HomeTambaravol. 28 no. 1 (2011)

The Japanese Presence in Davao

Macario D. Tiu

Discipline: Social Science, Geology, Political Science, Law, Culture



Lecture delivered by the author at the 3rd Philippine & Japan NGO International Symposium on Social Development, 25-26 August 2010, at Villa Margarita Hotel, Davao City.


As far as I know, there is no known Japanese presence in the Davao region during pre-Hispanic times. The very few archeological diggings around southern Davao and southeastern Mindanao have yielded ancient indigenous pottery of the Sa-Huyn-Kalanay tradition (Solheim, Legaspi, and Neri, SJ 1979) and Chinese ceramics (Blair and Robertson 1973, 68-69; Junker 2000), but no Japanese artifacts.2 When the Spaniards began to explore the Davao area, they took note that the Mandaya tribe living along the Pacific coast tended to have a lighter complexion than the interior tribes (Schreurs 1989, 47). To account for this, they speculated that the Dutch or the Japanese might have intermarried with the local tribes.