Yamashita Surrender Day is celebrated on September 3, as declared by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. This event marks a pinnacle in the country’s rich historical events since World War II began in Baguio City. While it is a special working holiday, Filipinos are encouraged to honor the value and relevance of this day in the country’s history as they commemorate the surrender of Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita to the allied forces in Camp John Hay 77 years ago. Today is dedicated to paying respects to the deceased soldiers who fought hard for peace, order, and freedom.
History of Yamashita Surrender Day
Yamashita Surrender Day is observed in the Philippines every year on September 3. Ten hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 8, 1941, the first Japanese overt aerial raid began in the Ifugao province in the Philippines. The Japanese occupied Baguio City, using Camp John Hay as their military base 19 days later. This was the start of World War II in the Philippines, which would lead to a three-year Japanese occupation of the country.
Formerly known as the Commonwealth of the Philippines, the Japanese immediately drafted a new government structure for the entire nation. This activity was largely opposed by underground groups and guerillas that would, later on, cover a large portion of the country. From Luzon to the southernmost islands of the Philippines, Filipinos vowed and committed to fighting against the Japanese. Notable guerilla forces formed during this time included the U.S. Army Forces Far East (U.S.A.F.F.E.) and other local militia in Visayan islands like Panay, Bohol, and Negros. And despite being the farthest island, about 38,000 guerillas were consolidated in Mindanao under Colonel Wendell Fertig. Despite their commitment to take over and fight against the Japanese forces, they faced many setbacks, including challenging terrains and scarce equipment. In early 1942, it became impossible to gather all these groups since they were scattered in a big group of islands or archipelago. However, communications returned in November of the same year, and the plan was back on track. Submarines delivered firearms, equipment, and radio to the guerillas, and most groups were fully prepared to start the revolution.
The war continued for three years until the official surrender of the Japanese imperial forces on September 2, 1945. The guerillas had captured Japanese Imperial Army General Tomoyuki Yamashita. The day is also known as the Yamashita Fall, which officially ended World War II in the country. On September 3, he signed the surrender paper at Camp John Hay. By this point, the Philippines had already suffered great destruction and casualties. A rough estimate of one million Filipinos was killed in several war crimes cases. Yamashita Surrender Day is a commemoration day to honor the brave Filipinos who fought for the country’s independence.
Yamashita Surrender Day timeline
Ten hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Imperial forces officially occupies Baguio City, marking the start of World War II in the Philippines.
Hukbalahap or the People’s Anti-Japanese Army, one of the first resistance groups in the country is formed.
This marks the start of the American and Filipino campaign to defeat the Japanese occupation.
General Tomoyuki surrenders, effectively ending World War II in the Philippines.
Yamashita Surrender Day FAQs
How did General Yamashita die?
He was sentenced to death by hanging in Los Baños, Laguna, on February 23, 1946.
Is Yamashita Surrender Day a working holiday?
Yes, it is a special working holiday in the Philippines.
Who captured General Yamashita?
General Yamashita surrendered to American Generals Arthur Percival and Jonathan Wainwright.
How to Observe Yamashita Surrender Day
Visit Camp John Hay in Baguio City
Camp John Hay is a well-known tourist spot. If you want to take a break from the metro and experience the cold weather of Baguio City, then this is the perfect place for you to spend Yamashita Surrender Day.
Spend a day at the Peace Museum in Ifugao
The Peace Museum, also known as the Yamashita Surrender Site, is a must-visit World War II site in Poblacion, Kiangan, Ifugao. This is the place where General Yamashita’s formal surrender took place.
Take an educational trip to Baguio Museum
Baguio Museum is the most educational place if you want to learn about the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. It is ideal for families with children to visit on Yamashita Surrender Day.
5 Important Facts About General Yamashita And The Philippines In World War II
Tiger of Malaya
Before the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, General Yamashita was known as the “Tiger of Malaya.” He earned this name after successfully conquering the Malay Peninsula and Singapore.
The Filipino guerilla who spearheaded the capture
Lieutenant Macario Albaradillo was the one who successfully penetrated the Japanese lines in Baguio City to capture General Yamashita.
Operation Musketeer I, II, and III were the code names for the liberation of the Philippines.
Two key men surrendered
Aside from General Tomoyuki Yamashita, Admiral Denshichi Okochi also surrendered.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed the bill
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Republic Act 11216, effective on February 2019, formally declaring September 3 as Yamashita Surrender Day.
Why Yamashita Surrender Day is Important
It honors unsung heroes
The Japanese occupation and Philippine liberation are two historical events that few Filipinos are aware of. Observing Yamashita Surrender Day allows citizens to commemorate the soldiers and civilians who lost their lives in helping restore the country’s freedom.
We can pay respects to the veterans
Many of the younger generation’s great grandparents were a part of the Philippine Liberation Movement. Observing Yamashita Surrender Day gives them the respect and honor they deserve for their service.
It educates the younger generation
Preserving the past is an integral part of moving forward. By observing Yamashita Surrender Day, the younger generation is reminded of the country's rich history.
Yamashita Surrender Day dates