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By Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
In 2000 I covered the Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal in Tokyo that investigated and tried atrocities against women in countries occupied by Japan during World War II. This was some 60 years after the war crimes were committed. The trial was initiated by civil society, human rights and women’s groups from Asia, Europe and the host country, Japan.
The mayor of food-loving Osaka has spoken and his statement is extremely hard to swallow. Mayor Toru Hashimoto said that the so-called “comfort women” of World War II served a “necessary” role to enable beleaguered soldiers to let off steam.
By Walden Bello
The words were so brazen that they have created a firestorm globally. This was the comment of Mayor Toru Hashimoto of Osaka, described as “outspoken” and “brash” in the international media, that “comfort women”– the thousands of Asian women who were forced to serve as prostitutes during the Second World War–were “necessary” for the morale of the Japanese troops.
By Artemio V. Panganiban
Days ago, I visited the Supreme Court of Japan to advise the justices of the construction and full operation of the Philippine Judicial Academy (Philja) Training Center in Tagaytay. I handed to Justice Masaharu Ohashi (Chief Justice Hironubu Takesaki was out of town) an album of photos and brochures showing the completed center and how it provides continuing education for our judges.
By Randy David
When I was in Japan early this year, I expressed a wish to visit the community on the eastern coast of Japan that my daughter Kara had featured in one of her “I-Witness” documentaries. This was the town of Ofunato in the Iwate Prefecture, which was washed away by the tsunami that followed The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011. My wish came true last Sunday.
Is the Philippine government not falling into a Byzantine international snare? Is the government not thinking that the United States and China are intentionally fomenting disputes in the Asian region? These queries are being raised because the results are obvious.
By Rina Jimenez-David
“Bunraku,” a type of puppetry in Japan, is by tradition a male preserve. Which makes the Naoshima Onna Bunraku a truly unique ensemble. It is, for one, an all-female troupe based on the island of Naoshima in southern Japan. Shortly after the war, in an effort to raise the spirits of the people, village folk decided to revive their local Bunraku group, but the only volunteers who stepped up, knowing full well how rigorous the training was (it usually took 10 years to master the movements of the right hand, it was said, and another 10 years for the left hand) were women.
The CCP president, reacting (Inquirer, 2/4/13) to Ambassador J.J. Rocha’s critique of the timing of the Philippines-Japan Friendship concert in February (Inquirer, 1/28/13) denies “any intent to dishonor the memory” of the 100,000 noncombatants who perished in Manila in February 1945, the bloodiest month in Philippine history.
By Randy David
I finally accomplished last Friday one of the things I had planned to do during my 2-week stay in Japan: to visit the grave of a dear friend, Yoshiyuki Tsurumi, who died of cancer in 1994. Accompanied by his former student, Prof. Yasushi Fujibayashi of Saitama University, and Ms Izumi Hirano, an archivist from Rikkyo University where Tsurumi’s papers, notes, and personal library are deposited, I went on a personal pilgrimage to Sagami memorial park in Kanagawa Prefecture, two hours by train from Tokyo. Tsurumi was such a nonconformist all his life that I could not imagine him being buried in a row of black and gray tombs of unrelenting uniformity.
By Edilberto C. de Jesus
The message is hardly new: Prosperity, perhaps survival, in the 21st-century business environment requires enterprises to expand beyond national boundaries. What is surprising is that Japan should feel the need to preach a message whose practice it had pioneered and in which it had excelled.
It has been announced that two concerts will be given by the Orchestra Nipponica Tokyo to mark Japan-Philippine friendship and the 40th year of Asean-Japan Cooperation. This is being done at the invitation of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
By Randy David
At the baggage carousel of the relatively new and solidly built Kansai International Airport, everyone around me was busy on their mobile phones even as they kept an eye on the fast-moving bags. I was surprised to see a preponderance of iPhones: I’d say, four out of five. It is easy to understand why the austere lines of Apple’s best-selling product would appeal to the Japanese. The iPhone is perhaps to technology what the haiku is to poetry. And so, it puzzles me why the Japanese did not invent anything close to it.