always with ye, Our good and loyal subjects, relying upon your sincerity and integrity. Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion which may engender needless complications, or any fraternal contention or strife which may create confusion, lead ye astray, and cause ye to lose the confidence of the world. Let the entire nation continue as one family from generation to generation, ever firm in its faith in the imperishableness of its divine land, and mindful of its heavy burden of responsibilities and the long road before it. Unite your total strength to be devoted to the construction for the future. Cultivate the ways of rectitude, foster nobility of spirit, and work with resolution so that ye may enhance the innate glory of the Imperial State and keep pace with the progress of the world.”

It was difficult to tell today from any other day. There were more people than usual in the tea lounge but they talked of every-day things. The maids and the waitresses shuffled along the corridors with unhurried pace. Their faces were drained of emotion and they averted their eyes. Somehow one did not feel like intruding into their thoughts.

The hotel radio was kept in the bird-room, behind the cashier’s little enclosure. Originally it had been a powerful American set encased in an ornate wooden cabinet. But sometime during the war the machine had been torn out, possibly to prevent anyone from listening to the forbidden shortwave, and now it rested, a tangle of tubes and wires, on a coffee table next to the disembowelled cabinet. It was now a very bad radio, connected by a complicated and clumsy network to a cheap round amplifier, but it was the only one in the hotel.

Around it now, in the neat little room with its three birdcages overlooking the ornamental fish-pond, the Japanese began to gather. The Germans, the Italians, the Thai, the Chinese, and the Burmans, kept to themselves in whispering groups along the corridor outside or, just beyond hearing distance, in the tea lounge and the lobby. But the Japanese crowded around the radio. The local chief of the military police was one of the first to arrive, a crop-haired, gold-toothed man with a Hitler moustache. He was not smiling now. The representative of the foreign office came next, tall, thin, and rabbit-faced. He did not speak to the kempei, although they were standing side by side at the foot of the stairs leading to the hotel theater.

Then, as noon drew near, the maids and the boy-sans and the waitresses, the cashier and her assistant, the reception clerks and the cooks, the embassy stenographers and interpreters, took their places around the wretched little mess of dull glass and steel which would soon enshrine the voice of the God-Emperor. In their stiff shy way they crowded upon each other; almost it seemed that they were huddling together for comfort, for some measure of assurance in the face of destiny.

There was complete silence as the clocks ticked toward noon. It was stifling. The windows had been closed to keep out the noise of the children playing by the pond outside. The waiting was oppressive and we watched the plump gleaming fish sliding smoothly against one another as they crowded obediently around the large black rock where the children stood, feeding them crumbs.

A Japanese woman married to an Italian tiptoed in. She was leading her two-year-old son by the hand. He was inclined to be difficult and to amuse him she showed him how to play with the song-birds caged beside the window. There was a smell elevator attached to the side of the cage and one placed a tender leaf or a pinch of golden seed in the straw basket at the end of the string.
Then the birds would hop to a tiny platform, thrust their delicate beaks through the bamboo bars, and pull the basket up.

A nine-year-old Italian boy sidled in, a tough bright youngster. A few days ago his mother had quarreled with the wife of another Italian, a New Yorker. The New Yorker’s husband had promptly smashed the other husband in the face, sending him to bed for a week. I wondered vaguely how the boy felt about his father now.

The radio was crackling and in sympathy there was a shuffling of slippers, a rustle of silk. A high-frequency note pierced through the furry undertones of static, held itself tinnily, faded, and then rose to the precise point of the exact time. Set your watches, ladies and gentlemen; mark the time, all ye good and loyal subjects, ye wrinkled horny-handed farmers with your foreheads on the straw mats, ye pale and bloated maidens in the baggy trousers, all ye stalwarts with the merry blossom on your backs, ye flea-bitten sore-scratching children playing with the empty shell case, ye tear-less widows by the wooden boxes from the far frontiers of war, ye scowling, weeping, breast beating warlords and sealords, mark the time; mark the time and wake, all ye miserable and wretched, ye bristly red-eyed welders, sleeping on each other’s shoulders; ye wan distracted mothers, bent with the equalling babies on your backs, dozing in the ration lines; mark the time, all ye good, loyal, bullied, cheated, gagged and handcuffed, starved, ragged, grateful subjects, mark the time. It is midnight at noon.

The Kimigayo stole in after the whispered awe of the announcer; it had never sounded so significant and fitting. It  was a band playing and the words were not sung:

Thousands of years of happy reign be thine;

Rule on, my lord, till what are pebbles now

By age united to mighty rocks shall grow

Whose venerable sides the moss doth line.

But the music might have been written for this hour of defeat; some dark foreboding in the heart of the ancient and forgotten troubadour who, a thousand years ago, had sung it for a German band-master to adapt, had haunted the simple melody with plaintive lamentation, with a grave and solemn anguish over the vanquished dead.

It was a perfect prelude to the voice of the emperor which came through now without an introduction. It was a calm and deliberate voice, a little distant, with a trace of weariness. As the intricate cadences of the courtly phrases drifted through the room into the sunlit garden outside, I looked around me covertly. It
was the first time that the Japanese had heard their “Manifest god”. All were expressionless as they stood, stiffly upright, their hands at their sides with the palms turned backward, head and shoulders bent low with reverence. Not a sound came from them. Perhaps it was blasphemy to weep.

When the rescript had been read, a younger more vigorous voice came through. It was the old Premier Admiral Baron, explaining the circumstances that had led to the surrender, the long wreck-strewn burning road that had led to the ruin of the empire. Then it was, and only then, that the Japanese wept. But they wept quietly, the sobs of the women were muffled in their sleeves, and
the tears of the men ran undried along their pale cheeks. Somehow it was painful even for a stranger, painful even to hear the Italians and the Germans outside in the corridors, debating heatedly whether the rescript had proclaimed peace or resistance to the death.

The broadcast was finished at a quarter to one. The Japanese went away silently, moving with bowed heads and reddened eyes through the clumps of foreigners already planning how they would rush home. It was incredible how swiftly normality, or at least the air of normality, was restored; indeed it had scarcely been disturbed. Lunch was a little late but it was served without a hitch.

In the afternoon I decided to go to Tokyo. I felt I had to see whether the Japanese had taken the end of their world with similar serenity. Before taking my train I went outdoors for a swim. The pool was deserted except for four Japanese boys frolicking noisily in the water. They kept to themselves but they did not seem depressed. Perhaps they had not yet heard. But outside in the
village it was the same. A group of school-girls in pigtails were skipping rope outside the hotel. A military policeman was feeding his carrier-pigeons. The crowd waiting for the electric tram had its usual air of preoccupation with bundles and tickets and seats.

The train to Tokyo was an hour late. As I waited on the  platform at Odawara two Japanese came up and spoke to me. It was the first tangible proof I had the the war was really over. One of them was a slatternly woman, dirty, unkempt, loose-mouthed, shifty-eyed. She asked me where she could get some medicine for her sick baby. when I said I did not know, she lingered a while and then, laughing, jumped down from the platform, and drank rapidly from a public fountain.

