Taiwanese as second-class imperialists (Taipei Times review of ‘Imperial Gateway’)

The following book review appeared in today’s Taipei Times

Among the many atrocities committed by the Japanese during World War II, the Sook Ching massacre was notable for the involvement of Taiwanese. Having captured Singapore in February 1942, the Japanese army and its accomplices killed at least 25,000 Chinese. Prominent among the invaders’ henchmen was Wee Twee Kim (Huang Duijin, 黃堆金), an interpreter-turned-enforcer who — as this riveting new book reveals — was one of many Taiwanese participants in abuses against overseas Chinese, Allied POWS and local civilians.

As an employee of the Japanese Southern Asian Company, Wee had been posted to Singapore in 1917. He started out managing Chinese factory laborers, before switching to a similar role at another Japanese enterprise — the South Seas Warehouse Company. Like many of the Taiwanese featured in this book, Wee’s cultural and linguistic affinities with the Hoklo-speaking Chinese in Southeast Asia were maximized by the Japanese, and — following the invasion — he was enlisted as an interpreter for the occupying military.

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