18th April 1945

The Mainichi today carries more “last words” from suicide pilots:

“Although the expression ‘shichisho hokoku’ (firm resolve to serve the nation by being born seven times) is popular nowadays, it does not apply to us. We have only one chance to strike.” — Flight Chief Warrant Officer T.

“Oh, but Nippon is a beautiful country!” — Lieutenant N.

“I will be hopping off soon but I have nothing to worry about. Many more will follow.” — 2nd Lieutenant N.

“I am not saying farewell. I shall meet you again at Yasukuni shrine (where the spirits of the war dead are enshrined).” — 2nd Lieutenant K.

“I hate this rain. It has prolonged my life another day but I hate to think of those who are losing theirs on Okinawa. Really, I feel as if I were committing a crime.” — Cadet S.

“We are about to body-crash into an enemy battleship.” — last report from a tokotai formation.

The emperor had an ominous word of his own to contribute, in an imperial rescript granted yesterday morning; the rescript, an event in Japan, reads: The war situation having become increasingly grave, the enemy has been encroaching upon Our land with added intensity. We regret exceedingly that some of Our subjects have fallen victim to enemy raids or have been wounded, while some have lost their property or have been deprived of their means of livelihood, and many barely maintain their sustenance. We have commanded the disbursement from the Privy Purse of sums for relief and rehabilitation. The competent authorities are hereby commanded to give the people something to rely on in accordance with Our wishes.” The sum released, according to an official announcement, is 10 million yen.

But the principal topic of discussion in diplomatic circles is the sinking of the Awa Maru. The vice-minister of Greater East Asiatic affairs and many Japanese in charge of Philippine affairs went down with the ship. Had it not been for a last-minute hitch the ship would have carried the Laurel party, at present stranded in Taiwan. The facts of the case are summarized by the Times thus “The Awa Maru, 11,000 tons, (was) dispatched by the Japanese government on her relief mission in humanistic compliance with the repeated American requests to be allowed to send relief goods to American and other prisoners and internees. Promised safe-conduct by the American and allied government, the Awa Maru carried relief goods from the Soviet Union to the regions in the South. She left Koji on February 17 on her outward journey and, having fulfilled her humanitarian mission, departed from Shonan (Singapore) for home on March 28. From April 1 onward however all contact with the vessel was lost. With all Japanese efforts to contact the vessel futile, the government on April 10 requested information from the United States; whereupon the Washington government announced on April 12 that an American submarine had sunk the Awa Maru. In issuing a safe-conduct for the vessel the United States had pledged not to attack her on both her outward and homeward voyages and not to offer any interference whatever in regard to searches and stopovers. The vessel also was fully illuminated and carried clear identification marks. The last dispatch from the vessel also showed that she was strictly on her course.”

With such an air-tight case the Japanese press has been having a field day. Even the Times, always the most discreet, screams: “Inexcusable crime… inconceivable depravity… unprincipled action… ruthless savagery without precedent… lawless barbarians!” Discussing Japanese technique in propaganda, a German newsman (DNB) told me of some annoying experiences with local red tape. One was the fall of the Tozyo cabinet. The story was officially released to the local press and put on the air since morning of that day but only by noon was it officially released to foreign correspondents. Then, when he tried to cable the story home, the telegraph office refused to do so because no permission had been secured from the communications ministry; the board of information release did not count. The upshot of it was that Reuter’s beat DNB to the story in Europe. Another instance he cited was an interview with Dr. Ba Maw, the Burmese chief of state. As usual all Questions had to be submitted a week in advance by foreign correspondents. But to give an appearance of spontaneity and freedom, the Japanese official supervising the conference blandly asked at its opening whether there were any questions. One of the correspondents dutifully popped the question he had submitted beforehand. Ba Maw was not taken in and he did not like the procedure any more than the newspapermen did. He smiled roguishly, raised an eyebrow at the Japanese official, flicked over the pages of a memorandum. “Let me see, he said, “that was question No. 5, wasn’t it? Well, I’ll tell you. Why don’t you just subscribe to the Nippon Times?”

July 12, 1943

Premier Tojo paid a surprise visit to the Philippines a second time. He came from Thailand and Singapore (now Syonan) where more serious matters called for his presence. Officially, all he did was annex four provinces to Siam and organize a Hindustan army to fight against the Anglo-Americans and free themselves from the British yoke. He made a stopover of a few hours in the Philippines on his way back to Tokyo, called a Cabinet meeting and gave them a talk on pacification, cooperation and other trifles. That was all, it seemed.

