Those Who Once Were “Japanese”
On the unseasonably warm morning of February 24, 1979, seven Taiwanese aborigines slowly but steadily made their way to the office at the Yasuguni jinja, a shrine that consecrates the spirits of Japanese soldiers killed during the Second World War.1 The members of the entourage, five men and two women, had exhausted their savings and money borrowed from people in their villages to come to Japan. They were representatives from several aboriginal territories. More precisely, they were representing the descendants of the hundreds of aboriginal soldiers who fought and died during the war in the name of the Japanese Emperor. Many nonaboriginal Taiwanese ex-soldiers have made similar pilgrimages....
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