Japanese Soldier’s Primary Account of War in Negros Translated to English
The Dean of the College of Education, Dr. Earl Jude Paul Cleope, who is a notable expert in local history, has received a long-awaited English translation of a Japanese soldier’s primary account surrounding the construction of the Filipino-Japanese-American Amity Memorial Shrine at a scenic hilltop site overlooking Dumaguete City.
It was an English version of a document written in Hiragana and Katakana by Mr. Kyuji Yamada, a Japanese soldier who was assigned in Negros Oriental during the Pacific War some 75 years ago. The document was dedicated by Mr. Yamada to his former commander of the 31st Educational Flying Corps, 2nd Lt. Hideo Harada.
Received late last year, the document is a boost to the compilation of Dr. Cleope’s narratives and historical accounts that piece together the history of Negros Oriental. English translation was done by Mr. Akito Tsukada, the first exchange scholar of the International Christian University in Tokyo to Silliman, and was edited by another Japanese and Silliman alumnus, Mr. Katsutoshi Furukawa.
Mr. Yamada’s account includes his experiences in the battlefield, describing the terror and chaos that the war brought not only to them but to the people of Negros Oriental. It also features the construction of the Dumaguete airport, which at that time served as the training ground for Japanese special cadet pilots. When the Japanese soldiers were overwhelmed by the sheer number of American soldiers penetrating the island, the same account narrated how the Japanese relocated their base sites in Mt. Talinis in Valencia. This recollection was made more intense by a description of the attacks and raids from the guerillas and the US destroyer planes.
In the same document, Mr. Yamada also discussed the construction of the Filipino-Japanese-American Amity Memorial Shrine at Nasunog Hill, Valencia, on April 2, 1977. The Shrine commemorates the lives of those who lost in battle and a symbol of peace and friendship among the nations involved in the Pacific War.
“This precious piece of history is a product of the Silliman Spirit – where a single act of kindness is reciprocated and transformed into one wonderful piece of treasure for the province’s history,” Dr. Cleope said.
The English-translated document, as its accompanying letter highlighted, is Mr. Furakawa’s gift to Silliman and Dr. Cleope. It was a token for the wonderful years he had spent on the Silliman campus and for the opportunity extended to his children to visit in August last year the University that he had called home.