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Taiwan president says country should remember good things Japan did

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Wow! Finally, a voice of reason and maturity coming from an Asian leader! Awesome!

13 ( +21 / -8 )

nice comment about japan, finally

9 ( +14 / -5 )

If you talk to old people in Taiwan, they all have good things to say about Japan during the occupation.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Ma said it was true Japan’s invasion of China killed millions and issues like the “comfort women” ... “But Japanese colonial rule of Taiwan also bought construction, like the Chianan Irrigation system and Wusanto Reservoir,” ... “This benefitted farmers in Taiwan, and we should naturally affirm it,”

There's a silver lining in every cloud.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Quite a few elderly Norwegians say the same thing about their Nazi occupiers.

6 ( +12 / -7 )

Yeah. I'm not sure if this is a nice or good comment about Japan. Like Yubaru said, right wings would love to hear every invaded nation talking like this. When I read the title of the article I thought they were talking about Japan was bad but after the war the pursued a peace path or something like that.

Chinese people have a “sacred mission” to ensure Taiwan is always considered part of China.

Sacred. Ha! There's nothing "sacred" about that and more on "brainwashing."

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Taiwan who just sit back and do nothing that's why more Koreans died during the Occupation.>

Not all Taiwanese just sat back and did nothing. There were a number of rebellions and uprisings. Below is an extract from wikipedia:

'Guerrilla fighting continued periodically until about 1902 and ultimately took the lives of 14,000 Taiwanese, or 0.5% of the population. Several subsequent rebellions against the Japanese (the Beipu Uprising of 1907, the Tapani Incident of 1915, and the Wushe Incident of 1930) were all unsuccessful but demonstrated opposition to Japanese colonial rule.'

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Why is history so controversial? I encourage everyone to look at basic data in forming their various judgments. Have a look at what Japan's contemporaries were doing in Africa, Hawaii, and the Philippines while Japan was doing the imperialist thing in Asia. National Geographic in the 1930s did a long article about Italy's war with Ethiopia, and the spin on it is absolutely amazing in light of what people believe now about history.

As far as I know, Indian people grudgingly acknowledge that British Imperialism helped them prepare somewhat for integration to the modern world.

People might want to have a look at population and nutrition information for Korea during the time of Japanese occupation. Whatever ugly things might have occurred, one might conclude that by and large, people were better off in many ways, perhaps because of stability, protection, access to markets, etc. Would Taiwan have really been better off it had not been for the Japanese? Wouldn't someone else have exploited them worse?

Does that sound like a terrible way to view history? Well, we are basically giving China a pass today in terms of human rights, etc. simply because it is raising living standards for its people.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Actually Japan DID modernize Taiwan and Korea to give them a better life so to ensure better PRODUCTIVITY. Japan gained but the local people gained immensely as well with higher life expectancy rate, access to modern medicine, modern agriculture, universal access to elementary education, etc. It boosted the life style for all within those regions. This in returned with better productivity boosting trade between Japan and those colonies and since Japan did not confiscate land from the original owners, they gained greatly as well. Not like what western colonist did.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Okinawans should also think about positive things American occupation and bases and Japanese rulings brought to them.

4 ( +6 / -3 )

@5SpeedRacer5

Since I am in Australia, I will use it as an example. There are many Pacific Islands in the South Pacific (Fiji, Samoa etc) which are not as modern as Australia. Therefore, it will be OK for Australia to send its navy and occupy their islands by force. Plant cash crops and build whatever you want. And if there are people voicing their opposition you just silent them by force. At th same time all the islanders should abandon their heritages and adopt the Australian culture like giving their children Australian name.

Japanese did help to modernise Taiwan. However, Japan did it out of self interest. Not beacuse they really wanted to give those Taiwanese a better lives.

