MANY of the Japanese in Davao lived and worked in Mintal, which oral accounts say is from the Japanese word Mintaru (民多留) meaning “a place for many people to stay”.

The Japanese community in Davao operated hospitals, elementary schools, churches, temples, shrines, hotels, restaurants and many variety of stores and companies.

Based on historical records, when Davao was chartered into a city in 1937, one-fourth of population in Davao, or about 11,500, were Japanese and 13 Japanese elementary schools were operating around Davao.

Today, Davao is home to the biggest number of Japanese descendants or Nikkei-jin in the Philippines. Their association, Philippine Nikkei-Jin Kai (PNJK), holds a memorial ceremony, Ireisei, every August to honor the early Japanese immigrants.

Not only Nikkei-jin but also Davao citizens are enjoying Japanese cultural events and studying Japanese nowadays.

With these rich history and cultural activities, the bonds of friendship between Japan and Davao would surely flourish eternally. (PR)