Sunday, July 17, 2011


BEFORE the war, there was a Japanese community in Iloilo City. They were led by Torakich Murakami who was their unofficial consul.

Mostly merchants, the Japanese operated bakeries, candy factories, flower/vegetable gardens and refreshment parlors for leche con hielo or mongo con hielo. Some were itinerant traders peddling goods in the interior towns and who, during the war, were found to be spies.

They had trading houses in Iloilo importing textiles, canned goods, soaps and paints. They were Osaka Boike Kaisha, Daido Boeki Kaisha, Nihon Yusen Kaisha, Osaka Shosen Kaisha and Murakami and Company.

Their big stores were Iloilo Bicycle Store of a certain Yoshida that was discovered during the war to be a colonel in the Japanese Imperial Army; La Camisiteria de Itoh, Murakami Bazaar and Fuji Bazaar.

Some prominent Japanese then were:

* Yoshiharu Watake, an engineer who built the Santa Barbara water reservoir
* Sheyeichi Umano who built the Panay Electric Company
* Miyoshi Harakoa, a boiler technician at Santos-Lopez Sugar Central
* Shozo Masumi, a mining supervisor in Concepcion
* Dr. Hashimoto
* Tatsuya Eiwaki, a mining engineer; and
* Tarakichi Murakami, president of the Japanese Association in Iloilo.

They also had a fishermen’s association composed of Manchurian (deep sea fishing) operators with Izao Takaizu as president.

There was, too, a Japanese school for Hojin (Japanese residents) children at Tanza (Iloilo Nihonjin Shogaku) established in the 1930s with Isao Kayamuri as its principal.

At the outbreak of the war, the Japanese in Iloilo City were concentrated first at the Iloilo Central School and were later transferred to San Enrique (Passi) Elementary School where they were found when the Japanese invasion forces landed in Panay in 1942. One of their guards was Sgt. Faustino Sorianosos of the Philippine Constabulary./PN


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