The Murillo Bulletin Special World War II Issue

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The Murillo Bulletin Journal of PHIMCOS

The Philippine Map Collectors Society

Special World War II Issue

August 2020

In Commemoration of the 75th anniversary of 

The Battle of Manila: February 3 – March 3, 1945

and 

The Liberation of the Philippines: October 20, 1944 – September 2, 1945

Warming Up to Uncle Sam Again In March 1934, the U.S. Congress passed the Tydings – McDuffie Act (aka the Philippine Independence Act), which allowed for the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines with a ten-year period of peaceful transition to full independence. In 1935, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Philippines was approved and ratified; following the election of President Manuel L. Quezon, the new government was inaugurated on 15 November. Japan had already started to promote its “Asia for the Asiatics” and “Southward Advance” plans to liberate Asian countries from their colonial powers and establish a bloc of nations led by Japan. Seeing an opportunity in the withdrawal of the United States, the Japanese began to penetrate the retail trade in the Philippines, and to acquire substantial agricultural interests, particularly in Mindanao. To quote from Japan’s New Horizons (Hokuseido Press, Tokyo, 1938) by the pro-Japanese, Canadian-born, American author Willard Price: “Japan is the only beneficiary of Philippine independence. The Japanese conquest of the Philippines, unlike the American, will probably … take the form of step-by-step economic penetration.” But the military threat was also growing. Hence this powerful, full-page satirical cartoon by Corsair which depicts the Philippines, scorched by the evil rising sun of Japan, turning back to the United States for protection. The cartoon was published in the August 25th 1938 issue of Ken (Vol. 2 No. 40). Ken was a controversial anti-fascist magazine, distinguished by unusual and powerful graphics, which was edited by Arnold Gingrich and published from April 1938 by David A. Smart. The magazine ceased publication in August 1939 as a result of pressure from its advertisers and a boycott by the Catholic Church. (Peter Geldart collection; image courtesy of

The Murillo Bulletin Special World War II Issue

August 2020 Editor: Peter Geldart

In this Issue Introduction by Jaime C. González


Occupation and Victory – The Philippines in World War II

An Exhibition Organised by the Ortigas Foundation Library and PHIMCOS

3 5

Sweet Sixteen – Celebrating Life in 1945 Manila by Andoni F. Aboitiz


The Downing of a B-24 Bomber Over Manila, January 8, 1945 by Alberto Montilla


“Crushed Jewels” – A Look into the Japanese Side of the Battle of Manila by Ricardo Trota Jose


Rampage by James Scott, reviewed by John Silva


“Yesterday’s Enemies are Today’s Friends” – The PWB’s Leaflets, 1944-45 by Ricardo Trota Jose


G.I. Joe’s View of the War –A cartoon map of central Luzon in 1945 by Peter Geldart


About PHIMCOS The Philippine Map Collectors Society (PHIMCOS) was established in Manila in 2007 as the first club for collectors of antique maps and prints in the Philippines. Membership of the society, which has grown to a current total of 50 members (including individual and joint members, and corporate nominees), is open to anyone interested in collecting, analysing or appreciating historical maps, charts, prints, paintings and photographs of the Philippines. PHIMCOS holds quarterly general meetings at which members and their guests discuss cartographic news and give after-dinner presentations on topics such as maps of particular interest, famous cartographers, the mapping of the Philippines, or the lives of prominent Filipino collectors and historians. A major focus for PHIMCOS is the sponsorship of exhibitions, lectures and other educational events designed to educate the public about the importance of cartography as a way of learning both the geography and the history of the Philippines. The Murillo Bulletin, the society’s journal, is normally published twice a year. PHIMCOS welcomes new members. The application form and additional information on PHIMCOS are available on our website: . Front Cover: The Fighting Filipinos poster by Manuel Rey Isip (New York, 1943) (image courtesy of Hennepin County Library ref. MPW00467)


Map of the City of Greater Manila This large map of Greater Manila by the Department of Engineering and Public Works, Office of Drafting and Surveys, was revised on January 2, 1942 (the very day Manila was occupied by the Japanese) and traced on February 19, 1942 (Peter Geldart collection) 2

Introduction by Jaime C. González, President of PHIMCOS


N DECEMBER 8, 1941 Japan invaded the Philippines, and Japanese troops marched into Manila on January 2, 1942, where they stayed until ousted by U.S. forces during the Battle of Manila from February 3 to March 3, 1945. To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the battle, PHIMCOS is publishing this special issue of The Murillo Bulletin as a tribute to the memory of all Filipinos who participated in World War II, their families and descendants. The first PHIMCOS general membership meeting this year was dedicated to the Battle of Manila. In “Sweet Sixteen: Celebrating Life in 1945 Manila” Andoni Aboitiz gave a talk about his family’s movements over a three-week period during the battle. Then Albert Montilla provided his personally witnessed account of the shooting down of an American B-24 bomber over Manila on January 8, 1945. In the third presentation of the evening, Ricardo Trota Jose, Ph.D. looked at the Battle of Manila from a Japanese perspective in “Crushed Jewels”, a title taken from the English translation of gyokusai which means “glorious annihilation” in Japanese military parlance. Articles based on these presentations are included in this issue. PHIMCOS was also pleased to collaborate with the Ortigas Foundation Library in the exhibition Occupation and Victory – The Philippines in World War II. Held at the Library, the planned month-long exposition, co-curated by John Silva and Jonathan Best, presented a wide range of materials on the war and the liberation not previously seen or appreciated by the public. These provided unbelievable insights as to the scale of the war as well as incredible stories of bravery, perseverance and heroism. The opening reception, held on March 12, 2020, was to have been highlighted by the muchanticipated talk of James Scott on his highly acclaimed book, Rampage, the most definitive story of the liberation of Manila. The book is reviewed in this issue by John Silva. As events would turn out, the scourge of the Covid-19 pandemic reared its insidious head in the

country, resulting in the cancellation of the author’s visit and a lower than expected attendance by what had promised to be a sellout audience. Fortunately, Rico Jose saved the evening with another interesting and informative talk: “The Battle of Manila: Tragic End of Three Years of Japanese Occupation”. Rico is a good friend of both the Ortigas Foundation and PHIMCOS and he is the foremost scholar on the Second World War in the Philippines and Asia Pacific. Unexpectedly, on the same evening the government announced a community quarantine and city-wide curfew which resulted in the temporary closure of the Library the following day and eventually, despite the brave attempt by the co-curators to do otherwise, the permanent closure of the exhibition as well. The exhibition was indeed a fitting commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Manila. However, one could not avoid the comparison of what transpired in the city during its then occupation to the present war against the dreaded virus with its widespread impact among the population, to the unprecedented challenges facing the hospitals, and to the lockdown that followed. I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincerest appreciation to our speakers, and to the co-curators of the exhibition and their team at the Ortigas Foundation for their amazing effort in getting the exhibition organized in record time. Our thanks likewise go to the contributors to the exhibition and to the members of the organizing committee of PHIMCOS inspired by Albert Montilla. And finally, we must all extend our profound gratitude to the frontliners, the doctors and medical personnel, the police and military officers, and the many others who risk their lives in protecting the community in our battle with Covid-19, a clear proxy to another world war. I am certain that there will be stories of their incredible bravery, perseverance and heroism in many years to come. Mabuhay!


Maps of the Philippines and the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by nationalistic Japanese chronologies of their history, issued by the Tokyo Communications Agency Investigation Department in June, 1922 (Peter Geldart collection; image courtesy of Geographicus Rare Antique Maps)

Entre le Pacifique et l'Océan Indien – La Bataille des Iles, a late-1941 map of South East Asia by Jacques Mercier; illustrated with the flags of the regional colonial powers, the map was published in an unidentified French magazine (Peter Geldart collection; image courtesy of Geographicus Rare Antique Maps) 4

Occupation and Victory – The Philippines in World War II

An Exhibition Organised by the Ortigas Foundation Library and PHIMCOS by the Editor and contributors to the exhibition


O COMMEMORATE the 75th anniversary of the return of U.S. troops to the Philippines and the Battle of Manila in 1945, the Ortigas Foundation Library and PHIMCOS co-sponsored an exhibition which opened at the library on 12 March, 2020. With a display of maps, charts, paintings, photographs, books and ephemera, Occupation and Victory – The Philippines in World War II attempted to present little-known or under-appreciated aspects of the history of the Philippines before and during World War II. The organisers hope that the sad and harrowing story of the occupation and liberation of the country in 1941-45 will be a lesson in the futility and destructiveness of war for the descendants of the participants, and for all citizens today. The majority of the items on display came from the extensive collection of World War II material assembled over many years by Alberto Montilla or from the Ortigas Foundation Library. Additional exhibits were kindly lent by Andoni Aboitiz, Jonathan Best, Marga Binamira, Peter Geldart, Richard Jackson and John Silva.

The earliest item exhibited was a map of the Philippines with a smaller-scale map of the Pacific Ocean issued by the Tokyo Communications Agency Investigation Department (Tōhō Tsūshinsha) in June, 1922 (Taishō 11) (opposite). The maps are surrounded by detailed chronologies of the history of the region from a highly nationalistic Japanese perspective which lists the alleged injustices perpetrated against Japan and the Japanese diaspora by American and European powers. Printed and distributed by Kiome Nomura, the maps were a direct response to the Conference on the Limitation of Armament, part of the Washington Naval Conference. This disarmament conference, held from November 1921 to February 1922, attempted to protect the integrity of Chinese borders and restrict Japanese military and naval expansion. The conference resulted in three treaties that were extremely unpopular in Japan as they ran against the nationalist propaganda advocating Japanese hegemony over East Asia.

Manila Bay and Approaches, a USC&GS chart dated 21 Feb. 1935 showing (detail above) the minefields laid to protect Manila Bay from the Imperial Japanese Navy (Peter Geldart collection)


The War Map of the Great East Asia, a 1942 Japanese propaganda poster (image courtesy of Hoover Institution Library & Archives, Poster Collection JA 164)

Another item which illustrated the beating of the drums of war was a U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey chart of Manila Bay and Approaches published in Manila in 1933 and reissued on 21 February 1935 with corrections and additions printed in red. These additions consist of a redhatched area extending along the coast of the Bataan Peninsula from Mariveles Harbor to Real Point, separated by the North Channel from another red-hatched area surrounding the islands of La Monja, Corregidor and Caballo; across the South Channel a third red-hatched area runs along the northwest coast of Cavite from Limit Point to El Fraile Island. A Note, also printed in red, reads: “Vessels shall not enter areas shown in red at the entrance to Manila Bay and are prohibited from lingering, loitering, or anchoring at any place between the entrance to Manila Bay and the Inspection Anchorage of Manila Harbor. See Customs Administrative Order No. 314, January 14, 1935.”

The reason for these restricted zones is not explained, but can be surmised. Since c1915 the U.S. Army had protected Manila Bay from naval attack by the use of minefields, along the coast


to the east of Mariveles Bay and between the islands of Corregidor and La Monja. The mines were contact mines that could be either remotely-controlled by observers on Corregidor or activated to explode on contact. Since the early 1930s the Imperial Japanese Navy had been active in the South China Sea, notably searching for suitable bases for submarines in the Spratly islands, and to protect Manila the U.S. Navy had presumably both enlarged the old army minefields and added a third to the south – hence the need to issue a revised chart to warn merchant ships of the dangers. During the war, the Japanese produced a number of propaganda posters lauding their successes in the early stages of the war. A striking example, The War Map of the Great East Asia, shows a map of East Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific “Compiled up to February 22, 1942” in shades of orange and blue. Japanese flags indicate all of the islands and other places occupied by Japan, including (in the Philippines) Appari (sic), Manila, Atimonan and Davao. Pictograms of battleships, submarines and bombs show naval battles and bombed areas, and “Friendly Powers” (namely Thailand

Map of the City of Manila, Division of Drafting and Surveys, Office of the City Engineer and Architect, City of Manila; revised from a census taken on 8 December, 1942, the map shows the Japanese names of municipal districts 7

Manila and Suburbs Based on trace prepared under the direction of Chief of Engineers, SWPA, from A.M.S. S811, with additional information by Allied Geographical Section, 25 July 1944 (image courtesy of Monash Collections Online, Map No. 34, Monash University Library) 8

French Indo-China, the areas of eastern China occupied by Japan, and the Japanese puppet state Manchukuo) are identified. The Japanese Mandate for the South Seas Islands is drawn, incorrectly, to include Guam. In the bottom right corner, the poster carries the nationalist slogan promoting the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere: “Asia for the Asiatics”. One of the most iconic posters of World War II was The Fighting Filipinos, with the tagline We Will always Fight for FREEDOM! (see front cover). Produced in 1943, the lithograph poster was created for the exiled Office of Special Services, Commonwealth of the Philippines, Washington D.C. by Manuel Rey Isip (who used his nephew as the model). Isip was a Filipino who had settled in New York in 1925; a talented artist, he drew illustrations for newspapers and movie posters for Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox. The poster depicts a wounded Filipino soldier, legs apart, about to hurl a grenade with his right hand; in his left hand he holds aloft a tattered Philippine flag. The flag is inverted, with the red field at the top, signifying that the country is in a state of war. 15,000 copies of The Fighting Filipinos were printed and smuggled into the Philippines to encourage the guerrilla groups with its message of defiance and the Filipino spirit of freedom. During the war Japan also published a number of maps of the Philippines and Luzon, of which the best known are the two maps included in the series of 20 maps titled Hyōjun dai tōa bunzu (Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere) issued between 1942 and 1944. Larger maps were also produced, and the exhibition featured a scroll-mounted wall map measuring 146 cm x 106 cm (see inside-back cover). The map was published in Tokyo and Osaka on 20 December 1943 (Showa 18) by Uehara Zenbei, a manager at the Kansai branch of the Japanese Philippine Association, one of several semi-private Japanese associations set up to promote the economic development of the Philippines. Backed with blue paper and scroll-mounted with its original wooden roller, the wall map shows all of the Philippine archipelago at a scale of 1 : 1,150,000. There are two insets; one shows the Batanes Islands, and the other a small-scale map of the region. The names of towns and other features are given in Japanese as well as

