Artemio Ricarte (1866-1945), a Filipino general during the Philippine revolution (1896-1898) , lived in Yokohama in exile.

(Posted on April 10, 2024)

One of the tourist destinations in Yokohama is Yamashita Park along the Yokohama port. On a sunny Sunday afternoon, April 7, 2024, I visited the park, when cherry blossoms were in full bloom. In the quiet part of the park, there stands a small memorial dedicated to Artemio Ricarte. The memorial was erected by the Philippine Society of Japan in 1971.  



The inscription of the memorial reads as follows (translated by the author): “ Artemio Ricarte was born in Batac, Irocos Norte, the Philippines on October 20, 1866. He participated in the Philippine revolution to achieve  national independence from Spain in 1896. Ricarte was exiled to Japan in 1915 vowing that “I shall not return to my country until a bell for peace rings.” He resided in Yokohama. In 1943, at long last Ricarte managed to see the independence of the Philippines. Unfortunately, because of his age  and illness, he died in the northern Luzon mountains on July 31, 1945………….”


Let’s take a closer look at Ricarte. Ricarte received education as a school teacher, but became involved in an independence movement. Eventually, he became a general of the Philippine Revolutionary Army fighting against the Spanish colonial rulers. The independence of the Philippines was in sight. But then came the Americans to the country as a result of the Treaty of Paris in 1898, under which Spain relinquished the Philippines to the US. So, war between the Philippines and the US took place. After defeating the Philippine revolutionary army, the US forged its colonial presence in the country.


This was the irony of the history. Ricarte was exiled first to Hong Kong. Then Ricarte and his family moved to Japan in self-exile in 1915. They settled in Yokohama. To make the both ends meet, they opened a small Filipino restaurant; Ricarte himself taught Spanish at school. During his stay in Japan, Ricarte kept a strong wish for the independence of his country but couldn’t do much to assist the movement from a far away place. 


     Circa 1898                On a short visit to Japan in 1944

When Japan occupied the Philippines in 1942, the Japanese government sought the help of Ricarte to assist in the occupation of the country, Ricarte agreed to do so on the condition of granting independence to the Philippines. So, Ricarte returned to his country. Japan gave such independence in 1943, but only a nominal one under the strong guidance of Japan. As the Americans closed in one island at a time in the Philippines in the latter part of the war, Ricarte retreated with the Japanese army to the northern parts of Luzon, where he died because of poor health in 1945.


It was an irony that Ricarte did not live to see the full independence that took place in the following year.






Ricarte lies at a National Cemetery,   Taguig city.                       






The Ricarte National shrine and museum at his birth place, Ilocos Norte (by Jonathan Blaza).




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