The Japanese would spank you.: Becoming Minnesotan

Victorino Alojado on his 90th Birthday, March 5, 2011.
  • Name - Victorino Alojado
  • Age at interview - 89
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 01.28.2011
  • Victorino Alojado in Manila, Philippines. Minnesota Historical Society.

    Filipino, Oppression, War

    Javascript is required to view this map.

    Essential Question

    Life in the Old Country: What makes a country a person’s homeland?

    Politics & Government: How are other systems of government different than the U.S. government?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    The day after the Pearl Harbor attack on the U.S., December 8, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on U.S. and Philippine forces in the Philippines. The Japanese occupation was harsh on the Filipinos, and many of them were forced into slave labor or threatened with other types of violence, and the invaders faced strong resistance from Filipino underground movements, bands of guerrilla fighters, and the remainder of the Philippine army. The resistance fighters managed to retake much of the islands from the Japanese before the war ended, including most of Luzon.

    The U.S. military under General MacArthur launched an invasion to liberate the occupied Philippines in October 1944. Though the U.S., along with Philippine forces, quickly took control of much of the islands, and Japan was losing ground elsewhere in the Pacific as well, fierce fighting continued, especially in Manila, until Japan’s surrender on August 15, 1945. Over 1 million Filipinos were killed in the war, and much of the city of Manila and other parts of the country had been destroyed.

    To learn more about Filipino history and culture, visit our Filipino Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Victorino Alojado 5
    4:16 Minutes | 4.1Mb


    Narrator: Victorino Alojado (VA)

    Interviewer: Lita Malicsi (LM)

    LM: Did your family or any other families that you know suffer from the cruelties of the war?

    VA: Well, Japanese, at that time, when the United States surrender, we were able to go downtown. We move little by little to that, you know, and then we went to in the city. But we had to get pass, ID from the Japanese. Every time we go inside, we had to bow to security. We’d bow.

    LM: You’d bow your head?

    VA: Yes.

    LM: What happened if you did not bow?

    VA: They will spank you. The Japanese would spank you.

    LM: So everybody bowed?

    VA: Yeah, bowed.

    LM: Even the little kids would have to bow?

    VA: Yeah. They were already in the city, surrender, you know. And then, sometimes, you are suspected. You are helping the guerrilla. They gonna arrest you. The arresters is, we call, MPs, Japanese MPs [Military Police]. If they arrest you, you cannot find you the following day, they’re going to kill you.

    LM: You just would disappear?

    VA: Yeah, disappear. That’s why you have to be very careful, very careful, because if somebody decent Filipino denounce you, that you are helping the guerrilla, you'll be gone. You’ll be disappearing.

    LM: Mmmm, my goodness.

    VA: At that time.

    LM: That was a tough time for the Filipinos.

    VA: Yeah, at that time, yeah.

    VA: We were living in the city, because my father’s house, where he was, is still standing. When we moved to the city, we lived there.

    LM: So when you left and came back, your old house was still there?

    VA: Yeah.

    LM: It was not bombed?

    VA: Yeah, not destroyed by the bomb.

    So, every night, American come in and drop bomb at the airport that’s very close to our area. So the following day we had to evacuate. We leave. We go south around twenty-two kilometer from the city. That day, the Americans start shelling, bombing every morning. Air raid. Then, the invasion was made and the Japanese retreat in the hill. We are lucky because we changed our evacuation on seven kilometers instead of going north…

    LM: You went south.

    VA: South. The Japanese retreat going north and Americans went after them. Some civilian are getting killed by stray bullet, you know.

    LM: Of course.

    VA: Crossfire.

    LM: And what else happened during the invasion?

    VA: During the invasion, we were around twenty-two kilometers from the city along a ditch. We go to the ditch and look how many American warships are landing. Every morning, the air raid passed by our place going to the downtown. At that time, Domi was born in that place that we call it Talisayan. That day, he was born.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun: A person who is not an active member of the military.


    Verb: To make a formal or public accusation against; to inform against; to accuse. (denounces, denouncing, denounced)


    Verb:  To leave or to remove troops or people from a place of danger. (evacuates, evacuating, evacuated)


    Noun: A soldier in a small independent group, fighting against the government or regular forces by surprise raids.


    Noun:  A military action in which the army of one country enters another country with the purpose of conquering the area or changing the established government there.


    Verb: To bomb (shells, shelling, shelled).


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 2129