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Submitted on
July 24, 2013


11 (who?)

This journal is dedicated to :

:iconpirihonrocksxd: & :iconnigihayamis:

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.


20130605 141506 by marimariakutsu

MKD (Mindanao International College) overlooking the " Philippine-Japanese Friendship Monument "sculpture



    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 [1] 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 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.



    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[2].

20130605 141446 by marimariakutsu

Plaque made to commemorate Kublai Milan's sculpture; Text engraved in both English and Nihonggo (Japanese)

20130605 141517 by marimariakutsu

The Philippine-Japan Friendship Monument stands tall and proud right by the college gates, showing off the eccentric and unique style found in many of Kublai Milan's other sculptures.

 ©Photos by marimariakutsu



    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[3].' This school has a lot to offer if you are truly interested in the Japanese language and culture.



[1] 'Dabawenyo' is a colloquial term for 'one who lives in Davao'

[2] 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:…

Brief history; Philosophy:

About Davao: Historical Brief:…

 Kublai Milan:…

Davao City: Culture and Heritage- Japan:…

Add a Comment:
eyrahsama Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014
Salamat po sa article ! Napaka-informative at saka di ko po akalain na may ibig sabihin po pala yung sculpture :)
Tanong ko lang po,  I want to study in MKD, pero medyo worried ako sa expenses. Medyo may kamahalan po ba ang tuition? International studies po sana kukunin ko. 
marimariakutsu Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, I'm so glad to find someone interested in taking the course I am in as well :D
Okay back to the heart of the reply, I'm glad you have taken an interest in MKD~
I have to say that compared to the top schools in Davao (i.e. San Pedro and Ateneo *coughhellsaexpensive*) MKD is more affordable than the schools I've mentioned. The staff are Japanese descendants or straight from Japan. Those who do good in the academics of the MKD curriculum are often guaranteed jobs in Japan upon graduating~ 

I'm not familiar with the scholarship programs in MKD yet but I'm sure they have it. Want me to check?
Also, a little tip if you want to pursue International Studies: keep yourself updated in the news (from local to world) and read...a lot~ :3 Good luck, my friend~ GAMBATTANE! 
eyrahsama Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014
Salamat po sa response! I'll give your suggestions a try. Gambarimasu~! 
Last nalang po na question, if you don't mind. How much po yung tuition sa isang semester? at saka ilang years po yung Int'l Studies?

marimariakutsu Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Youre welcome~
Hm, tbh, I'm not sure about the costs. But I took Nihonggo lessons there once and I remember the books needed costed 2000...but I forgot the total costs of the classes I went to (Sorry~)
As for Int'l Studies, its a short course lasting only an average of 4 years (if you study well). Afterwards you can pursue your masters and doctorates in Manila where larger institutions specialize in the field of your study (i.e. European studies, Japanese studies, Asian studies, American studies). Just make sure nothing goes wrong with your schedule and enrollment if you want to keep your int'l studies to four years. My classmates now have an extra year to fulfill due to enrollment errors :/ 
eyrahsama Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2014
ok po. Salamat po ulit! 
Aenyrhika Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013
Amazing! I've never heard of this before! Thanks for sharing! :D
TANblaque Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Love Japan. xD
Long live Philippines and Japan!!!
X-I-L2048 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I did not know such a thing existed! :O I learned something today! :dummy: It's so cool how you guys have so many friendship days. :iconblush--plz:
ExelionStar Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2013   General Artist
OH mY GOSH!!! What are you saying? I think this tops my post :D

I wish I could go there and learn more of it. I'm learning nihonggo all by myself *insert music here
More information to store XD
theubbergeek2 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2013
How fascinating.. o.o

Albeit I heard MANY old timers are still bitter about Japan and WWII, so it is maybe to be relativised.
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