Joshua Yang Profile picture
Apr 25, 2020 11 tweets 10 min read
Little known WW2 history for #AnzacDay: Formosan civilians (from now #Taiwan) were considered 'Japanese enemy aliens' & were interned in #Australia during WW2. More Formosan soldiers were captured in POW camps in New Guinea, & later Manus Islands. My great uncle died in one. (1) ImageImageImage
In the Loveday camp alone, there were 600 Formosan civilians. In addition to the hardship and lack of freedom, "Formosan internees were bullied for not signing allegiance to the emperor (Japan)". Tbh smart move considering you're in an Australian camp. (2)… ImageImage
In March 1946 at Sydney harbour, in order to avoid being repatriated on an over-crowded hell ship, some Formosans defiantly argued that they're now not Japanese but Chinese. The Chinese vice-consul came & told them that "as Chinese, they would have to suffer too". Bit harsh. (3) ImageImageImageImage
During WW2, the Australians tried propagandas in Japanese to get the Formosans to surrender. One of them states that Formosans have been oppressed by the Japanese & the "Holy war" of the Allies aims to give Taiwan its own language & culture back. Oh the irony there. (4) ImageImageImage
The Formosan prisoners of war were not so lucky. They were first in POW camps in Lae, New Guinea before the war ended. They then were sent to prison for trial on Manus Island. Most didn't make it back. My grandpa's brother was one of these Formosan POW that 'disappeared'. (5) ImageImageImageImage
However, it seems like they did have a pretty lit "Formosan concert party" in the internment camp in New Guinea. Before being sent to Manus Island, they probably had a better time than the Anzac diggers in the POW camps in Taiwan back then. (6)… ImageImage
The Formosan identity at the time of war & sovereign changes is fascinating. The #Taiwanese were 'Japanese enough' to be put into internment-camps, yet not enough to be accepted there. They were also not 'Chinese enough' to be exempted from being ill-treated. So who are they? (7) ImageImage
War memories have undoubtedly shaped the Australian identity & #AnzacDay has become Australia's most important national day. Yet #Taiwan never had the chance to learn about its history or reflect on its own war memories in WW2 due to the imposed historical narrative of ROC. (8)
That is why #Remembrance is important for both #Australia & #Taiwan. It fortifies our commitments to #peace & #justice by reminding us of the alternative. It ensures future genocides, unjust wars & atrocities do not occur again. #LestWeForget. Oh and look cute Formosan babies- Image
For the Formosan POWs that got released & repatriated to Japan in the 50s, the real challenge was that "motherland Japan", the country that they fought for, had abandoned them. However, most of them had to stay in Japan due to the fear of KMT's "White Terror" in Taiwan back then. ImageImage
Only 2 out of the 60 Formosan POWs that got repatriated made their way to Taiwan. These Formosans had a tough time as a "foreigner" in Japan. Japan refused to repay them any war compensation, & their savings were confiscated.
我啊!一個台灣人日本兵的人生… ImageImage