(mostly) in English, with topography indicated by hypsometric shades of green, beige and brown (for the land) and blue (for the sea). Roads, sea routes and provincial boundaries are also shown, and to the west an international boundary drawn along part of the 117o meridian indicates Japan’s claim of sovereignty over the Spratly Islands, which the Japanese occupied in 1939 and administered from Taiwan. The exhibition tracked the development of the war in Manila with a series of maps. A large hand-coloured Map of the City of Manila at a scale of 1 : 40,000 “Prepared in the Division of Drafting and Surveys, Office of the City Engineer and Architect, City of Manila” was based on prewar plans, but with two important differences. The table of population, by district, has been revised from a census taken on 8 December, 1942 (the anniversary of the invasion); and a number of districts have been given Filipino names. The Japanese had renamed districts, streets and buildings (especially those with names reminiscent of the American period) “in keeping with the city administration in Japan”. Consequently, on the map the City of Manila is divided into the four districts of Bagumbuhay, Bagumpanahon, Bagumbayan and Bagungdiwa; Quezon City is divided into the two districts of Balintawak and Diliman; and Fort William McKinley is renamed Sakura Heiyei. An even larger map was on display: Manila and Suburbs Based on trace prepared under the direction of Chief of Engineers, SWPA, from A.M.S. S811, with additional information by Allied Geographical Section, 25 Jul 44 (153 cm x 102 cm). SWPA was the acronym for the South West Pacific Area, one of the four major Allied commands in the Pacific War, which included the Philippines. A.M.S. S811 was a plan of Manila and suburbs at a scale of 1 : 20,000 published by the U.S. Army Map Service in 1943 “For use by War and Navy Department Agencies only”. Among the many changes, the most interesting additions on this version of the map, dated 25 July, 1944, are the airfields which the Japanese had used or created in and around the city – in Makati (Nielsen), Cubao (Zablan), Pasig, Marikina, Quezon City (Diliman), Grace Park, Balara, Mandaluyong, and Mandaluyong East. The map also shows a corner of the Las Piñas airfield, and notes “Dewey Boulevard used as Airfield”.


The copy of this plan on display in the exhibition was very nearly destroyed. In the words of its owner, Richard Jackson: One afternoon in 1997, whilst walking back to my office in the Geography Department at James Cook University in North Queensland, I noticed that library staff were dumping in a skip a number of softback documents and reports. “What are you doing?” I enquired. “Spring cleaning” replied one of the workmen. I took a look inside the skip and then ran back to check with the head librarian (whose name, appropriately, was John MacKinley): “Are you really throwing that material away?” “No choice” he said, “installing all these computer terminals means we need to shed all the things that, according to our records, have never been consulted by anyone.” “So, I can carry off anything I fancy?” I asked. “Certainly” he replied. Which is how I acquired around 20 of the Allied Geographical Section’s reports on the Philippines, drawn up as part of the preparations for MacArthur’s return, together with this fragile map of wartime Manila.

Another map of Central Manila was prepared by the Allied Geographical Section in 1944, with a numbered key in red showing important buildings and institutions.

Japanese Defense of Cities as Exemplified by the Battle for Manila, 1 July 1945


“Inclosure #3” sketch map of Manila and Vicinity

Also on display was a report by XIV Corps titled Japanese Defense of Cities as Exemplified by the Battle for Manila, published by “A.C. of S., G-2, Headquarters Sixth Army” on 1 July 1945. The report includes a detailed plan of Admiral Iwabuchi’s last stand, and a General Orientation Map of Manila. “Inclosure #3” is a sketch map of Manila and Vicinity, issued by the War Department, Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, overprinted with the “Dispositions of Manila Naval Defense Force, per OpOrd, dated 21 Jan, 45 issued by Manila Naval Defense Force, and other documents. Compiled by OB Section G-2 XIV Corps”. Japanese Sector Units are delineated, and named as Northern, Eastern, HQ., Kusunoki, Tachibana, Sakura, Kobayashi, Nichols and Isthmus. A coloured plan of the City of Manila, with a comprehensive index of street names, was prepared by the 29th Engineer Battalion (Topographic) in 1945. First activated in October 1917, the battalion was the oldest topographic unit in the U.S. Army. At the end of WWII, the 29th moved to the Philippines where it began the vast Post-Hostilities Mapping Project and training of the future Philippine Mapping Agency. After nine years of surveying and mapping, the battalion left the Philippines; it was disbanded in 2007.

Philippine Sea Frontier 1945 Christmas Souvenir Map of Manila Showing Points of Interest A notably poignant item of memorabilia was the Philippine Sea Frontier 1945 Christmas Souvenir Map of Manila Showing Points of Interest. One side of the folded broadsheet has a plan of Manila, oriented to the east, with a numbered key identifying 40 places of interest; these include churches, public buildings, theatres, clubs, and locations relevant for U.S. naval officers and sailors. The Philippine Sea Frontier had been re-established as a separate command under the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet (Southwest Pacific Area) on 13 November, 1944. Above and below the map are ten photographs of buildings, mostly damaged: wrecked building, Escolta St.; City Hall; Philippine National Bank; Post Office; Customs House; Finance building; High Commissioner’s Home; Legislature (sic)

building; President’s office, Malacanan; and President’s Home, Malacanan. The reverse side shows an aerial view of the city and a photograph of Quiapo Church, with panels of text on Navy Clubs, Dances, Red Cross Clubs, Divine Services, Sightseeing and Outings, Christmas Day Special Programs, Sports, Movies and Shows, and Snack Bars and Canteens. Other maps in the exhibition included a plan of the assault and landings by the Sixth Army in the Gulf of Lingayen on 9 January, 1945, and a “Special Map” of Corregidor Island. “For use by War and Navy Department Agencies only”, the map was prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 670th Engineer Topographical Company, from large-scale aerial photographs taken in January and February 1945. 11

A Pictorial Map – Victory in the Pacific by Ernest Dudley Chase (Peter Geldart collection; image courtesy of David Rumsey Historical Map Collection)

A Pictorial Map – Victory in the Pacific was designed and published in 1944 by Ernest Dudley Chase of Winchester, Massachusetts; it shows the whole Pacific theatre from India to California and from Alaska to Australia. The map has bold black-and-white graphics, a decorative title cartouche and compass rose, vignettes of naval ships, concentric circles showing the distances from Tokyo, and an inset map of the Philippines showing distances from Manila. An interesting curiosity on display was a U.S. Army Air Force escape map of Luzon printed on artificial silk (acetate rayon). During the war the United States, Britain and Australia all produced a number of maps printed on cloth to be used by airmen, sailors and other military personnel as escape-and-evasion maps. The AAF Cloth Chart – Philippine Series consisted of three double-sided maps using the Lambert conformal conic projection with a scale of 1 : 1,000,000: No. C-40 Luzon Island with No. 34 Southeast China on the reverse; No. C-41 Mindoro Island with No. C-42 Samar Island; and No. C-43 Mindanao Island with No. C-44 North Borneo.


AAF Cloth Map – Philippine Series No. C-40 Luzon Island

“Where the tableland of Manila runs into the sea. An excellent aerial photograph showing the capital in its most pleasing aspects.” Philippines Free Press, Manila, June 23, 1934

All three fabric maps of the Philippines were produced in two different versions: one a topographic version with green, beige and brown hypsometric tints (as on the example shown in the exhibition) and the other, for the Navy, a version without the elevation tints but (on later editions) with data on ocean winds and surface currents added. 52,200 copies of the tinted escape map of Luzon were printed. As well as maps, the exhibition featured a large number of photographs. Mosaic aerial views, prepared and annotated by the interpretation unit of the Photographic Sub-Section of the Allied Geographical Section (AGS), showed the destruction caused by the bombing and shelling of Manila, including the Nichols and Nielsen airfields and their surroundings; central Manila, dissected by the Pasig River; and Grace Park airfield and its surroundings. The AGS was a unit established in Melbourne in July 1942 by General MacArthur's Intelligence Chief, Colonel Charles Willoughby, to provide geographic, anthropologic and hydrographic intelligence on the whole of the South West Pacific Area of operations.

In the exhibition, many striking wartime photographs were on display, including the following: 

a 1934 U.S. Army aerial view of Dewey (now Roxas) Boulevard and the northwestern part of Ermita with the Army & Navy Club, the Elks Club, the Luneta, and the Manila Hotel;

an aerial view of Clark Field during the first Japanese bombing raid on December 8, 1941;

Japanese bombing raid on Clark Field, December 8, 1941


The fall of Corregidor (above) and troops surrendering outside the Malinta Tunnel (right) on May 6, 1942 (Jonathan Best collection) 

U.S. soldiers firing at Japanese snipers inside the sunken blockships along the Pasig River;

tanks outside the Columbian Club positioning to fire at targets along Taft Avenue;

troops of the 129th Regiment, 37th Infantry Division landing at the southern bank of the Pasig River for the attack on Intramuros;

explosions from artillery fire close to the ruins of Santo Domingo Church;

U.S. artillery firing from the campus of the University of Santo Tomas at Japanese positions south of the Pasig River;

dead Japanese soldiers from a banzai charge outside the Elks Club on the corner of Dewey Boulevard and San Luis Street;

the burnt out and badly damaged ruins of the Manila Post Office;

the ruined post office from across the river, with sailors awaiting a ferry to their ships;

the Agriculture and Commerce Building, kept standing in places only by its I-beams;

the business district of Manila in ruins;

U.S. observers viewing artillery fire directed at the Legislative Building, from Intramuros; U.S. soldiers firing at Japanese targets across the Pasig River from the roof of the National City Bank of New York building; naval officers of a photo unit inspecting ruins behind the Philippine Women’s University;

A mestizo family fleeing embattled Ermita, with their wounded father being transported in a homemade wooden pushcart


U.S. Troops Fighting in the Battle of Manila

Along the Pasig River

On the southern bank of the Pasig River

National City Bank of New York building

University of Santo Tomas

Legislative Building, from Intramuros

Philippine Women’s University

Along Taft Avenue

Across the river from the Manila Post Office 15

The Ruins of Manila after the Battle


Manila Post Office

St. Vincent de Paul Church on San Marcelino Street

Agriculture and Commerce Building

Legislative Building

City Hall

Manila Cathedral

University of the Philippines

The business district

Mexican bomb armorers at Clark Field 

the demolished frontage of the Legislative Building;

the destruction of the southeastern side of City Hall;

what remained of Manila Cathedral;

the severely damaged University of the Philippines building on Padre Faura Street, with the undamaged Oblation Monument;

an aerial view of Clark Field after its recapture by American forces;

Mexican armorers loading a bomb onto a P-47 P-47 fighter-bomber at Clark Field, and a field briefing of Mexican pilots before a sortie;

General Yamashita and his staff reaching U.S. lines to surrender, September 2, 1945

President Sergio Osmeña outside Malacañang Palace 

Republic P-47 Thunderbolt planes of the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force returning to Clark after a sortie to the Cagayan Valley;

President Sergio Osmeña visiting recently liberated internees at Santo Tomas, and inspecting their living quarters;

President Sergio Osmeña conversing with an army officer from a photographic unit at the entrance of Malacañang Palace; and

the war crimes trial of General Yamashita, October 29 to December 7, 1945.

Instrument of Surrender signed by General Douglas MacArthur on board the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945 17

Photographs by Teodulo Protomartir: Philippine Chamber of Commerce Building (above left) A building in the Ermita District (above) The ruins of Lourdes Church (left) (Margarita V. Binamira collection)

Some particularly evocative photographs of the destruction of Manila were taken by Teodulo Protomartir. The three archival jet ink prints on display show the ruins of Lourdes Church, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce Building, and a building in the Ermita District. Protomartir, who was the first photographer to bring the 35-mm film format to the Philippines, actively promoted the use of rangefinder cameras before the war. Considered by his followers to be the “Father of Philippine Photography”, in the 1930s Protomartir started a club called the 35mm Club Manila and had a radio show dedicated to photography. Into the 1950s he taught photography at the University of Santo Tomas. Protomartir's photos of postwar Manila, taken between May and June 1946,


were rediscovered only in 2007 when a collector of old cameras, Uro dela Cruz, found the photographer’s Kodak folding camera with the brittle negatives in an antique shop. Another highlight of the exhibition was a set of paintings by Fernando Amorsolo. The University of Santo Tomas lit up by flames and Hope in the Ruins of Manila are discussed by Andoni Aboitiz in his article (see page 23); the third, titled “Explosion” and dated “Manila 830 pm Sept 21, 1944”, shows the explosions in the sky as the sun was setting over Manila Bay. American bombers were making their first bombing runs, destroying or damaging 103 Japanese ships and 405 enemy planes. The house with the pagodastyle roof to the left of the picture is the home of the Ocampo family, still standing today.

