Today I want to pause and talk about my view on Japan, why I visit Japan, and a movie that just came out in Taiwan. (Movie trailor has English subtitles ^_^)

I came from Taiwan, a land that is called Formosa (in Portuguese it means “beautiful island”) by the Europeans who discover the land.We were colonized by many countries throughout the history. The Dutch was here, the Spanish was here, then the Chinese, then Japanese, and finally released after World War II to where we are today. Our identity is ambiguous because of our history. There is a lot of love and hate between the people in Taiwan and those who occupied Taiwan.

When it comes to Japan, our relationship with them is filled with mixed feelings. Some people hated Japan because of the brutality that they saw during the occupation, some thanked the Japanese because they establish a firm school system (that is when Taiwanese people were first able to study at medical schools in Japan), and also established health care system (hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and educated doctors).

My family’s feeling for Japan is also mixed. My grandparents were lucky they met good Japanese people who became their friends, and my grandmother was able to be educated and become teacher at a school. But the feeling of being occupied and some discrimination were also present at the time.

The movie posted above is called Seediq Bale. It is about when Japanese occupied Taiwan and one aboriginal tribe revolted against them. The director did not intend to show the movie about who to hate and who is evil, rather it is a movie about two sides who were fighting for their own religion and their own country.

This movie touched me because my family has some Taiwanese aboriginal blood (though we were not part of the mountain tribe, rather my grandfather’s tribe was in the low-lands). The movie also presented a relationship between Taiwanese and Japanese people that words cannot describe in 2 or 3 sentences alone. I hope the movie will show others a glimpse of Taiwan’s history that is not mentioned on textbooks and in schools. (I am going to buy the DVD with English subs when it comes out!)

Today many Taiwanese like me love going to Japan for vacation, and many of us have relatives in Japan. To me, like many other countries that occupied Taiwan, Japan also holds a part of Taiwan’s history. Instead of hatred because of the past, I hope for love and respect from both sides for many years to come.

I travel because I want to understand, respect, and love another =) Why do you travel?