Here are a few excerpts from some interviews I conducted between 1999-2004.
Subject: Mr. Chiu (b. 7/25/21- d. 8/4/04)
Occupation: Farmer/Machine Tool Manufacturer
City: Da Ya
Me: So, how do you feel? If I ask you what kind of person you are, after spending your life growing up under the Japanese and spending most of your life under the R.O.C…would you say you are Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese or any… (interrupted)
Mr. Chiu:I’m a Japanese!
Mr. Chiu: Mmm! Right!
Me: Why do you choose Japanese?
Mr. Chiu: That is how I was raised. I went to school and learned Japanese I speak Japanese.
Mr. Chiu’s Daughter Mei Lan: He keeps all his Japanese school books.
Mr. Chiu: Hmmm (In agreement)
Mr. Chiu’s Daughter Mei Lan: He even wears his Youth Volunteer hat.
Mr. Chiu: Ha! The American war ended right before I was called up.
Mr. Chiu: Right!
Me: What is your first memory of seeing a KMT soldier after the war ended?
Mr. Chiu: Ohhhhh…MMMM…Ha! My friend and I were sitting on a cow in the rice field, we saw the soldiers walking through the fields looking for things to pick up. Maybe five or six of them. They had grass sewn into their boots, real shabby, a pot over one shoulder and a gun over the other. They were grey and looked lost. My friend thought they looked pitiful and ran over to one of the soldiers to mock him. He grabbed the gun and the soldier was scared to death…ha…my friend (motioning like playing witht a gun for bayonette practice and raising to shoot) Biang biang biang!!! Ohhhh I thought the soldier was going to fall down.
Me: Did he raise the gun at the soldier?
Mr Chiu: No, no, out at the field.
Me: Why did he do that?
Mr. Chiu: I don’t know, I guess they looked like junior high school students…like that…and he was playing a joke.Ha, six months later he disappeared for three weeks and I really didn’t talk to him much after that.
Me: How would you compare the KMT government to the Japanese government?
Mr. Chiu: The KMT was dirty… Japanese were always clean and orderly (straightening his back like at attention) We would always find something to do when the KMT soldiers came… I never got anything from the KMT…
Me: What did you think about China when you were growing up?
Mr. Chiu: Mainland? Hmmm… nothing…the mainland is over there…(gesturing away). I never thought about it. They were poor.