Explosion – Manila Sept 21, 1944 by Fernando Amorsolo (from a private collection)

The first National Artist, Amorsolo (1892–1972) is best known for his paintings of pastoral landscapes, rural scenes and portraits, but during the Japanese occupation he turned to painting the war-torn nation. From the windows and rooftop of his house near the Japanese garrison, Amorsolo sketched war scenes and documented both the destruction of many of Manila’s landmarks and the pain, tragedy and death experienced by the Filipino people. In 1948, his wartime paintings were exhibited at the Malacañang Palace. Throughout the war newspapers were a reliable source of news and information, including maps. The U.S. War Department published hundreds of colourful Newsmaps, issued through the Army Information & Education Division, the Navy Educational Services Section, and the Industrial Services Division, Bureau of Public Relations; editions for the China Burma India (CBI) Theatre were printed in Calcutta. Newsmaps were published weekly from April 1942 to March 1946; early editions were printed on one side only, but later in the war they were printed on both sides.

Newsmaps usually featured a large-format map or maps, often using an uncommon projection, accompanied by explanatory text covering in some detail the activity in important theatres of the war over the previous week. Some issues also carried photographs, wartime propaganda messages, or visual information of educational use to servicemen, such as how to recognise enemy planes or weapons; the example (below) included in the exhibition showed “Jap Infantry Weapons”. Newsmaps, distributed to military units, domestic industries and political leaders, were issued in a large domestic “Industrial Edition” and a smaller “Overseas Edition”.


A G-Eye View of the Pacific by Antonio Petruccelli, from Collier’s Magazine, December 23, 1944

Another source of maps from the U.S. War Department was the Army Orientation Branch in Washington D.C., which issued a number of “waterproof” wall maps used as educational aids. These were included in the orientation kits, used to teach the Army Orientation Course, sent to the port of embarkation for each theatre of operations and distributed to the unit Information-Education Directors of Service Commands, Air Bases, Posts, Corps, Camps, Stations and Divisions. No. 3 of these wall maps was of the Philippine Islands (see back cover). On December 23, 1944 Collier’s Magazine published an attractive pictorial map by Antonio Petruccelli with the punning title A G-Eye View of the Pacific. The map accompanied an article with the same title by Innes MacCammond, and had the following caption: With the war in the Pacific, a weird and incredible new world was opened up before the eyes of countless soldiers and sailors and marines. Collier’s artist, Antonio Petrucelli (sic), shows on this map some of the fabulous animals, flowers, insects and peoples that your startled sons wrote home about: in short, a G-Eye View of the Pacific.


A particularly striking front page was that of the “Extra Extra” issue of The Manila Post published on Friday, December 7, 1945. Announcing the sentence of the American military tribunal that had tried General Tomoyuki Yamashita for war crimes relating to the Manila massacre and other atrocities, in huge red letters the newspaper proclaimed the verdict on the “first war criminal in the Pacific area to be brought to justice”:

The Ortigas Foundation Library displayed a good selection of the many books written during and after the war, including the following:

Map of the Philippine Islands c1945 by the Cut Rate Liquor Store, Honolulu (Peter Geldart collection; image courtesy of Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc.)

Victory on the March – A Pictorial Record of the First Year of the War of Greater East Asia, Asahi Shimbun Publishing Co., 1942;

War and Construction – A Pictorial Record of the Second Year of the War of Greater East Asia, Asahi Shimbun Publishing Co., 1943;

Guerrilla Days in North Luzon by Russell William Volckmann, U.S. Army Forces in Philippines, Camp Spencer, La Union, 1946;

The Cebu Patriots in Action by Cayetano M. Villamor, Villamor Publishing House, 1948;

Wartime ephemera on show also included a selection of the leaflets produced by the U.S. Army Psychological Warfare Branch. These were dropped by Allied aircraft on Japanese troops, especially those abandoned on islands as the war drew to a close, encouraging them to surrender, and the subject is discussed in detail in Rico Jose’s article (see page 45). Another ephemeral item was a Map of the Philippine Islands, with an inset of Manila Bay (misspelled) and photographs of General Douglas MacArthur and President Sergio Osmeña, published in c1945 as a promotional giveaway by none other than the Cut Rate Liquor Store, 39 N. Hotel St., Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii. Several more newspaper maps were in the exhibition, including one of the Pacific Theater of War in c1942, and another by Charles Owen published in the Los Angeles Times on May 21, 1945 with the title “This Is the Pacific Picture as Allies Close In On Japan”.



Filipino Courage & Heroism, by Cayetano M. Villamor, Villamor Publishing House, Cebu; Terry’s Hunters – The True Story of the Hunters ROTC Guerrillas by Proculo L. Mojica, Benipayo Press, 1965; The Japanese Occupation of the Philippines by A.V.H. Hartendorp, Bookmark, 1967;

Tabunan – The Untold Exploits of the Famed Cebu Guerillas in World War II by Manuel F. Segura, M.F. Segura Publications, 1975;

Palawan’s Fighting One Thousand by Diokno Manlavi, c1976;

Guerilla Warfare on Panay Island in the Philippines by Col. Gamaliel L. Manikan, Bustamante Press, 1977;

By Sword and Fire – The Destruction of Manila in World War II 3 February - 3 March 1945 by Alfonso J. Aluit, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 1994;

The Huaqiao Warriors – Chinese Resistance Movement in the Philippines 1942-1945 by Yung-Li Yuk-wai, Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1996;

The Japanese Occupation of the Philippines – A Pictorial History by Ricardo Trota Jose, Ayala Foundation, 1997; and

Battle of Ising : The Untold Story of the 130th Infantry Regiment in the Liberation of Davao and Mindanao by Marie Silva Vallejo, Eres Printing Corporation, 2009.

A final, later record of the war on display was a series of signed, limited-edition prints of World War II soldiers in the Philippines, both Allied and Japanese, by the artist Daniel Dizon. The prints, from the original watercolours he painted in the 1990s, recall Dizon’s childhood memories of the war. Born in 1930, Dizon was an observant child who experienced the ravages of war in his native Pampanga. During the occupation, some Japanese officers noticed Dizon’s artistic talent, supplied him with art materials, encouraged him to draw and even posed for him. He later discovered a talent for drawing uniforms and military equipment from memory. Although the exhibition, assembled in record time, was unfortunately cut short by the pandemic, it provided a comprehensive range of World War II exhibits: maps, plans, charts, paintings, photographs, prints, ephemera and books covering the war (including the pre-war and post-war years) from the points of view of the occupiers, the liberators and the brave Filipino citizens who were the chief victims. We hope this summary of Occupation and Victory – The Philippines in World War II will provide a lasting record of the exhibition. Unless otherwise stated, items illustrated are from the collections of Alberto Montilla and the Ortigas Foundation Library; images are courtesy of the Ortigas Foundation Library.

Sweet Sixteen

Celebrating Life in 1945 Manila by Andoni F. Aboitiz


Y MOTHER, Maria Lourdes Mendieta, was not quite 13 when the Japanese Imperial forces entered Manila in January 1942. Her earliest memory of that seminal time was of watching their troops marching down Dewey Boulevard, right past the family home. Thus began the Japanese occupation that would completely upend my mother’s life as well as our country’s future. Their home was situated on the corner of Calle Arquiza and Dewey Boulevard till the Japanese evicted them sometime in 1943. Her family, ten of them, were able to find lodgings atop the La Suiza Bakery located at 173 Calle Real, Intramuros, Manila. Sometime towards the end of 1944 they had to move again, and they made their way to the Hospicio de San Jose on Isla de Convalecencia in the middle of the Pasig River. Their daily needs were met partly by barter and partly with Japanese Occupation Pesos, with pledges that same would be exchanged for Philippine Commonwealth currency “after the war”. This seemed to have been a phrase becoming more common, probably demonstrating that most believed that liberation was not afar. In late January 1945, a Japanese officer, half Irish and half Japanese, visited the nuns running the hospicio to urge them to leave the island. As Ayala Bridge had by this time been mined, the only practical option was to go on the Pasig

Maria Lourdes Mendieta Photograph dated January 25, 1948

River. The nuns decided to move to their sister institution, La Concordia College on Calle Herran, Paco, Manila. To go by boat must have been a logistical challenge for the nuns for many of their wards were the elderly, the abandoned, or orphans. Many with serious mental handicaps actually had to be tied before being placed on bancas. Their route took them down the Estero Concordia to the landing right behind the college. This move was done just before the actual battle for the city began. The decision to relocate was certainly the correct one. Situated right across and to the south of the hospicio was the Meralco power plant (which provided electricity to Manila) over which the Americans and Japanese would struggle bitterly. The Isla de Convalecencia was, unfortunately, caught in the crossfire over this important asset. ˂ Aerial view of the Isla de Convalecencia c1945 23

The University of Santo Tomas lit up by the flames from buildings set alight by Japanese bombardment, by Fernando Amorsolo, 1945

For my mother at the college this was not actually a time all of distress. She has, interestingly, fond memories of evenings spent dancing and meeting up with friends as so many conocidos and families had taken refuge in La Concordia. And she was, after all, a teenager! Of course, the situation of the city did, eventually, make its way towards La Concordia and her family’s life. One day, the room where they had stored precious food received a direct hit from American artillery. And as the battle for Manila began in earnest, she could see, nightly, the large flames of downtown Manila stretched across her horizon. A prevalent memory of many witnesses throughout Manila at this time was of these fires. The contrast of red and orange from the flames against a blacked-out Manila must have felt apocalyptic.

The destroyed Santa Cruz bridge over the Pasig, from the north, with the ruins of the Post Office


Our national artist Fernando Amorsolo vividly captured the intensity of these fires in his painting, dated 1945, depicting a burning building adjacent to the main building of the University of Santo Tomas. The university, liberated a few days earlier, had been shelled by the Japanese to guide further bombardments. These red nights were now at my mother’s doorstep. February 8, 1945 – The Day of Days Maria Lourdes turned 16 on February 8, 1945. That day would turn out to be one that would be etched permanently in her mind with the plethora of emotions that would unfold – her Day of Days.

The pontoon bridge over the Pasig River from Santa Mesa to Paco, the future site of Nagtahan Bridge

Map showing Maria Lourdes’s route from Calle Arquiza to the Hospicio in 1943-45

That morning a unit from the U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division finally reached La Concordia and brought great relief and joy to the hundreds of Manileños trapped in the compound. Liberation had finally come for my mother and her family. However, to the horror of this group of civilians, the army point was much too weak to hold the college and the Americans were forced to withdraw, most likely under pressure from Japanese fire. Tragically, at 2:30 p.m. the college came under heavy bombardment from artillery based at the Paco Church, roughly a kilometre away. Many were killed and wounded and the college was completely destroyed. Somehow, Maria Lourdes and her family survived this shelling. That night, with the situation so grave, they decided to evacuate from La Concordia. At this point, two of her sisters were unable to walk and had to be carried by their brothers on a hammock dangling from poles. My mother’s assignment from here on was to carry her 3½ years old niece, Maria Cristina, on her shoulders.

With this in mind, I conjecture that they would have found the main entrance staircase of the college a rather daunting obstacle to tackle, and thus made a decision that saved their whole family. They decided to leave through the back area that gave onto the estero they had traversed. Had they gone through the front door they would have found themselves facing the Japanese soldiers who chose to cut down whoever came out in a hail of machine gun fire. For the family, their burden actually was a blessing and spared them that fateful day. From La Concordia they again crossed the estero and made their way to the Pandacan Church to spend the night. During my interview of her experiences, my mother paused for a moment at this point and said simply: “Here, the floor was wet with blood”. The next day they crossed the Pasig River, most likely using the pontoon bridge assembled by the Americans in the Nagtahan section, and reached the San Sebastian church in Quiapo.


“Hope in the Ruins of Manila”, painted in 1951 by Fernando Amorsolo After many years of food shortages their first taste of the bread, cheese and corned beef provided by the American forces here was never forgotten. Their most difficult days were now behind them. Yet, a reminder that the fighting was, in fact, very real came when the church was hit by artillery shells, wounding two of my uncles. But the worse was over, and Maria Lourdes and her family were intact – for which she would be grateful for the rest of her life. After approximately a week they moved again, to an abandoned school in Calle Arlegui, and then back to the hospicio where they lived for two years before moving to Herran Street and, eventually, purchasing a house on Dakota Avenue (now Adriatico Street) in 1950. My mother would quite often recount that her two years back on the Isla de Convalecencia were some of the most exciting in her life. She was alive, she was a teenager, and they had survived the occupation and liberation. As the American military occupied half of the island there were constant dances, movies and other social events that thrilled her.


With this, I would like to point out to the reader that these recollections remind us that amidst the tragedy of liberation are snippets of a people’s determination to stay one step ahead in a desperate situation. In another canvas by Fernando Amorsolo, “Hope in the Ruins of Manila”, painted in 1951, we see the determination of a mother, holding her child in a scene of death and desolation, to forge ahead in spite of the horrors surrounding her. But isn’t this so Filipino? To smile no matter what? To choose to see victory amidst the ruins? And to believe, somehow, we will pick up the pieces and rebuild. In celebration of life in 1945 Manila. This article is based on the presentation given to PHIMCOS by the author on February 12, 2020. Images have been provided by the author.

The Downing of a B-24 Bomber Over Manila January 8, 1945 by Alberto Montilla


ARLY in the war I “inherited” from my elder brother, a teenager at that time, some Modern American Airplanes aircraft recognition cards. These trading cards, produced in the early 1940s by the American tobacco company Brown & Williamson (in cooperation with Popular Aviation magazine), were inserted in every pack of their Wings cigarettes as a premium.

