[Feature] Japan and Philippines: Forging Stronger Relations

Sharing a stock article I found in my Dropbox. I wrote this 500-word essay last year when I was asked to write about the friendly relations between Japan and the Philippines. Thought I should share it for anyone who wants to read a brief rundown of the development of Philippines-Japan relations.

Japan and Philippines: Forging Stronger Relations

            2015 marks the 59th year since the normalization of relations between the Philippines and Japan. For 59 years, the Philippines and Japan have forged friendly relations with each other and have collaborated in various areas of cooperation. However, despite the good diplomatic relations between the two island nations since 1956, Philippines-Japan relations actually date further back in history.

As island nations in Asia that are geographically close in proximity, the Filipinos and Japanese have already been trading in the Philippines even before 1956. When the Philippines was still under the colonial rule of Spain, trade persisted between the two island nations. Even during the American colonial period, Japan was the second most important trading partner, supplier, and market of the Philippines next to the United States. On the other hand, raw materials and unmanufactured goods were exported from the Philippines to Japan. The volume of trade further increased between the two countries, and in 1889, the first Japanese consulate in Manila was established. In light of the Second World War, bilateral relations were cut off and it was not until the signage of the Peace Treaty in 1951 and of the reparations agreement in 1956 did the road to the normalization of relations between the Philippines and Japan began.

Since then, particularly from the 1970s to 1990s, Japan’s technical assistance, official development assistance and investments made its way into the Philippines. Trade also characterized the relationship of the two countries and had flourished since the 1990s. During that time, Filipino migrant workers also flocked to the Asian economic power. Cultural relations between the two also accelerated with the establishment of the Japan Foundation, Manila in 1996 and the influx of Japanese popular culture, which has been popular among the youth. With these developments, students and professionals were also able to study and do research in Japan with the help of government scholarships and through the establishment of Japanese Studies programs in Philippine universities. Furthermore, July also became the Philippines-Japan Friendship Month wherein various cultural activities are held nationwide every year. The Filipinos’ interest in Japan is also evident in the rising numbers of Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) takers every year. Starting in 2015, the JLPT will now be held in the Philippines twice a year. The number of Filipino tourists visiting Japan and vice versa also increased in 2015, and may not dwindle any time soon.

At present, bilateral relations between Japan and the Philippines have expanded in other areas of cooperation such as in defense exchange and training, maritime security, disaster management and prevention, and even in the peacekeeping process in Mindanao among many others. In 2015, Japan and the Philippines even elevated their strategic defense partnership by signing a Memorandum on Defense and Cooperation and Exchanges. In light of domestic and international geopolitical developments, and the advent of the 60th anniversary of Philippine-Japan diplomatic relations, it is expected that Philippine-Japan bilateral relations in various aspects are only going to get stronger.


[Event] Communicating with Cool Japan: New International Perspectives on Japanese Popular Culture

Four days after presenting in Kobe, I travelled to Tokyo with my grad school friend and sister to deliver another paper at Waseda University. Entitled, “Communicating with Cool Japan: New International Perspectives on Japanese Popular Culture,” the preconference organized by … Continue reading

[Event] The Sixth Asian Conference on Cultural Studies

The reason why I was out of the country on the first two weeks of June was because I delivered two paper presentations in international conferences in Japan. This venture was my first time to present my finished papers, so … Continue reading

Call for Papers: International Conference on Japanese Studies

I’m going! 🙂

To quote from Ateneo De Manila University’s Japanese Studies Program website:

14th Annual International Conference on Japanese Studies
Nihongo in Globalization: Language Education, Societies and Power
グローバル化する日本語を考える:言語教育、多文化社会と国家Over the last few decades, there has been a remarkable change in the situation of second/foreign language education. Multiculturalism and multilingualism have been adopted in many countries, and a demand for translingual competence has been increasing along with globalization and the consequent cross-border phenomena in the world. The creation of the Common European Framework of References for Languages and the following JF Standards has brought about an immense impact on the practice in pedagogical settings of second/foreign languages. With this background, the conference is a response to the urgent need to foster an extensive and profound understanding of second/foreign language, and develop theories and methodologies of language research relevant to the current state and future prospects.

The guest speakers include: Prof. Katsumi Kakazu (National Chengchi University), Ms. Harumi Kimura (Hitotsubashi University), Prof. Hiroyuki Nomoto (Tokyo Metropolitan University), and Prof. Shigenori Wakabayashi (Chuo University).

The conference organizers welcome paper submissions that are aligned with this year’s conference theme. It hopes to generate discussion that aims to enhance knowledge on language, innovate practice of language teaching, and direct language research toward multicultural inclusiveness. The conference particularly encourages critical studies in the following areas:

Japanese language in globalization
Japanese languages in multicultural society
Cultural literacy and Japanese as second/foreign language
Japanese language and colonialism
Gender and Japanese language
Diversity, variability, and standardization of Japanese language
Information and Communications Technology and Japanese language

Other related topics are also welcome. Please email abstracts to jspadmu@gmail.com on or before 15 October 2013. All submissions will be refereed.

Venue:  Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, Philippines
Dates: 24 and 25 January 2014
Fees: waived

We very much hope to see you there.

Conference Conveners:

Karl Ian Cheng Chua, Ph.D.
Hiroko Nagai, Ph.D.
Japanese Studies Program
Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines

This conference is organized by Japanese Studies Program, School of Social Sciences, Ateneo de Manila University in cooperation with Kritika Kultura: A Referred Electric Journal of Literary/Cultural and Language Studies, Ateneo de Manila University, and the Department of Linguistics, the University of the Philippines with the support of the Japan Foundation.

Guidelines on Abstract Submissions

1.       Abstracts should be 300-500 words in English and should be written in a style that is accessible to non-academic audiences. The topical area/s into which the abstract falls may also be indicated.
2.       Submissions should include the author’s name, institutional affiliation and complete contact information (e-mail address, telephone number and mailing address).
3.       Please send abstracts to jspadmu@gmail.com by 15 October 2013.
4.       The notification of acceptance will be sent by mid-November 2013.