Reorganizing the Taiwan Jimin and the Taiwan Huaqiao in South China, 1937-1945: a Global History Approach

L.M. Douw

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Japan’s influence on the mindset, loyalties and identity-formation among Taiwanese citizens during the colonial period is a highly contested issue among present-day historians. It is commonly argued that sympathy with the Japanese colonialists was an outward posture taken by Taiwanese only because of their opportunism or because it was forced upon them by the colonial regime. At the other hand it has been argued that the basic confluence of the interests between them made that significant groups of Taiwanese residents and migrants identified in increasing measure with the Japanese, from the 1930s onwards at the latest, such as for an example Taiwanese soldiers in the Japanese Army and business people abroad who collaborated closely with the Japanese. In between one finds the “Taiwan Orphan” imagery, which victimizes the Taiwanese as helpless objects of the enmity between China and Japan.

It is difficult to prove either way from historical sources, because we are dealing with a closed political system, and few ego-documents are available and those which exist are usually severely biased in favor of a Chinese identity. An effort will be made to circumvent the problem by comparing the vicissitudes of the Chinese migrants in Taiwan with the “Registered Taiwanese” in South China during the pre-war period, and by presenting circumstantial evidence for the opposite position. Special attention will be given to the literature on the exercise of Japanese “soft” power, as emanated from support for educational and medical facilities and the Japanese media in South China.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)83-116
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Chinese Overseas
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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