The other was a quiet—spoken man in a frayed national uniform. He squatted beside me and, while he unrolled his gaiters with a calm decisive hand, asked what nationality I was. Then he offered me some pipe-tobacco which he extracted from a smudged and much-folded envelope.

I refused politely.

“It’s excellent tobacco,” he offered it a second time.

When I refused again, he nodded briefly. He put the package away and then added in an impressive reproving tone: “It was American tobacco, you know.”

The train was packed to the windows with tired silent people and their huge bundles of black-market sweet potatoes, fruit, rice, two or three fish. If anything the atmosphere seemed less tense than usual. There were no longer any raids or strafing attacks to be feared. The lights were going on in the stations and in the countryside as we went by. In almost every official building there were also small bonfires, papers that were being burned before the Americans entered.

But nobody talked about war or peace. could it have happened in any other country in the world? Till yesterday, till even noon this day, they had believed, with a faith beyond all doubt, that in this holy war of theirs there could be no surrender, and that without surrender, there could be no defeat. Now the imperial rescript might speak obliquely of “a settlement of the present situation by an extraordinary measure”, of a war situation developing “not necessarily to Japan’s advantage”, of a benevolent solicitude for “innocent lives” and “human civilization”. But not the most polished and elegant circumlocutions could hide the fact of defeat, the “unendurable”, the “insufferable”.

What were now the “inmost feelings” of these good and loyal subjects? The unconquerable was conquered; the divine laid low. In the innermost recesses of the racial memory, no equal could be found for this “dictate of time and fate”. Not even when Hideyoshi’s armies staggered back to the shores of Korea to find their fleets swept from the sea by the “turtle-shell craft“ of Admiral Yi Sun-sin, had the imperial land suffered such a crushing defeat. For this was no momentary reverse, the abandonment of a conquered province, but total and complete defeat, submission of the imperial land itself to the conquering invader. No wind had risen from.the shrines at Ise and Togo lay mouldering in his grave.

For this the young men had frozen on the Manchurian tundra and vanished without a trace in the tall kaoliang; for this the young men had dragged themselves across the yellow plains of China, eaten the Weeds and the snakes of the jungle, burned on the lonely  seas, dived to their death through flaming skies; for this they had sechemed, robbed, lied, intrigued and tortured; what a horrible price of shame, degradation, and self-pollution for this, this bowlful of brown rice mixed with the husks of beans, mulberry leaves and cattle fodder, this torn and grimy mompei and the paper shoes that fall apart in the rain, this acre of ashes, this hole in the earth, this night.

“Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion,” O ye good and loyal subjects. “Cultivate the ways of rectitude, foster nobility of spirit,” ye wretched of the earth. The men and women about me spoke softly of the price of pickled radish, an aunt in Hokkaido, an open window where the soot was coming in. A child equalled and when it did not stop the mother opened the top of her mompei and gave him her breast; it was a big child but her milk was cheaper than rice. A tired old man, with many apologies, sank on the strip of seat beside me and loosened the straps of the sack on his back. We were coming into Tokyo station now and a gnarled peasant woman cried: “How bright it is!”

But no one looked up. The passengers went hurriedly and silently along the platform to the exits, afraid, ashamed, of the light.


July 6, 1945 Friday

Yulo continued to be very bitter against everybody. He has lost confidence in Osmeña and in Roxas in so far as our situation is concerned. As to MacArthur, he says MacArthur will do only what would be for his own convenience. He thinks Osmeña is useless. As to Roxas, he resented the fact that both of them journeyed from Baguio to La Union together, and then to Manila together, and afterwards, Roxas left him. Since then, they have not seen each other.

It is reported that Osmeña at one time planned to prevent the election of Roxas as President of the Senate. He wanted Yulo to return to make him his candidate for the position. This was never carried out.

It was also reported that Roxas had said that Congress had nothing to do and could do nothing in our case, and that it is only the military that could decide our case. This report depressed us. But the news was clarified by the letter of my wife. She said that she, accompanied by Mrs. Recto and Sen. Rodriguez, went to see Pres. Osmeña in his office. The President received them amiably. My wife went there to intervene in my behalf. The President told them that he cannot do anything now as we are still under the military, that he had already requested that we be transferred to the Commonwealth, and that once transferred he would be able to do something. According to her, Roxas paid her a call at our house. He said practically the same thing — that nothing can be done now, but that he has already asked Gen. MacArthur to turn us over to the Commonwealth. He would do his best for us, and if necessary he will go to America.

Today, news came that the military campaign in the Philippines had been declared closed. This may accelerate our transfer to the Commonwealth.

* * * * *

It seems almost definite that the elections will be held next November and that the opposing candidates will be Pres. Osmeña and Roxas. There is quite a difference of opinion as to whether it will benefit us or prejudice us. The general opinion seems to be that it will favor us. Recto upholds this view. They say that both will try to do everything for us with the expectation that we would help whoever could get us released. They are aware that we here hold the balance of power and that whoever we support will come out.

My opinion is different. I believe the effect will be just the reverse. Each would not be a candidate unless he is reasonably sure that he can win. They would be thinking: Why allow a new element to come in which may deprive him of his chance to win? Better eliminate any disturbing element. On the other hand, there are many candidates for senator who will try to use their influence not to allow us to be released for fear that we may present our candidacies and therefore lessen their chances to get elected. Furthermore, each candidate will want to be sure of our support. Those will not get our support will surely work against us.

Both Osmeña and Roxas can do very much for us either way. Osmeña will be the one to decide what to do with us once we are turned over to the Commonwealth. On the other hand, Roxas is an intimate friend of MacArthur and just now our fate is in the hands of MacArthur. If, on the other hand, because of our prudence and because we do not want our attitude known just yet, both may lose interest or may want us to remain where we are until they find out how we stand.

We have been informed that the most serious charge against former Ministers of the Philippine Republic is that we left Manila and this resulted in the killing of so many residents of the city. In other words, they say that if we had not left Manila, the massacre of residents would not have occurred. I am sure that our presence in Manila would not have made any difference. This is what the Japanese did throughout China before the establishment of the Pro-Japanese government. The Japanese were aware that the majority of Filipinos were against them. To protect our people and ourselves, we of course denied this. But as a matter of fact, we knew positively that 95% of the Filipino people were anti-Japanese. We knew that even the government employees serving in the Japanese regime were “guerrilleros”. We knew the feeling of the Filipinos because we were in continuous close contact with them. They hated the Japanese. This feeling was prompted by the abuses committed by the Japanese. They also resented the intervention of the military police and Japanese civilians in strictly private affairs.

What the Filipinos resented most was the air of superiority assumed by the Japanese. Even those holding the lowliest jobs acted no more, no less than kings. All branches of government had Japanese advisers, some of them very ignorant. They would give orders to Filipino officials who by education and experience were far ahead of them.

I remember the case of Dr. Sison, Director of the Philippine General Hospital and Dean of the College of Medicine, reputed as one of the best doctors in the Philippines. A young doctor in the Japanese Army with the rank of Lieutenant, a Dr. Ono, tried to boss him around. We had a Japanese friend, Mr. Yamamoto, then Manager of the Yokohama Specie Bank. We were with him almost everyday as he was a member of the Philippine Club and we used to play tennis with him. After the Japanese occupation of Manila, he would not even talk to us.

We interpreted the attitude of the Japanese as a superiority complex. This we can never accept. Just as we have been preaching that we must have no inferiority complex towards the Americans and other whites, we cannot under any circumstances admit inferiority to the Japanese. Such is the general feeling of Filipinos toward the Japanese and they knew this perfectly well. This is the reason why they tried to change the government, why they wanted Gen. Ricarte and Benigno Ramos to hold responsible positions in the government; why they organized the Makapili, which constitutes not only an army to fight with the Japanese, but a party openly and aggressively for the Japanese. They were against the Laurel government because they were convinced that all of us were not sincere. On the other hand, they knew perfectly well that in Manila and everywhere else, there were many “guerrilleros” and that the moment the Americans approached Manila the Filipinos would all rise up in arms. Under the circumstances, it was not surprising that they had decided to kill everybody they saw before retreating. We could not have done anything. All that would have happened is that they would have killed us also; they did not discriminate. Even those who were reputed to be pro-Japanese and who had done much for the Japanese were killed.

Supposing that we could have done something, why did we leave Manila. We did not want to leave Manila. Plans to evacuate Manila had been previously considered. Various places were considered for the purpose, like San Mateo and Montalban. After due consideration, however, we decided to drop the matter of the proposed evacuation. But on the 19th of December, the President called us to a special meeting and told us that we were being ordered by the Japanese Military authorities to go to Baguio. We were all surprised. Baguio was one of the evacuation places considered and there was almost a unanimous vote against it for two reasons: (1) There were only two roads leading to the City. If these were cut off, not only would it be impossible to escape but there would also be a food shortage since Baguio is far from being self-sufficient. (2) The water supply of Baguio comes from a pumping water system and if the water lines or the pumping mechanism were destroyed or ran out of fuel, we would have a big problem with our water supply.

At any rate, we had decided not to leave Manila. We asked the President whether we could stay. He answered that he had done all he could to prevent the evacuation since he felt duty was to stay in Manila. He feared that there would be a panic when the people found out that the national government had left. He desired to be in a position to protect the people, to die if necessary. Of course that was also the sentiment of each and every Minister. The President said we must go.

We were given 48 hours to leave Manila. For this reason, I was not able to clear out my desk. My family had no time to prepare for departure. I left many things that I should have taken. At home, we packed hurriedly, also leaving many valuable things behind. We were not able to make arrangements for the occupancy of our house during our absence. We had to ask my daughter Lily and her husband to stay there in the meanwhile. The newly married couple, my daughter Neny and Ramon Cojuangco, could not go to Baguio with us because the younger sister of Ramon was doing to be married in a few days. They promised to follow us as soon as possible. (They failed to do so and I suspect it was because of lack of transportation or because American planes were hovering all over Luzon and it was not safe to travel.)

Our car was not ready for the long trip; it needed to be brought to the repair shop. We were told that we would leave for Baguio at ten o’clock of the night of the 20th. Our car was finished at about 9 o’clock of the night set for our departure, but it did not run smoothly. A Malacañan mechanic, after inspecting it, told us that the car could definitely not reach Baguio. I decided to take the armored car of the Philippine National Bank where I was the one-man Board of Directors. But the armored car was hardly sufficient to accommodate our cook, laundry woman and servants, not to mention our luggage. Not including our household help, we were thirteen: my wife and I, my eight children, mother-in-law, my Japanese military police guard and my chauffeur. We tried to get other cars in Malacañan, but they were all in bad shape and the mechanic certified that they could not reach Baguio. In a way, we were glad as we thought that it would be a good excuse for us not to go.

The Japanese offered to give us a military car, but of course I did not want to use such a car because it was painted in the special khaki color of all military cars. It would have been very dangerous since American planes seem to have already mastery of the air and I was sure that we would encounter American planes. The military car would be a target. I decided to borrow the Buick 7-passenger car of my son-in-law, Ramon Cojuangco (1941 model), although it had not been used for months and we were not sure that it would run. When we tried to leave the Malacañan Palace grounds to go to the house of Speaker Benigno Aquino where the car was kept, the Japanese guards stopped us and questioned us repeatedly. When they found out who I was and where I was going, and that my sole purpose for leaving the premises was to get my son-in-law’s car to use in going to Baguio, we were allowed to leave but under guard. Speaker Aquino’s house was within hailing distance from Malacañan.

The Buick would not start. We pushed it to start the engine, and finally after two hours of pushing, the car began to function. All the while we were pushing the automobile, the soldiers followed behind us. Back in Malacañan, the mechanic certified that it could reach Baguio, so we decided to use it.

We arrived in Malacañan before ten o’clock, the time for departure set by the military, but we were not to leave for Baguio until the next morning. No one was allowed to leave Malacañan. That night we slept on divans and chairs, and some slept in the cars. We were not allowed to get food from the outside; we had to be contented with the little food furnished us by Malacañan. The palace was very heavily guarded by Japanese soldiers and officers.

The motorcade consisted of at least 30 cars belonging to the President, the Chief Justice, and all the Ministers with the exception of Minister Sison of Home Affairs. The Japanese Ambassador and his staff were also with us. Alongside the car of each Minister was a military vehicle with Japanese guards in full uniform. We noticed that they kept their eyes on us.

We boarded our automobiles at about seven o’clock in the morning. We were given instructions. The cars were camouflaged and divided into groups. Each group would leave at half-hour intervals and each car was to keep a certain distance from the next. When American planes appeared, we were told to alight and endeavor to find an air raid shelter, or go to a more protected place like under trees, and not to move. We knew that the trip was going to be a dangerous one. I was worried as I was carrying about ₱15,000,000 of military notes and about ₱1,000,000 of Commonwealth notes in the armored car owned by the Philippine National Bank which was part of our caravan.

We did not actually start until about 9 o’clock and so we were inside the car sweating for a full two hours. The Kempetai or military police assigned to me sat with the chauffeur and was fully armed. We took the regular route to Baguio. There was very little civilian traffic or Filipinos on the road. All along the way, the roads with the exception of places inside the “poblacion” were deserted. Almost all the houses were vacant. The atmosphere was very pitiful and sombre. We also saw no animals. There were stretches of miles and miles with no Filipinos in sight. They probably had fled to the mountains or to the barrios to avoid the Japanese soldiers who had been taking all their food. There were many Japanese soldiers, automobiles, trucks and other military vehicles all along the way. It convinced us that there were still many Japanese soldiers in the Philippines. What we could not understand was that the soldiers were travelling in both directions. We saw cannons, especially anti-aircraft. We saw various airplanes parked alongside the roads, very well camouflaged.

