Japan's Occupation of Taiwan and Korea

My name is Daniel. I was an English teacher in Seoul, South Korea, and am now a writer who has
published three books including South Korea: Our Story by Daniel Nardini.
                            When I lived in Taiwan, one of the most unusual things I saw was a Taiwanese
funeral where an old man who had died was shown as a young man in a black-and-white photo wearing
a Japanese uniform. I later found out that many Taiwanese who lived during the Japanese colonial time
in Taiwan (1895-1945) overall had a good opinion of the Japanese. It is not to say that Japanese
rule was not harsh—it was—but Taiwanese again overall had no real bad opinion of the Japanese. So
I saw many old photos of Taiwanese who lived during the Japanese period either proudly wearing Japanese
military uniforms or Japanese national dress. Indeed, many Japanese private homes and public buildings
have been preserved in Taiwan as well as very old traditional old Chinese homes, buildings and temples
created before the Japanese ever came. In contrast, the Japanese colonial period in Korea (1910-1945) is
greatly reviled and for the most part neither North or South Korea have tried to preserve anything from the
Japanese colonial period. Certainly Koreans for the most part do not have anything really positive to say
about the Japanese colonial period. In my mind there are three major differences between Japanese
colonial rule in Taiwan and Korea. First, Japan and Korea had a real blood hatred between each other
going back centuries. This did not exist in the case of Taiwan. Second, the Japanese had a far more
conscious policy of trying to destroy anything and everything of Korea’s past. Again this goes back to
the blood hatred between Japan and Korea. In the case of Taiwan, the Japanese pretty much left the
island’s historic Chinese heritage alone. Finally, the Japanese tried to assimilate the Koreans at a far
faster and more brutal rate than Taiwanese. True, the Japanese tried to assimilate the Taiwanese as
well, but they did not try to suppress Chinese writing or Taiwan’s Buddhist heritage as they did with
Korea. It is not to say that the Japanese were not brutal towards both Taiwan and Korea, but the
Japanese seemed to have reserved their hatred more for one rather than the other.