I am not a Japan basher. I actullay believe there is nothing wrong with Japanese MPs visiting Tokyo's Yasukuni war shrine since it is Japanese culture to pay respects to their ancestors and the shrine also commemorates others died in service of Japan. However, we cannot justify one's wrongdoings by highlighting the other good deeds (out of self interest) one has done.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Lots of good points above - as F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function," and that is particularly true in this case.

Thought I'd add a point: Taiwan was gained by Japan by treaty and also lost by treaty. Except for low-key resistance, no fighting ever took place on Taiwanese soil. The Allies leap-frogged it on their way from the Philippines to Okinawa.

If, during the acquisition or surrender of the island, it had suffered the ravages that most Japanese possessions were subject to, perhaps contemporary opinion would be quite different.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The story of the Japanese rule of Taiwan is a long and VERY complicated one indeed. Yes, the Japanese had to deal with insurgents several times early in colonial rule, but after 1919, the Governor-General of Taiwan allowed for more self-rule, and as such by the time Japan officially declared war on China in 1937, the island was booming economically. Indeed, a good number of Taiwanese, fearing retribution from the Nationalists fleeing the Chinese mainland, ended up moving to Japan.

As such, unlike the Japanese rule of Korea, which was notorious in many ways, the Taiwanese who are old enough to remember Japanese rule remember it fondly as a time the island--especially after 1919--developed rapidly in terms of modernization.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If you go to Taipei, you'll find the first school established by the Japanese is a museum commemorating the introduction of modern education into Taiwan. And the first train station is now a museum commemorating the introduction of modern transportation into Taiwan. The first locomotives are also still there as exhibitions. My friends said that there are several other such places, but we did not have time to see them. So I don't think this "good side/bad side" thing is new. But the good side thing, as I said, is to poke China in the eye.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Now I suppose there will be those in Japan, (the right-wing-nuts) who will look at this and believe that this is how all countries that were under Japanese rule should view the history of the war.

I give the guy credit for being diplomatic about it.

3 ( +13 / -11 )

President Ma Ying Jeou guess what Japan did the same thing for Korea during the Occupation they built roads schools and bridges but The Koreans actually fought back unlike Taiwan who just sit back and do nothing that's why more Koreans died during the Occupation.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

As far as I know, Indian people grudgingly acknowledge that British Imperialism helped them prepare somewhat for integration to the modern world.

The British helped Indians to integrate into their reality, that's all.

Our modern world would have been very different without the East India Company, a cross between Halliburton and Blackwater if you like.

Their wholesale opium growing resulted in famines in India, and wars with China over the right to (lets call a spade a spade) enslave millions of addicts, simply to address the Britain's trade deficit with that country.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This reminds me of a scene from Monty Python's "Life of Bryan" when the resistance group was making up their list of grievances against Roman occupation and then one by one they started listing the good things the Romans had brought to Judea to include the aqueducts, sewers, etc. until finally when they thought that they had listed the good things and were ready to continue with the complaints against Rome, one of them said that the Romans had brought peace to the region. It was supposed to be a comedy, but true. Looking through the Old Testament, you saw one group after another pillaging Israel, until we get to the New Testament after Rome had taken over, and you never read about constant warring in the area.

Yes like Rome, Japan may have had a heavy hand in occupying Formosa as it was called back then, but as a true Historian, you have to consider both the good and bad when documenting the past so that one can fully understand what the thoughts and ideas of both parties were back then, not just some one sided view of either Japan being too bad and the Formosans nothing but peace loving people who couldn't shake them off, nor was Japan truly being benevolent in their colonization.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

To suggest that Japan helped Taiwan for any other reason that to exploit it for their own purposes is ludicrous. It's the same for any occupying colonizing force in history. If they hadn't needed Taiwan, they would have tortured and slaughtered them along with their Asian neighbors.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I think President Ma has found another clever way of giving China a sharp poke in the eye.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The election is coming and Ma is performing

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Victory NipponOct. 26, 2015 - 10:57AM JST Triring Japan did all that for themselves they took everything away from Korea they didn't do that for the Korean >people.

