Japanese Messiah Rescues Japayukis

This is a sort-of Christmas Story. Sometimes the Baby Messiah brings Christmas to the poor in his own special way. In this true story, he sends his aide, a ‘Japanese Messiah’, a Buddhist human rights lawyer, to rescue Japayukis from hunger and poverty.

eastwind journals, December 10, 2022 (archives tr06-1)

By Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com

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As a journalist, I met the ‘Japanese Messiah’ during a violent human barricade against bulldozers in a land dispute in Kidapawan, Cotabato circa late 1990s. Atty. Hiro Ainoda (not his real name) was a lawyer monitoring the conflict for a Tokyo-based human rights organization, because it involved a Japanese multinational.

In the evening, over a bottle of Merlot, Hiro and I became instant friends because we were both high-end adventurers in our youth. I boasted that I hitchhiked through Europe and North Africa for three years. He boasted back that he crossed on foot the Andean mountains from Peru to the headwaters of the Amazon River in Brazil. He integrated for two years with Andean tribes, who had never seen outsiders before. His adventures dwarfed mine.

I learned about Japanese history overnight from Hiro over red wine, not from books. It is related to this story. For 200 years, Japan was in deep isolation. Emperor Meiji finally opened up Japan to the rest of the world in the late 18th century. Meiji triggered a rapid transformation of Japan from feudalism under the Shoguns to an industrial power. He sent engineers to Europe and America, absorbing overnight decades of Industrial Revolutions. They learned quickly how to build warships and warplanes in preparation to World War II which they foresaw.

The first wave of Japanese farmers fleeing the wrath of Meiji, the Hitler of Japan, arrived in the Philippines in the late 18th century. They put up the first hemp (abaca) plantations in Mindanao, and exported the famed Davao tuna to Japan. By the 1930s, our blue-fin and yellow-fin were the most coveted sashimi in Tokyo restaurants. There was a similar wave of poor women who fled Meiji mostly to Hawaii, and became prostitutes called harayuki.

The Japanese farmers in Mindanao were conscripted against their will by the invading Japanese Army in World War II. After the war, they mostly integrated with the Bagobos of Mt. Apo, to escape Filipino revenge against the Japanese invaders. They melted into the tribal communities, speaking perfect Bagobo and looking like them. Japanese journalists could not spot them. But they drew them out from hiding with the smell of Japanese food.

Hiro never intended to be a Messiah. It just happened. In his research, he was shocked to discover that Japanese descendants, the nisseis and sanseis (2nd and 3rd generation mestizos) were estimated at a staggering 30,000 to 40,000, including unrecorded cases, scattered across the country when he arrived. He said ‘mas o menos’ (more or less) in his Peruvian accent. There were big concentrations in Davao (abaca farms and tuna exports), and the Cordillera. Thousands of them took over the completion of Kennon Road, when Filipino and Chinese laborers were massacred by malaria. Almost half of Japanese workers died of malaria.

The Japanese descendants were living in utter poverty. Hiro’s simple strategy was to get visas for them to work in Japan. He organized a Manila-based NGO to process the Japayuki children and Japanese descendats, gave them a crash course in Japanese, and vocational training. According to Japanese culture, the male children of isseis (pure Japanese) are indeed also ‘pure Japanese’. Thus, there was an exodus of hundreds of nisseis and sanseis to Japan, the first achievement of the Messiah.


Hiro also helped returning Japayukis. He was angry to discover that Japayukis who have returned home with nissei children, were abandoned by their fathers who had Japanese wives in Japan. He wanted the fathers to support their abandoned nissei children and their Japayuki mothers wallowing in poverty in the Philippines. The Messiah had a grand but simple plan.

He traced the addresses of these Japanese fathers in Japan and sent them letters through his law firm in Tokyo to support their families in the Philippines OR ELSE be charged in court. This threw them in utter panic. A court case would destroy their reputation and business, and reveal their Japayuki mistresses to their Japanese wives. Not one court case was filed. All of them surrendered to Hiro like meek lambs bound for slaughter. Today, these ex-Japayukis receive support and their children have become professionals.

Hiro today, in his old age, is still obsessed with adventure. We travelled together to Asian countries, though he was on a wheel chair. Hiro was indeed the Japanese Messiah who came out of nowhere to uplift Filipinos in utter poverty. I am tempted to ask a group to invite and honor him. Merry Christmas Hiro. The blessing of the Baby Messiah be upon you.

Love is cosmic in that it does not distinguish Christian from Buddhist, tycoon from beggar, VIP from commoner, wise from ignorant, saint from sinner, the beauty from the beast. Love transcends the human eye. eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com

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FOR THOSE WHO NEED HEALING, spiritual or physical (depression, anxiety, loneliness, terminal cancer, covid, diabetes, etc.) – say an online healing prayer with one or both healers below. Terminal patients have been healed in cyberspace –

1) Father Fernando Suarezwww.youtube.com/watch?v=8UP3LHBgtIc.

2) Sr. Raquel Reodica, RVM – www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAZcwNimBSg

Download free e-book ‘Healing Stories of Sr. Raquel’ at eastwindjournals.com/2021/08/13/healing-stories-of-sr-raquel-e-book-free-download/).

AUTHOR’S BOOK  – Wings and Wanderlust – Discovering Your Inner Self. At age 26, the author hitchhiked 25,000 kilometers in Europe and North Africa for three straight years. In this book of his wild adventures, he learned deep insights that changed him totally, which he wants to share with readers. It is also a guidebook on how to plan your own adventure.

Available at Amazon or Philippine source at cheaper price, e-book or hard copy paperback. For paperbacks, if you are a Philippine resident, save on shipping cost by ordering by email at eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com. For Amazon e-books, if you have an IPAD, download the app ‘kindle’. For non-IPADS, buy a kindle device (check guidelines.) – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09KS7QYWL.

Author’s Credentials. Blogger – ex-Columnist (Inquirer) – Healing Ministry – ex-Professor (Ateneo University) – Documentary Producer-Director (freelance, ex-ABS-CBN, ex-TVS Tokyo) – ex-Broadcaster (Radio Veritas) – Facebook “Bernie V. Lopez Eastwind” / Pages “Eastwind Journeys and Journals” and “Mary Queen of Peace”.


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