Between 1941-1945, Philippine Literature was interrupted in its development when the Philippines was again conquered by another foreign country, Japan. Philippine literature in English came to a halt. Except for the TRIBUNE and the PHILIPPINE REVIEW, almost all newspapers in English were stopped by the Japanese.
This had an advantageous effect on Filipino Literature, which experienced renewed attention because writers in English turned to writing in Filipino. Juan Laya, who use to write in English turned to Filipino because of the strict prohibitions of the Japanese regarding any writing in English. The weekly LIWAYWAY was placed under strict surveillance until it was managed by Japanese named Ishiwara.
In other words, Filipino literature was given a break during this period. Many wrote plays, poems, short stories, etc. Topics and themes were often about life in the provinces.
A. FILIPINO POETRY DURING THIS PERIOD
The common theme of most poems during the Japanese occupation was nationalism, country, love, and life in the barrios, faith, religion and the arts. Three types of poems emerged during this period. They were:
1. Haiku –a poem of free verse that the Japanese like. It was made up of 17 syllables divided into three lines. The first line had 5 syllables, the second, 7 syllables, and the third, five. The Haiku is allegorical in meaning, is short and covers a wide scope in meaning.
2. Tanaga –like the Haiku, is short but it had measure and rhyme. Each line had 17 syllables and it’s also allegorical in meaning.
3. Karaniwang Anyo (Usual Form) –like those mentioned earlier in the beginning chapters of this book.
B. FILIPINO DRAMA DURING THE JAPANESE PERIOD
The drama experienced a lull during the Japanese period because movie houses showing American films were closed. The big movie houses were just made to show stage shows.
Many of the plays were reproductions of English plays to Tagalog. The translators were Francisco Soc Rodrigo, Alberto Concio, and Narciso Pimentel. They also founded the organization of Filipino players named Dramatic Philippines. A few of playwriters were:
1. Jose Ma. Hernandez –wrote PANDAY PIRA
2. Francisco Soc Rodrigo –wrote sa PULA, SA PUTI 3. Clodualdo del Mundo –wrote BULAGA (an expression in the game Hide and Seek).
4. Julian Cruz Balmaceda –wrote SINO BA KAYO?, DAHIL SA ANAK, and HIGANTE NG PATAY.
C. THE FILIPINO SHORT STORY DURING THE JAPANESE PERIOD
The field of the short story widened during the Japanese Occupation. Many wrote short stories. Among them were: Brigido Batungbakal, Macario Pineda, Serafin Guinigindo, Liwayway Arceo, Narciso Ramos, NVM Gonzales, Alicia Lopez Lim, Ligaya Perez, and Gloria Guzman. The best writings in 1945 were selected by a group of judges composed of Francisco Icasiano, Jose Esperanza Cruz, Antonio Rosales, Clodualdo del Mundo and Teodoro Santos. As a result of this selection, the following got the first three prizes:
First Prize: Narciso Reyes with his LUPANG TINUBUAN
Second Prize: Liwayway Arceo’s UHAW ANG TIGANG NA LUPA
Third Prize: NVM Gonzales’LUNSOD NAYON AT DAGAT-DAGATAN
D. PHILIPPINE LITERATURE IN ENGLISH (1941-1945)
Because of the strict prohibitions imposed b the Japanese in the writing and publishing of works in English, Philippine literature in English experienced a dark period. The few who dared to write did so for their bread and butter or for propaganda.
Writings that came out during this period were journalistic in nature. Writers felt suppressed but slowly, the spirit of nationalism started to seep into their consciousness. While some continued to write, the majority waited for a better climate to publish their works. Noteworthy writer of the period was Carlos P. Romulo who won the Pulitzer Prize for his bestsellers I SAW THE FALL OF THE PHILIPPINES, I SEE THE PHILIPPINES RISE and his MOTHER AMERICA AND MY BROTHER AMERICANS.
Journalists include Salvador P. Lopez, Leon Ma. Geurrero, Raul Manglapuz and Carlos Bulosan.
Nick Joaquin producedTHE WOMAN WHO LOOKED LIKE LAZARUS.Fred Ruiz Castro wrote a few poems.
F.B. Icasino wrote essays in The Philippine Review. Carlos Bulosan’s works included THE LAUGHTER OF MY FATHER (1944), THE VOICE OF BATAAN, 1943, SIX FILIPINO POETS, 1942, among others. Alfredo Litiatco published With Harp and Sling and in 1943, Jose P. Laurel published Forces that Make a Nation Great.
The Commonwealth Literary Awards gave prizes to meritorious writers. Those who won were:
1. LIKE THE MOLAVE –by Rafael Zulueta da Costa (Poetry)
2. HOW MY BROTHER LEON BROUGTH HOME A WIFE –by Manuel E. Arguilla (Short Story) 3. LITERATURE AND SOCIETY –by Salvador P. Lopez (Essay)
4. HIS NATIVE SOIL –by Juan Laya (Novel)
President Manuel L. Quezon’s autobiography THE GOOD FIGHTwas published posthumously.
Radio broadcasts echoed the mingled fear and doubts in the hearts of the people.
Other writers of this period were Juan Collas (19440, Tomas Confesor (1945), Roman A. de la Cruz and Elisa Tabuñar.