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Abstract

As Japan occupied the Philippines from 1942 to 1945, anti-Japanese sentiment among Filipino civilians intensified, especially as the brutal Japanese soldiers policed and coerced civilians into cooperating with their new ruler. The Japanese asserted their power through public atrocities directed toward civilians and prisoners, as well as through the implementation of mass censorship to ease the dissemination of propaganda, promote Asiatic identity and association, and prevent the spread of Western ideas. In this paper, I argue that Filipino civilians found ways of expressing opposition to the Japanese during the occupation period: by (1) joining and participating in the activities of the Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon (People’s Anti-Japanese Liberation Army) or Hukbalahap, (2) conveying symbolic messages of opposition through various forms of artistic expression, and (3) empathetically providing sustenance and support to American soldiers. I draw on examples from primary and secondary sources in my analysis. These three forms of opposition highlight the creativity and solidarity of the Filipino civilians, as well as the bitterness they felt toward their occupier during this period of restriction, chaos, and uncertainty.

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