February 17, 1942

Received regards from Mary. She is in Cabiao. Those who evacuated to the provinces had a harder time than those who stayed in Manila. The city was the safest place.

Mr. Takamia, Japanese agriculturist, co-worker of Mr. Abe at Mrs. Quezon’s farm in Arayat, was sent by the Japanese authorities to Legaspi and Naga together with three of our own men to handle rice sales and perhaps the purchase of palay. Mr. Takamia informed me that only part of Mrs. Quezon’s harvest was stolen. Called Mr. Nakashima’s attention to the great number of our personnel. He ordered that we continue with the personnel until further orders from the Army. Railroad traffic between San Fernando and Manila has been reopened today. That means Manila’s supply of rice will be increased. Since the Occupation to the present date, Manilans have been fed on the rice stocks in our bodegas. The rations may not have been enough, but at least it was equitably distributed. And still there are people who are angry at me for [not?] having thrown open the doors of our bodegas before the Japanese entered the city!

People are talking about the fall of Singapore. It was most unexpected. Many believed it would hold longer than Corregidor. How long will our own boys stand? Maybe if they receive reinforcements, if the convoy…  It’s all ‘if.’

Life is a big IF.

February 17, 1942

To add to the humiliation of the defeated British, the Japanese yesterday published side by side with the news of the fall of Singapore, the death sentence meted out to three Englishmen who attempted to escape from the concentration camp at Santo Tomas. The sentence was read before all the internees, and carried out four days ago. Here are some of the details of the historic incident.

The good treatment of the internees which I witnessed a few days ago did not prevent the brutal cruelties which the Japanese showed from time to time. Good treatment consisted of permission granted so that the prisoners may pass a day or two outside the camps in consideration of some gifts or money. These three Englishmen went out but did not return. Instead, they went to the province with the intention of either going to the mountains or joining the troops in Bataan. But they were captured. They were kept in one of the classrooms of the University where they were stripped of their clothing and manhandled until they lost consciousness, and one of them died. I was assured that it was not the intention of the Commandant to give them such a stiff penalty, but the soldiers overstepped their limits, and on seeing their victims so helpless, decided to kill them.

An American also escaped. He was a veteran miner, and as he knew the mountains very well, the Japanese failed to capture him.

Due to these incidents the watchdogs have put on a more ferocious stance. They have become more vigilant and decided to lock up the prisoners more tightly. For this purpose, they ejected the nuns of Sta. Catalina from the Education building which they have been occupying since the burning of their college. Then they put up a sawali fence between the Main Building and the Seminary. The Fathers will be using the side gate of P. Noval street without restriction from or vigilance on the part of the Japanese sentries. We had requested for this ever since they brought in the internees as we were being molested by the sentinels whenever we wanted to use the only available gate. The Dominican community is benefitted by this but the nuns are not. They had lost so much time looking for a place to house more than forty of their members, just to find out that they could not afford the rental. But Providence is great-hearted.

The worst part of it is that the Catholic prisoners, who number more than a thousand, are left without any spiritual assistance. The priests can attend to them only in the chapel where they have free access. With the tight security over the prisoners even the Fathers cannot push through with the catechetical classes and cultural conferences which they had organized. They were promised that a Japanese priest would be provided on Sunday. “But how can we confess to a Japanese priest?” The prisoners asked.

February 16, 1942

Martial law is severe, ruthless. It knows no leniency. Three British internees were made to dig three graves and then they were executed in the Santo Tomas concentration camp as an example to all other internees. The Britishers tried to escape.

It is hard to argue with the Japanese. This morning’s Tribune carries a news item from the Manila Defense Command advising civilians of Manila to cooperate with the sentries and approach them in a friendly manner. “The advice,” says the Tribune, “has been given because civilians run away when sentries approach them.” Everything has been twisted. Now it is the civilians at fault. Black has become white.

Reminded Supervisor Noya of the suggestion I made at the Rice Growers Meeting last Saturday that out of the 1 1/2% milling tax paid by producers and merchants which is equivalent to .0975 if rice costs 6.50, 3 centavos be set aside for the operation of the NARIC. Mr. Noya will take the matter up with the Japanese High Command as he believes the proposition will further help to stabilize the finances of the corporation.

The British forces in Singapore have unconditionally surrendered. It must have been a bitter, humiliating experience for the Britishers. Is this the end of British imperialism?

Saw a Japanese officer and a white girl enter a side door. He was old; she was young. Such is life.

