Japanese doll statue of Quirino's wife, children in Muntinlupa Museum
A Japanese art piece to promote peace was placed in the newly-built “Museo ng Muntinlupa” (Museum of Muntinlupa) on Friday.
The doll, called “Pray for Peace: Alicia and her three children”, was inspired by the family of former President Elpidio Quirino, who gave clemency to the Japanese soldiers detained at the New Bilibid Prisons n Muntinlupa City in 1953.
According to its sculptor, Akemi Abe, it not only symbolizes the family of Quirino whose wife and children were killed but to all Filipino victims during the Japanese occupation.
She said in order to cut the cycle of hatred one must show forgiveness.
“That’s why I named it Pray for Peace because as they are in the process of going to heaven but while going, they are praying for peace,” said Abe in an interview with The Daily Manila Shimbun.
Abe said she is honored to be part of this project and be present in Friday's event.
The doll statue was donated by the Kano Museum of Art from Shimane, Yasugi City in Japan to the Quirino Foundation which gave it to the museum for the public to see it.
One of the guests is the daughter of Tatsuo Kano, one responsible for the granting of clemency to the Japanese prisoners of war after sending petitions letters to Quirino on 1949.
In July 1953, Quirino finally granted executive clemency to those charged with war crimes, including 114 Japanese prisoners of war.
“My father has been sending petition letters to President Quirino since 1949 asking for a clemency for the Japanese wars criminals,” Kano Museum of Art Honorary Director Kayoko Kano said in her speech during the museum’s soft opening.
“President Quirino gave the pardon to Japanese POWs as gesture in response to the idea of my father who thought forgiveness shall be the start of the friendship among two countries,” she added.
Kano said she is happy that Filipinos will be able to see the petition letters wrote by her father as it will be displayed at the 2nd level of the museum with the doll statue.
“Such gesture should not be forgotten by the Japanese,” she said.
“I wish from my heart that peace around the world, including the Philippines and Japan will last forever,” she added.
Cory Quirino, representative of President Elpidio Quirino Foundation, said they are very grateful and touched with the gesture of the Kano family.
“This beautiful madonna represents not just love but also forgiveness,” Quirino said.
She said they are even happier after Mayor Jimmy Fresnedi said the city of Muntinlupa are open to have a “sister city agreement” with Yasugi City.
“The presence of the Kano family has formalized this dream and we hope to pursue this dream and make it a reality. We are ever grateful and we will continue to keep that memory and that friendship alive between Kano family and Quirino family. To keep our history alive that we will never forget,” she added.
Other memories of the Japanese occupation in Muntinlupa City can be found on the 2nd level of the 5-storey museum located at Centennial Avenue in Barangay Tunasan.
The museum has yet to be opened to the public. Ella Dionisio/DMS