Before leaving Manila, we were told that signals would be given whenever there was an air raid or American planes above. I forgot to say that our convoy included many trucks of Japanese officers and soldiers. Generally, there was one truck in front of a group and another behind. Because of these trucks, we travelled at a very slow pace. A kilometer before reaching San Fernando, Pampanga, we were stopped. We were advised that Camp Clark, the most important Japanese air base, was being attacked. We got off to run for shelter. I selected a ditch. We saw two American planes overhead. We certainly were scared. Evidently the planes did not see our cars as they continued on their way.

We proceeded on our way. San Fernando was intact, but when we reached Angeles we saw that the town was almost completely wiped out. It is said that it was burned by Communist elements. We reached a place from where we could see Camp Clark; a few places were still burning. We learned that many Japanese planes were either shot down or destroyed on the ground. There were also some American planes hit. We learned that Pres. Laurel and his family, who were in the first group, were very near the scene of the air battle and bombing. They also had to alight and hide.

When passing Tarlac we saw many planes coming. At first we thought they were American planes, but they were flying low. Evidently, a big transport carrying some high Japanese officers, was being escorted. The rest of the way we did not stop. We tried to go as fast as possible when approaching or passing airports and other military objectives. We did not encounter any more planes.

Alcohol fuel is really far from being as good as gasoline. All along the road cars belonging to different groups stalled. Many had to be pushed or’ repaired. Some cars had to be abandoned on the roadside, the occupants transferred to the military trucks with the Japanese and Philippine Constabulary soldiers. After a few hours, the motorcade broke up as most of the cars had stopped. The cars still running went ahead. All along the way the trucks loaded with Japanese soldiers never left us. When our car stalled, they also stopped and helped push our car. No car was able to arrive in Baguio before dusk. Some arrived before midnight of the 21st and some in the early morning of the 22nd. Some even arrived on the 23rd. Many cars were left behind. The occupants of cars that broken down in Kennon Road walked all the way to Baguio.

My family and I had the most sensational experience. My car ran smoothly until we entered Pangasinan when it stopped. It had to be pushed by Army trucks quite a long way before it would start again. This had to be repeated many times. At one point, the machine would not function anymore. A Japanese mechanic alighted from a truck and repaired the machine. He must have been a good mechanic as the machine started and we continued on our trip. After about 20 kilometers we stopped again. A truck tried to pull us with the intention of doing so up to Baguio. But my car was very big and heavy and it could not be pulled up the mountain road. The mechanic was able to make it function again. After stopping in Pozorrubio for fuel, at about six o’clock in the evening, we started the sleep climb to Baguio. Before reaching Camp one, the car stopped again. It had to be pushed for kilometers by Min. Recto’s car. In places, the roads were so narrow after a landslide; the fender skirts caught a high ground and the car got stuck. We removed the fender skirts but were convinced, however, that we could not continue the trip that way. Meanwhile, many cars had accumulated behind us and the occupants were becoming impatient. I heard them hooting. I was annoyed; I thought they ought to be more helpful. I told the chauffeur to stop the car, park it on the side of the road, and allow all the cars, including the one pushing us to pass. I was determined that we would sleep right there on the road. It was certainly difficult for my mother-in-law, my wife and my children. I could see that they were suffering, especially as it was already very cold. I was not sorry to stay; I was afraid to continue. My chauffeur had been rejected by the government insurance company for poor eyesight. He was also color blind. I should not have allowed him to drive, especially on narrow and dangerous roads like the Kennon Road. But the chauffeur continued to work on the car. Finally, to our amazement, it started to function.

By this time we were the only car on Kennon Road. We went quite fast. We could not slow down because everytime the car slowed down it would stop. We continued our way in quite a fast clip. We passed all the cars that hours before had left us. We reached Baguio several hours ahead of them. My chauffeur had never been to Baguio. So I had to direct him. We intended to go straight to the house reserved for us in Cabinet Hill. The road to Cabinet Hill was closed. We went ahead to the Pines Hotel. There we learned that the houses on Cabinet Hill were not ready since the present occupants had been given only a few days to vacate the houses — accommodations in Baguio were then very difficult. But the Pines Hotel was ready for us.

My chauffeur, who had never been to Pines Hotel, did not know the correct entrance. He entered through the exit. Since the driveway was very narrow which made it difficult for a car to back out, I walked to the hotel lobby where I got permission for us to approach the front entrance passing through the wrong way. From the entrance, I hailed my chauffeur to start the automobile and proceed. The road was steep and the car began to roll down, I was right in front of it. I hardly had time to jump out of the way. It was a narrow escape.

We went into the hotel. There was no food prepared for us so we passed the night hungry. We were given two small rooms where we had to sleep four to a bed. We suffered terribly.

I relate all these facts to show that we did not want to leave Manila voluntarily and that we were carried by threat and by force to Baguio.

I would also like to relate here the circumstances connected with the ₱15,000,000 of military notes and ₱1,000,000 of Commonwealth notes that we brought to Baguio.

Sometime on December 19, 1944, the Japanese adviser of the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Haraguti, accompanied by three Japanese officers, came to see me at my office. I was surprised at the sudden arrival of my visitors for I had not been informed of their coming. Haraguti, in the name and on behalf of the Japanese Army, demanded that all Philippine and American currency deposited and in the possession of the different Filipino banks be turned over to the Southern Development Bank, a bank owned and controlled by the Japanese government. As Minister of Finance, I had the sole discretion of affecting such a transfer with the final approval of the President. The Japanese did not go to Laurel directly because, in many previous occasions, Laurel told them that where money matters were involved he executes whatever his Minister of Finance recommends.

I protested vehemently. Haraguti cited a precedent — what the American High Commissioner did with reference to bank funds upon the commencement of the Pacific war. He said that the High Commissioner took possession of all the Philippine currency belonging to the different banks. I answered that the present case is different inasmuch as the Philippine Commonwealth was really under the American government, whereas at present the Philippines is an independent Republic formally recognized by the Japanese government. Haraguti insisted and I could see that the Japanese were determined to use force if necessary. I then asked him why they wanted to get the money. He answered that the purpose was to prevent their circulation. I then proposed that the Republic get the money for safekeeping. I added, however, that I would consult Pres. Laurel before making a definite decision. I thought they had accepted my proposition as they left without saying anything further.

I immediately went to see Pres. Laurel. I told Laurel that I was convinced that the Japanese were hell bent on confiscating the money and that we had no other recourse but to do all the means necessary to save the money. Pres. Laurel and I decided to meet with the managers of the banks concerned. Whatever is agreed upon by the managers and myself, would be considered as approved and ordered by the President.

The following day, I called the bank managers concerned and met with them in the office of the President of the Philippine National Bank on the Escolta. As I recall, the only banks then having Philippine or American currency were the Philippine National Bank, the Philippine Bank of Commerce, and the Bank of the Philippine Islands. The PNB was represented by Mr. Vicente Carmona, as bank President, while PBC and BPI were represented by their respective Vice President and General Manager, Miguel Cuaderno and Rafael Moreno. Felix de la Costa, director of the Bureau of Credits and Investment, was also present.

