What was Taiwan's role during WW2

Does anyone here have any insight on Taiwan’s role with the Japanese during WW2. None of my reference books say very much about Taiwan individually other than a few personal anecdotes or references to a Japanese airfields in Taiwan that were crucial to defeating the Chinese defending shanghai.
I used to have a memoir published in the 1950’s that mentions a POW camp with some Taiwanese guards who were very friendly towards allied POW’s. I had another similar book that mentions Japanese atrocities committed possibly by impressed Taiwanese military personnel.
it seems that Taiwan is often mentioned as an extension of Japan or an extension of China but rarely any references about Taiwan as an individual entity.

Did the Taiwanese welcome the Japanese or was there any resistance. Same the Chinese. Were they welcomed or was there any resistance .

and no I am not trying to get anyone to help me with a history paper. its just a little piece of history I neglected.


Men were forced into conscription for the emperor and japan sold opium to Taiwan for war funds. Also women were forced into prostitution for the soldiers.

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It’s a pretty interesting topic which I don’t think we can find a lot of info on.

I like TaiwanBar’s YouTube clips which has topics on Taiwan history. Here’s one on how the slightly different way Taiwanese ended up in the army.

(You may need to visit the link for English subtitles if you need them)

I remembered reading about Hoklo speaking Japanese soldiers in Malaysia/Singapore during the war but in summary there are not a lot of them and they are usually integrated into Japanese units so it’s not something you are able to tell without for example checking their records.

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There was resistance when the Japanese took control in 1895.

I don’t think there were violent resistance to the KMT taking possession of Taiwan in 1945, but some of the things that happened post-1945 added tensions between the Taiwanese who were there earlier and those who went to Taiwan with the KMT.

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Maybe this page can be a start to look for more info.

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Takasago Volunteers ( 高砂義勇隊)

Taiwanese Imperial Japan Serviceman (台籍日本兵)

Former President Lee Teng-hui was part of this as an Army officer.


Thanks for great vids! Very educational and objective! I always wanted to learn more detailed history of Taiwan and though my Chinese isn’t very good, English subtitle works. This is a great start for me!


There was a TV series based on real life on Netflix about this…it was a drama set in the South… sorry I can’t remember the name. Ill try to find it later. I don’t know how accurate it is but overall there was a feeling of tolerance to rebellion against the Japanese that was my sentiment from the show.

Japan treated Taiwan as a model colony, developed its infrastructure and modernized it, but as others pointed out they were also harsh and subjugated TW people–forcing women into sex slavery and men into conscription.

The relationship is complex. Japan brought baseball to TW and was the main cultural hegemon from 1910 until they lost the war. Most older TW speak some Japanese. Most believe they administered TW far better than the KMT that replaced them when they arrived and left infrastructure that gave advantages but they were mostly cruel rulers.


Worth bearing in mind Lee Deng-hui’s family (father and brother and himself) all volunteered for military duty. They saw themselves as patriotic Japanese in the service of the emperor.


And US bombed the crap out of Taiwan.


People tend to forget Taiwan was never on teh Allied side during WWII. Taiwan was a colony of Japan, actually the most prosperous, way before the war. When the war started, crops, especially rice, were taken to feed Japan, which caused shortage and hunger in Taiwan. Taiwanese men were conscripted with the promise of extra rations.

There were several POW camps. Several thousand allied troops from Singapore and Filipinas were sent here to heavy work in mines and others. The treatment was not that good, and the end most tragic, as the shooting of all prisioners at the mystery park in Lincuang.

Taiwan was also the center of key Japanese airfields. Visit the one in Yilan for the kamikaze, lots of amenities for their last days.

The story of the bombardments is also very rich. Aside from teh famous raid on Taipei, Chiayi was the most propserous industrial center and it was bombed by the US back to the Stone Age and has never been the same.

The KMT were kicked out of China for corruption. When they came here, it was like China and Hong Kong now, people rebelled because of the corruption. True, both during the Japanese era and the KMT rule local Taiwanese were treated as second class citizens, but the colonists “focus” was different and hence we had the bloody repression from 1948 on. Interestingly, during Japanese rule there was an intellectual elite that often discussed the possibility of democracy and other political matters in the budding cafes. Those were killed in 1948.


Japanese came and killed off the resistance in Baguashan and Tainan around 1896, everyone left alive was friendly. The Japanese built the infrastructure (trains, electric network) in Taiwan, which won the remaining Taiwanese over. By the time the second world war came around most Taiwanese considered themselves (perhaps reluctant) Japanese. If you took on a four kanji name you got special status, and Japanese was used in schools. They saw themselves as an extension of Japan, fought for Japan (similar to the Koreans, as grunts), and - everyone forgets about this - were bombed by the allies at the end of the war.

When the KMT came over they couldn’t believe this disheveled army had defeated the Japanese.


where is this?

also Taiwanese got representation in the Japanese Diet around 1943. Wonder how that would have worked out.

I think it is this one but I could be wrong:

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if funny how they teach in the school they have democracy and not Mao, thanks to the KMT, when they killed all the local people who wants democracry.

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Yesh, you mean Linguang. That whole strip all the way round to Xinyi district was used for multiple atrocities by the KMT, not just Fuyang park. It’s basically Taiwan’s killing fields. Conveniently close to the graveyard for disposal of bodies. Even when I arrived here the building that is now the coast guard HQ was used to train the riot squads for use against DPP demonstrations.


I only heard of the executions of Allied pilots at Taipei Prison some weeks before surrender.

Apparently most of the POWs who were mining in 金瓜石 were transferred to a prison camp here https://goo.gl/maps/6EYYpv6zo19QXrQHA and when the Japanese upped and left and the POWs made their way to Xindian, where one of them was actually killed by a parcel when the US dropped supplies via parachutes.

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Internationally it wasn’t very relevant. It was just a military base for Japan. It didn’t play any active role.