Violence and war — two big words that could sum up how the Japanese and Filipinos live a life together. The Battle of Leyte is probably one of the wars that cannot be forgotten by the Filipino people for it was the time wherein they were totally occupied and ruled by the Japanese. The effects of the war started from the destruction of the beautiful environment of Leyte. Churches had been completely destroyed, trees were uprooted, and many houses were gone. Total destruction of agriculture and farming was the reason why Filipinos who lived there experienced poverty. Water buffalo, which is a symbol of life and wealth of farming families, were all confiscated by the Japanese army to use as supplies and food for the men. Another issue which came to light was the issue of Military Comfort Women wherein women from many countries were sent to Comfort Stations to serve as sex slave of the Japanese army. Unfortunately, many of the women of Leyte were forced, kidnapped and violently brought to these Comfort Stations. It’s so sad and depressing how the Filipinos experienced this kind of life when in fact they were innocent and just trying to live a peaceful and happy life. What right do these Japanese army have to take the lives of our dear Filipino people? In the end, I am still amazed how the Filipinos survived that kind of life. After the war, the women who survived from their lives as comfort women even managed to come out as witnesses against the Japanese society. Lola Remedios, a woman who experienced the life of being a sex slave, wrote a book that is like a picture diary wherein she told their story on how it’s like to be a comfort woman during their time. The book was full of Lola Remedios’ own drawings with colours in it to show how violently they were treated back then. The book was published and it was translated in English and Japanese versions to show the world how the Japanese army treated these innocent young women. Indeed, Filipinos are really brave and courageous. They are brave enough to speak up and stand up if they know they have done nothing bad. They are courageous enough to fight back for their own dignity and of course for their country. In every war, someone wins and someone loses. For me, it doesn’t matter if you win or you lose. What matters most is that we honour ourselves, we protect our women and we love our country.
Indeed being brave and courageous is not just for the Filipinos. It is also for the Japanese. Even though they were the reason for the many years of suffering of the Filipinos, I found out that the Japanese people also experienced this and I must say that the Japanese army have a good reason to be honoured. When I read about the Tokkotai pilots, my heart was torn. At first I thought of how really bad these Japanese people for letting and forcing their soldiers die just to win their war against the Americans. The Tokkotai pilots, also known as the Kamikaze, were Japan’s university students who were trained to become good pilots and later on to fly a plane with bombs in it to destroy the American’s vessels. In short, these young pilots will sacrifice their lives just to win their battle. These courageous young men were heroes of their nation for having the essence of a brave soul eager to serve and fight for his country. However, some said that they were really not heroes for they were just required to participate and forced to bring honour to their families. But for me, they were really heroes and they deserve to receive honour. The Tokkotai pilots flew their plane with a goal in their hearts. That is to sacrifice their lives for their families and for their country.