During the meeting I gave them an account of what happened. I told them that the only possible satisfactory solution would be for them to turn over the money to the Philippine government for safekeeping. I added that the money would be returned to them as soon as conditions become normal. They all readily agreed. With respect to the Philippine National Bank, no action was necessary as we were leaving all the money with the bank. I issued corresponding receipts to the banks for the amounts received as follows: Philippine National Bank, ₱490,529.00; Philippine Bank of Commerce, ₱425.200.00; and Bank of the Philippine Islands, ₱969.00. The total amount taken by my office was left and deposited with the Philippine National Bank. After leaving the bank, I went directly to Pres. Laurel to give my report. He approved all that had been done.

About a week prior to the above-mentioned events, Malacañan had advised all the Ministers that the Japanese were ordering all of us to go with them to Baguio. On December 20, 1944, an arrangement was made with the Philippine National Bank to load all the currency in the bank’s armored car which would go with us to Baguio. The person in charge of the armored car was Mr. Amado Lagdameo, the manager of the Baguio branch of PNB. Upon arrival in Baguio, the money was taken directly to and deposited in the Philippine National Bank branch.

In the evening of January 8, 1945, I received a letter from Manager Lagdameo reporting that Maj. I. Moritani accompanied by the Managers of the Bank of Taiwan and the Nampo Kaihatsu Kinko, forced him to hand over to them all the notes deposited in trust with the branch. Also taken were all the cash in the vault. He also wrote that he was not allowed to communicate with me by phone nor see me personally.

I immediately reported the matter to Pres. Laurel. I told him that what the Japanese had done was clearly illegal and improper. I recommended that Laurel make representations to the proper Japanese authorities immediately for the return of the currency seized as it was being held in trust by the Philippine Republic for the banks. Laurel protested strongly to the Japanese Ambassador and the Japanese military authorities demanding the return of the money. Up to the time when I escaped from Baguio on April 12, 1945, the money had not yet been returned. All that we were able to get was a receipt for the money from Col. Utsonomiya. All the original documents are in my possession.


17th May 1945

I had scarcely arrived at the embassy in Tokyo yesterday when the chauffeur ushered a Japanese marine into my office, He was a tall awkward fellow who, after many bows, informed me that I was wanted for questioning at a navy court-martial in connection with a Japanese I knew called Fujita. He had a little red notebook in his hand which he continually consulted. After I had assured him three times that I was the man he wanted, he wrote down meticulously the date and the hour of the appointment: 10 o’clock in the morning of the following day.

.As I was being driven to the ad dress the marine had left, I uneasily reviewed in my mind what I had heard about Fujita. He was a civilian employee of the navy, I knew. He had said he was working in a listening-post. Why had he been arrested? Had he circulated American news reports? Could it have been that frank discussion of the war situation which he had delivered at, of all places, a munitions factory?

I recalled with a twinge of apprehension that he and I had had many unreserved conversations in my apartment; he had even given me “confidential” maps from the navy files, maps which were as a matter of fact mere reproductions of those issued by the coast end geodetic survey of the Philippine government. He had also shown me copies or American short-wave newscasts. Had my apartment telephone been tapped? Was there, after all, a dictaphone around?

The appearance of the building which was my destination was somewhat reassuring. It was the house of a former baron, the chauffeur told me. It had not lost its air of decayed gentility; there was a square gravelled yard in front but it had an untidy fringe of weeds; the squat double staircase had once been painted cream, like the front of the house, but now the paint was flaking and discolored.

We had to wait a while before a porter finally answered the chauffeur’s calls. Me took me up the staircase to a small room in the back of the house, overlooking a tangled garden, cluttering up with bamboo poles, a heap of raw cement, a pile of rope. The corridors and anterooms through which we had passed had only increased the general impression of dingy squalor. One always associates the navy with a scrupulous and burnished cleanliness but here the floors were gritty with dust, the windows dark with grime.

I looed around the room where I was now asked to wait, together with the embassy chauffeur who, would act as interpreter.

It was a small bare room, almost completely filled by a long table at which were set 10 or 12 red plush chairs. The walls were covered with a pretentious pattern; on one side hung a blackboard on which some characters had been written. The chauffeur said they meant “secret” and “confidential”.

After about a quarter of an hour a friendly young naval officer came in, together with yesterday’s marine. In his rimmed glasses and neat uniform he looked life a university student. He spoke little English it turned out, and I did not speak enough Japanese. I suggested the services of the chauffeur. Unfortunately the business was “confidential” and, after dismissing him, the officer sent for a dictionary.

We stared at each other across a corner of the long table, each of us, I suppose, busy with our own thoughts, while the marine rummaged in the next room. Finally everything was ready; we ran our fingers tentatively over the pages of our dictionaries; the marine sat down at an appropriate distance with a pencil poised over his red notebook.

This was not a court, he began. He was not a judge or a prosecutor. He was Fujita’s defence counsel. Would I be willing to answer a few questions for his sake? Of course, he reminded me, as a diplomat I could claim immunity from any further connection with the proceeding.

I did not see how I could withdraw without arousing unpleasant suspicions, and a lively curiosity as well well as a desire to help the unfortunate Fujita who, it turned out, was confined in this very building, promoted me to waive immunity.

Thereupon he opened a thick and ragged dossier and unfolded a long list of what I presumed were the charges against Fujita.

“Is it true,” he asked, “that Fajita talked to you concerning military or naval matters?” His voice was fflat a rd expressionless. He seemed to be rather bored, wither like a clerk asking for the name and address of a taxpayer.

”I don’t remember,” I answered, “but I don’t think so. We talked mostly of Manila where we met.”

His expression did. not change and. he went on to particulars. Was it true that Fujita hat told me that the Japanese commander-in-chief in the Philippines ha fled to Taiwan? That the Japanese had suffered a disastrous defeat in the naval battle off the Philippines? that Japanese losses in Leyte totalled 70,000? That Aquino, the Republic’s Speaker of the Assembly, would betray the Japanese? That Japan intended to abandon the Philippines and withdraw from all the southern regions? That only one-fourth of the planes produced in Japan were serviceable? That, in case of the American landing on the mainland, the Japanese had no means of resistance available?  That   there had been ‘disturbances’ in Chosen? That there might be ‘disturbances’ in Japan? That he himself preferred to live under any foreign government rather than continue under any Japanese regime?

All throughout the use of that curious construction: was it true etc.; was it true that Fujia had told me, etc. As I returned a steady stream of “No’s” and “I don’t remember’s” to this series of leading questions, he grew increasingly puzzled.

“Okashi, ne,” he murmured hunder his breath. “Strange, very strange.”