The first American air raids were flown by single-engine navy fighters and dive bombers. By late November the naval aircraft appearances waned, and army fighters and bombers started to appear; that meant that the U.S. ground forces were closer. We started seeing silver-colored aircraft, and one in particular that the kids in our neighborhood would call the “double body” – the P-38 “Lightning” fighter – would appear quite often flying high over the city. On some occasions, while flying very high, these aircraft would even form the letters “USA” in the sky with their contrails (condensation trails produced by the engines’ exhaust fumes freezing at high altitude).

Wings cigarettes aircraft recognition cards

So, when the first American air raids over Manila started in the third week of September, 1944, I could already recognize some American aircraft and, from hearing the drone of its engines, could distinguish if an airplane was American or Japanese. The American engines had a low, solid rumbling sound, while the Japanese aircraft engines would sound like loose metal parts being shaken violently.

U.S. Army A-20 “Boston” attack bomber

B-25 Mitchell medium bomber

P-38 “Lightning” fighter

Two- and four-engine bombers would also appear. The two-engine bombers (the B-25 and the A-20) would fly low, mostly bombing ships in Manila Bay and military installations, while the four-engine B-24 “Liberator” bombers (which should not be confused with the B-17 “Flying Fortresses”) would concentrate on the three main airfields around Manila: Nichols Air Field, Nielson Air Field and Grace Park Air Field. 27

˂ Nielson Air Field

By late December and early January, the air raids over Manila by these bombers intensified significantly, occurring on most days. On January 8, 1945, I heard the rumbling of the bombers and bomb explosions, so I rushed to the secondfloor window of our house near the Manila Jockey Club / San Lazaro Race Track in the Santa Cruz District to take a look. I was watching a formation of these bombers from a window facing east, and had a clear view of the formation of the bombers, when I noticed one aircraft emitting a long thin stream of white smoke; as the seconds passed, the smoke got darker and larger, and flames could be seen. Fire seemed to be coming from the left side of the aircraft (between the wing and the fuselage), and as a consequence I saw three black dots falling free, one after another. The aircraft started to bank towards the right (the east), and eventually two parachutes opened while the third dot just dropped like a stone until its view was obstructed by houses. By now the plane seemed to be going into a steep descent when a violent explosion occurred and, as it happened, I heard loud shouts and cries of anguish from neighbors around us watching the spectacle. In all the confusion, I found myself on the floor but could still see the aircraft wings and fuselage on fire and spiraling down, while the lighter parts of the plane just drifted down to earth like leaves falling from a tree. When I got up and looked again, I just saw one parachute drifting southward with the wind, towards the Pasay City area. I watched it until it got to the level of the houses. The next day, January 9, 1945, I learned from my parents that the bombers had been targeting Nielson Field to


B-24 “Liberator” bomber ѵ

the southeast of Manila, and that a front-page photo of parts of the wreckage and an accompanying article had appeared in The Tribune, a newspaper that had been used as a tool for Japanese propaganda since January 1942. The article read: Enemy B-24 Shot Down Over Manila Manilans were thrilled by the sight of an enemy B-24 shot down by accurate fire of Nippon ground batteries during the American raid on the city area Monday morning. The enemy bomber was at the tail of a formation flying over the city area when it was hit by anti-aircraft fire. The plane first emitted smoke from its tail, gradually lost altitude and then was seen lagging behind. Two of the crew members bailed out while the others were believed to have perished with the craft The plane exploded in mid-air and the debris fell at the outskirts of the city. Smoke was seen rising high into the air at the spot where the plane fell. Enemy raiders continued Monday their aerial attacks on Manila which they began last Saturday, concentrating their operations on suburban areas where numerous civilian casualties and considerable damage to civilian properties were registered.

˂ Front page of “The Tribune” on January 9, 1945

Some days after, my brother appeared one afternoon with two small parts picked up in the vicinity of the San Juan market by his friends living around the area. One was a steel gear, 1-½ inches in diameter, and the other a twisted aluminum nameplate which came from the aircraft. And according to his friends, one of the propeller blades was embedded in the pavement near the market.

Heavy fire by the defending batteries forced the other raiders to maintain a high altitude in their flights over the city, thus preventing them from carrying out their operations effectively. Last Sunday, the enemy also raided the city. Despite the raids, city residents remain calm and go about their business as usual. One notable observance made about the raids that this time they have failed to cause any overexcitement in the market where prices remained going down, a. trend observed since last week.

The caption of the front-page photograph read: REMNANTS OF B-24 – A crowd inspects the remnants of the enemy B-24 shot down over Manila yesterday and now on display in the Manila Sinbun-sya building. In the photo are shown a collapsible rubber lifeboat, an oxygen tank, machine gun bullets and other equipment of the ill-fated craft.

After the war I started collecting WWII material as a hobby. Eventually, I came across The Long Rangers: A Diary of the 307th Bombardment Group (H), a history of the heavy bomber unit of the Thirteenth Air Force by Sam S. Britt, Jr. (Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1990), in which I found out that this particular aircraft belonged to the unit. It was piloted by a certain Lieutenant Lucey, and he and all his crew perished. Also, from another periodical, I came to know that among the wreckage in the San Juan market area were two dead airmen; one, apparently a Catholic, had a rosary, missal and baby boots in his pocket. This article is based on the presentation given to PHIMCOS by the author on February 12, 2020. Images are of items in the author’s collection.

Another eyewitness account of the incident, by Ambassador Marcial P. Lichauco, was published in his wartime diary Dear Mother Putnam: Life and Death in Manila during the Japanese Occupation 1941-1945 (Inkstone Books, 2015). On January 9 the bombers reappeared in their usual formation, but this time they went past us and bombed Grace Park Airfield to the north of our house. It was a terrifying moment as the target was much closer to us, and so the explosions were much, much louder and the earth would shake! At that time, I felt as if they were retaliating for the loss of the aircraft the previous day.

The author in c1947, after the Liberation


First Anniversary of the Greater East Asia War - Watch the Philippines Grow!

(image courtesy of Hoover Institution Library & Archives, Poster Collection JA 96) This poster was produced to “celebrate” the first anniversary of the invasion of the Philippines on December 8, 1942. On January 3, 1942 the occupying Imperial Japanese forces had established the Philippine Executive Commission (PEC) as the provisional caretaker government of the City of Greater Manila, and eventually of the whole of the Philippines. The responsibilities of the PEC were subsequently taken over by the Republic of the Philippines, a puppet state established by the Japanese on October 14, 1943. On December 8, 1942 Jorge B. Vargas, the former mayor of Manila and the first Chairman of the PEC, issued a message addressed to the pro-Japanese pictorial magazine Shin Seiki, the first paragraph of which read: “I am glad of this opportunity of sending a message to the editors and readers of the Shin Seiki, on the first anniversary of the War of Greater East Asia. The twelve-month period since December 8, 1941, has proved to be one of the most decisive years in the history of the Philippines and, indeed, of the entire world. It has seen the inauguration of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, one of the noblest and at the same time most practical programs ever envisioned to secure peace, prosperity, and justice in a troubled world. All the nations of the Orient, including the Filipino people, must realize the obligation they have of cooperating with all their efforts in the actualization of the ideals preached by the victorious Nippon Empire.” (Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library, Malacañan Palace)


“Crushed Jewels”

A Look into the Japanese Side of the Battle of Manila 1945

by Ricardo Trota Jose, Ph.D.

Department of History, University of the Philippines, Diliman


N JAPANESE, the term gyokusai literally means “crushed jewels”. It is a poetic word, adapted from the Chinese phrase “dying gloriously as the jewel shatters”. It was the wartime metaphor for “glorious annihilation” or “death for honor” – dying honorably in the face of tremendous odds. During the Pacific War (1941-1945), the term was used in such costly defeats as the battles of Attu, Tarawa, Saipan, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, symbolizing tenacious defense usually culminating in strategically unsound but glorious death in battle through banzai charges. The expression also epitomized the Bushido tradition of death with honor rather than dishonorable surrender.

On March 1, 1945, the Japanese ambassador to the Philippines, Shozo Murata, in Baguio, wrote in his diary that the Manila Naval Defense Force had met a tragic fate: he specifically used the word gyokusai. Later Japanese works on World War II in the Pacific would include the Battle of Manila as one of the gyokusai battles of the war.

Force’s orders, the details will never be known. Orders were definitely issued, but from how high up still remains unclear. Piecing together what happened Rear Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi, the Japanese commanding officer for the defense of Manila, had graduated from the Japanese Naval Academy at Etajima in 1915. He had risen steadily in rank as a professional naval officer, with some flight training, administrative duties and above all ship commands, from cruisers to battleships. He specialized in gunnery. His ship, the battleship Kirishima, was, however, sunk during the Guadalcanal campaign in 1942. Iwabuchi was blown off the ship and rescued. Since the Japanese Navy followed the Royal Navy’s tradition of “the captain goes down with his ship”, Iwabuchi was in disgrace after his return to Japan and placed in charge of personnel in a land base. In November 1944 he was assigned to command the 31st Base Force, stationed in Manila; the 31st Base Force became

But the Japanese also have another word, gyakusatsu, meaning “massacre.” This term is applied to the Rape of Nanking (which many right-wing Japanese play down). There is another, more ambivalent term, jiken, meaning “incident.” This “neutral” word has been applied to the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), termed the “Sino-Japanese Incident” (since there was no formal declaration of war); the unprovoked sinking of the U.S. gunboat Panay in the Yangtze River in December 1937; and even to the Rape of Nanking (as the “Nanking Incident”). Other Japanese words applied to the Japanese defense of Manila in 1945 are koshu (“stubborn defense”, with a possibility of withdrawal) and shishu (“desperate defense”, implying fighting to the death). Apparently, orders were given for one or the other, but due to the destruction of most of the Japanese Manila Naval Defense

Rear Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi


the exception rather than the rule. The overall Japanese Army ground commander in the Philippines was General Yamashita, who had been assigned as commander of the 14th Area Army in Manila in September 1944. Yamashita was famous for his victory over the British in Malaya and Singapore in early 1942, but Prime Minister General Hideki Tojo was jealous of his fame and posted him to the border with Russia. Tojo fell from grace in mid-1944, and with the next battleground obviously the Philippines, Yamashita was pulled from the freezer to defend the archipelago.

Vice Admiral Denshichi Okochi (center) and General Tomoyuki Yamashita (right) when they surrendered on September 2, 1945

the nucleus of the Manila Naval Defense Force, which Iwabuchi concurrently commanded. It is reported that when he arrived, he said Manila would be the place where he would die. He was 49 years old.

After the defeat of the Japanese Army in the Battle of Leyte in December 1944, Yamashita opted to fight a long-term delaying action in the mountainous areas of Luzon. He advocated abandoning Manila and instead formed a group in the mountains east of Manila called the Shimbu Group (officially re-designated as the Japanese 41st Army on March 6, 1945), which he placed under General Shizuo Yokoyama. Lieutenant-General Akira Muto, Yamashita’s chief of staff and a military academy graduate like Yamashita and Yokoyama, had commanded the 2nd Imperial Guards Division in its operations in Indonesia. He had also been a ranking officer in Nanking when the Rape of Nanking took place. He agreed with Yamashita’s plan.

Iwabuchi’s direct superior in the Japanese Navy in the Philippines was Vice Admiral Denshichi Okochi (Naval Academy class of 1909), who commanded the Southwest Area Fleet covering naval, land and sea units in Southeast Asia. He had risen in rank mostly on staff and administrative commands rather than in heavy combatant ships. Interestingly, Okochi had commanded the Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF), the marine troops of the Imperial Japanese Navy, in Shanghai in 1937 – where numerous civilians were killed. In terms of Japanese Army-Navy hierarchy, Okochi was the naval counterpart of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, and his chief of staff, Rear Admiral Kaoru Arima, was another naval academy graduate. Army-Navy rivalry in Japan was intense and notorious during the war; the forces periodically refused to cooperate, and joint operations were


Okochi as a witness for the prosecution at Yamashita’s war crimes trial in late 1945

˂ A view of Manila with its sky darkened by smoke from Japanese demolitions, taken from the tower of the University of Santo Tomas on February 4, 1945

Quezon Bridge, one of the main bridges ˃ over the Pasig River, blasted from its foundations by the Japanese

Okochi and Iwabuchi disagreed with Yamashita’s plans to abandon Manila. Okochi instead strengthened the 31st Base Force / Manila Naval Defense Force even as Yamashita began to move army troops into the mountains. The Japanese Navy’s plans were to deny the city of Manila and its facilities to the Americans. Okochi eventually decided to move his headquarters to Baguio and, on January 6, 1945, supposedly turned over tactical control of Iwabuchi's naval ground units to Yamashita as the ranking officer in Luzon. Yamashita in turn had appointed Yokoyama as the operational commander of both army and navy forces in and around Manila. Okochi retained administrative control over Iwabuchi and, even though Yokoyama had operational command, Iwabuchi and Okochi remained in contact during February 1945. What orders Okochi gave Iwabuchi prior to leaving for Baguio are not known, but these probably superseded Yokoyama's orders, and can be surmised from what happened in the Battle of Manila. Hence, when Yokoyama later ordered Iwabuchi to leave Manila, he did not. Okochi testified in the Yamashita trial that he had informed Yamashita (and, supposedly, Yokoyama) of the transfer of operational control, but he had not bothered to secure an acknowledgement. Okochi and Yamashita met a few times while in Baguio but Okochi could not remember specifics of the meetings. The chiefs of staff of both army and navy – Muto and Arima – also met periodically, but details of what they talked about are sketchy.

