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Editorial | A hundred years of partnership

Edward Rutherfurd, an English author, has a slightly different view of history. Many say that history is told by the victors. Rutherford said this might not be entirely true.

He said: “It seems to me that history is the story told by the survivors. In other words, the record that we can find. It may be a list of battles carved in stone. It may be the diary of a little girl who did not, personally survive. It may be an artifact dug up by an archeologist, or the thickness of a ring in a tree, or even a tune. The victors may have gotten lucky; but the survivors, I think, have the last word.”
Yesterday, the University of Mindanao mass communication students had a forum entitled: “Philippine-Japan Relations: Davao Context” with the Japanese Consul General Yoshiaki Miwa who spoke about the more than a hundred years of bilateral relations.

In Davao, the earliest documented presence of the Japanese was in 1903 with Ohta Kyozaburo who brought Japanese to work in Abaca plantations. He said the Japanese population grew as evidenced in the elementary school that was put up to cater to the children in Mintal, this city.

World War II happened and soon after, in 1956 the Japanese returned and established the consular office in the Philippines. Since then, business and economic relations strengthened with agri-industrial corporations built in the region. Banana as the main agricultural product remains the top export product to Japan. Japanese assistance has great impact on vital infrastructure including farm to market roads, highways and even hospitals. The recent one would be Davao City bypass project which will feature the first tunnel in the Philippines funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The bypass road connects Toril, Davao City and Panabo City, Davao del Sur.
The Japanese influence in Davao is obviously deeply rooted. How do we appreciate the cultural markers of our history?

To quote Rutherford again, knowing history is experiencing “the sheer delight, the incredible richness of the world’s cultures. We can discover not just a lifetime, but centuries of the astonishing creations of the human mind. For history, opens wide the doors of perception.”

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