I began to feel slightly apprehensive. My answers, I knew, would have run false in the ears of any experienced examiner, especially if the true had been mixed with the false among those leading questions. But I had no means of knowing how much the police had discovered or Fujita had confessed, and I decided to continue taking my chances on his obvious inexperience and distaste for this work. At long last we were finished. He thanked me formally. “You were very kind,” he said, “I hope we shall be able to do something for Fujita. He is a good man.” “But,” he added, “he likes to talk.”

He folded the list of charges. “I cannot understand the military police. They claim Fujita told you all these things. You are sure…?” I hastened to reassure him. It was plain he did not like the military police. He told me that the kempei had arrested Fujita and proposed to try him but the navy had stepped in to protect its employee. As a result Fujita would be tried by a naval court of inquiry. The officer had a typical solution for this vexing problem of the military police. “Soon,” he told me confidentially, “we shall have our own military police.”

I rose. “Could you,” he stopped me, with the air of having just remembered, “sign this paper please?”

“But this paper is blank,” I protested.

“I know,” he said ruefully. “I am sorry. This man,” and he pointed to the marine, who was grinning shamefacedly over his red notebook, ” should have taken down your answers during the examination. But he does not understand English.” I laughed and said that I could not possibly sign a blank sheet of paper. If he could send a summary of my statement later to the embassy, I should be glad to sign. He let it go at that. We bowed to each other once more and then I asked him what streetcar to take to get back to Kudan hill, as the embassy car was gone. He went down with me to the gate and gave me the necessary directions. When I went away I saw him studying me behind his glasses, still a little puzzled and uncertain.


12th May 1945

The spy scare continues to mount. Japan is alone against the world and all foreigners are suspect. Chatting with other Filipinos in the lobby of the Dai-Ichi hotel I was approached by a well-dressed Japanese. He came up with a smile and for a moment I thought I had met him somewhere. But he himself said afterward that he had made mistake; he apologized and then calmly joined our group and asked questions. Who were we? What nationality? What were we waiting for? Where did we live?

Later in the day Anita arrived from Miyanoshita. She had come down together with an Italian acquaintance. He was blonde, red-faced, obviously a foreigner and she looked like a Japanese to the policeman at the streetcar stop near the embassy. It was some time before he was convinced that he had not bagged a brace of spies.

Afterward, explaining and aplogizing for the incident, one or our Japanese interpreter told me two stories of real espionage. An admiral in full uniform had been stopped by the military police while driving in a secret factory district. The admiral was furious but the suspicions of the kempei had been aroused by the fact that his car was not a navy car. They proved to be justified. The man turned out to be an impostor and a spy. In another factory district a man in the uniform of an army lieutenant had asked to board at a farmhouse, explaining that he was assigned for duty in one of the plants nearby. He won the confidence of the old couple on the farm with the story that he was an orphan. Eventually he was even adopted and married to the daughter of the family. He asked many casual questions and they were answered. One day the factory was wiped out by a raid. The daughter, who was working there, was killed. The man never came back.

From another source I heard why the American raids are so accurate. The military police had long puzzled over the fact that the B-29’s were consistently hitting the right targets in a certain factory. They were not fooled, it seemed, by the most ingenious camouflage and the most convincing dummies. They were at a loss until one of the townspeople remarked to a friend that it was funny that his neighbor, the wife of the factory’s technical director, should always be at her sewing-machine, pedaling furiously whenever there was an air-raid. The police were intrigued. One day, at the height of a raid, they surrounded the house. Inside they caught the director transmitting information through a secret radio set while his wife worked at the sewing machine to muffle the noise. The man and his entire family were shot. He was a skilled technician who had come back to Japan on an exchange boat.

Whether these stories are true or not, they form the staple of conversation in diplomatic circles, together with the rations and black-market connections. The wife of one Italian diplomat said she has a stiff leg recently and called masseur. A man showed up and started off by asking questions. Where had she sprained her leg? Why? With whom? Finally he thanked her and left, promising to send a real masseur. At least, she consoles herself now, the police agent did not actually start massaging her leg.

A Portuguese was recently called in by the military police. What had she been talking about on a certain day when she had walked to Roppongi in a black dress and a green hat? She could not remember. It was two years ago.

The Fujiya hotel has a swimming pool and a group of Axis diplomats were sunning themselves around in one morning. In a short while a Japanese strolled up. Calmly he took off his shoes and coat and made himself comfortable in a lounge chair. He was obviously listening to the conversation and the diplomats turned to the innocuous topic of Chinese food. Most of them had been in China and now they reminisced hungrily of Peking duck, sweet and sour sauce, pickled eggs, and thick asparagus soup with chicken. The police agent was obviously puzzled. What was there to report in this series of culinary memoirs? Finally he could stand it no longer. He raised himself, turned, and asked: “Excuse, please. You talk about Chinese cooking, no?

“Yes,” answered one Italian cautiously. “Anything wrong?”

“No, nothing wrong. You like Chinese cooking?”

“Well, yes, we like Chinese cooking and,” he added discreetly, “also Japanese cooking.”

“What kind Chinese cooking?” the policeman suddenly demanded with the air of a hunter who has cornered his prey.

“What kind? You mean, north or south Chinese?”

“No, no. Please answer. What kind Chinese cooking you like? Nanking or Chunking?”

But the Japanese are the worst victims of their own spy-scare. A Japanese in Miyanoshita, who is married to a German lady he met during his studies in Berlin, does not dare walk in the streets of the village with his wife anymore. The same German woman, met the son and daughter of a Japanese marquis on the train from Tokyo the other day. They were old friends and they chatted amiably. As soon as they got off, however, the two Japanese were taken in to kempei headquarters. Why, they were asked, had they been talking to the foreign woman? What had they talked about?

But the boy was too quick-witted for them. “Is there anything to prohibit us from talking to a Japanese subject?” he asked.

“No,” the police agreed. “But this woman….”

This woman is married to a Japanese and therefore she herself is a Japanese subject.”

They were released. But they, like very other Japanese in the vicinity, have now let it be known to their foreign friends that they will have to be excused if they no longer exchange words or even salutes.

The life of a Burmese diplomat, for one, understands perfectly. To amuse herself one day she painted the fingernails of her favorite maid a vivid red. In the afternoon she decided to take a short trip and sent the maid to the railway to buy a ticket.

In a few minutes she was back, weeping copiously and pleading for some polish remover. The station-master had refused to sell a ticket to a Japanese girl with painted fingernails “like the hairy devils”.


May 7, 1945

IT WAS 1,246 days ago today when I started scribbling the first page of this notebook. It has since then become my inseparable companion, my vade mecum since that treacherous attack on Pearl Harbor which started the conflagration in the Pacific. After three years and five months, I am closing it today, bidding it goodbye more with nostalgia than with joy, as a friend who is leaving.

Today, after five years, eight months and six days, Germany surrendered. The war in Europe has ended. Technically, the war in the Philippines has also come to an end. The Imperial Army, destroyed and disunited, is no longer an organized army but scattered groups of desperate people running amuck. The liberating forces are landing without opposition at all important points in this archipelago and are pinning down with their pincers the remaining members of the “invincible” Japanese Army who are nested in caves and crests of the mountain ranges. The mopping up would be a task more or less tiresome but the danger has subsided.