This is a perfect example of the Korean bias that I mentioned. How does increasing the average nutritional take of the population and inceasing their lifespans only help the Japanese but not the Koreans? How about paved roads, buildings, schools, increased literacy. For girls as well no less. How does pulling a backward agricultural boondock psychologically chained to a couple thousand years of Confucianism and isolation into the modern world help just "Japan" but not "Korea"? As this article suggests, President Ma of Taiwan is a realist, and Taiwan's persistence in standing up to a threatening China, rather than groveling as South Korea does shows the difference in national character.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Should we call this the "autobahn argument"?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

If you talk to old people in Taiwan, they all have good things to say about Japan during the occupation.

Even some old Koreans are saying nice things about Japan.

2 ( +14 / -13 )

I think this infrastructure stuff you have to remember that Japan didn't do this for charity it was for JAPAN first! That it may have helped Taiwan/Korea etc was secondary.

Not saying they didn't benefit in ways but it wouldn't have ever been done except Japan saw it benefiting themselves, just saying

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I like this, and of course Japan was cruel during WWII, but Japan obviously did some good things for the countries they occupied during the war. Taiwan is correct to focus on those. At times I wonder about Mainland China and Korea too. I've seen firsthand the good things that Japan has done for both of those countries. Do you think that Hyundai or Kia would exist if Toyota and Honda had not helped? How about Samsung? Japan has also given lots of money to both countries and other Asian countries after the war in an effort to help. I don't know, maybe all of you with the negative attitude about Japan know something the rest of us don't know.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

With the present mainland China's economic situation Ma can't go pro PRC/anti Japan. Look at SK, they are sinking faster then PRC placing so much faith into PRC's market. Ma doesn't what to go the same way. It's too late though, in the coming election Ma's KMT is going to get a thrashing by the DPP.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It's not as if the Japanese occupation forces built infrastructure specifically to benefit the colonised Chinese - their intention was to stay long term. It`s like the leader of Burma thanking the Japanese for the railroad they built for them.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Actually Ma loves China so much. Ask Taiwanese whether he's pro Chinese or pro Japanese. The answer is obvious

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This guy belongs to National Party who is from mainland and anti-Japan. He doesn't know what happened in Taiwan and what Japan gave to Taiwan either. He is wanting money from Japan like Korea while soothing pro-Japan people.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Chinese began to immigrate to (occupy) Taiwan from the 17th century. They soon outnumbered the indigenous population. Today the indigenous population comprises about 2% of the total. I don't know what it was during the time it was occupied by the Japanese after it was ceded to them by China in 1895 but during that time they were effectively double occupied.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Japan’s rule brought progress to an undeveloped, largely agricultural island."

That's exactly what happened in Korea too from 1910 to 1945 but those people are so biased they can't see straight.

YubaruOct. 26, 2015 - 07:17AM JST Now I suppose there will be those in Japan, (the right-wing-nuts)

This article has absolutely nothing to do with such people. I think J-haters are just as nuts.

0 ( +17 / -17 )

In hind site more Korean would have died without Japan's occupation with very low life expectancy rate, low agricultural productivity, bad irrigation, virtually no modern medicine, etc.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Triring Japan did all that for themselves they took everything away from Korea they didn't do that for the Korean people.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Another perspective. It is true that Sun Yat-Sen's republic was born in Japan, funded by Japan, armed by Japan, collaborated by Japanese. It just happened that the ROC regime now resides in Taiwan, that's true. But Sun's successor Chiang Kai-shek, despite being a patriotic Chinese, couldn't help but to restore a good relationship with Japan immediately after WW2. I suspect this is because of his connection to Japan in his younger years gave him a basic understanding of the nature of his conflict with Japan, which ended. On the other hand, the idea of a communism revolution originating from the heartland of Eurasia was totally anathema to Chiang.

