Comparing two opposite sides of the Pacific war, it becomes clear that World War II affected Filipino and Japanese children in three similar ways. Not all children on both sides always experienced the same level of indoctrination, starvation, or violence, but they were still affected by all three directly or indirectly. Violence and bombings worsened food insecurities as food stores were destroyed and trade and travel were disrupted caused civilians to starve. But starvation also wrought violence. As Japan began to starve, they squeezed their occupied countries in Asia for what little food they had. But this food that Japan stole, rarely made its way to Japanese civilians as much of it was lost in the depths of the Pacific. In the Philippines, Japanese soldiers as well as Filipino guerillas confiscated food from resident villages while raping their women. As for indoctrination, it fanned the flames of war. The Japanese youth who played soldier at the war’s start had become soldiers fighting abroad by the war’s end. For Japanese youth who resisted indoctrination and war, the punishment was beatings and starvation. Filipino youth were not reciprocal to Japanese indoctrination, but they also received the same punishments when they were unruly, and even when they were not.
Both Japanese and Filipino youth could not escape the effects of the war, illustrating that World War II in the Pacific was a total war. In Japan and the Philippines, many children were directly involved in the war effort and at times even died a soldier’s death.