Iwabuchi, left to defend Manila, began building defenses and fortified the city beginning late December 1944, as Yamashita was pulling out and Yokoyama moved to Montalban. Since to leave the navy alone to defend Manila implied that the army was giving up the capital, Yamashita ordered remaining army troops in Manila to finish evacuating usable supplies to the mountains and destroy the rest, while putting up a delaying action in Manila north of the Pasig River. These forces were placed under the command of Colonel Katsuzo Noguchi; the mixed force became known as the Noguchi Detachment, and was supposed to withdraw before it was too late. In addition to the Noguchi Detachment were elements of the Japanese Army Maritime Command; its code name, Akatsuki Force, can be found in many recovered documents. It was placed in the northern portion of Intramuros. There were also ad hoc units, some locally recruited; and possibly men of the Kempeitai (the Japanese Army military police) in Fort Santiago. All in all, the Japanese forces in Manila were mixed, and cohesion was difficult if not impossible. Communications were limited, although there was radio and telephone contact. The 31st Naval Base Force consisted of some very experienced men - personnel of the SNLF, some of whom had seen action in China. One who was captured had even fought in the Battle of Shanghai in 1937. It should be noted that although the SNLF has been translated as


“marines”, they were not a separate force like the U.S. Marine Corps. Sailors could be drawn from ships and placed into SNLF units. Although they were specially trained and saw much action, the men could be returned to sea duty later. Other fighters were men taken from ships that had been sunk; especially after the Battle of Leyte Gulf there were many of these. Some men had experience in ground fighting; others were new, local recruits from the Japanese resident civilian community. Taiwanese were also inducted into the Japanese Navy ground forces. And then there were the various army units. Iwabuchi disposed his own forces into three battalions: one in the Ermita / Malate area, one in Intramuros, and one in the Fort McKinley / Nichols area. All became major battle sites. Improvisation and innovation were commonplace. Five-inch ship guns from sunken destroyers and cruisers were positioned in Intramuros and the coastal area of Dewey Boulevard (Roxas Boulevard today), and to protect water supplies in San Juan and other major facilities. One remains in place in Intramuros, facing the Rizal Monument; another is in La Loma Cemetery; and two are in front of the Armed Forces of the Philippines General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo. Ship-borne anti-aircraft guns were emplaced in buildings to fire as point-blank automatic weapons. Torpedo warheads and aerial bombs were rigged as antitank mines and dug into strategic street corners.

A Japanese 8-inch rocket being test fired by the Americans after the battle

A weapon encountered for the first time by the Americans was a huge 8-inch rocket launcher with ammunition. For close quarter anti-tank operations, a “lunge mine” mounted on bamboo poles was introduced. It meant certain death for the attacker, but would be worth it if a tank was destroyed. Trenches, tunnels and bombproof pillboxes and bunkers were erected in various places; some still exist. Several streetcars were lined up outside Intramuros to further fortify the walls. Unit maneuver was out of the question, so most units bunkered down to fight delaying actions as long as possible. Church steeples and reinforced concrete buildings (further reinforced by new cement walls and sandbags) were maximized. Cars, train wagon axles and scrap metal were all used as improvised road blocks. Some positions were found to have supplies of rice for three months, thus pointing to a long-term defense. While company-level movement was not possible, smaller units could move from one building to another via trenches or tunnels. Thus, when the Americans secured a building, the next day it might have snipers who came into it via the tunnels. The Japanese also used militant Filipino collaborators (the Kalipunang Makabayan ng mga Pilipino or “Patriotic League of Filipinos”, better known as the Makapili) as force multipliers. Makapili were seen burning houses in the Paco area and elsewhere.

A Japanese ship-borne 127 mm dual-purpose gun adapted to land use, outside Intramuros, with Manila City Hall in the background


The ostensible objective of Iwabuchi’s Manila Naval Defense Force was to destroy everything that could be used by the Americans. This meant blasting the piers in the port area, using blockships to prevent navigation in the Pasig River, and burning oil stocks and other supplies – in short, a scorched earth policy.

Blockships in the Pasig River, looking westward

Fires were started even before the 1st Cavalry Division entered Manila on February 3, 1945. As the cavalrymen secured Santo Tomas Internment Camp, large scale destruction began. All the major bridges across the Pasig were blown to isolate south Manila from the north. The electric plant at Provisor Island was destroyed. Water treatment facilities in Balara were also planned to be destroyed, but men of the 1st Cavalry Division got there before the explosives could be set off. Despite the mixed forces, officers still managed to maintain control of their men. Attempts by the Americans to convince the Japanese to surrender met with very limited success, mainly because officers threatened to shoot their men in the back if they tried to surrender. The Noguchi Detachment demolished buildings and set fires in the Escolta, Binondo and Santa Cruz areas. The flames, fanned by a strong wind, delayed the American advance and resulted in the destruction of large swathes north of the Pasig. It also allowed time to further consolidate defenses south of the Pasig River.

Road block at the intersection of P. Gil (Herran) and Taft Avenue, improvised with the use of automobiles, steel bars and other materials

In the midst of the fighting, a direct order for Iwabuchi to withdraw was supposedly issued by Yokoyama, but was not obeyed. Iwabuchi moved to Fort McKinley, but when he heard that navy men could go no further – an army officer further east supposedly lambasted navy troops by saying “Has the navy been defeated already?” and prohibited them from retreating into his area – he moved back into the city center and insisted there was no avenue of escape. Yokoyama offered to launch a counterattack to punch a hole in the encircling American lines. Iwabuchi refused to move. The Americans, on learning of Yokoyama’s counterattacks, believed they were reinforcements and further tightened their circumferential line.

A Japanese marine, wounded and on crutches, surrenders to American forces near the Finance Building on March 1, 1945

The question arises as to what military use massacring civilians would serve in the overall attempt to destroy the city and deny it to the Americans. An examination of the atrocities and how, when and where these took place point to pre-planned attacks, using what appear to be standard operating procedures. Similar methods – burning houses, burning civilians, impaling babies on bayonets – were observed in Nanjing, Shanghai, the Chinese massacre in Singapore in 1942, and elsewhere. One is tempted to believe there must have been a manual for this behavior, or that it had been part of the troops’ training. These were definitely not the random, isolated acts of crazed men. The killings seem planned and systematic, probably based on intelligence received. They were possibly part of total war and total destruction, revenge for resisting the Japanese, or simply acts of terror to subdue the population. 35

Were there orders from higher up? It is tempting to think so, but thus far there is no smoking gun, perhaps because of the widespread destruction of documents in Tokyo and the Philippines at the end of the war. A further comparative study of anti-guerrilla Japanese operations needs to be done regarding these matters. Yamashita was blamed for the orgies of violence at Manila. He was the top officer in the Philippines, and thus command responsibility should be his, as was decided in his trial – which set a precedent for other war crimes trials. But with the complexity of it all – the possibility of other orders, a cover up – various questions remain unanswered. Ironically, Okochi testified as a prosecution witness, to drum home the point that all naval forces in Luzon were placed under the operational command of Yamashita. Other than that, Okochi had little to contribute to the trial, as his memory suddenly became hazy. Muto would tell other war crimes suspects that they had to protect the honor of the military academy and the army above all; thus they had to come up with standard denials. This earned death sentences for some who were caught obviously lying. Yamashita would be executed for the atrocities committed under his command. He could not have claimed ignorance, as he was in touch with his subordinates such as Yokoyama. He was also receiving news from Tokyo, which updated him on international events. These included Spain’s anger at the killings of Spanish nationals and the destruction of Spanish property in Manila, which led to Spain breaking diplomatic relations with Japan on April 12, 1945. Ambassador Murata’s diary records the news they were receiving. Okochi was not tried separately, nor was he investigated. Yokoyama was tried as a war criminal, specifically for the Manila atrocities. He was convicted and given the death sentence, but was pardoned by President Quirino in 1953. Iwabuchi committed suicide around February 26, 1945, ostensibly in the old Finance Building; his body was never found. Tokyo considered him as killed in action, and promoted him to Vice Admiral posthumously.


The cover of “Manila Naval Defense Force” by Noboru Kojima

Japanese sources What sources do we have to try to get to the Japanese side of the battle? There are a few published books, most of which have not been translated into English. They are essentially secondary works, as the authors were not actual participants. Among these are Noboru Kojima’s Manila Naval Defense Force, which was the first book in Japanese to deal with the battle. Kojima, a popular military historian, was able to interview a number of survivors of the battle in Japan, as well as Iwabuchi’s widow. He points to the tragic end of the Manila Naval Defense Force, without emphasizing the atrocities it committed against Manila’s residents. A second book, part of the War History Series, covers Japanese naval operations in the Southwestern Area after the second phase operations in 1944-1945. This military history contains a detailed chapter on the Battle of Manila, but steers away from the atrocities. Published by the War History Section of the then Self Defense Force War College, this volume was written by former military and naval officers and is quite technical.

Cover of the volume in the War History Series covering Southwest Area naval operations

Akira Muto during his trial for war crimes at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in 1946

The omission of the civilian lives lost due to deliberate Japanese action is telling. The War College also commissioned a study specifically on the Battle of Manila, as an example of urban warfare strategy and tactics. While the technical points of the battle are given in great detail, again the civilian cost is omitted.

and executed as a war criminal, obviously tried to downplay his role in the Philippine atrocities; his memoirs were published posthumously.

In August 2007, a documentary company under NHK (the Japan Broadcasting Corporation) aired an hour-long feature on the Battle of Manila entitled “Manila Street Fighting”. The producers interviewed surviving Taiwanese who had been members of the Manila Naval Defense Force; a number of Filipino atrocity victims; and a few Americans who had fought in the battle. It brought the basics of the Battle of Manila to the Japanese public for the first time. The documentary had issues with some of its perspective (e.g. by trying to emphasize the U.S. role in the destruction of Manila), but the treatment was a first in Japan. An international version, dubbed in English, was released later. A few of the participants published memoirs or diaries. Muto, Yamashita’s chief of staff, wrote his Philippine memoirs, From the Philippines to Sugamo, while in prison. He narrates his own experiences in the Philippines, but washes his hands of the Manila fighting, although those in Baguio (like Muto) received updates from the Japanese Army commander to the east of Manila. Muto, who was charged by the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal for the Rape of Nanking

A field officer who was charged with war crimes against the guerrillas in Panay, Lieutenant Toshimi Kumai, recalled in his own memoir how Muto told the professional officers charged as war criminals to keep the honor of the Japanese military academy and deny everything to the point of lying. Two other Japanese Navy officers, LieutenantCommander Koichi Kayashima and LieutenantCommander Shizuhiko Mineo, were closer to the action. Kayashima wrote a long narrative just after the war, Secret Outline Report of the Fighting in Manila. At the height of the battle, just as the worst atrocities were starting, Kayashima was ordered by Iwabuchi to report to Yokoyama, commander of the Shimbu Group to the east of Manila with operational command over Iwabuchi. Afterwards he joined up with the Eastern Sector, in Fort McKinley; his account thus skips the atrocities committed against civilians, and focuses on the military aspect of the defense. Kayashima’s narrative was published, for very limited distribution, in 1968, and the book is not well known although parts of his memoirs were also published in 1995 in a special issue of Maru, a rightist magazine which focuses on military affairs (particularly during World War II). 37

Mineo, a young reservist, wrote his diary in prison. Entitled I can Hear the Roar of the Ocean: The Testament of a Young Navy Officer Sentenced to Die as a War Criminal in the Philippines (published in 1966), the diary covers only his life as a convicted war criminal in the new Bilibid prison in Muntinlupa (which had also been used by the Japanese to intern prisoners of war (POWs) and civilian internees). Mineo was one of the POWs pardoned by President Elpidio Quirino in 1953. Mineo also published a short account of the Battle of Manila in a compilation of first-person accounts on the gyokusai battles of the Pacific War. This was reprinted in The Decisive Battle of the Philippines (Maru Pacific War Testimony Series No. 4). The article focused on the tragedy of the Manila Naval Defense Force, but again omitted the Japanese atrocities. A different perspective (and a minority view in Japan) is given by Jintaro Ishida, in a book entitled Waran Hiya [Walang Hiya]: Record of Massacres Committed by the Japanese Army against Filipino Civilians. Ishida (a pen name, since he could be bullied by right-wing activists) was inducted into the Japanese Navy very late in

the war and served in the final campaigns for the defense of Japan. He became aroused on learning of the atrocities committed by the Japanese armed forces and interviewed Filipinos and Japanese, with the aim of exposing the truth of the war. The book covers not only the Battle of Manila, but also the massacres in Calamba, Lipa, and elsewhere. A companion book, Killing, Being Killed, was translated into English as The Remains of War, but Walang Hiya (“Without Shame”) has not yet appeared in English. There are other source materials from the Japanese side, which are fortunately available in English. Among these are POW interrogations that were conducted by the Allied Translation and Interpreter Section (ATIS). Prisoners captured in the field of battle by Filipino guerrillas, or who had voluntarily surrendered, were not many, but all were subject to an initial interrogation by the ATIS detachment in the division that had custody of the POWs. In the case of the Battle of Manila, the 1st Cavalry Division, 11th Airborne Division and 37th Infantry Division all had ATIS detachments that conducted the first interrogation, which

(Left) cover of “Maru Bessatsu Taiheiyō Sensō Shōgen Series 4: The Climax of the Japan-US War: The Decisive Battle of the Philippines” and (right) Shizuhiko Mineo’s article in the magazine


volume), and while it contains the strategy and tactics, it again omits civilian atrocities.

