This is the story of the Japanese prisoner of war camps on the island of Taiwan (Formosa) during the Second World War and of the men who were interned in them.
It seems that many people know about the hardship and suffering of the POW's working on the Death Railway in Thailand and Burma, but few know about the "hell-camps" of Taiwan. We hope to tell the story of the suffering and deprivation endured by the POW's so that all will know - and hopefully never forget!
Our site contains descriptions of the prison camps, a detailed list of all the former prisoners, an honour roll of those who died, and the story of the
Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society.
Be sure to mark the week of November 6 – 13, 2013 on your calendars and in your date books, and plan to be with us for this great annual event which features visits to the former POW camps, a POW banquet on November 9th and the Remembrance Day service at the Prisoner of War Memorial Park at Kinkaseki on the 10th.
We hope that former POWs and their families will make an effort to come as we have a special program prepared for these guests. If you are interested in attending, and for more information, please contact the Society by email or mail (please see the "contacts" page). Hope to see you in November!
KARENKO POW CAMP MEMORIAL PHOTOS
On Monday November 12th, 2012 at 2 pm the Karenko POW Camp Memorial was dedicated by the Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society, to honour and remember the men who were interned there in WWII.
The memorial is located in a garden at the entrance to the Military Police Base in Hualien city - the site of the former camp from August 1942 to June 1943. The camp held most of the highest-ranking officers of the captured Allied armies from the Philippines, Singapore, Malaya, Hong Kong and the Dutch East Indies. Also interned there were the governors of all of the Asian colonies the Japanese conquered on their thrust through the region from December 1941 through May 1942.
The memorial is open to the public for viewing. Just drive to the entrance of MP Base, park along the street and walk in to view the memorial and information sign. Below are several photos taken during a visit to the site in February.
Also, please see the Karenko Camp listing on the "Camps" page for more information on the camp and photos of the memorial dedication ceremony.
DENIAL AND NON-APOLOGY POLICY RETURNS AFTER LDP RE-ELECTION
It seems that the re-election of the Liberal Democatic Party (LDP) in Japan last December has once again ushered in another era of denial of former atrocities and the desire to alter the facts of history concerning the treatment of POWs - both military and civilian, the so-called "Comfort Women" aka Sex Slaves, and the millions of Asian people murdered, raped, tortured and countries plundered during WWII.
In the past few months since the election, statements made by returning Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other ministers clearly indicate that a return to the LDP's previous extreme right wing policies of denial of the atrocities so well documented through historical records in countless archives worldwide, on the internet and from so many other sources, will once again form the government's stand on these critical international isssues.
Despite several "personal" so-called apologies made by former prime ministers in the 1990's and a few efforts by the government - particularly in the past few years, to placate some of the former British, Australian and American POWs with visits to Japan as so-called attempts at reconciliation, the basic policies of the Japanese government have remained unchanged since WWII. The simple truth is that Japan has never made a formal and offficial acknowledgement and apology to the world for its actions and the atrocities it committed in the Second World War!
Also, the "private" apologies made to only specific groups of Allied POWs such as the Canadian Hong Kong Veterans, and a few American ex-POWs in private meetings and conventions, by no means constitutes an "official" apology for the atrocities committed all across Asia against tens of thousands of POWs and civilian internees and the Asian people.
In addition, the apology made in the Japanese Diet several years ago - and then only after it was proven by actual WWII records found in Japan that former LDP Prime Minister Aso's family had used POWs as slaves in their mine, and despite the numerous previously repeated denials by the then PM - was still not really an "official" government apology.
Now Abe and the LDP want to roll back even those supposedly "sincere" apologies made by well-meaning PM's in 1993 and 1995, signalling a falling back into the ways of Bushido and the whitewashing of the truth of history once again.
This also negates the attempts made over the past several years by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to try to reverse the former right wing policies and acknowledge Japan's past WWII history, come to terms with it and make overtures of reconciliation, with seemingly genuine efforts being made by the foreign ministry to make amends for the past. Now all this good will soon be undone when Abe and his new government have their way.
