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.
71 years ago on January 9th 1945, the Japanese Hellship Enoura Maru which was en route to Japan with POWs from the Philippines, was bombed in Takao (Kaohsiung) Harbour. More than 350 POWs were killed. They were subsequently buried in a mass grave on Chijin Island nearby, and in 1946 the American War Graves Recovery Team removed the remains and sent them to Hawaii for permanent burial. They currently rest in peace in Section Q of the Punchbowl Cemetery in 20 common graves, marked only with the words "20 Unknowns January 9, 1945". However, we do know who each and every Enoura Maru POW was who is buried there.
In 2006 the Society - in co-operation with the City of Kaohsiung, erected and dedicated the Taiwan Hellships Memorial in the War and Peace Park in Chijin – just across the road from the location of the former mass grave. For the past 5 years the Society has desired - and worked very hard, to have a memorial stone placed on the Memorial Walk at the Punchbowl Cemetery in Honolulu in honour of the men who lie in those graves. There have been numerous articles about this project in the Society's newsletters over the last few years. However, the previous director of the cemetery and his deputy repeatedly ruled that they would not allow this simple stone that would tell a little of the story of that ship and the men who are buried in Section Q, because "having the word 'hellship' on the stone might offend the Japanese tourists who visit the cemetery for its scenic viewpoints". There was nothing else that was offensive with the inscription in their opinion – just the word 'hellship'.
We have also tried to work together with the American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor Memorial Society in this effort, as many of their members had fathers. grandfathers, uncles etc. on that ship. We have tried many ways to persuade the Veterans Administration in the US – whose mandate and task it is to look after and support all veterans while they are alive, and to honour and respect them when they have passed on, to allow the stone to be placed on the Memorial Walk, but so far with no success. It is a shame that the VA and the US Government feel that it is more important not to offend Japanese tourists than it is to honour the men who are buried in the cemetery, having given their lives in the service of their country and the cause of America's freedom!
We have the backing of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of America and also the AMVETS organization, and despite appeals to the VA and also a couple of US Senators and Congress people, the issue has not been resolved. We are hoping that perhaps this year with a new cemetery director, and by making contact with some new government reps, that we might be able to see this project finally completed in honour and memory of the men of the Enoura Maru.
The Taiwan Hellships Memorial, Kaohsiung & one of the Enoura Maru graves at the Punchbowl Cemetery, Hawaii
The Petition: To the Japanese Embassy in Washington D.C.: Stop the ban on Angelina Jolie's movie, Unbroken, in Japan
Update: Due to international protests and also pressure within Japan, we have received word that the movie Unbroken will soon be released in Japan! Let the truth prevail!
Thank you all for signing the petition and making this happen.
Silence is never golden when freedom of speech gets suppressed.
Democracy took root in Japan nearly 70 years ago after the end of World War II. Who would have thought that someone could overturn it so easily? But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has done just that !
For the past two years we have featured articles on the homepage regarding the sweeping changes taking place in Japan under the LDP government of Shinzo Abe and his Right Wing extremists since they came to power in December 2012.
We have shown from reports and studies, first hand news accounts and references, how the Abe government wants to return to the extreme Right Wing policies of former times, how they want to rescind the so-called apologies made by former prime ministers and renounce the previous stand on the Comfort Women, now saying that they were simply prostitutes and that they were necessary and that they were not co-erced or forced by the Japanese military to perform services for the troops. In this time they have forced new laws through their parliament limiting the rights and freedoms of Japanese people, and in a similar manner this spring have by-passed Japan's pacifist constitution in order to make it possible for Japan to wage war again. Even more alarmingly, they will continue to limit or abolish human rights and freedoms, so they can persecute those who differ with their opinion or who want to peacefully gather in protests.
If one looks back at the history of the 20th Century, one can clearly see that these were also the policies adopted and propagated by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis when they came to power in Germany 82 years ago in 1933! After being in power only 2 years many Japanese people are already calling Shinzo Abe a "Fascist" and "Public Enemy No. 1".
All of the previous articles from the homepage have been saved together in our Articles and Stories Section of the website. For those who are interested, please CLICK HERE to read the series of articles which reveal the startling changes which have taken place, and which will continue to take place in the near future under this extreme regime. Things have happened so fast in Japan in the past 2 years that is has been hard to keep up and one wonders what the future holds for the people of Japan and as well, its Asian neighbours!
On February 23rd Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito, son of the present Emperor Akihito, grandson of wartime Emperor Hirohito and heir to the Japanese throne, spoke out in stark contrast to the position that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his right wing extremists are taking in Japan today with regards to issues on WWII.
Two days after it appeared on the JAPAN TODAY newspaper website, the story - and all internet links to it, were pulled - certainly because of pressure from the Abe government. It just shows how Abe and his extremist gov't are trying to control the Japanese media, and also that they have no respect for and totally disregard the Emperor - who unfortunately and sadly has no real power or influence in Japan today.
Fortunately we downloaded and saved the complete newspaper article and you can read the full story HERE in the Articles and Stories Section - scroll down to the article.