As I look back on the days past—writers commonly preface their work by referring to their achievements as mountain tops and as valleys what they left behind—I had to force myself into fighting the temptation of moralizing, into which many new writers fall.

There is one point I want to emphasize, now that it can be discussed clearly and intelligently. During the Japanese domination, speaking and writing were risky. Spiritually, morally and culturally, we were suppressed. We were separated from the Japanese by an impenetrable, unscalable wall. They never associated with us. We never succeeded in understanding them, being intimate with them, or having an interchange of opinion, sentiments, ideas and ideals. When we chanced upon one of them who seemed to be different, one who seemed to have unveiled for us something of the Japanese mysterious, inscrutable character, we would feel we had made a marvelous discovery, having found a rare breed. We told our friends about it. And these friends skeptically warned us:

“Watch out. Don’t be too sure. There is no telling what that Japanese is up to.”

Or perhaps another would say, “A Japanese said that? I don’t believe it.”

And the wall of separation became taller and thicker.

On the other hand, prudence or caution prevented us from speaking out openly before our neighbors if they were not of our trust. We would rather keep quiet. They could be spies who could denounce us. The shadow of the Kem Pei Tai or the thought of Fort Santiago cast fear even among the most courageous.

I confess I am not among these. I was writing my notes daily or weekly with fear and trembling. Now that I can speak and write in any way I want before the army and civilians, before friends and foes alike, these fears appear ridiculous and unfounded. The fact is that many have started their diaries but never closed them. To start it is an implicit indication of sympathy; to continue with it, a confirmation of pro-Americanism; and to finish it, an open profession of faith.

Several times, I had been at the point of relegating these innocent creatures to the waste can or to the fire. Whenever the curiosity of the police dogs seemed to direct its obstinate sniffings towards my room, the fear of endangering myself and my companions placed me on the verge of making an act of faith. Providence which saved me and my brothers in many occasions from the hands of bloody Herod—from the dungeons of Intramuros and the prison chains of Baguio, among others—also saved these people from a painful and hardly spirited death.

The moral chain which bound my conscience or my subconscience according to the degree of the threat of danger, did not permit me to be as outspoken as I wanted to be. Unconsciously, I tended to tone down my statements, glide along the surface of these rugged events and cloak the interpretation which might seem subversive against the new order which was nothing more than an old disorder.

No matter how hard I tried to assume the stoic position of an independent observer and outwardly tried to play the role of an impartial chronicler, convincing myself of foolhardy thought that this would lessen the danger, actually neither was the risk diminished nor did I succeed in maintaining a balanced and neutral attitude.

Such is the texture of the individual and collective spirit, such is the nature of events and experience, that only a statue can remain indifferent. I was either for the Japanese or against them. There were neutralities which killed. There were positions which were impossible to maintain throughout the three years.

The sphinx-like temperament is reserved for certain people. Neither our western Christian education nor the profession which we pursue permitted us to feel one thing and say another without blushing. The art of cunning or the masked trick of covering a dangerous intention with honeyed or high sounding phrases, are monopolized by certain conquerors who feel an achievement in the conquest of land rather than of the spirit. The noble warrior who has the conscience overflowing with the bounty of his cause and of his resources, manages arms and souls with as much skill as with frankness. Never does he employ deceit and cunning.

During the three years of Japanese occupation, we witnessed innumerable cases of hypocrisy, Machiavellian in some cases, infantile in others. We did not have any direct proofs that the Americans fought like gentlemen and that they played it clean, isolated as we were within the Sphere. But we could sense it. We felt that we had known them well enough not to believe the atrocities and hypocrisies attributed to them by their enemies. During these past three months with them, our intuition had been transformed into a full vision, verified by personal experiences.

Is this a defense? An allegation? It is nothing more than a soliloquy exploding out sentiments suppressed for so long under the Sphere.

We end with the hope that the Philippines get speedily rehabilitated physically, economically, morally, and spiritually.

 

[The diary ends here]


11th April 1945

The diplomatic gasoline ration has been cut 60 per cent. The stocks are getting low with communications to the southern regions practically severed. But the transport situation may be only half the reason for the change. It is expected that soon the foreign office will issue a circular requesting diplomats to travel by automobile in the country only with special permission and accompanied by an official representative of the foreign office. At bottom one finds the same rising suspicion of all foreigners. A Thai diplomat got into a violent quarrel the other night in one of the largest Tokyo stations because he was overheard talking in English. A German journalist happened to mention to another German that there was a battery of anti-aircraft guns near his house; the next day he was picked up by the kempei-tai. Even our old maid Kubota has now reached the stage of depression where she talks of girding on a sword when the Americans come and fighting them in the streets. She adds, only half in jest, that she will cut off our heads first because “all you Filipinos are pro-Americans.”


2nd April 1945

The American landing on the main Okinawa island yesterday has been announced and all the vernaculars are howling for a decisive victory. The Yomiuri is typical: “The coming decisive battle in the Okinawas is one under our complete control of the air and our supremacy at sea… Unless the enemy is smashed now, when can we expect to shift to the offensive? The day of discontinuing our patience has come at last.” While the task-force was pounding Okinawa and hundreds of B-29’s were covering the operation by blasting airfields on nearby Kyushu, some 50 other super-forts raided the western area of Tokyo before dawn this morning. It was a short raid and we went back to bed soon.

Everyone however is tensed for longer and heavier attacks. The house-dispersal program has been pushed through “with unexpected rapidity” although the time limits set were only from five to 15 days. Workers eating in downtown restaurants will be given bags of dried biscuits (one bag, 225 grams, 22 sen) in exchange for regular meal tickets for use in case raids shut down restaurants. “Wiping away tears of determination with their fists”, a group of oyabun (“traditional-type bosses of free-lance labor”) have volunteered to clear the debris from the raided areas in Tokyo. The neighborhood associations in turn will plant pumpkins and potatoes or raise hogs end poultry in the cleared areas without much thought of land ownership or land lease. At least, so the announcements go.

A German at the Fujiya, going to Tokyo one day, found the train packed to the roof as usual and, unable to set a seat, remained standing next to a window. It was not long before a kempei approached him. Why was he staring out of the window and at what? Nothing in particular, he replied, he just had not been able to get a seat. Nevertheless he was asked to open up his valise inspection. Aha, what was this? How did he propose to explain carrying his instrument around? The kempei raised his hand. He was hoIding — a nail file.


24th January 1945

The mysterious Mr. Yokoyama has been arrested. The story is that his daughter and his secretary were picked up too. It only complicates the already tangled and twisted puzzle of this inscrutable personage. Who is Mr. Yokoyama? What is he after? Where does he get his money? For months the diplomatic corps in Japan has been asking itself these questions. Now it must answer another, why has he been arrested?