Cover of “Waran Hiya” by Jintaro Ishida

was usually brief, covering the POW’s military background, unit and order of battle. In some cases the POWs were sick or wounded, and unable to say much; in other cases the POWs were more cooperative. In either event, the preliminary interrogation was mainly for tactical purposes, reflecting the immediate needs of the frontline units – order of battle, unit strength and weapons, morale and so forth. There is thus nothing on atrocities against civilians. But the military histories of the individual POWs provide interesting backgrounds on who the Japanese were who fought in the Battle of Manila. After the war, the Allied occupation government in Japan under General Douglas MacArthur as the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers sought to uncover as much as it could to piece together the Japanese side of the war. Teams interrogated ranking Japanese officers and solicited statements on various battles and campaigns even as a multi-volume monograph series was commissioned. Some of those interrogated or who wrote statements were involved in the Battle of Manila, but spoke mainly about the military side of the campaigns. Atrocities are barely mentioned in the interrogations and statements. Among these are statements by Kayashima and Arima (Okochi’s chief of staff). The only monograph to include the Battle of Manila is the one on naval operations in the southwest area late in the war (in a sense a prelude to the War History Series

Another source into the Japanese side of the battle are the testimonies during the war crimes trials. Especially important is the trial of Yamashita, who was charged with the atrocities against civilians in the Battle of Manila. Some of the Japanese testimonies are, however, subjective and defensive, leaving much to be desired. The aim of the Japanese witnesses, as well as of the American defense panel, was to defend the suspect rather than arriving at more factual truth. Ironically, Okochi, Iwabuchi’s direct senior in the naval command, testified for the prosecution in the Yamashita case. In effect he placed all the blame on Yamashita, absolving the navy of responsibility. Okochi testified that he had placed all naval ground troops in the Philippines under Yamashita’s operational control on January 6, 1945. In other details, Okochi was vague, and he was not investigated as a war crimes suspect. Given the subjective nature of war crimes testimonies and post-war memoirs and statements, the more reliable documents are actual orders, diaries and radio messages. Most of these are fragmentary, having been captured in the field either in dead bodies or in ruins. Most of the surviving orders and diaries were translated by ATIS and used in the war crimes trials. Radio message logs survived the war but are not easily accessible. Conclusion While questions remain as to what orders were given, a re-examination of some of the field orders that did survive cannot be ignored. The Shimbu Group’s headquarters, Yokoyama’s command, issued an order on January 16, 1945: Combat objectives: To kill or wound as many of the enemy as possible.

The term “enemy” could have included civilians. A unit under Iwabuchi issued an order on February 13, 1945: All people on the battlefield, with the exception of Japanese military personnel, Japanese civilians and Special Construction Units [composed of members of the proJapanese Ganap Party], shall be put to death.


And an undated order stated: When Filipinos are to be killed, they must be gathered into one place and disposed of with the consideration that ammunition and manpower must not be used to excess. Because the disposal of dead bodies is a troublesome task, they should be gathered into houses which are scheduled to be burned or demolished. They should also be thrown into the river. Bibliography (published works)

A few diaries recorded compliance. The whole story will never be known. But putting together these fragments can shed more light into the gyokusai – if indeed that was what it was – of the Battle of Manila. This article is based on the presentation given to PHIMCOS by the author on February 12, 2020. Photographs are from the U.S. Army Signal Corps; book images are of items in the author’s collection.

Aluit, Alfonso J., By Sword and Fire: The Destruction of Manila in World War II 3 February-3 March 1945, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Manila, 1994. Bōeicho Bōei Kenshujo Senshishitsu [Defense Agency. Defense Institute. War History Office], Southwest Area Navy Operations, Asagumo Shimbunsha, Tokyo, 1972. “City and Town Defense”, Intelligence Bulletin, Vol. 3, No. 12 (September 1945), Military Intelligence Service, War Department, Washington D.C. Fuller, Richard, Japanese Admirals 1926-1945, Schiffer Publishing, Atglen PA, 2011. Ishida, Jintaro, Waran Hiya [Walang Hiya]: Record of Massacres Committed by the Japanese Army against Filipino Civilians, Gendai Shokan, Tokyo, 1990. —, Killed, Being Killed: Testimonies of 200 former Japanese soldiers and Filipinos, Keishobō, Tokyo, 1992. —, The Remains of War: Apology and Forgiveness [translation of Killed, Being Killed], Megabooks Co., Quezon City 2001. Kayashima, Kōichi, Secret Outline Report of the Fighting in Manila, published by the author, Toyonaka, 1968. Kojima, Noboru, Manila Marine Force, Shinchosha, Tokyo, 1969. Kumai, Toshimi, The Blood and Mud in the Philippines: Anti-Guerrilla Warfare in Panay Island, Malones Printing and Publishing, Iloilo, 2009; translation by Yukako Ibuki of Firipin Chi to Doro, Jiji Shuppan, Tokyo, 1971. Mineo, Shizuhiko, I can Hear the Roar of the Ocean: The Testament of a Young Navy Officer Sentenced to Die as a War Criminal in the Philippines, Feis Shuppan, Tokyo, 1966. —, “Tragedy of the Manila Naval Defense Force” in Maru Bessatsu Taiheiyō Sensō Shōgen Series 4: The Climax of the Japan-US War: The Decisive Battle of the Philippines, Ushio Shobo, Tokyo, 1986. Reports of General MacArthur, Volume II Part II, Japanese Operations in the Southwest Pacific Area, Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 1966. Scott, James M., Rampage: MacArthur, Yamashita and the Battle of Manila, W.W. Norton Co., New York, 2018. Smith, Robert Ross, Triumph in the Philippines, Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 1963. Maehara, Tōru, The Battle for the Defense of Manila: Japanese Military City Fighting, Bōei Kenshujo Senshibu, Tokyo, 1982 Murata, Shōzō; Fukushima, Shintaro (editor), Murata Shōzō Manuscript: Philippine Diary, Hara Shobo, Tokyo, 1969. Mutō, Akira, From the Philippines to Sugamo: The Fate of one Military Man and the Path taken by the Japanese Military, Jitsugyō no Nihonsha, Tokyo, 1952 (reprinted in 2008). “New Weapons for Jap Tank Hunters”, Intelligence Bulletin, Vol. 3 No. 7 (March 1945), Military Intelligence Service, War Department, Washington D.C. U.S. Army. XIV Corps, Japanese Defense of Cities as Exemplified by the Battle for Manila, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, Headquarters Sixth Army, Manila, 1 July 1945.


Rampage – MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila reviewed by John Silva, Ortigas Foundation Library Rampage

MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila

by James M. Scott New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2018 ISBN: 978-0-393-24694-0; hardback, 640 pp ISBN: 978-0-393-35756-1; paperback, 672 pp


HE ORTIGAS Foundation was incorporated in 1996 as a center to promote the study of Philippine history, art and culture. Its Library, which specializes in historical material, has over 3,000 books, photographs, documents and maps on World War II as it relates to the Philippines. The material of that period is divided into topics written, created or produced by various sectors during or after the war period: American government military publiccations, maps and photograph; war experiences written by members of the Armed Forces; and the memoirs of (mostly American) civilians who offer a perspective of their incarceration, their guerrilla activities, or just their ability to survive the three years of Japanese occupation. The Library also has documents and material from the Japanese perspective. There is a smaller amount of material in the Library’s collection written or taken by Filipinos, military and civilian – biographies, diaries, essays and photographs – offering a distinct albeit harrowing exposition of their wartime lives in Manila and the provinces. In this country’s liberation, with 16,665 Japanese soldiers and 1,010 American soldiers killed and 5,565 wounded, the Filipino death toll especially of those in Manila came to over 100,000 men, women, and children trapped, raped, tortured and massacred by rampaging Japanese soldiers and, as collateral casualties, killed or wounded by American artillery fire. In Rampage the author, James M. Scott, skillfully manages to bring these disparate testimonies and renderings from the various nationalities together and weave, for probably the first time, a most traumatic and tragic rendering of the liberation of the Philippines.

The historiography of the American return to their Japanese-held Pacific colony in 1944 was, for the longest time, dominated by a triumphalist version spurred by a desire to avenge Pearl Harbor, nascent anti-fascism, American democratic ideals, and hero-worship (as in the case of General Douglas MacArthur), with the end purpose the subjugation of Japan. The opening pages of Rampage focus on a haggard MacArthur enduring 77 days of Japanese artillery fire on Corregidor Island, having lost nearly 25 pounds and now readying his family for a perilous PT boat escape in the night to the southern islands and eventually a B-17 bomber ride to Australia. We are lulled into the familiar story told or read to us since childhood as MacArthur, taking center stage with the colony and its inhabitants as the coconut-palmed backdrop, flees the island, eludes Japanese destroyers, and reaches his Australian sanctuary to declare “I Shall Return”. This oft-repeated phrase casts a three-year memory haze of Japanese occupation, brought back to clarity when MacArthur stages a comeback on his abandoned islands.


Dead Japanese soldiers from a banzai charge at the corner of Dewey Boulevard and San Luis Street (image courtesy of Ortigas Foundation Library)

But Scott is adroit in luring the reader to the more tragic aspect of that war, particularly the Japanese occupation and American return. MacArthur minutiae like leaving behind his prized library, $30,000 worth of family silver and even the young Arthur’s baby book were the tease culled from numerous biographical references to the general. When drawn in, Scott sets the story in January 1945, when the liberating forces land on Luzon from points north and south and make their way to Manila. There are military accounts of the arrival into the city, but Scott significantly adds personal accounts, diaries, and later, wartime trial testimonies of Filipino and American civilians, caught in the crossfire and artillery fire, fleeing, hiding, and dying in a once cosmopolitan city now turned hellhole. Scott excerpts and quotes from over 80 Filipino, American and other witnesses whose writings are heard, woven and in concert for the first time to give a very sober and painful rendering of a fraction of the over 100,000 lives that were lost to a battle that lasted just two months. In those 54 days, the remaining Japanese marines in the city were given orders to delay the American advance by any means necessary. 42

One personal account highlighted by Scott was the afternoon when ten Japanese soldiers barged into the home of Nicanor Reyes, a university president, and with bayonets drawn and no warning given, took most of the children to the garden and bayonetted them. Two young sisters, one of them Lourdes, a witness to this scene (and later writer), were taken upstairs where one was killed; Lourdes managed to escape downstairs to see the house burning, her father Nicanor wounded and dying, and her mother severely wounded. Lourdes would eventually huddle with her mother, other relatives and family servants out in the garden under a lean-to while artillery fire intensified. A projectile eventually landed, exploded and killed the rest of her family. The massacres were also committed in large groups. One of the most abominable was Japanese marines entering the Philippine Red Cross Hospital and systematically bayonetting over 50 patients and staff that had begged for their lives and offered no resistance. Patients scurried with children to hide but were still found and bayonetted without compunction. Scott cites similar eye-witnessed atrocities of dozens of men, women and children at the Philippine General Hospital, the German Club,

the Tabacalera Factory, and the streets of Ermita, machine-gunned, bayonetted and stabbed. Explosives were rigged in buildings and streets, exploding when civilians gathered. In the past, as individual accounts were published at different times, these acts of brutality seemed isolated and unusual. But Scott manages for the first time in contemporary Philippine history to bring together a collective rendering of those nauseating months giving a full impact on the rampage wrought by Japanese marines. It did not help that the American forces, with so much firepower and a desire to lessen their own casualties, decided to flatten the city and in doing so turned tens of thousands of anxious Filipinos, ready to be freed, into collateral casualties. Scott manages to capture the acrid air, the absence of sunlight, and the constant relentless pounding of raining shells transforming Manila into Armageddon. Tomoyuki Yamashita, the commanding general of the whole Japanese forces on the islands, had transferred his headquarters to Baguio and by his absence could escape culpability. The villain of the city-wide atrocity was Rear Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi who (as Scott notes) “…planned to do everything in his power to stop MacArthur - even if it demanded he destroy Manila.” Yamashita’s testimony at the war trials stated that Iwabuchi defied his orders by deciding not to evacuate Manila. Iwabuchi, having committed suicide in the basement of a building just a day before the Japanese surrender, could no longer defend himself. Scott ferrets out documents showing Yamashita actually received daily reports, and agreed and encouraged Iwabuchi to continue his deadly stand in Manila. Despite a chastised Yamashita evoking world peace and renunciation of the war, several final appeals, letters and poems did not suffice. Charged with command responsibility, he was hanged on February 23, 1946. In the thick of the bombardment, with tens of thousands of civilians fleeing central Manila, one couple, Marcial and Jessie Lichauco, started to care, provide meals, and secure medicine for thousands of refugees in their suburban Santa Ana home. Their efforts, cited by Scott along with many others who did the same, are the redemptive parts of this gut-wrenching book.