February 16, 1942

Yesterday, Singapore fell. At 7:50 last night, Lt. General Percival, Commander of the British Forces, signed the unconditional surrender in the prosaic stage of a Ford Motor Shop. Singapore, which had hitherto remained impregnable, still has some 60,000 soldiers, half of whom are British and Australians, the other half, Indians. In the preceding days, the press described how the British army always fought behind the local contingents in furious battles for seventy days. Today, it described the Tommies and the Anzacs, weakened by fatigue, consumed and starving, always on the run in the face of the Japanese blitzkrieg. The propaganda is never consistent.

Back here, they did not have any celebration for the great victory. They only put up three long streamers that were seen floating on the air with the inscription “Singapore Falls,” which some ignoramuses thought was something like the Pagsanjan Falls. The Japanese seemed modest about this great victory.

February 16, 1942 

Starting 11th week of this mess. They did some flying today so the field was bombed after supper. No damage. Singapore gone now. British up to their usual tactics, to the last American.

Two pilots flying their first missions under Dyess dropped ammunition to cut-off USAFFE men at Jones, northern Luzon, followed by two others dropping pamphlets in central Luzon and finally Dyess and Golden repeating the pamphlet operation. 

February 12, 1942

The impregnable fortress of Singapore, bastion of British imperialism in the Orient, has fallen. According to Domei, the flag of the Rising Sun was hoisted over Singapore at eight o’clock yesterday morning. This is a turning point in the history of mankind. Singapore is not merely a naval base. It is a symbol of the White Man’s superiority. It is the thickest chain around the neck of Asia. Singapore may in the future be recaptured by the British. One can never tell how the war will end. But even if the British reconquer it, even if they make it ten times more formidable, the myth of the White Man’s superiority, the aura of his invincibility, has forever been crushed. He may rise from the staggering blow, but he shall not have the same dignity before Oriental eyes. One thing this war has done has been to awaken the one billion peoples of Asia. The fire and iron and steel that have been dropped on their homes have entered their hearts and they have become strong.

Ask Pedro Sabido for hemp bags. Sacks are a big problem. He ought to be able to give suggestions.

Rice situation in the city is quite satisfactory, thank God. So far prices have been maintained at a level within the reach of the average man.

It seems that the sale and distribution of sugar and wheat flour will be undertaken shortly by a government-sponsored distribution agency with the approval of the Military Administration. Under a controlled distribution system, the movement of these commodities can be done properly and in conformity with the price-fixing measure. Similarly, with the other prime necessities. These commodities will be sold to the public without the intervention of unnecessary middlemen. It is expected that an announcement will be made shortly on the plan to sell sugar and wheat flour to the public at reasonable prices.

My Japanese neighbors are dancing and drinking. They are celebrating the fall of Singapore. I can hear one of the hostesses singing: “My Melancholy Baby.”

Gave some pocket money to the wife of an American friend. She was very thin because of lack of sleep and food. She did not know how to thank me. Tears rolled down her cheeks. Tears are more eloquent than words.

February 10, 1942

Looks bad for Singapore. The Japanese now have a foothold. I suspect Singapore is not such an impregnable base, after all. The Japanese are bombing and shelling the fortress. It must be hell out there.

Can’t understand Japanese propaganda. Today there is another (news) item stating that conditions in the provinces are normal, and that the people have returned to their daily pursuits. They know very well that provincial conditions are unsettled. False items (i.e., news) will only make the people lose faith in the paper. They should read the story of the boy who kept shouting “Wolf! wolf!” even when there were no wolves. When they report something true, the people will doubt them. Propaganda is effective only when it appears authentic.

Ordered larger maps of Bulacan, Pampanga and Rizal. Stuck colored pins on railroad stations, warehouses and mills. Red for “great danger,” blue for “some danger” and white for “peaceful places.”

Must study increase of personnel and office space. Transportation must be an entirely new section. We will also need another section to take charge of fuel. Rice procurement will increase the functions of the NARIC. Will need a much bigger staff.

One of the Japanese slapped a Filipino clerk. He caught the clerk lying. With the Japanese it is better to tell the truth immediately. I do not approve of slapping. Will tell Mr. Noya to tell the Japanese employees not to raise their hands against the Filipinos. This will hamper the efficiency of the office and may have serious repercussions.

My wife is crying again. She remembers her son. There is nothing like a mother’s love. I did not have the warmth of a mother’s affection. My mother died when I was a baby.