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More from @joshiunn

Nov 26, 2021
I caught up w/ a 3rd-gen Chinese-Taiwanese school friend who returned to Taiwan recently. After a decade of studying & working in Shanghai, he believes that it's time to leave China for his own safety. His view went from pro-China to extremely anti-CCP over the past few years. 1/
Back in high school, his Waishengren (post-49 Chinese-Taiwanese) backgrounds did set him apart. His parents have great family connections in China & they have settled in Shanghai for business. Despite being good friends, we'd have arguments on TW's status & Taiwanese history. 2/
He was a staunch supporter of the ROC & truly took pride of Taiwan being the "real China". Like a lot of the top Waishengren students in the 2000s/10s, he aspired to study university in China & work in a fast-growing 1st-tier Chinese cities. He followed his Chinese dream. 3/
Read 8 tweets
Oct 10, 2021
For those wondering why it's the Japanese transliteration 亞細亞 (アジア) & not the commonly used term 亞洲, it is indeed a Taiwanese cultural reference that traces back to the Japanese era. 亞細亞的孤兒 is a Japanese-language novel that reflects on the complex TW identity. 1/
Published in 1946, Orphan of Asia depicts a Taiwanese student who got caught in conflicting identities. Feeling marginalised & abandoned, the protagonist disappears w a mental breakdown. It's a powerful depiction of the psychological impact of colonialism.…
The singer 羅大佑 picked up the title in 1983, wrote a song w/ an identical name & further explored the TW identity of being oppressed and marginalised. There are a lot of subtle analogies (red mud, white terror) that got under the radar of ROC censorship.
Read 4 tweets
Oct 9, 2021
In Taiwan, the difference in collective memory has contributed to the diverse attitudes towards ROC symbolisms. While some Taiwanese despise the flag, in the Yunnan-Chinese-Taiwanese community in Taoyuan, ~30,000s of ROC flags are set up each year for national day celebration. 1/
The village in the 龍岡 Longgang area traces its root to the Yunnan KMT troops that were retreated to northern Thailand & Burma in the 50s. As their history has been closely tied to the expelled ROC, it is understandable that some ppl have a sentimental attachment to the flag. 2/
Interestingly, a sign claims that "patriotism is dying out due to intermarriage" (with the Taiwanese). This resonates what Dominic Yang describe as "the social trauma of the homecoming in Taiwan", the uneasiness that some KMT migrants experience in the wave of "Taiwanisation". 3/
Read 6 tweets
Sep 29, 2021
Language loss is not only a loss of cultural autonomy, but a loss in connections. The past ROC language policy has robbed my grandma of meaningful connections w/ her own Mandarin-speaking grandkids. She sits at the dining table but she doesn't understand their conversations. 1/
Like a lot of working-class Taiwanese in the 50s, my grandma migrated to Taipei from the south in search of better opportunities for her family. Even though they settled in Taipei, she never had the chance to learn Mandarin due to her age, social circle & economic hardship. 2/
My grandma worked hard as a female factory worker throughout her life to raise her children. Yet, under the colonial language policy, her Taipei-raised family has become predominately Mandarin-speaking & it's difficult for her to even participate in her family conversations. 3/
Read 6 tweets
Sep 27, 2020
Suniuo, or Teruo Nakamura, a Taiwanese Indigenous man, is the longest-lasting holdout of the Imperial Japanese forces. He survived in the jungles of Indonesia in complete isolation for 31 years. He returned to ROC-controlled Taiwan in 1974 & struggled to fit into his homeland. 1/
Born in 1919, Suniuo, a member of the Amis, was a young sumo & baseball enthusiast from the East coast of Japanese Taiwan. He was enlisted in the Takasago Unit (高砂義勇軍) & was stationed in Morotai island of Indonesia before it was overrun by the US-Australian troop in 1944. 2/
After 1944, the patriotic Suniuo rejected demobilisation & "stayed hidden at all costs, cooking only in the dark so people wouldn’t see the smoke." He built a hut & remained in the Indonesian jungle alone for 31 years, surviving by hunting, farming, & recording moon cycles. 3/
Read 12 tweets
Aug 30, 2020
My grandma passed away in Taiwan last night. I have been trying to go & visit her but the travel ban in place has made leaving Australia difficult. The COVID19-era is particularly rough when this happens. It's hard to articulate my feelings but I'd share one of her stories. 1/ Image
She was born in Tainan under Japanese rule. she had a comfortable childhood before WW2. From a moderately well-off city family, she had a fairly Japanised upbringing. She was given a Japanese name & education. She went by her Japanese nickname 梅 (u-me) throughout her life. 2/
Her family had great connections with the Japanese mainlanders & her dad would always take her to these social gatherings with their Japanese friends. She always looked back to her childhood with fond memories & she enjoyed sharing this part of her life over & over again. 3/
Read 8 tweets

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