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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Module 3: Comparison of the Japanese and American Colonization


What are the reasons for the Americans/Japanese to colonize our country?

Americans: Strategic location, exercise power

The colonization of the Philippines was actually the first attempt of America into trying their power as imperialists. In fact, the American congress even had laws against any attempt of invasion against other countries. And because of such by-laws, the military forces of America had to find loop-holes which will free them from any liabilities with accordance to the laws of invasion. After which they used the country (Philippines) as a strategic location into colonizing part of China which was actually their ultimate goal then. What happened is, at the start of the colonizing process of American, there was no land free of the influence of the first western colonizers. And because of this, they were left with what they called the “Chinese melon.” The Chinese melon was a term given to the country of China where most of the western imperialists had a share of, and American wanted to have a part in these shares, so they saw the Philippines as a good strategic location into helping them colonize parts of China.

Japanese: Part of expansion program

Japan with its growing population needed areas for expansion, locations which will feed their growing population and their need of raw materials for manufacturing goods this was their primary reason for colonizing countries specifically those near it.

What approach did the Americans and Japanese use in order to colonize our country?

In general, both colonizers used the same strategy which was to make the Filipinos feel as if they were not colonizers but the only difference was the time for them to implement their plans. Because of this the Filipinos saw the Americans better compared to that of the Japanese because during the American occupation there was no war unlike that of the Japanese occupation. And because of this, the Americans had time to “brain wash” the Filipinos because they had the time to cover their atrocities.

Americans: The Americans used the “Savior” approach with the Filipinos thinking that the Americans will do the same to them (the Filipinos) as that of the Cubans because the Americans have saved the Cubans from foreign conquest the Filipinos thought they (the Americans) would do the same to them. As Admiral Dewey has so obviously related in his telegrams that it was more of the Filipinos helping the Americans rather than the Americans helping the Filipinos, despite this the Filipinos believed that it was the Americans who will lead them to their long aspired freedom.

This notion of the Americans saving the Philippines actually started after Aguinaldo, who was then in Singapore, requested the help of the Americans. Actually the Philippines was an exact replica of Cuba at the time of the Spaniards, as Constantino describes in his book the Conquest of the Philippines. And because the Americans had successfully freed the Cubans from exile, the Filipinos believed the Americans would do them the same without knowing that the Americans had other intentions, which was to keep the Philippines which they failed to do so in Cuba.

Japanese: They used their military forces and power in order to colonize the Philippines
During America’s colonization of the Philippines, Japan was yet to be considered a threat to the American forces but as the year grew it was hard to ignore the menace of the Japanese military forces. Because of this America was even considering letting the country (Philippines) go for it was more of a liability than an asset then. By this, Americans in the Philippines would be saved from inevitable death they may face if the Japanese’ would opt to attack. With that in mind, war was triggered by the bombing of Pearl Harbor and it was too late for the Americans to back out. But because the American troops in the Philippines were weak they lost to the Japanese forces, even after declaring Manila an open city despite it left in ruins from Japanese bombs. By these moves the Japanese forces flexed its military muscle evidently.


How would you differentiate the tactics/strategies of the 2 imperialists in colonizing our country?

If placed in context there is not much difference with the strategies implemented by both parties. The Americans tried making the Filipinos think that they are not the enemies but actually allies, which they were successfully able to. And the Japanese also tried the same approach except that time did not let them do so. The problem with the Japanese was that they had to first remove whatever the Americans has planted in the minds of the Filipinos and then implement the “brain washing” they were planning for. And because of this they needed more time, which they never was allowed to have.

During the American colonial period of the Philippines (1898-1943), the American government gave priority to education in the Philippines. Education became very important for the Filipinos. The spread of democracy and formation of good citizens, including the rights and responsibilities of the people, were the focus of American education in the country. Education allowed the Americans to spread or share their culture, particularly the English language, to the Filipinos.

The American government wanted to give everyone the chance to study so they built public schools for the Filipinos. Volunteer Filipino soldiers became the first teachers of the Filipinos. Part of their mission was to build classrooms in every place where they were assigned. The Filipino soldiers stopped teaching only when a group of teachers from the U.S. came to the Philippines in June 1901. They came aboard the ship "Sheridan." In August 1901, 600 teachers called Thomasites arrived. Their name came from the ship they traveled on, the S.S. Thomas. This group became successful in their mission.

With the assurance of the Americans’ promise to free the country, General Aguinaldo, a municipal mayor and the commander of the Philippine forces, declared the Philippine independence on June 12, 1898. He confirmed the establishment of Philippine Republic on January 23, 1899 with himself as president.

The invasion of the Americans moved the Filipinos to a more unfamiliar authority. English was chosen to be the official language of instruction in businesses and schools, the economy flourished and the country’s economy begun relying on the US. Under the supremacy of Governor Taft, systems were regulated in most districts. New government organizations were established along with the general establishments of schools and other related institutions. Construction of roads, highways, and ports were prioritized to consolidate more business all over the country.

However, during the Japanese Colonial period, Manila was declared an open city to prevent it from destruction, meanwhile, the government was moved to Corregidor. In March 1942, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur and President Quezon fled the country. The cruelty of the Japanese military occupation of the Philippines is legendary. Guerrilla units harassed the Japanese when they could, and on Luzon native resistance was strong enough that the Japanese never did get control of a large part of the island. The Japanese occupation was infamous not only because of the ferocity of the military conquerors, but also because the Filipinos as a whole had lost their social and moral balance.

