Historical Notes on Japanese Bunkers in General Santos City, Philippines


This is a qualitative study employing historical-descriptive methods of research. Key informant interview, ocular investigation, and documentary analysis were used to gather pertinent data. Significantly, this paper is an attempt to revisit the socio-cultural and economic situations in General Santos City, southern Philippines, during the Japanese occupation only by interpreting stories and narratives revolving around the construction of the Japanese bunkers. This study found out that there was a viable relationship between the Japanese and the Gensanon during the occupation period. Japanese army’s de facto authority directed local manpower in the area to build up war defenses especially bunkers in anticipation of American troops’ landing in southern Philippines. However, the Japanese contact with the Gensanon created multifaceted socio-economic, intellectual and cultural interactions thereby depicting a different picture of war. Oral accounts tell that Gensanon bunker-workers were compensated in a contractual basis. Likewise, their local materials utilized to supplement imported materials for bunker construction were purchased by the Japanese at certain value. During construction activities, the Gensanon learned from the Japanese the value of hard work and dedication to produce quality crafts. They were also exposed to Japanese sophisticated architectural designs and engineering methods to produce durable structures especially bunkers. The Japanese, on the other hand, familiarized local materials and indigenous methods integrated into their own process of bunker construction. Eventually, both groups had learned, in some ways or another, each other’s languages and cultural upbringing especially the cuisines they used to eat and share during recess at work.

Author Information
Rebino Batoto, Mindanao State University-General Santos City, The Philippines
Allan Castino, Mindanao State University-General Santos City, The Philippines

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2017
Stream: Humanities - History, Historiography

This paper is part of the ACAH2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon