10/10/2007

Double Ten Day in Taiwan



This is a clip of Aborigines being indoctrinated in Taiwan during the 1920s. Twenty years later, 30,000 of the 200,000 Taiwanese that served in Japanese Imperial Army would be Aboriginal. Aboriginal soldiers were considered among the finest in the Japanese army, and were admired for their abilities in guerilla warfare - setting traps and ambushes, finding food to eat in the jungle, path-finding and nighttime fighting.

The Takasago Volunteer Units (高砂義勇隊) are probably the most well-known. They served in the Philippines, and were instrumental in the Japanese victory at Bataan, which led to the infamous Bataan Death March.

I found this article on 李光輝, an Amis Aborigine (阿美) from Taitong, Taiwan, who served in the Japanese Imperial Army and fought in Indonesia. Li, who didn't realize the end of World War II, carried on in Indonesia until 1974:

日文名中村輝夫,出生於臺東縣成功鎮信義里都歷部落。8歲就讀都歷公學校,不但品學兼優,且擅長相撲和棒球,曾代表臺東廳遠徵臺北,戰績輝煌,被譽為最佳捕手。1943年10月奉召入營,編入「高砂義勇隊」,接受短期訓練後,被調往印尼參戰。在某次戰役中與隊友失散後,隻身逃至深山匿跡,其後採食野果充飢,進而自力種植果菜、飼養雉雞、捕捉獵物,數度被蟲蛇咬傷,染患瘧疾,險些命喪黃泉。他所以能生存下來,完全憑藉在野外求生的技能,強烈求生意念與堅毅不拔的勇氣,抱持強烈期望與家人團圓的心願,才能度過30 年長期的艱苦生活。1974年11月印尼駐摩祿島空軍中尉蘇巴迪據報,深山有不明身分者,乃於次月16日率隊前往搜捕,於18日在崇山峻嶺處發現一間約2 公尺見方之簡陋草房,屋外有裸體男人正持刀劈柴,遂將其捉捕。透過翻譯,才知此人為中村輝夫(李光輝),原住臺灣。李光輝被發現之消息傳出後,經國內外媒體報導,遂成為全世界新聞焦點。透過政府與熱心人士斡旋,終於1975年1月8日順利回國。但他重返文明生活不到5年,便於1979年6月以肺癌病故。

This is what the article basically says:

Li was born in Taitong County, Taiwan. When he was eight years old, he went to study at an all boys' school. He was an able student and athlete, good at sumo wrestling and baseball. Li even represented Taitong in Taipei in a sumo wrestling competition.

In 1943, Li volunteered [like many young Taiwanese] for the Japanese Army and was sent to Indonesia. During a battle, he was separated from his squad and deserted (I think). Li escaped to the mountains, where he lived on wild pheasants and game, fruit and roots. Li was bitten by snakes several times and almost died from malaria. A strong desire to see his family once again gave him the strength to proceed.

In November 1974, the Indonesian air force was running some routine exercises when they discovered a two-meter square hut with a thatched roof high in the mountains. A naked "barbaric-looking" man holding firewood and a knife was standing nearby. Upon trying to communicate with the man, the Indonesians realized something was up. Later, they realized they had located perhaps the last participant of World War II - a Taiwanese Aborigine from the Ami tribe.

The story was reported extensively in the international media. Li died in January 8, 1975, Li returned to Taiwan. Four years later, he died of lung cancer. He was 60 years old.

5 comments:

George said...

I noticed that you have changed the title of article from Taiwanese Aboriginal Japan Imperial Army to Double Ten Day on the blog. There must be some reasons for you to do so. because I can't find any connection between both different titles. It's obvious to see that the former describes how a young Taiwanese aborigine severed as a Japanese Imperial Army, but the later may talk about how people celebrate their national day or it's origination. Do you agree with me?

Patrick Cowsill said...

My point is that Double Ten Day has nothing to do with Taiwan. In 1911, when the Ching fell, Taiwan was a colony of Japan, and would remain so for another 34 years. Taiwanese actually fought against China, in a way, during WWII by enlisting in the Japanese Imperial Army.

I think that Taiwan should celebrate either July 4th (Martial Law ended in Taiwan on July 4th, 1987) or August 12 (Japan surrendered to the US on August 12, 1945) instead of October 11.

I remember pointing out to one of my Taiwanese friends that when the Ching fell, Taiwan was a colony of Japan (and not involved in Chinese goings on). He said that Taiwan sent a contingent to China to fight. This was a very strange story, so I asked him where he got his source. He replied: "My teacher told me this."

Anonymous said...

hey Patrick, what gives you the right to comment on and tell the people of Taiwan who they are and what they should do? This is a matter for the people of Taiwan to decide.

Patrick Cowsill said...

"hey Patrick, what gives you the right to comment on and tell the people of Taiwan who they are and what they should do? This is a matter for the people of Taiwan to decide."

I take the right simply because I feel like it. Plus, I'm backed up by history. What gives you the right to come on here and mouth off with nothing but an inane question?

Patrick Cowsill said...

Correction: Martial Law ended on July 14, 1987, Bastille Day in France and not July 4, 1987, or Independence Day in the US.