The following is an article published in the NEW YORK TIMES on January 2, 2013. It is only one of a number of worldwide media reports pertaining to this hot and very important subject of Japanese acknowledgement of their past war crimes and crimes against humanity which have never been properly and truly acknowledged and apologized for.
January 2, 2013 - EDITORIAL
"Few relationships are as important to stability in Asia as the one between Japan and South Korea. Yet Japan’s new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, seems inclined to start his tenure with a serious mistake that would inflame tensions with South Korea and make co-operation harder. He has signalled that he might seek to revise Japan’s apologies for its World War II aggression, including one for using Koreans and other women as sex slaves.
In 1993, (click to see article) Japan finally acknowledged that the Japanese military had raped and enslaved thousands of Asian and European women in army brothels, and offered its first full apology for those atrocities. A broader apology by Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama in 1995 (click to see article) conceded that “through its colonial rule and invasion,” Japan had caused “tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations.”
In an interview with the Sankei Shimbun newspaper, Mr. Abe, a right-wing nationalist, was quoted by Reuters on Monday as saying he wants to replace the 1995 apology with an unspecified “forward looking statement.” He said that his previous administration, in 2006-7, had found no evidence that the women who served as sex slaves to Japan’s wartime military had, in fact, been coerced. However, at a news conference last week, the chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said that Mr. Abe would uphold the 1995 apology but hinted he may revise the 1993 statement.
It is not clear how Mr. Abe, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, might modify the apologies, but he has previously made no secret of his desire to rewrite his country’s wartime history. Any attempt to deny the crimes and dilute the apologies will outrage South Korea, as well as China and the Philippines, which suffered under Japan’s brutal wartime rule.
Mr. Abe’s shameful impulses could threaten critical co-operation in the region on issues like North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Such revisionism is an embarrassment to a country that should be focused on improving its long-stagnant economy, not whitewashing the past." (End of article)
PM Abe seems to think that the US will always be Japan's ally no matter what, but observers are watching very carefully to see how the US will handle these latest outbursts of Japanese denial and alienation based on its treatment of WWII history and its failure to make a sincere and truthful apology for its actions in WWII. As well, its aggression in the region with its continued disputes with China, Taiwan, Korea and Russia over islands in the northest Asia region and other issues, is something that the whole world needs to take note and also be very wary of. Abe, who is the grandson of former Class A War Criminal and later post-war prime minister Nobusuke Kishi, also wants to rescind the articles in the Japanese constitution that prohibit Japan's involvement as a world military power.
Here is another closely related article on the Comfort Women recently published by the New York Times which clearly shows the opportunity that Japan has for possibly reversing its archaic stance and come clean on the issue of the Comfort Women and hopefully the POW abuse and other issues as well.
MORE . . . and this is scary!
From THE ASIA-PACIFIC JOURNAL: JAPAN FOCUS - DATED JANUARY 28, 2013, comes a horrifying look at Japan's new right wing cabinet.
PM Abe and other LDP members tended to present a moderate "economy first" face on television and during the recent election campaign, but this was just a cover up and deliberate smokescreen to deceive the Japanese people and get themselves elected so that they could pursue their REAL AGENDA!
In order to spread awareness of some of the extreme ideas held by key conservatives and the changes that they wish to make to Japanese education and ideas of citizenship, Japanese NGO Network 21 has prepared a list of the various Diet groups to which members of the current Abe Cabinet belong. Following the list is description and discussion of the Diet groups and their key positions on such issues as Constitutional Revision, the Yasukuni Shrine, war responsibility and war atrocities, the comfort women, North Korea, and citizenship that clarify the core political principles of the Abe administration. Here is the url link to the article - click on it, read it and remember this when you see things start to change in Japan in the very near future -
IT'S GETTING WORSE - JUST AS PREDICTED!
Here is an article published in the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR newspaper on April 25, 2013, which states that PM Shinzo Abe is clearly pursuing his extreme Right Wing policies much to the detriment of Japan and it's relations with its Asian neighbours and peace and stability in the region.
Is Japan's Shinzo Abe finally acting on his true nationalist colors?
Japan's prime minister appears to be stepping up his campaign to re-interpret Japan's wartime history, aggravating China and South Korea at a time when the region should be uniting to deal with North Korea.
