被淹沒的島嶼戰史:──高砂義勇隊

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1999 / 3月

文‧陳淑美 圖‧翻拍自《台灣植民地統治史》



在日據末期,台灣原住民曾被迫參與過一場驚天動地的國際戰爭,數千名原住民菁英喪生在西太平洋燠熱的島嶼。

三、四怞~來,當年所效忠的祖國日本也罷,回歸於中華民族的中華民國在台灣也罷,都少有人再提起這段歷史,直到一九七四年,印尼摩羅泰島叢林裡走出一個高砂義勇隊員李光輝;之後這段歷史才在日本人道主義者的追索,以及台灣眾多生還者的口述下,逐漸拼湊出一幅模糊的圖像。

在全世界都在反省二次大戰的聲浪中,這段史實代表什麼意義?日據以前,從未有國族概念的原住民在其中有過什麼樣的經驗與待遇?走過戰爭的高砂義勇隊員又有怎樣的愛恨情仇?

袖子捲起,是一隻受過傷的手臂,手關節處硬殼似地突出成一圈,以下的手臂就不長肉了,名符其實的「皮包著骨」,像支棒球桿。老人家說這手是被砲彈削過的,至於地點在哪兒,怎麼受傷的,卻已經說不清楚了。

這是在南投縣仁愛鄉的廬山部落、七怳C歲的泰雅族人林仁川(日本名森川仁)的悲慘經歷。林仁川曾在二次大戰末期,參加「第三回高砂義勇隊」,才出征四個月,就掛了彩,留下這隻殘缺的手臂。

在台灣原住民部落,類似林仁川的遭遇所在多有,更多的族人在走上南洋戰場為日本天皇效命後,就再也沒有回來。

高砂──和平改造的生蕃

一九四一年十二月,日軍偷襲珍珠港,掀起太平洋戰爭,台灣正式捲入二次大戰的戰火,戰爭的利爪,不僅波及平地的人們,也伸進深山原住民部落。

「高砂族,是日本政府給予台灣原住民的新命名。『高砂』兩字傳承自日本的神話傳說,意思是經過日本的統治與改造,『原生蕃』已經邁向半文明的一族,」長期研究日本「理蕃」政策的政治大學日籍教授藤井志津枝指出,「高砂義勇隊」被認為是高砂族中代表日本精神的優秀人才,在日本警察的慫恿下,「志願」為日本國出征的一群。

在台灣各原住民部落,參與過「高砂義勇隊」的老兵很多,只是這段歷史過去向被視而不見。「老人家不會說,年輕人不懂問,」行政院原住民委員會副主任委員孫大川表示,除了原住民老人家只能說日語及母語,溝通不易,過去歲月裡對「台灣人戰爭歷史」的輕忽,也是使這段歷史被視而不見的主因。

在日本方面,中央研究院民族研究所助理研究員黃智慧指出,一九四二年以後日本在南洋戰場上的征戰極其慘烈,期間發生了許多殘酷的殺戮及如吃人肉等不人道的行為,為逃避戰後審判,南洋戰場上的資料有意為日本軍方湮滅。

另一方面,高砂義勇隊當時被編為軍屬(軍中雇員),多擔任搬運、協助建造機場,打叢林戰等游擊工作,通常不受軍階,沒有正式軍人身分,因此在正式戰史中付之闕如,更不可能有「戰友會」等相關組織來糾合眾人,形成集體記憶。「日本政府從來沒有公布過他們的資料,」致力於高砂義勇隊田野調查的日籍作家林榮代也說。

從「中村輝夫」到「李光輝」

一九七四年十二月,阿美族人史尼育唔(中文名李光輝)幽靈般地在印尼摩羅泰島上被發現。三十年來未接觸「文明」世界,史尼育唔被發現時,赤身裸體有如野人般正揮動著蕃刀劈柴,在他居住的叢林竹屋,還找到戰時所用的三八式步槍,還未上膛的十八發子彈、軍用水壺、鋁鍋、鋼盔等,在叢林裡獨自生活了三十一年,史尼育唔生還的奇蹟震驚了世界。

史尼育唔的故事相當反映台灣原住民百年來的際遇。他在日本人大力推展皇民化理蕃政策時,被改成日本名「中村輝夫」,光復後「山胞」申請戶籍,「中村輝夫」又被戶籍人員改為「李光輝」。

一九四三年「中村輝夫」離開花蓮家鄉時,他仍是日本皇軍,彷彿日本童話《浦島太郎》的再版,三十年後叢林外世界已然翻轉,台灣從日本殖民地「改朝換代」為中華民國,以為他戰歿的妻子黯然改嫁,到南洋戰場時才出生一個月、三十年後到機場接機的兒子已然挺立。那一年松山機場大廳,李光輝與久別重逢親人以阿美族特有手勢拉手相見的畫面,成為走過當時年代人們的深刻記憶。李光輝正是不折不扣,在一九四三年(昭和十八年)派遣到南洋的高砂特別志願兵。

李光輝的出現,勾起世人模糊的記憶和曾被忽視的歷史,幾位日本作家及媒體工作者更循此線挖掘出台灣原住民為日本天皇血濺沙場的事蹟,掀起了探求「高砂義勇隊」的秘辛。

早稻田大學肄業的日籍作家林榮代是其中之一。

在日本鹿兒島市,林榮代打聽到有位中村先生曾擔任義勇隊的副官,好不容易找到副官的妻子在電話中談及先生曾率義勇隊至新幾內亞,一年前已經逝世了,但身後留有第五回義勇隊隊員的名簿。

