Saturday, February 13, 2010

Taiwan does not hold grudge against Japan

This is the fourth piece of my rebuttal to Tobias Harris's post.

The first thing that comes to my mind was Taiwan when I read Tobias's idea that the brutal reign created everlasting resentment, Taiwan was under Japanese administration for 50 years, which is more than several generations. Korea was 35 years. Generally speaking, the Taiwanese are pro-Japanese. Millions of Taiwanese, young and old, come, visit and enjoy Japan. Former Taiwanese President Lee studied at Kyoto University, and served in Imperial Japanese Army. His brother was killed in the war and enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine, where President Lee pays his respect to the memories of his fallen brother. There are many fans of President Lee in Japan, even though he is a political enemy of PRC.

Why are the Taiwanese so sympathetic to the Japanese? Taiwan was re-invaded by the mainland Chinese Nationalist Party (国民党 Kuo Ming Tang) after the war. Starting from chaotic slaughter of the 28,000 Taiwanese on 2.28 incident (1947), Generalissimo Chang Kai Shek 蒋介石 governed the island much more brutally than the Japanese. For four decades since then, Taiwan had been under military rule of Generalissimo and KMT mainlanders. For the Taiwanese like President Lee, it would not have been difficult to find better points in Japanese administration.

During that time, Taiwan gradually lost international presence. They lost the permanent seat in the security council of UN. Many countries, including USA and Japan, abandoned diplomatic relationship with Taiwan and chose People's Republic of China instead. In short, Taiwanese locals emotionally valued Japanese era, which was much better than KMT days, and they need Japan (and US military presence in Japan) for their security against growing threatening gigantic PRC.

The Taiwanese have two reasons: the Japanese administration was benign when compared to the military regime of KMT, and they need Japan for their fragile security environment.

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