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Philippine Literature

during the American

and the Japanese

Notes on the American Occupation

» The US established » In 1934, President
a civil government Roosevelt signed a
in 1901. Free public bill making the
education was Philippines a
introduced. Also, commonwealth. On
English was the May 14, 1935
medium of Manuel L. Quezon
instruction. was elected

Literary Works Produced

» The production of literary works in English is the
direct result of the American colonization of the
Philippines. The first collection of poetry in English is
Filipino Poetry (1924), edited by Rodolfo Dato. The
short story “Dead Stars” (1925) by Paz Marquez
Benitez is considered as the first Filipino modern
short story in English. A Child of Sorrow (1921) by
Zoilo M. Galang is the first Filipino novel in English.
The novel His Native Soil (1940) by Juan C. Laya won
first prize in the First Commonwealth Literary Awards
in 1940.

Literary Works Produced

» Filipino writers in English during the apprenticeship
period (1900–1930) imitated American writing. The
poet Fernando Maramag writes in the Romantic
tradition in his sonnet “Moonlight on Manila Bay”
(1912). Filipino fictionists copied Sherwood
Anderson, William Saroyan, and Ernest Hemingway.
Jose Garcia Villa used the Anderson pattern. Manuel
Arguilla and N. V. M. Gonzalez were influenced by
Anderson and Hemingway. Francisco Arcellana was
influenced by Saroyan.

Notes on the Japanese Occupation

» On December 8, 1941, the Japanese » MacArthur and his Allied forces
attacked Manila. returned to the country in 1944. They
» On January 2, 1942, Japanese landed on Leyte on October 20, and
occupied Manila. They set up a the biggest naval battle in history
Council of State in the country and ensued.
started propaganda to remold the » The Japanese surrendered formally
Filipinos. on September 2, 1945.
» In October 1943 the Japanese
declared the Philippines
“independent.” On September 20,
Jose P. Laurel was elected president.

Literary Works Produced

» During the occupation, publications were censored by the military.
Also, Tagalog was declared an official language (together with
Nihonggo). In effect, Philippine literature in English came to a halt.
Some Filipino writers then turned to writing in Filipino.
» The Tagalog short story reached its maturity during the period. The
best works were compiled by the Liwayway magazine editors in Ang
Pinakamabuting Maikling Kathang Pilipino ng 1943, which came out
in 1944. It is a collection of stories that won a contest sponsored by
the Japanese. The top four stories were “Lupang Tinubuan” by
Narciso G. Reyes, “Uhaw ang Tigang na Lupa” by Liwayway Arceo,
“Nayon at Dagat-dagatan” by N. V. M. Gonzalez, and “Suyuan sa
Tubigan” by Macario Pineda.

» The American occupation of the
Philippines spurred the writing of
Filipinos in English. On the other
hand, the Japanese occupation
censored literary works yet
contributed to the maturity of the
Tagalog short story.