This is the difference of. intra-civilization conflict vs inter-civilization conflict.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know European countries that apologized to their former colonies for the bad things they did, but they have good relationships with the former colonies. At least better relationships than we have with China and Korea. By the way, one thing I always think about when I read the comments posted here on JAPANTODAY is that comments here are different from comments posted on other English media. Comments here are similar to comments by Chinese and Korean people. This is because they have special feelings about China and Korean. For example, a JAPANTODAY user using a western surname as his user name can understand Korean TV programs. Of course, only Korean language is used in TV and there's no subtitles. But he surely understands it.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Dr.Sun Yatsen was a refugee in Japan during his exile years, he inspired the meiji reform to be the blueprint of a modern China. The manchurian empire was never China, it was the Manchurians slavery Chinese for three centuries. Yet, no Chinese has ever gratitues the Japanese influences over Dr.Sun and his revolution. Both the communists and nationalists resentful the Japanese in their party's doctrines. Dr.Sun is like God status in modern China but never brought his 'Exiling days in Japan'. We dont recognize that part of history.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We live we learn and we forgive if we continue to have closed minds we become stupid and remain that way, apologies have been given what more can be done after acceptance? Does one go back to being stupid again?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

70 years after and Taiwan seems to have accepted that the past is past, taking the good with the bad and the bad with the good.

70 years later and Chinese had a huge military parade to celebrate victory, and continues to dwell in the past over only the bad.

I think finding the diplomatic role model here is pretty simple.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Brilliant so a third world countries should welcome colonization in the name of progress? Is this Taiwan Prez mentally fit for the office? Wouldn't you rather be independent and free than having a foreign ruler as your master?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Brilliant so a third world countries should welcome colonization in the name of progress? Is this Taiwan Prez mentally fit for the office? Wouldn't you rather be independent and free than having a foreign ruler as your master?

(sigh) Pick the bits that suit your agenda all you like but anyone else reading the article would see that's not what the Taiwan president is saying. Why, it's right there in the first paragraph.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said on Sunday it was important to remember the good things Japan did for the island while not forgetting the bad

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And the Japan bashers and haters will have a feast with this article.

The president of Taiwan and its people, as far as I know they have the picture clear. Japan did bad stuff during the occupation and there were a lot of problems in the colonies, but they were a bunch of good things too. Remember, aside of China and the Koreas, other countries occupied by Japan during early to mid 1900s have a relatively good relationship with Japan and are mostly friendly.

...buuut... be assure some guys lurking these neighbors will be showing their profound and meticulous knowledge in order to re-bunk and rebuff

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

Remember, aside of China and the Koreas, other countries occupied by Japan during early to mid 1900s have a relatively good relationship with Japan and are mostly friendly.

True,but that because they move on from the past, not because Japan did good thing during the occupation.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

@Daniel Neagari

You claim there are other good things brought by the Japanese during their occupation in other countries. For Taiwan, maybe. Other countries, not true.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Did the taiwanese people ever invited Japanese come to rule the island? The japanese 'Good deeds' were foundation ovet the empire's forever occupations and those projects were part of Japan's war during Imperial era. If the japanese could foresee their ultimate defeat in 1945 and the consequences of losing everything at the end, will they participating those infrastructure constructions? You must underdtood the basic motive to see through someone's mind before you accept a gift.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

If, during the acquisition or surrender of the island, it had suffered the ravages that most Japanese possessions were subject to, perhaps contemporary opinion would be quite different.

Bingo.

Taiwan: the Vichy France of the Asian theatre.

