The image of the Madonna of Japan, also known as Maria Kannon, was a gift from the Japanese people to the Philippines as a symbol of peace and friendship between the two countries. Understandably, it is also referred to as the statue of the Goddess of Peace. The image stands on a rock amidst a landscaped garden. Tall trees and flowering plants can be seen within the park along with concrete benches where one can sit, pray and reflect.
During World War II, the Philippines suffered a great devastation brought by the Japanese forces. Many Filipinos lost their lives to help liberate the Philippines from the occupation of Japanese soldiers. Those years brought fear and dread to the Filipinos including the people of Leyte. During those times, the Japanese are considered enemies and anybody who saw a Japanese would yell out in disdain. After the war, despite the hatred that Filipinos held against the invaders, the Japanese and the Philippine government reconciled. As a symbol of friendship of the Philippine and Japanese governments, they erected the monument of the Maria Kannon in the former camping ground of the Japanese forces.
The Maria Kannon or Madonna of Japan became one of the historical landmarks in Tacloban City and became known as the Madonna of Japan Memorial Park. It also serves as a memory to the brave soldiers who fought and died in the battlefield. The park is located along Magsaysay Boulevard at the Kanhuraw Hill near the City Hall of Tacloban City and it’s one of the best places to go within the city. The Madonna of Japan offers a scenic view of Samar Island and Kankabato Bay.