Despite critical meetings held in the Diet and conferences with Japan's top constitutional experts and myriads of lawyers in early June, all of whom rule his actions unconstitutional and un-democratic, and with complete disregard for the will of the Japanese people, Shinzo Abe and his Right Wing extremists are still trying to make changes illegally to Japan's constitution and in particular Article 9 which prohibits Japan from being a military power. All too sadly this also has huge support and backing from the US Government.
For the latest in this saga check out Lawrence Repeta's timely article in the Asia-Pacific Journal at the following link: http://japanfocus.org/-Lawrence-Repeta/4335/article.html . One wonders where this will all end, but as of now it certainly looks like Japan and its people are headed for a future run by a "dangerous ultranationalist dictator unrestrained by the law".
January 27, 2016 - "A New Memorial Bench for the POW Park" added to the Articles & Stories Section
January 23, 2016 - Added - "The Wall - A very Special Place", the story of the Taiwan POW Memorial Wall and poem "THE WALL" to the Articles & Stories Section.
December 28, 2015 - "19 Years of Researching, Remembering and Honouring the Taiwan POWs" added to the Articles & Stories Section.
November 28, 2015 - Fall-Winter2015 Newsletter uploaded to the site. Click here or go to the Society Section and click on the newsletter in the Newsletters box.
November 20, 2015 - Update to "The Memorials for the Taiwan POWs" in the Articles & Stories Section.
October 20, 2015 - The complete article "70 Years Ago - Events in Taiwan POW History" is added to the Articles & Stories Section.
August 24, 2015 - Update to the story "A Family Connection" in the Articles & Stories Section.
July 2, 2015 - Spring-Summer 2015 newsletter uploaded to the site. Click here or go to the Society Section and click on the newsletter in the Newsletters box.
April 16, 2015 - "Hirohito's Responsibility for the End of World War II" - added to the Articles & Stories Section.
April 13, 2015 - More photos added to Kinkaseki Camp in The Camps Section
January 31, 2015 - Update to "Asian War Graves and Memorial Photos" article in the Articles & Stories Section - new cemeteries in Bangladesh and Afghanistan - Camp Bastion Wall added.
November 30, 2014 - The "A LOOK AT THE WAR CRIMINALS' MEMORIALS" feature added to the Articles & Stories Section.
Sept. 12, 2014 - The "September 1944 Hellships" feature added to the Articles & Stories Section.
Sept. 11, 2014 - Update to the Collection of articles and reports on Shinzo Abe and his Right Wing Gov't. and the downfall of Japan's democracy - in the Articles & Stories section.
March 3, 2014 - Addition of the "Remembrance Day at Kinkaseki" slide show - link on the homepage and story in the Articles & Stories Section.
We would like to remind our viewers that this website is a work in progress, so be sure to check back often.
In 2009 six former Taiwan POWs returned to Taiwan to join in the annual Remembrance Day service at Kinkaseki. Society supporter and good friend Chen, Hsiao - Fang produced a slide show of the event and we invite you to watch it and remember these men to whom we owe a debt that can never be repaid. Click here to view the presentation.
Lest We Forget!
LISTEN TO THE POWS' STORY
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 -
Do you need a photo of a loved ones' grave or name on a memorial in the Far East?
Welcome to the ASIA WAR GRAVES PHOTO GROUP.
We are a group comprised of FEPOW organizations and researchers located in the Far East and we are 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 - with the sole aim of keeping the memory of the veterans alive, so present and future generations will not forget the sacrifices they have made so far from home.
We specialize in photos of the names on all the 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, YOKOHAMA and LABUAN. We are happy to be able to supply names from all the memorials as well - FREE of CHARGE!
Click here...to find out further information on the ASIA WAR GRAVES PHOTO GROUP, the war cemeteries and memorials covered, and the other services that are provided - FREE OF CHARGE!
We are pleased to announce that since the creation of the ASIA WAR GRAVES PHOTO GROUP in JULY 2012, we have distributed more than 15,000 FREE war grave and memorial photos!
Another great source for FREE worldwide War Grave & Memorial photos . . .
An excellent organization in the UK with a website offering thousands of FREE war grave and memorial photos worldwide is British War Graves - War Graves Photographs. Founded and operated for over 10 years by Mick McCann in the UK, the site provides photos for almost all the world’s war cemeteries and more FREE.
Click here for more information on free war grave and memorial photos and to visit their website.
The Society has been urgently seeking information regarding the POWs who were evacuated from Taiwan on September 6, 1945 on the aircraft carrier USS Santee CVE-29, and the Destroyer Escorts USS Brister DE-327 and USS Finch DE-328. We have searched various archives to try to find the ships' deck logs and service records, but up to now nothing has turned up.
However, thanks to some help from a researcher friend in the US, we have found the complete list of men carried on the USS Finch. So that just leaves the USS Brister and USS Santee that we still need complete lists for.
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.
We would also like to hear from former POWs and their families if they have any knowledge that their relative or anyone they knew sailed on either of these two ships. We would be very grateful for any help and information we can get.
USS Santee - CVE-29 USS Brister - DE-327