An M4 Sherman tank enters Fort Santiago as U.S. troops storm the City of Manila, February 26, 1945 (U.S. National Archives ref. 80-G-273361)

At his Manila book-launching Scott spoke about the scarcity of readings on the Pacific War. Most war stories have concentrated on the Atlantic side so Americans – and Filipinos as well – do not have the chance to examine their own circumstances in World War II, save for the disparate material that abounds and (mostly military) renderings that fail to capture the fate of Filipinos in the process. Scott, in Rampage, has skillfully added the missing Filipino voice to the saddest, fatal, and shell-shocked period in the country’s history. About the Author A former Nieman Fellow at Harvard, James M. Scott is the author of Rampage, which was named one of the Best Books of 2018 by the editors at Amazon, Kirkus and Military Times and was chosen as a finalist for the prestigious Gilder Lehrman Prize for Military History by the New York Historical Society. His other works include Target Tokyo, a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist, The War Below and The Attack on the Liberty, which won the Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison Award. Scott lives with his wife and two children in Mt. Pleasant, SC. Source


Japan’s Lifeline Will Be Cut, PWB GHQ leaflet no. 10-J-1

(Peter Geldart collection; image courtesy of Wattis Fine Art)

This strongly graphic leaflet shows the Japanese forces in the Philippines becoming increasingly isolated as the mother country’s supply lines are choked off. The figures of Admiral Nimitz (on an aircraft carrier) and General MacArthur (on the Philippines) symbolically squeeze a noose around the sea routes from Southeast Asia to Japan, cutting off food and essential fuel from the occupied lands to the homeland. The Japanese text on the reverse reads: The Key to the Outcome of the War The Domei News Agency stated on November 7, 1944: The Japanese loss of Leyte will disrupt sea lane transportation of our vessels to the Southern Regions, and it will endanger the transportation of our various raw materials from the Southern Regions to the Homeland. Just how accurate was this prediction is shown by the successive military developments themselves. The entire strength of the army, navy, and air force under General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz is now able to operate freely from the newly captured bases in the Philippines. The sea route which connects the homeland of Japan and the Southern Regions is gradually being compressed. The day is not far off when this sea route, which is called the life line, will be cut; and Japanese shipping will be nailed down. Soon will not there be a shortage even of the fuel that airplanes must have? The supply of rubber, tin, and other vital materials needed for the implements of war will fall into great difficulty. No matter how strong a soldier may be, when even the very supply lines cannot be protected, how can he satisfactorily perform his task?


“Yesterday’s Enemies are Today’s Friends”

The Leaflets of the Psychological Warfare Branch, 1944-1945

by Ricardo Trota Jose, Ph.D.

Department of History, University of the Philippines, Diliman


URING World War II, psychological warfare was exploited by all countries involved. This took the form of printed leaflets, newspapers, magazines, radio broadcasts and other types of media. The Japanese used propaganda to try to convince Filipinos in Bataan to surrender; Filipino guerrillas used propaganda to keep up morale in the fight against the Japanese occupiers. But perhaps the most challenging task for propagandists was to persuade Japanese soldiers in the Pacific and Southeast Asia to surrender. Challenging because the Japanese soldiers had been indoctrinated never to surrender, that death was more honorable than becoming a prisoner of war (POW).

Several agencies operating in the Asia-Pacific area produced leaflets and other propaganda material directed at the Japanese soldiers – and also at the occupied peoples. Among these were the Allied Far Eastern Liaison Office (FELO) in Australia, which designed and distributed leaflets in New Guinea, the South Pacific and the Netherlands East Indies, then under Japanese control. Established in 1942, FELO came under General Douglas MacArthur’s command but was largely an Australian program.

Philippines. As Supreme Commander, South-west Pacific Area (SWPA), MacArthur was determined to return to the Philippines, and towards that end he had launched various operations to help the anti-Japanese guerrilla resistance movement. (The propaganda operations involved are a fascinating topic, to be covered in another article). But MacArthur realized that as well as propping up Filipino morale, Japanese morale had to be undermined so that resistance would be weakened. Better yet, Japanese soldiers could be convinced to surrender, thus reducing the amount of bloodshed during the liberation. The Psychological Warfare Branch To plan and coordinate all operations relating to psychological warfare in SWPA, specifically in the Philippines, MacArthur established the Psychological Warfare Branch (PWB) in June 1944. He was well aware of Washington’s attempts to send OSS and OWI teams to SWPA, but MacArthur distrusted Washington and disliked outside interference. Thus PWB was created. Some of its work would overlap with FELO, and indeed a lot of consultation took place between the newly-established PWB and the experienced FELO.

In the Central Pacific, Admiral Chester Nimitz’s Psychological Warfare Section, under the Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific Ocean Areas (JICPOA), was based in Honolulu. The British organized the Psychological Warfare Team that operated in Burma, Southern China and mainland Southeast Asia, as part of the Southeast Asia Command. In Washington, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), precursor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Office of War Information (OWI) were heavily involved in anti-Axis underground movements, including psychological warfare. By mid-1944, the Allied push in the Central and Southwest Pacific made significant gains, and the route of advance pointed inexorably to the

Colonel Bonner F. Fellers in Santo Tomas Internment Camp shortly after it was liberated (photograph U.S. Army Signal Corps)


FELOs activities were limited to former British and Dutch territories, while PWB would focus on the Philippines. Consequently MacArthur chose Colonel (later Brigadier General) Bonner Frank Fellers to head the PWB. Fellers had graduated from West Point in 1918 and had developed an interest in psychological warfare during his professional career. In 1935 he wrote “The Psychology of the Japanese Soldier” as his thesis at the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff School. This, it will be noted, was after the Manchurian Incident of 1931 but before the SinoJapanese War had broken out. In 1936 Fellers was posted to the Philippines where, in the Office of the Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government (OMACG), he helped open the Philippine Military Academy and acted as the liaison between MacArthur and President Manuel Quezon. He was transferred out just before the war began, and served in various positions in Washington and around the world before MacArthur specifically called for him; Fellers had also written to MacArthur about his desire to serve under him. Fellers was ordered to MacArthur’s command as his Military Secretary in 1943. Fellers, as head of PWB, drafted a comprehensive plan, entitled “Basic Military Plan for Psychological Warfare in the Southwest Pacific Area”, approved on July 26, 1944 and published on August 2. Part of the plan was to study in more detail the psychology of the Japanese soldier, building on Fellers’ own research, and determining the weak spots in it that PWB could exploit. Particularly key in Fellers’ plan was the production and dissemination of leaflets aimed at both Japanese and Filipinos. PWB was divided into three sections: Planning, Collation, and Production. Planning set the main overall strategy as well as immediate goals; Collation put together information on Japanese units and conditions in the field, and issued weekly summaries for planning purposes. The Production section took charge of the actual design, writing and printing of leaflets, as well as other propaganda material. Second in command to Fellers was Colonel J. Woodall Greene, who served as PWB’s executive officer. Weekly plans and targets were issued from September 1944, especially from October 1944, until the end of the war.


Paper Bullets – How they Beat the Jap, an instructional booklet issued by the PWB to give step-by-step instructions to U.S. artillerymen on how to load propaganda leaflets into an artillery shell and fire them at Japanese troops (image courtesy of Pacific University Archives)

Other personnel were assigned to PWB as it began operations. Initially one nisei (second generation Japanese-American) was detached from the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS) to draft the Japanese text of leaflets. Others had advertising experience, which was useful in laying out the leaflets and choosing artwork that would be effective. Still others reported in after finishing a course on Japanese language and culture in the U.S. Although MacArthur frowned on any OWI participation in his theater, he did welcome one man from OWI. This was Frederic S. Marquardt, who had been associate editor of the hard-hitting weekly news magazine Philippines Free Press in the 1930s. Marquardt had gone to the U.S. for medical treatment and rest, and was caught there by the outbreak of the war. He worked in the U.S. as a professional journalist until he was recruited by the OWI and sent to Australia. MacArthur, who knew Marquardt well from their Commonwealth of the Philippines days, immediately took him in.

The General Surrender Appeal leaflet; the first issue (1-J-1) said I Surrender, but this was changed (17-J-1) to I Cease Resistance because of the Japanese antipathy to the concept of surrendering

PWB was under General Headquarters (GHQ) SWPA, based in Brisbane. The first PWB leaflets were thus planned, prepared and printed in Brisbane, to be dropped by aircraft which had begun bombing areas in the Philippines. Beneath PWB GHQ were PWB’s field units. In September 1944, the combat command that was scheduled to do the actual fighting in the Philippines was the 6th Army, under Lieutenant General Walter Krueger. Thus, as the main office of PWB was beginning to produce its first leaflets, PWB’s 6th Army detachment (headed by Capt. Paul T. Anderson) was hard at work producing leaflets of a more tactical nature. To follow the 6th Army was the 8th Army, under Lieutenant General Robert Eichelberger; the 8th Army’s PWB detachment was commanded by Captain Alfred G. Hall. As combat operations got underway, some divisions would also organize PWB detachments to operate in their respective sectors. PWB headquarters moved to Tacloban shortly after A-Day (October 20, 1944, at the start of the Battle of Leyte), bringing with them leaflets printed in Brisbane. PWB also brought its own

presses and equipment, and was soon producing leaflets in Tacloban. These leaflets were distributed by U.S. Army Air Force bombers in their bomb runs, and also by smaller liaison aircraft which dropped leaflets either on specific propaganda missions or while spotting for artillery. Marquardt came to Tacloban a few days later and immediately began publishing a newspaper, the Leyte-Samar Free Philippines, which provided alternative news to the Japanese-controlled Tribune. As soon as was feasible, PWB headquarters moved to Manila, even as the battle was going on. Fellers entered Santo Tomas Internment Camp shortly after it was liberated, and caught up with many of his interned pre-war friends. Marquardt followed as soon as was feasible, also while the battle was still ongoing. He quickly looked for an intact press, and found one owned by (later Senator) Manuel Manahan. The press was small, used to make labels for tin cans and bottles, but soon they found the large Carmelo & Bauermann printing plant untouched by the war. The Japanese had used the plant to print, among other things, the ₱1000 “Mickey Mouse” peso notes which flooded the market in the last days of the Japanese occupation.


The Japanese had knocked down all the type cases in the press, requiring the restocking of typeface sorts in their proper boxes. This was no problem for Roman letters and Arabic numerals, but arranging the Chinese and Japanese glyphs was an impossible task until Marquardt met his friend James Go Puan Seng, editor-in-chief and co-publisher of The Fookien Times. Go sent his men to reorganize the Chinese type and soon the press was in operation, printing not just PWB leaflets but also the Manila Free Philippines and a newspaper in Japanese, the Rakkasan News. When PWB was in Manila, in preparation for the invasion of Japan U.S. forces were reorganized; MacArthur was given command of all Army forces in the Pacific theater (including the Philippines) and his new command, established on April 6, 1945 in place of SWPA, was designated U.S. Army Forces, Pacific (AFPAC). By this time, Fellers’ original plan of July 1944 had to be updated, since the war had progressed so quickly. Fellers issued a new plan on March 3, 1945, no longer focusing on the Philippines alone but targeting the Japanese mainland as well. Leaflets for Japanese units cut off or surrounded in the Philippines also had to be written and dropped.

The Hour is Drawing Near! (4-J-1) – as it shows one defeat after another, the clock ticks towards Japan’s Hour of Doom at 12 midnight, with the Philippines at 11 o’clock and the message “Why die now in the last few minutes of the war?”

PWB had to overcome the problem of identifying and exploiting Japanese character weaknesses so that the Japanese troops would be enticed to surrender. PWB also had to convince American officers and men that they should take Japanese prisoners of war and treat them humanely. This was initially difficult because, after months of ferocious, no-holds-barred fighting in the jungles of the Southwest Pacific and in the Philippines, most soldiers believed that “the only good Jap is a dead Jap.” Some Japanese who pretended to surrender in fact had live grenades with them, which they blew up the moment they reached American lines. Others seemed to surrender, but their comrades hidden in the bush shot at the Americans as they approached the supposedly “surrendering” Japanese. ˂ Abandoned (3-J-1) shows a Japanese soldier on an island bypassed by MacArthur, with the text: “Where are our ships and planes? What is going to happen to you?”


The 6th Army PWB section issued the J-6 series, and the highest J-6 serial number I have identified is 106-J-6. These leaflets seem less polished than the J-1 leaflets, since they were printed near the front lines. There is some duplication of art work with J-1 leaflets, but with different numbers. J8 was the series of leaflets printed and disseminated by the 8th Army PWB section, mainly in the Visayas and Mindanao. Like the J-6 leaflets, they are less colorful and simpler than the J1 leaflets. The highest J-8 serial number I have identified is 29-J-8. Ring of Ships (13-J-1) shows the Allied blockade, with the Philippines cut off and the text “The South Seas are the South Seas and Japan is Japan”

PWB had to persuade both U.S. soldiers and Filipino guerrillas that it was more profitable to capture prisoners rather than kill them all. Apart from the intelligence value these prisoners might bring in, the reduction of some Japanese from the fighting front meant a little less fighting to do. Thus, some leaflets had to be printed and briefings held to change the mindset of battlehardened American veterans. The leaflets

Throughout the Philippine theater, subsidiary units – armies, corps and especially divisions in the field – also put out their own leaflets, used for tactical purposes along with the J-I leaflets. These tend to be harder to locate since they were issued in fewer numbers, unlike the hundreds of thousands of J-1 leaflets that were printed. X Corps, in Mindanao, designated its leaflets as J-10; XI Corps in Luzon was J-11; the 11th Airborne Division operating in Luzon was J-21; and the 41st Infantry Division in Mindanao was J-41. These leaflets were generally less sophisticated than the J-1 leaflets, many of them being mimeographed with Japanese text handwritten using stencils.

Design and printing of the first leaflets was done in Brisbane by both PWB GHQ and the 6th Army PWB section. One of the latter’s first draft leaflets announced the surrender of Germany – well ahead of time, since it was printed in midSeptember 1944. It was never issued, but a revised leaflet using the same artwork was printed in April 1945. Leaflets designed and printed by PWB GHQ were designated the J-1 series and were given serial numbers from 1-J-1 (the first General Surrender Appeal leaflet) to 159-J-1, but there is a large gap from 34-J-1 to 100-J-1 (which were not used). 154-J-1 was printed in August 1945, announcing the end of the war with Japan’s acceptance of a ceasefire agreement with the Allies; however further leaflets were issued for specific areas in the Philippines at the request of frontline units, addressed to isolated Japanese soldiers. Over 80 different leaflets were issued, with several variations for specific tactical needs.

