12/04/2007

The Zero





I noticed this Zero on somebody's roof on the road from Jioufen (九份) to Jinguashi (金瓜石). I'm guessing, based on the cockpit and nose, that it is specifically a Zero A6M5, Type 0 Model 52. The Japanese used these planes throughout WWII. For at least the first half the war, Zeros were considered the best planes in the Pacific Theater. They flew long distances and maneuvered extremely well.

WWII is well represented around Jinguashi. This plane is about one kilometer from the past location of the Kinkaseki POW Camp and the mines where American, English, Australian and Canadian prisoners labored for various minerals three-plus years, from 1942 to 45. Emperor Hirohito's vacation chalet is down the street as well, overlooking the valley and the Taiwan Strait.

12 comments:

Michael Turton said...

Did you get a chance to talk to the owner? Is it a real or a replica? How did he come by it?

Patrick Cowsill said...

No, I will next time though. We were in a hurry to get to the gold museum before it closed.

Paul said...

I think the majority of the (supposedly 1135) prisoners were British. 523 were supposedly initially transfered to here from Changi Prison in 1942. I would imagine, the majority of the other prisoners were probably Australian, 15,000 of whom were also captured in Singapore, and American. I doubt there were very many Canadian prisoners transfered to Taiwan, although there were certainly a few. Canada's main role was waged in Europe, particularly the liberation of The Netherlands. There was a small contingent defeated in defense of Hong Kong, but it probably amounted amounted to 1,500 troops.

Patrick Cowsill said...

Yes and no. If you check out Michael Hurst's Website, you'll see that there were Canadians in this camp, including Ben Wheeler, a camp doctor who kept a diary accounting for his stay: http://www.powtaiwan.org/sentfromgod.htm

I'm wrong about the Americans though. I just put that in without thinking. They were kept in camps such as Haito (Pingtung) down south. One of the internees at Haito was Jonathan Wainwright, who was left the Commander of the Allied troops in the Philippines after MacArthur sneaked off to Australia.

A lot of the internees at Kinkaseki were Brits, like Jack Edwards, who wrote about the camp in Banzai You Bastards.

Paul said...

I think Jinguashih is actually located on the Pacific Ocean, rather than the Taiwan Strait, which is an extension of the South China Sea.

Anonymous said...

It's doubtful that Zero is real. According to the Wikipedia entry on the plane http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A6M_Zero there are only a small number of surviving Zeros, none of which are in Taiwan.

The vacation chalet was built for Hirohito in 1922, but he never stayed there. In fact, he only made one visit to Taiwan, a two-week tour of the island in April 1923, when he was still Crown Prince.

Kaminoge
http://kaminoge.livejournal.com/

Patrick Cowsill said...

A replica Zero? It seems odd. The chalet isn't quite that old (1924). Hirohito did indeed stay there, but only half a day (and not over night).

Anonymous said...

My information came from the Gold Ecological Park website entry http://www.gep.tpc.gov.tw/econtent/theme/theme04.asp on the Crown Prince chalet. If in fact the house was built in 1924, I don't know how Hirohito could have visited it for even half a day, unless Herbert Bix got his dates wrong in "Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan" when described the then-Crown Prince's 1923 tour.
Kaminoge

Patrick Cowsill said...

I must've written the date down wrong then. The literature at the site says he stayed for half a day however.

Patrick Cowsill said...

BTW, there were tons of Zeros in Taiwan. They flew out of bases in Tainan, Yilan, Kaohsiung all the time. By "there are only a small number of surviving Zeros", you would have to mean Zeros that fly. The waters and jungles / forests of Asia (Taiwan included) would probably still be littered with the remnants of these planes.

George said...

I'm a fan of WW2 history. I oftentimes watch CNN or NGC documentaries about Pearl Harbor, Yamato, Mid Way and so on. So far as I'm concerned, the Zero was second to none in the world by the middle time of WW2, even the US couldn't compete with it. But after America declared to war against Japan, everything seemed to have changed a lot. Perhaps new model fight air plane was invented lately by US, and the Zero could not compete anymore. I'm not sure if the type of Zero you saw on somebody's roof used to bomb Pearl Harbor or so be called suicider (Kamagetsu), but it is worthwhile for you to check up on it.

Patrick Cowsill said...

The zero, from what I can make of history, was the best plane going into WWII. I'll follow up on this story next time I visit Jinguashi. I'll simply knock on their door and find out what's what/