Monday, February 29, 2016

Taiwan and Japan

The National Interest carries an article about strengthening ties between Taiwan and Japan. If the subject interests you, take a look.

Our purpose here is to add something to what the article ably documents, growing ties between the islanders and Japan. As the DrsC have traveled about Asia, visiting more than 10 countries, I've made a point of inquiring about local attitudes toward Japan.

Much of Asia was conquered by Japan in the run-up to World War II. In nearly all of those countries, the experience left a bad taste in people's mouths - Japan and the Japanese aren't especially popular. The one partial exception to that generality has always been Taiwan.

It is our hypothesis that the Japanese were at least somewhat popular on Taiwan because they accepted, or perhaps even fostered, the belief that the Taiwanese were not Chinese. Holding them to be other-than-Chinese was useful for Japan but played into notions of Taiwanese uniqueness and independence, notions still alive on the island.