One General Gains Fame While Tens of Thousands Die (19-J-1) – General Yamashita abandons his troops (image courtesy of Pacific University Archives)


Manila has Fallen (24-J-1) – with Manila in U.S. hands, China, Taiwan and Japan are within striking distance

Road to a New Life (111-J-1) looks towards the future, back home in a newly-rebuilt Japan 50

Luzon – Left Behind by the Battle (101-J-1) shows Taiwan in flames, with Okinawa and Japan under attack

The Shadow of the Officer is Great (119-J-1) urges officers to surrender and not waste the lives of their men

Agony of Days Ahead (4-J-1) shows the hopelessness of the Japanese situation in the Philippines, with the text: “Doomed. Those who choose to come to an honorable understanding with us will find that we treat them as human beings, not as enemies.”

Each Japanese leaflet had an explanatory page in English, explaining the art work and giving an English translation of the Japanese text. The leaflets were mainly dropped from the air, but some were shot in specially-designed artillery shells that broke open to spread the leaflets in flight. Still others were distributed by hand – either by Filipino guerrillas or by U.S. soldiers – who left them in conspicuous places for the Japanese to find.

A number of Taiwanese who had surrendered helped to make leaflets in Chinese, addressed to the Taiwanese serving with the Imperial Japan Army or as laborers. Three of these leaflets were printed by PWB GHQ, while at least one was issued in the field.

Some of the early leaflets were quite crude, with inappropriate Japanese being used. Japanese is a hierarchic language, especially in the 1940s, and textbook Japanese was seldom employed as is. Formal language could not be understood by the common soldier, and officers made light of the crude Japanese used. Some POWs offered to help, and used colloquial Japanese which was easy to understand. This made the leaflets much more effective.

All in all, millions of leaflets were dropped over the Philippines before and during the liberation. One source states 35 million were dropped from October 1944 to mid-March 1945, of which 27 million were directed at Japanese and eight million at Filipinos. The bulk of the leaflets were dropped in Luzon, but millions were also dropped in the other battlefronts. Millions more were printed and dropped over Okinawa and the Japanese mainland proper.

Another leaflet was specifically addressed to the few Korean soldiers serving with the Japanese army in northern Luzon.

6th Army tactical leaflets: The Fuji Group in Mount Malepunyo is hopelessly surrounded (102-J-6), used in Batangas, and Ceaseless Day and Night Artillery Bombardment (13-J-6), used in North Luzon


Yesterday we were enemies, today we are friends (15-J-1), one of a number of leaflets showing POWs receiving good treatment

Contents of the leaflets The main function of the PWB leaflets was to weaken Japanese morale such that they would lay down their arms and surrender. Such an opportunity could not have been attempted in the early part of the war, when Japanese forces were victorious. However, the Philippine campaign was ripe for the exploitation of Japanese morale because the tide had turned, and Japanese soldiers were facing increased difficulty in the field.

Surrender was not an option in the Japanese military, at least in the beginning. An honorable death in battle was preferable to the shame of being captured. Leaflets had to convince the Japanese soldiers that surrendering was an honorable way out of a hopeless situation. Aside from being treated fairly in a POW camp, there was no shame in staying alive. Thus, surrender was an honorable way out of a desperate position.

The leaflets followed certain general themes. One was to highlight the futility of fighting on in the face of the strong Allied offensive and the might of the US military forces. Conversely, the weakness of the Japanese military forces was emphasized. The actual war situation was revealed, exposing the lies of Japanese leaders and propaganda. This also served to cast doubt on the entire Japanese military capability (but carefully omitted any blame on the Emperor).

The first leaflet issued by PWB GHQ was the General Surrender Appeal, 1-J-1. In bold letters, the leaflet said “I Surrender” with the instructions: “Attention American Soldiers. This leaflet guarantees humane treatment to any Japanese desiring to surrender. Take him immediately to your nearest Commissioned Officer.” The Japanese text repeated the guarantee of humane treatment for any POW.

Another major line was to debunk the myth that the U.S. troops treated POWs inhumanely. The Japanese people had been taught that Americans did not take prisoners and, if they did, they maltreated them. Several leaflets (such as 15-J-1) thus showed POWs being treated fairly by the Americans, eating and playing games, with lots of good food and all the basic necessities. Who will Rebuild Japan? (113-J-1) shows a worker with Mount Fuji behind him


Because of its emotiveness, the wording was changed and a modified General Surrender Appeal leaflet, 17-J-1, proclaimed “I Cease Resistance”. This was perhaps the most widely circulated leaflet. It started out with a blank back, but Japanese text was added, depending on location and time, so several variants of the leaflet appeared, some marked with letters and others with entirely different numbers. Some carried pictures of happy Japanese POWs, with their identities carefully concealed by masking out their eyes; others showed how the leaflet was to be used – by attaching it to a branch and so forth.

Apart from the leaflets, a weekly newspaper was published in Manila and dropped on all the Philippine battlefronts, starting in late February 1945 while the Battle of Manila was still raging. The first issues were called Jiji Shuho (“News of the Week”) but, since most of the leaflet-size newspapers were dropped by airplane, the title was changed in mid-March to Rakkasan News (“Parachute News”). Factual news of the fighting in the Pacific theater (with photographs), Germany’s surrender, the conquests of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, bombing raids on Japan, and U.S. advances in the Philippines were all reported matter-of-factly.

An attempt was made to drive a wedge between officers and enlisted men. In some cases the enlisted men preferred to surrender, but the officers threatened them with physical punishment or even being shot from behind. Many enlisted men, being reservists or recruits, in fact were angry at their officers, who sometimes cornered the best food and the best living quarters, and stayed in the rear during the fighting. Japanese officers were quick to punish their men verbally or physically, resulting in muted anger in the ranks. Some leaflets thus sought to capitalize on the unhappiness of the soldiers.


Another line was nostalgia – bringing back memories of home – with Mount Fuji, the family, and traditional holidays such as Boys’ Day and the Emperor’s Birthday the subjects of several leaflets. Building on the homeland theme, other leaflets looked towards the future – who was to build postwar Japan if the men died? The road was open to a prosperous, peaceful Japan if fighting stopped and the military system dismantled. From March 1945 onwards, with Fellers’ updated psychological warfare plan, PWB produced leaflets aimed at Japan itself – Okinawa, where fighting started in April, and then mainland Japan proper. These leaflets were printed in Manila, and aimed to break the morale of Japanese civilians back home. The threat of massive American firepower, through incessant bombing raids, was drummed in. Also brought out were the lies propagated by Japan’s leaders through media. If civilian morale was broken Japan would, ideally, surrender sooner.

Japanese POWs were interrogated for tactical information as soon as possible. All were also asked about the effectiveness of the leaflets. Many prisoners said that, initially, they took the leaflets lightly, especially when the language was crude. But as the leaflets improved and the themes touched subjects with which the soldiers could identify, they did become more effective. Doubt was sewn regarding the news they were being fed. Rakkasan News proved to be the only source of reliable news for many soldiers, and was believed to be accurate. Leaflets showing the Japanese as being abandoned by their army and navy reflected what many soldiers could see. And while leaflets showing good treatment were at first doubted, the lure of good food, good clothing and good treatment proved too strong to resist. PWB officers pointed to the success of the leaflet campaign by citing statistics. When the Leyte campaign was underway, and the first leaflets were being dropped, the percentage of POWs to Japanese battle dead was only 1%: the spread of 116,000 leaflets produced only 93 POWs. In February 1945, four million leaflets yielded 1,906 POWs, and by June 1945 the POW-to-dead ratio had risen to 12.5% with 16 million leaflets resulting in 4,175 POWs. PWB was justifiably proud of the success of its leaflet campaign. Today, the leaflets have become collectors’ items, but little is generally known about them. I hope this article has shed more light on the PWB and its leaflets. Unless otherwise stated, images are of items in the author’s collection.


Earthquake from the Sky (151-J-1) shows U.S. B-24 Liberator bombers and P-38 Lightning fighters over Japan, strafing ports, factories and railroads as the civilian population flees to the mountains Bibliography Fellers, Colonel Bonner F., Report on Psychological Warfare in the Southwest Pacific Area 1944-1945, MacArthur Memorial Library & Archives, Norfolk, Virginia; see Friedman, SGM Herbert A., U.S. Army Psychological Warfare Branch (PWB) Leaflets for the Pacific War, Gilmore, Allison, You Can’t Fight Tanks with Bayonets: Psychological Warfare against the Japanese Army in the Southwest Pacific, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1998. Guide to the Far Eastern Liaison Office (FELO) Leaflet Collection, Australian War Memorial Research Centre. “Japanese Military Morale: The Crack Widens” in Intelligence Bulletin Vol. IV No.1, Military Intelligence Service, War Department, Washington D.C., September 1945. Marquardt, Frederic, Oral History and papers (Record Group 72), MacArthur Memorial Library & Archives, Norfolk, Virginia. Psychological Warfare Branch, GHQ AFPAC, Records of the Office of War Information, U.S. National Archives: — Leaflet Newsletter (especially issues 2, 6, 8, 9 & 10), 1945. — Paper Bullets: How They Beat the Jap, A PWD Manual - Restricted, 1944. — Psychological Warfare Reactions and Developments - Report No. 9, May 3, 1945. Psychological Warfare in the 6th Army Vol. 1: Preparations for the First Philippine Campaign October 1944 U.S. National Archives (Record Group 496). Sendak, Theodore, A Pilgrimage Through the Briar Patch: Fifty Years in Indiana Politics, Guild Press of Indiana, Carmel, Indiana, 1997. Southwest Pacific Area Propaganda Papers, U.S. National Archives (Record Group 496). World War II Anti-Japan Propaganda Leaflets, Pacific University Archives, Pacific University, Oregon 54

G.I. Joe’s View of the War

A cartoon map of central Luzon in 1945 by Peter Geldart


ICTORIAL maps became popular in Europe and the United States in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, including bird’s-eye-view plans of cities and political cartoon maps of the belligerents in World War I. The genre was given a boost by the growth of recreational tourism, leading to “the golden age of American pictorial maps, which spanned from the 1920s through World War II and eventually fizzled out by the end of the 1960s”.(1) In the 1930s, the cartographic illustrator Ruth Taylor White drew two lively pictorial “cartographs” (as she called them) of the Philippine Islands, including The Riviera of the Orient published in brochures for the Manila Hotel. These maps reflect the racial stereotypes and cultural biases held by the artist and her white, middle-class, American audience.(2)

Two large, highly detailed, somewhat whimsical but amusing (albeit, by today’s standards, “politically incorrect”) cartoon maps of Fort Stotsenburg and Fort William McKinley had been made by Lieutenant (later Brigadier General) Frank “Pinky” Dorn in 1927. Dorn, who served in the Philippines with the U.S. Army Field Artillery in 1926-29, admired and followed the carto-pictographic style of his friend, the Western artist, sculptor and cartoonist Jo Mora. The tradition of U.S. servicemen stationed in the Philippines drawing pictorial maps continued in World War II. A bird’s-eye-view map of central Luzon, signed and dated “H R Bennett PI 45”, shows the area from Lingayan (sic) Gulf to Baler Bay and Dingalan Bay, and from San Fernando to Tarlac and Cabanatuan. Printed in shades of brown, blue and black, the map shows main roads and mountain ranges, and names major towns, the Agno River and Balete Pass (taken by the Americans on 31 May, 1945). Measuring 43 cm x 53 cm, the predominant feature of the map is its numerous cartoon vignettes depicting war scenes: U.S soldiers in combat (or otherwise), the behaviour of the retreating Japanese troops, scenes of local life, and the activities of Filipinos and Filipinas in the war zone.


No printer or place of publication is shown, and I have been unable to identify the artist with any certainty. However, he may well have been the Hugo H.J.R. Bennett from Fairfax, Virginia who enlisted as a private in the Philippine Scouts on 4 June, 1943 at the age of 21.(3) The Philippine Scouts were generally Filipinos and FilipinoAmericans assigned to the U.S. Army Philippine Department, under the command of American officers. During the liberation of the Philippines in 1944-45, the army set up new Philippine Scouts units which actively fought against the Japanese Army in north Luzon.


This map is an unusual item of wartime ephemera, of which I have located no other copies. Although the drawings are not refined, many at best disrespectful, and some clearly racialised, they do give a strong sense of the emotions that must have been felt by a young soldier, recently arrived from the U.S., who finds himself in a strange, tropical country and in mortal combat with a fanatical foe who refuses to surrender.

1. Joe McAlhany, Putting the “Art” Back in Cartography: The Splashy World of 20th-Century American Pictorial Maps, Old World Auctions Newsletter, April 2018. 2. Dori Griffin, Beautiful Geography: The Pictorial Maps of Ruth Taylor White, Imago Mundi Vol. 69 (2), 2017. 3. The U.S. National Archives & Records Administration: 56

Japanese wall map of the Philippines published on 20 December 1943 (Showa 18) by the Japanese Philippine Association; note the Japanese claim over the Spratly Islands (Peter Geldart collection; image courtesy of Wattis Fine Art)

Orientation Waterproof Map No. 3 issued by the U.S. Army Orientation Branch c1945 (Peter Geldart collection; image courtesy of Paulus Swaen)

©PHIMCOS 2020. All Rights Reserved. Printed by Primex Printers, Inc. Mandaluyong City, Philippines

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