Finally, in October 1944, McArthur had gathered enough additional troops and supplies to begin the retaking of the Philippines, landing with Sergio Osmena who had assumed the Presidency after Quezon's death. The battles entailed long fierce fighting; some of the Japanese continued to fight until the official surrender of the Empire of Japan on September 2, 1945.

After their landing, American forces also undertook measures to suppress the Huk movement, which was originally founded to fight the Japanese Occupation. The American forces removed local Huk governments and imprisoned many high-ranking members of the Philippine Communist Party. While these incidents happened, there was still fighting against the Japanese forces and, despite the American measures against the Huk, they still supported American soldiers in the fight against the Japanese.


From the different approaches the 2 imperialists demonstrated, which type of government would best suit the present situation of the Philippines?

We believe that in the present situation of our country right now, with all the corruption and anomalies the government is involved with a dictatorial type of government is best suited. A completely centralized government as that of the Marcos era where the power of the three branches namely; executive, legislative and judiciary, will be given solely into one.

The only problem will be, “who” exactly will be trusted with such power and serve the country with complete honesty. We justify our answer by reasoning that with this type of government, there is only one to blame for everything. With this we do away with the problem of government officials playing the “blame game.”


What can you infer from the Filipino reactions?

Filipinos initially saw their relationship with the United States as that of two nations joined in a common struggle against Spain As allies, Filipinos had provided the American forces with valuable intelligence and military support. However, the United States later distanced itself from the interests of the Filipino insurgents. Aguinaldo was unhappy that the United States would not commit to paper a statement of support for Philippine independence. Relations deteriorated and tensions heightened as it became clear that the Americans were in the islands to stay.

American Influences can still be seen in the country's system of education, literature, art, architecture, science, industry, home, food, clothes, religion, pastimes, music and dances. Filipinos took education seriously which resulted to the high social status of some Filipinos. The Filipinos learned how to read, speak and write English in a short matter of time. The free exchange of goods between the United Stated and the Philippines ended when the U.S. Congress approved the Tydings-Mcduffie Law.

Through the Homestead Act, the right to own any civil land up to 24 hectares was given to any Filipino. The Protestant religion was accepted by the Filipinos. The social status of Filipino Women during the American period. They were allowed to participate in politics, to work in the government, and to pursue their studies in college. Matters like health and cleanliness were improved. Transportation and communication in the Philippines were developed. Philippine people might have enjoyed some benefits but they were not the real reasons why such developments were made.

The rules that had been imposed by the Americans to the Filipinos in relation to health and education also had negative effects. The Americans imposed these rules to achieve their main objective, which is to colonize and use the country and its people. Education was the most useful means or ways in pursuing a peaceful relationship with the Filipinos. Through education, the Americans influenced the Filipinos in terms of the way they eat, to love the American culture and most of all, to prioritize American products.

However, The arrival of the Japanese caused tremendous fear, hardships and suffering among the Filipinos. The Filipino way of life was greatly affected during the Japanese period. The Filipinos lost their freedom of speech and expression. The development of art was also stopped. Filipinos greatly feared the "zoning". There were Filipinos spies hired by the Japanese to point those who were suspected of being part of the guerilla movement. The Japanese made some changes in the system of education.


What criteria would you use as basis in colonizing?

Choosing criteria as a basis for colonizing, our group has chosen the American approach on how they colonized our country rather than Japanese approach. We prefer more the American method for they did colonized the Philippines in a less violent way. Unlike the Japanese method for colonizing the Philippines which used more military forces and power, Americans used the “Savior” approach in which they made us think that they are going to protect us against other states such as what they did to the Cubans. In this method, they only used strategic plans colonizing the Philippines while limiting the use of force and other equipments.

In this way, Filipinos were easily influence in terms of agreements and objectives of the Americans.In terms of the objective of the Japanese and the Americans for colonizing the Philippines, our group also chose the intention of the Americans more than the Japanese for their reason is to exercise power and use as strategic location. Their purpose is more likable and pleasing to the Filipinos rather than the Japanese for the purpose of the Japanese is to use the Philippines as part of the expansion program. Their intention is more of expanding the Philippines turning it to Japan which would not be supported by most Filipinos. As our group decided, we would rather prefer to be colonized by the Americans rather than the Japanese in terms of their approach and intention.


Is the study of colonialism still relevant nowadays? Why or why not?

As we all know, colonialism is one of the most significant part in the history of the Philippines. We had been colonized for hundred of years and through this time we have learned and adapt so many things from the cultures of those who had colonized us. From this idea, we could now say that colonialism is still relevant nowadays. It is relevant for the fact that we could apply what we have learned during the period of colonization and we could also avoid the mistakes we have committed during those times.

Though we cannot say that this study is applicable in our everyday life, we may still say that this part of our history can help us in some other ways. It will help us maybe in the future if other colony will colonize us or we could even apply this in the present times. The things we have learned during those times are still being applied nowadays and some are being adapted culturally. Also, knowing the history of colonialism would make us aware of how our culture came to be and where some of our traditions came from. Knowing these things would help us to think more standardized on the things happening around us. These are the reasons why the study of colonialism is still relevant nowadays.

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