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MKD: A Bridge to Philippine-Japanese Ties
Yesterday was July 23, the official day to celebrate Japanese-Philippines Friendship Month. Today happens to be my birthday, which always reminds me how lucky I am to be celebrating an occasion alongside with two nations fostering good relations with one another. There many ways and symbols both Japan and the Philippines have to testify their friendship. Here, I'd like to tell you about one symbol, a bridge, of their bond: MKD, Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku.
MKD (Mindanao International College) overlooking the " Philippine-Japanese Friendship Monument "sculpture
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF MINDANAO KOKUSAI DAIGAKU:
Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku (or Mindanao International College) is located in Davao City, Philippines and it is a school that specializes in teaching the Japanese language Japanese cultur. This school is also a symbol to Japanese-Philippine ties, since it is the only educational institution that is owned and operated by Nikkei-jins or Japanese descendants. It is often seen as a bridge that connects the two nations of the Japanese and the Dabawenyos  together.
MKD , as it is commonly known, stands next door to Philippine Nikkei-Jin Kai International School, a similar educational institution for students of elementary and highschool levels. MKD was built to honor Mrs. Ayako Uchida whose husband is Datu-Bago Tatsuo Uchida, considered as "The Father of Nikkei-Jin" in Davao CIty.
DAVAO CITY: HOME TO THE MANY FILIPINO NIKKEI-JINS
Davao City has a history with local residents of Japanese ancestry: the city alone holds the most number of Nikkei-jins in its entire country. Many of these Japanese descendant Filipinos were born from grandparents or parents who immigrated to the Philippines during the pre-war years of 1903 to early 1940's in search of a better life in the country. During those years, the economy offered plenty of opportunities. Many Japanese saw the Philippines to be a rich country during that time. The influx of Japanese immigrants though would later prove to be burden for national interest.
After the war, the Japanese overtook the city's economy to the point that the locals had virtually no control over the businesses. But soon, local Dabawenyos took matters on their own hands and created reforms and solutions lets everyone benefit from building up the economy together. Today, many Nikkei-jins are welcome to create business here in the city, just as much as anyone is. There are some scattered throughout different parts of Mindanao, but there is still a large percentage found in Davao City. Because of this, The local educational institutions of MKD and Nikkei Jin Kai make it a part of their Mission/Vision that exchange between the two nations are to strengthen each others' weak points and strong bonds.
A MONUMENT FOR PHILIPPINE-JAPANESE FRIENDSHIP
MKD is sure to update its majors and courses to address societal concerns and to reflect good relations between Japan and Philippines. It upholds the aforementioned statements through offering scholars cultural exposure trips between the two countries and original teaching materials for proper Nihonggo education. One of the latest additions of the school is a sculpture crafted by the local, Mindanao artist, Kublai Milan.
Plaque made to commemorate Kublai Milan's sculpture; Text engraved in both English and Nihonggo (Japanese)
©Photos by marimariakutsu
PERSONAL NOTES FROM THE AUTHOR:
I've taken a few basic Nihonggo lessons here for the college was only a stone's throw from where I initially lived. The school is always open to give opportunities to its students to learn more about Japan and Philippine relations. Many of its students get employed by Japanese companies both, here and abroad, and participate in fun events like the 'National Nihonggo Speech Contest.' This school has a lot to offer if you are truly interested in the Japanese language and culture.
 'Dabawenyo' is a colloquial term for 'one who lives in Davao'
 Kublai Milan is a prolific artist who is skilled in many mediums—from photography to sculptures. He first made artworks for his family's hotel, the Ponce Suites, before graduating Fine Arts in the University of the Philippines and eventually dedicating himself to creating artworks here in his home in Mindanao.
Davao City has the largest number of Japanese Descendants in Mindanao: www.nscb.gov.ph/ru11/products/…
Brief history; Philosophy: www.mkd-edu.com/indexMKD.html
About Davao: Historical Brief: ww.davaocity.gov.ph/davao/prof…
Kublai Milan: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kublai_M…Davao City: Culture and Heritage- Japan: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davao_Ci…