THE PHILIPPINES-JAPAN SOCIETY, INC.
by unanimous resolution of its Board of Directors
proudly confers upon
The Honorable LEOCADIO DE ASIS
MEDAL OF MERIT
for Outstanding Achievement in the Promotion
of Philippines-Japan Relations
In the field of Philippines-Japan relations, LEOCADIO DE ASIS is a class by himself. Even among Filipinos who have studied in Japan, his contribution to the promotion of closer Philippines-Japan relations is both unique and outstanding. Indeed, no Filipino has written more about Philippines-Japan relations than de Asis.
Leocadio de Asis was born in Manila, Philippines on November 1, 1919. At the outbreak of the Pacific War, de Asis was called to the colors and assigned to the Second Regular Division which in turn was inducted into the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE). Thus, began the incredible personal story of de Asis.
Naturally gifted, de Asis was a consistent scholar throughout his student years. Graduating at the top of his class in both High School and Pre-Law, de Asis graduated with honors LLB (Bachelor of Laws) at the University of Sto. Tomas in 1941-1942. He was also the Editor-In-Chief of “ECOS”, the San Beda College Organ and Managing Editor of the “UST Law Journal”.
With the surrender of the USAFFE in Bataan, de Asis became a prisoner of war. While in confinement in the concentration Camp of O’Donnell, de Asis was selected by the Japanese, on the basis of his good track record and good health, to undergo a training program at the newly established Philippine Constabulary Academy. Upon graduation, finishing number two in his class, de Asis was assigned as one of the Instructors of the Academy to teach Criminal Law and Government regulations.
In May 1943, after careful screening by the Japanese, de Asis was again selected as one of ten constabulary officers for further training in Japan together with seventeen (17) other younger youth representing the elite Filipino families. The group left for Japan under great secrecy where they were joined by other scholars from the occupied territories in Southeast Asia. This group of scholars were later on identified as “Nampo Tokubetsu Ryugakusei” or special scholars from the South. De Asis enrolled at the Kokusai Gakuyu Kai for further Japanese Language studies and later on at the Tokyo Police Academy.
During his more than one year stay in Japan, de Asis met several Japanese families who had shown genuine concern and understanding for the Ryugakusei. This probably explains the positive attitude taken by de Asis and his companions after the war in working for the restoration of normal relations with Japan. It should also be noted that it was the special scholars from the South that spearheaded the organization of the Asean Council of Japan Alumni (ASCOJA), the first and only regional alumni association of its kind in the world.
De Asis and his wartime group actively participated in the founding in 1976 of the Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni (PHILFEJA) of which he was its first President, a position he held with distinction for 12 eventful years.
Leocadio de Asis was also the Founding Chairman and First Executive Governor of the Asean Council of Japan Alumni (ASCOJA); Director of the Philippines-Japan Society, Inc.; Secretary-General of the Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation Committee (PHILJEC); Trustee of the Philippine Institute of Japanese Language and Culture (PIJLC); Member of the Joint Committee for Annual Philippines-Japan Friendship Celebration; Member of the Selection Committee, Japan Air Lines Scholarship Program, and Member of the Philippine Selection Committee, Japan Solidarity Committee for Asian Alumni (JASCAA) Fellowship Program.
De Asis has written four books that are must reading on Philippines-Japan Relations, namely “From Bataan to Tokyo” – A diary of a wartime student in Japan; “The Thread of Fate” – A personal story in Philippines-Japan relations; “Bridges of Friendship” – The ASCOJA-JASCAA story, and “The Anatomy of Japan: Body and Soul” – Analyzing Japan’s vital organs and animating spirit.
De Asis also lectures on “Philippines-Japan Relations: A transition from war to friendship” before various forums in different cities in Japan under the sponsorship of the Japan Foundation, the Japan Solidarity Committee for Asian Alumni (JASCAA), and other organizations.
In recognition of his outstanding efforts in the promotion of Philippines-Japan relations, de Asis was conferred in 1985 the Third Class Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Emperor of Japan. In the same year, he was awarded the World Peace Prize by the World Union Philanthropy Movement on the occasion of the U.N. Anniversary Celebration in Tokyo, Japan.
For his services in the last war, de Asis was awarded by the Philippine Army and the USAFFE the Asiatic Pacific Theater Medal with Bronze Star and the Philippine Defense Ribbon.
A man of God, and an indefatigable civic leader, de Asis is the President of “Sagip Kabataan” (Save the Children Foundation) and a Director of the Historical Conservation Society, in 1986, he was conferred by Pope John Paul II the Knighthood of the Equestrian Order of Saint Sylvester. Voted twice as Rotarian of the Year. De Asis was recently elected President of the Rotary Club of Manila for the year 1993-1994.
The time has come for the Philippines-Japan Society to acknowledge the outstanding contribution of an exemplary co-worker and advocate of Philippine-Japan relations and Asian Solidarity whose bond with Japan and his fellow Asians was born out of his undying love for his country and people proven both in war and in peace.
It is fitting, therefore, that he be conferred the highest award of this Society which is hereby wholeheartedly offered to him as a token of appreciation and accolade for his impeccable leadership and endeavors in the promotion of lasting friendship between the Philippines and Japan.
DONE in Makati, Metro Manila, on this 25th day of February in the year of our Lord, Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Three.
VICTOR A. LIM JOSE S. LAUREL III
President President Emeritus
BENJAMIN F. SANVICTORES