When we arrived in Tokyo Mr. Yokoyama’s activities were already in full swing. He was more familiar with foreign diplomats than the foreign minister himself. He invited us to elaborate theater parties, the best entertainment in the capital. He gave large and small dinners with all the luxuries of a prosperous peace, Virginia ham, thick juicy steaks, imported Scotch, His funds seemed inexhaustible, as inexhaustible as his generosity. And he asked nothing, no favors, no questions.

The social columns of the Times almost daily linked his name with one or the other ambassadors but he was no mere snob; he protected the needy foreigners in Tokyo, got them jobs, slipped them pocket money, introduced them to his own special teacher in Nippongo, perked them up with a drink of his imported Scotch. And all the time, this baldish, stoutish, round-faced man with the firm handshake seemed to ask and get nothing for his pains; he laughed, whispered intimately, showed his protruding teeth, bowed, clasped hands and embraced shoulders, and left it at that.

Where did he get his money, money for the black market, money for his luxurious suite in the Imperial Hotel, money for his thoughtful gifts? Some said that he was being subsidized by the foreign office, by the kempei-taiby the metropolitan police, by a “foreign power”. Was he a spy, an agent provocateur, a propagandist, or Just a jolly good fellow who had made his pile in the theater business and wanted a good time? Was he a leader in the “Black Dragon” Society? Or was he, as others whispered, a scoundrel who had waxed rich on opium smuggling in China, on arms-running to various countries, on blackmail? One or two said definitely that he had “taken the rap” for an important personage accused of high crimes before the war. What personage, what crimes? That is still a little vague.

Meantime the members of the diet have also been asking questions and getting answers that are only a shade more precise. Speaking for them, Mr. Chu Funada probed into the aircraft production problem at yesterday’s session of the budget committee.

Funada: “What is the future outlook on munitions production?’

Premier: “At present the supply is short but we are confident that a full supply can be secured if we concentrate our efforts.”

Funada: “We hear it said that we are short of aircraft. How about it?”

Munitions Minister: “Compared with 1943, 1944 has already shown a considerable increase in production. But due to the demand of the fighting fronts for as many planes as possible, we are making added daily efforts for further increase…. I should like to refrain from giving concrete figures but it is a fact that our rate of increase in production has been better than that of our enemy America.”

Funada: “We hear it said also that many of the aircraft produced are defective. Is this true?”

President of the Board of Technique: “Even in America only 30 per cent of the planes manufactured are good for fighting.”


18th — 20th January 1945

Four Japanese Catholic nuns called. They had a small cake baked for us by their Mother Superior. The icing represented the Philippine and Japanese flags. One of the nuns apologized because they had been compelled to make the cake without sugar, butter, or baking powder. Another, who had been in the Philippines, wistfully rehearsed her scant Tagalog and afterward insisted on borrowing a new textbook, Tagalog-Nippongo, brought out a few months ago by one of the Filipinos in Japan. She talked cheerfully of going back to the Philippines which, it seemed, she had grown to love. How shall one make them understand that no Japanese will ever be able to step on Filipino soil for the next generation without running the risk of being torn limb from limb?

Eddie Vargas returned to Tokyo today. All civilian communications to the Philippines have been suspended. When he landed in Taiwan, he said, the airport was still littered with the wreckage of about 70 planes. The planes taking off for the Philippines the next three days had been all shot down and finally he had been forced to give up the trip. On Taiwan he had been constantly shadowed by kempei. He was frisked once after coming from church. One particular kempei, apparently because he did not know anything else in English, kept asking his name. He barely resisted the temptation of giving a different one every time. The kempei in Fukuoka on the mainland proved to be more amenable. Eddie gave him some Taiwan candy every time he wanted to ask questions.

One of our students in Japan, a former guerrilla in the Philippines, shared some of his experiences with me when he called. One youngster in his outfit had cold-bloodedly shot down a town treasurer, in full view of his daughters, purely because the man was making himself unpleasant by too much whining on the way to their hideout where he was wanted for questioning. Another, after a raid on an occupied town, wanted to go back because he had not had a chance to kill his first man. A third, who used to go hunting cows with a heavy machine-gun, finally ended up by betting his coming bonus on the possibility that his revolver, after the half-loaded roller had been twirled, would not go off. He put the gun to his head and it did go off. The young are bloodthirsty, I thought. Possibly they do not know the value of human life.

It was the same student who told me with some relish that since the total blackouts began to be enforced, increasing numbers of women had been found dead in the sidewalk shelters in Tokyo and Yokohama. They had been raped and robbed. When he told me about it, I could not tell whether he was happy because they were Japanese or shocked because they were women. His eyes would fill and deepen and then a teasing, calculating smile would light up his smooth unlined baby’s face.

I have often wondered about Danny. He was in his teens when the war broke out (I think he still is). His father, whom he loves and respects more than any other man, works with the Japanese; he went out to kill them. They did it for the same reason; the independence of our country and the welfare of our people. Was one right and the other wrong; must one and one alone be right and other wrong; or are these shining phrases mere words, habitual disguises for the individual instinct and choice?

Danny was caught, thrown into a dungeon, tortured perhaps, then released on an amnesty (it was the emperor’s birthday). Then he came to Japan as a government scholar. Why? I have never asked him. But I have gathered from loose ends in our conversations and from the stories of his friends, that he wanted to “give the Japs a chance”. Perhaps they meant what they said; perhaps they had something worth learning and working over: a code of honor (even before the war bushido was a good word in the Philippines), the ideal of Pan-Asianism (Asia for the Asiatics, the Philippines for the Filipinos).

But it hasn’t worked out. Danny is too much of an American or too much of a Filipino or too much of both. He thinks in English (although he never could spell), he loves the boogie, he is used to asking questions and getting answers instead of a slap in the face. He hasn’t touched his books in Japan; he wanted to study architecture and they put him in an engineering school; he says he will not be “broken” by the drill sergeants who pass themselves off as teachers.

Now he spends his days making love to Niseis, collecting “military information” for future use, writing poetry, not love poetry as one would expect but “native land” poetry and “peace” poetry and “humanity” poetry in the vein of the “brotherhood of man”. For he has not forsworn Orientalism; he has cut it up and spread it out; he talks of the U.S.S.P., the United States of the Southwest Pacific, and of the “Sepia Federation” which will unite all the Malays; he talks also of writing a book on peace and how it can be found and kept.

One can see that he is no longer bloodthirsty; he can afford to talk tolerantly when he tells his stories of guerrilla murders and raids. He no longer hates the Japanese; he has lived here too long. He only despises them with a contempt that is softened with pity; “These people are crazy. They don’t know what’s good for them. But by God, a few more bombs will l’arn them.” What will his comrades in the guerrilla bands think of him now? Will they think he has gone soft, that he has betrayed them, that he has gone over to the enemy? Or will there be one among them who will comprehend something of the tortured indecision that eats at the secret heart and shakes the brooding soul of every man cursed with understanding, tolerance, and a sense of the kinship of all men?