"This has always been the real Abe," says Robert Dujarric, director of the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies at Temple University in Tokyo. "He really believes this stuff, and when he is not under the control of his bureaucrats, like during this week's parliamentary session, he says what he thinks. And he doesn't seem to realize how much he is hurting Japan."
Read this latest article and stay tuned for more - http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2013/0425/Is-Japan-s-Shinzo-Abe-finally-acting-on-his-true-nationalist-colors
Let us hope and pray that PM Abe and others in this new government will finally acknowledge that the world is still waiting for a sincere, official, government-sponsored apology with the legislation that goes along with it, and that Japan will finally "come clean" about its past and thus be able to take a meaningful place in today's world community as Germany has done.
Let's also hope that the leaders of the world's democracies and all good people will stand up and protest to Japan - perhaps even boycotting Japanese businesses and products, in the interest of righting so many horrendous wrongs!
Don't hold your breath on it though!
APRIL 21, 2013 - Revision to the article "Other Commonwealth POWs" - to include another New Zealand POW and with photos - in the Archives section.
APRIL 21, 2013 - Revision to the article "Forgotten Nation, Forgotten Heroes" to include a new South African POW - in the Archives section.
APRIL 20, 2013 - Update to "A Man Sent From God" - in the Archives section.
APRIL 20, 2013 - Update to "A Family Connection" - in the Archives section.
APRIL 20, 2013 - Update to 16 Years of Researching, Remembering and Honouring the Taiwan POWs - in the Archives section.
FEBRUARY 1, 2013 - Addition to the FREE War Graves Photos Page - the SRI LANKA: Colombo, Kandy, Trincomalee cemeteries.
DECEMBER 10, 2012 - the Fall-Winter 2012 Newsletter is up on the site - go to the "SOCIETY" section from the menu and click on the Fall-Winter 2012 Newsletter in the newsletters box.
We would like to remind our viewers that this is a work in progress so be sure to check back often.
As mentioned previously in this column, at present we have the lists of the POWs transported from Taiwan to the Philippines in September 1945 on the carrier USS Block Island, the DE's USS Thomas J. Gary and USS Kretchmer, and the New Zealand Hospital Ship Maunganui. Sadly, although we have obtained the logs from the USS Santee, no list of POW names was attached, and we have only partial lists of men from the DE's USS Brister and USS Finch.
We are currently searching various archives to try to find these lists if they have survived, but in the meantime we would like to hear from former POWs and their families if they have any knowledge that their relative sailed on any of these three ships.
If there are any US Naval or other archives out there which might have such information, we would appreciate hearing from you as well and then arrangements can be made to pay a visit to your facility to check things out further.
If there are any former crew members of these ships who know of the lists that were made and where they might now be, please kindly get in touch with us as well. We would be so grateful for any help we can get.
Since the creation of the ASIA WAR GRAVES PHOTO GROUP in JULY 2012, we are pleased to announce that in the first six months we have already distributed over 1700 FREE war grave and memorial photos.
Welcome to the ASIA WAR GRAVES PHOTO GROUP.
The group is comprised of FEPOW organizations and researchers located in the Far East and is dedicated to providing good quality photos of war graves and the names on the various memorials from the war cemeteries located all across Asia - FREE OF CHARGE - to POWs, family members, relatives, researchers and historians – with the sole aim of keeping the memory of the veterans and POWs alive, so present and future generations will not forget the sacrifices they have made so far from home. We want to help ensure that they are not forgotten.
The Group specializes in photos of the names on the many memorials across Asia. We have all 25,000 names on the SINGAPORE / KRANJI MEMORIAL, all 27,000 names on the TAUKKYAN / RANGOON MEMORIAL, as well as all the other memorials such as SAI WAN, LABUAN and YOKOHAMA. We are happy to be able to supply names on all the memorials – FREE of CHARGE as well.
Read More ...to find out further information on the new ASIA WAR GRAVES PHOTO GROUP, the war cemeteries and memorials covered, and the other services that are provided - FREE OF CHARGE!
Society director Michael Hurst is featured in two radio interviews with Radio Taiwan International. We invite you to:
To listen to these programs click the links below -