This series is from a local TV program in Japan to get closer to the real facts of WWII. For more detail, go to the prologue.
You may think that it is one-sided history from Japanese perspective. So did I. Actually I've never been taught in school about the fact the TV says. And suddenly I realized that I am the one who only knew the other one-sided history.
Let me know how you felt.The staff flew to Taiwan.
Narator: Let's take a look at a Taiwanese soap opera currently played by FTV. The title is "Routousha". It depicts the time in Taiwan when ruled by Japan. In most movies or dramas in Taiwan up to now, Japanese have been characterized as heels so far. In this movie, however, Japanese play a normal part, and this soap opera even has a scene of communications between Taiwanese and Japanese in daily life. We flew to Taiwan to ask about it.
Narator: Here we arrived at FTV in Taipei, which creates the soap opera, and luckly we got a chance to talk to the president.
Narator: He looked excited about creating a huge-scale movie that has never been played.
President Chen : Just imagine how faithfully we struggled in reconstructing the days of yore with the careful use of movie prop such as clothes.
Narator: The story of the heroine is based on a real girl in Taipei. Named as Shin, raised in Taipei, and went to a university in Tokyo. (Meanwhile, I can hear someone in the play is saying, "Shin, many boys mess with you because they like you!" Apparently some Japanese has a feeling with her in Tokyo.) Furthermore, the friendship between Japanese and Taiwanese is depicted from time to time.
Narator : (In this scene, a Japanese young man encourages her in Japanese, "A new life is awaiting you in Japan. Take it easy," with Taiwanese subtitles. "Yes", she answered in Japanese with a smile.) After then, she experienced an eventful life in Japan. The gist goes : she studied medical science there to become the first woman doctor in Taiwan.
President Chen: It was not until Democratic Progressive Party took power that those kind of movies are allowed to play. I'd like to make such dramas from now on.
Narator : The change of regime from Kuomintang government to Democratic Progressive Party triggered the change of life around the citizens as well. There was only one textbook for students used to be assigned by the government, but now each school got to choose one since three years ago. Then how about the class ? Can we see any changes about how they teach students the history of WWII? To find this, we went to Taipei and observe a junior high school in which 13 year old students are in the middle of learning the history.
Teacher Lai : Let me ask you one question before the class gets started. Did you see the movie "the love in Pearl Harbor" ?
Students : Yes.
Teacher Lai : Ok. Then we are going to learn how Pearl Harbor day happened.
Narator : The textbook they use spares two pages for describing Sino-Japanese war and WWII. Two soldiers can be seen with the title saying "100 killing with swords".
Teacher Lai : What is the first combat between China and Japan ? (posting papers on the blackboard)
Students : July 7 incident !
Teacher Lai : It took place July 7 in 1937. It is also referred to as Lugouqiao incident.
Narator: The description about Lugouqiao incident covers five lines in the textbook. It writes the episode of a Japanese soldier disappeared in night, which was the onset of the incident.
Teacher Lai : The leader at that time was Chiang Kai-Shek. He made a speech, "Avoid the war with patience as much as possible."
Narator : Furthermore, the textbook writes that Japanese army killed more than 300,000 civilians in Nanking.
Teacher Lai : What did Japan do in Nanking in 1937 ?
Students : The massacre of Nanking.
Teacher Lai : The textbook we are using doesn't place any picture. When I was young, the textbook run a lot of pics with brutal scenes. The reason they don't do it now is we don't want to foment students, and they decided to just write about the fact. This incident is the most heartbreaking one throughout the 8-year war against Japan.
Teacher Lai : Japan suddenly attacked Pearl Harbor in America in 1941. "How come our base got bombed ?" said America, and America declared a war on Japan. And where did the president of America attacked with atomic bombs?
Students : Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Teacher Lai : And Japan accepted an unconditional surrender. The war of China against Japan lasted eight years until the day. In the meanwhile, a lot of lives are lost because of the war. The whole world was in the age of imperialism. Not only Japan, but Western countries and America were among them. Invading other countries and depriving others of their property, can you imagine that the time existed before?
Student A (girl) : I don't have any feeling about Japan when occupying Taiwan. We should forget about the past and get along together.
Student B (boy) : Japan gained power at that time, so it expanded into other regions.
Student C (girl) : War is cruel. Although Japan did things to be blamed, Taiwan must have done, too. I want to think about the future friendship rather than sticking to past things.
Narator : We asked the teacher what she think must be focused on.
Teacher : The current education in Taiwan regards the colonial rule as the modernization of systems such as law, medication, economics, transportation, or water and sewerage.
Narator: In Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, you can find many buildings from colonial time.
Narator : Many Taiwanese young men were sent to battlefields. With what feelings did they go for fight ? Ling Kin-Kau (78) was a volunteer when he was 16 and went to Phillipine as a mechanic along Japanese troops.
Ling : There's no Taiwanese or Korean. Every one was Japanese. It's weired to be asked like that. (I think the staff asked something about his nationality.)
Ling : I was patriotic, so I volunteered. That's it. Of course it's for Japan.
Narator : Sou uki (81) experienced a miserable combat in New Guinea, having almost no decent food over two years.
Sou : It was a war, so there's no discrimination among us. (On Aug. 15 when Japan was defeated) Hearing Japan's defeat, I screwed up like "How can Japan be defeated? " Ling: After the news, three friends of mine blew themselves with grenades, saying "Emperor Banzai ! (it means hurrah for Emperor)" They died together. The young men at that time were so... I can't help crying just thinking about that. (He's choked with tears and everyone was silent. Note that he is speaking Japanese as the interviewers.)
Narator : These several hears, they had more and more customers going to Japan for sightseeing. According to the last year's national survey, the annual tourists to Japan surpassed 1 millions. One millions are a big number considering their total population is 22 millions. Here we arrived at Houou International tourism company and asked questions to the general manager of the company.
Liao (manager) : The reason for many tourists from Taiwan to Japan is different among generations. For elder people, it reminds them of their good old days. Younger people seem to be more interested in fashion or many places with seasonal sceneries.
Narator : "Go Go Japan" is a TV program on air by Formosa TV, and it's been attracting people's interest over one year. As you see in the title, the program picks up travel information on Japan. Taiwan has three cable channels exclusively broadcast Japanese grograms, but this one is made from a Taiwanese point of view, and which makes a different from others. The good feelings of Taiwanese towards Japan may partly be formed by those programs.
(Womens are enjoying a spa that is said to bring them a long-lasted life.)
(She's trying some food in Ryokan, a Japanese hotel. And other scenes with Mt. Fuji or a festival in Tohoku are introduced although they are not captured here.)
You may want to know about Japanese military in other countries:
What Japan did in WWII - Malaysia (prologue)
What Japan did in WWII - UK
What Japan did in WWII - Myanmar
What Japan did in WWII - Indonesia
What Japan did in WWII - Taiwan
What Japan did in WWII - Palau
What Japan did in WWII - Korea
What Japan did in WWII - (epilogue)