Prewar films show Japanese enjoying life in the Philippines

Trading house Osaka Boeki’s shop holds a Christmas sale in what is believed to be Manila around October 1934. (Provided by the Matsui family via asahi.com)

By Yasuji Nagai/asahi.com – Prewar films have been found showing Japanese living, working, playing sports and wearing Western clothes in the Philippines in the years before the Southeast Asian islands were turned into bloody battlefields.

Fifty 16-mm films, running 220 minutes in total, were discovered in the former residence of Seiei Matsui in Osaka Prefecture by his relatives.

Matsui was the general manager of Manila-based trading house Osaka Boeki Kaisha Ltd., which was known as Osaka Bazar until January 1934.

The films were shot between 1929 and 1939 when the Philippines was under U.S. colonial rule.

The footage shows not only the company’s outlets and employees but also daily scenes from numerous Philippine cities, including Manila, Davao and Cebu, where Osaka Boeki set up its business bases.

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