Apat na Taong Pagsikat ng Nakapapasong Araw: Musika sa Filipinas sa Panahon ng Hapon, 1942–1945


World War II in the Philippines was as much a treacherous mind game as it was physical. While it brought almost total devastation to the cultural heritage bequeathed by the country’s colonial past, it sought to create, albeit in the spiritual-emotional realm, a template of Asian-ism that the Filipinos were to live by as a supposed member of the Imperial Japan-colonized Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Songs, organizations, programs, speeches, religion and many other activities and things that could be used to sway the Americanized Filipino psyche were employed in this devastating “game of thrones”.

This study questions how music and related propaganda materials were used to pacify and control the conquered Filipino nation. Music, to a degree, was symptomatic of the progress of the occupation, from the initial settling down of the Japanese soldiers to the seemingly quiet acceptance of many locals in occupied areas. In these stages of the war, imposed music crept into the consciousness of the conquered—from Japanese children’s songs at the basic education level to the concert platforms with music composed by Filipino musicians heralding the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity theme.