This is no different from François Hollande sucking up to Angela Merkel.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Despite the context, It is certainly easier for me to remember good things Japan did... than good things Japan is currently doing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

in reality Germany and Japan both did horrific things during the war-- but so did the US with internment camps used for citizens of Japanese heritage, post war the British and the US kept the Nazi's in power as they needed bureaucrats and prison guards- the british were especially keen to place jewish people back into prison camps with german guards in the run up to the establishment of the state of israel.

and of course there are the 2 Atomic Bombs -

what all of us should have taken away from this was that war is not a good thing- instead you see a country (Japan) that REALLY wishes to stay in the peaceful world it has been in post Pacific War but everyone - and I mean the whole world - seems H%ll bent on forcing them to either re- militarize or capitulate to their neighbors.

we never learn anything from our painful history on this planet do we

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

victory japan, read yr history books. in fact many taiwanese fought back against the japanese occupiers and died in doing so. many incidents. but its true, taiwanese people much more forgiving than koreans. btw, president ma made one mistake referring to the taiwanese people as "chinese". they are taiwanese and not chinese. ma still doesnt get it and he is the prez?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I like this, and of course Japan was cruel during WWII, but Japan obviously did some good things for the countries they occupied during the war>

If I murder every members of your family and at the same time give a billion dollars to a charity organisation. The judge decides to go easy on me cause I have done something cruel but I have also done good deeds. Are you gonna be fine with it?

Can you elaborate on the Hyundai/Kia with Toyota and Honda case? Also the Samsung case, please. How about your firsthand experience the good things Japan has done for Mainland China and Korea. No offence. Just curious.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

He makes some very good points, but unlike the headline, one of the key parts of his message is "while not forgetting the bad". You should never forget anything, the good or the bad, but it's the latter that needs to remembered in order to make amends and move forward -- it's not quite as difficult to 'move forward' in terms of remembering the good. If ALL countries acknowledged the bad and apologized, made proper amends, and moved forward, it would be easier for us to embrace the good. This man is taking a very diplomatic, very mature, and a potentially positive approach for all. The response from deniers?

(OssanAmerica): "That's exactly what happened in Korea too from 1910 to 1945 but those people are so biased they can't see straight."

This comment coming after no one has said a single bad thing up to his comment.

(Daniel Neagari): "And the Japan bashers and haters will have a feast with this article."

This coming after, again, no one has said anything but praise for the Taiwanese president.

(Triring): "In hind site more Korean would have died without Japan's occupation with very low life expectancy rate, low agricultural productivity, bad irrigation, virtually no modern medicine, etc."

Again, on a thread where posters are pointing out the positive of what this man said, and suggesting that we should take a page from this book, these three posters -- all of whom side with atrocity deniers in Japan -- decide to turn a positive message into one of hate when no hate had thusfar been said by anyone except them. When one poster calls one of them up on it?

(Daniel Neagari): "Did you even understand English?... or you are answering me taking what I said out of context to fit your reality?"

This is why the Taiwanese president's comments are so mature, and so welcome, and why the headline is the kind of message that would be celebrated by them and by others in Japan, but the part about not forgetting the bad will be left out. You canNOT forget the bad or the good and use either for a particular story-telling. The good should of COURSE be remembered, but not ONLY the good, or else it will be used by people to accuse those who experienced the bad in ways that the posters above do -- heaping hate onto wrongdoing.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Thunderbird2OCT. 26, 2015 - 04:56PM JST Shows that at least one Asian leader has his head screwed on properly.

..because...? What is he doing that shows that? Political motivations - his number one enemy in the world bar none is China, while his number one financial contributor is Japan. Yes, for that reason his comments make sense.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@Hansram

Did you even understand English?... or you are answering me taking what I said out of context to fit your reality?

That is lame

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

yoshisan88

I agree with most of your post, except the part about Yasukuni. If you look into their history and politics that are inextricably tied to the place, you'd know it's not just any old Japanese shrine. If it was just about culture, tradition, and paying respects, they could go to other shrines that leave out politics.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Sure they did some good, especially for Taiwan because they wanted them to be part of Japan. If they hadn't they would have raped and butchered them to. Taiwanese were just in the right place at the right time.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Shows that at least one Asian leader has his head screwed on properly.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

it's not because taiwan is special but japan needed them to believe they were to gain a buffer

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Japan and Taiwan are like two rejects floating in the Pacific ocean seeking to console each other.

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

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