不容青史盡成灰

林榮代隔日便去找這位中村哈密女士,找到了寫著「第二十七野戰貨物廠」(編按:這是第五回高砂義勇隊在新幾內亞登陸時所駐紮的單位)的封面手冊,全部共有九冊,記載著各復員軍人、戰歿軍人、內還者(回到日本的生還者),及戰歿地點、原因、親屬關係、在台地址等,簿內密麻寫滿軍事郵便儲金金額,還有當事人蓋的印章及手印。(編按:「郵便儲金」為戰時日本因為發放薪資不便,故在亞洲各地廣設野戰郵便局,寄存軍人薪資。戰後日本因通貨膨脹及資金籌備困難,停止儲金歸還的申請,形成許多二次大戰原日本兵與日本當局訴訟未休的懸案。)

循線追蹤,林榮代又找到第五回義勇隊的部分長官及訓練警官,並親自到台灣找到參與過戰事的倖存者,按照他們的口述整理成《第五回高砂義勇隊──名簿、軍事儲金、日本人證言》專書。之後又到台灣各部落遍訪尚活在人世的義勇隊員,集結成《證言》及《台灣植民地統治史》照片集一冊,是已發表有關高砂義勇隊最完整的三本史料。

黃智慧指出,有關高砂義勇隊的資料至今仍有許多謎團待解,據她所知,目前在日本坊間所找到的高砂義勇隊著作不超過十本,以倖存者(高砂義勇隊員及其長官)的口述證言為主要內容,尚未有系統性論述,對高砂義勇隊的中文研究,除了一些零星口述之外,這段史實較之於日文著述,更是受到漠視。

根據這些倖存者的口述及其他相關文獻大致拼湊出的「高砂義勇隊」圖像是:二次大戰末期,台灣總督府在珍珠港事件爆發、太平洋戰火愈趨熾烈時,總共徵調八回台灣原住民參戰。出征時間從一九四二年三月到一九四五年。

除了第一回主戰場在菲律賓,其他六回主戰場分布在西南太平洋的幾個海域,包括英屬新幾內亞、所羅門群島、拉包爾群島、摩羅泰群島等。第八回的戰爭經歷則尚未定論,有倖存者說全員未及派上戰場,留台復員。也有人說船曾開至婆羅州群島。除了八回義勇隊之外,另外還有陸軍及海軍特別志願兵。

黃智慧的研究指出,總計八回高砂義勇隊員以及數次徵募的特別志願兵種,保守估計應有七、八千餘人,其中大多數戰歿。(編按:另根據林榮代等人說法:高砂義勇隊八回共約四千人,七成戰歿,三成倖存)。

有關高砂義勇隊的戰歿及生還人數,以及至今究竟有多少人尚活在世上,不僅有不同說法,也還有種種猜測。黃智慧認為,這最基本的史實整理工作,亟待相關單位加以調查確認。

以蕃制蕃、薰化善導

日本人為何在戰事擴大的緊要關頭,相中向在日據統治最底層的原住民,將他們送到南洋戰場?

黃智慧指出,台灣原住民的戰力早為日本人注意,一八九五年長野中尉進入台灣山地做調查時,就已看出台灣原住民的山林作戰能力。但林榮代認為,從現今發掘的史料看來,日本人徵召台灣原住民當兵,契機可能在「霧社事件」。

一九三○年,位於霧社的原住民因為不滿日本人為得到中央山脈森林資源,而將土地收歸官有林地,禁止原住民原有生活型態與文化,並對不從者大開殺戒的「理蕃」政策,趁著日本人在霧社公學校舉行聯合運動會時,泰雅族人一舉殺死了包括日本警察、教師在內的一百多名日本人。後來日本政府動員大批武力,企圖以飛機大砲強攻原住民藏匿的山頭,仍久攻不下,後來「以蕃制蕃」,誘使泰雅族另一蕃社的族人代其出征,才攻下了「叛亂」部族。

霧社事件後,原住民強勁的山林作戰能力,教日本人印象深刻。林榮代指出,霧社事件後,討伐部隊長官服部兵次郎大佐的相關文書便有「他們(原住民)的兇暴固然可恨,但若加以薰化善導,或許在緊急時,他們能在我軍領導下,成為軍隊的一部份……」。顯然,在霧社事件之後,日本人已將原住民視為後備重要戰力。

一方面也因為珍珠港事變後,日本國內青壯男子已達動員極限,加上太平洋戰爭後,日本人戰線擴大到南洋一帶,能吃苦耐勞、精於山林作戰的台灣原住民青年自然成為先被考慮的不二人選。

日本總督府徵召高砂隊赴南洋,很重要的關鍵是當時台灣軍區的司令官陸軍中將本間雅晴。這位向有開明之名的軍官,其時正指揮菲律賓攻略戰,「當本間在菲律賓做困獸鬥時,他腦中想起的是『赤足奔跑險山叢林又身具深夜能肉眼視』的高砂義勇隊,」專治台灣史多年的政治大學教授戴國煇也說。

不當兵,非男人

日本戰時宣傳片《莎韻之鐘》裡,在外地唸書回家的原住民青年為了響應參戰,特別回到家鄉來等候召集令,接到召集令的青年歡欣雀躍,接不到的人傷心失落,電影情節也許誇張,但也的確反映當年義勇隊被鼓動好戰的普遍氛圍。

「當時年輕人被問何時當兵?就像今天問人『吃飽飯沒?』般自然,」霧社七十八歲布農族原住民高聰義(日本名加藤直一)說,當時大家都覺得當兵是一件光榮的事,即使戰死也心甘情願。他在一九四三年七月寫了血書,參加第七回高砂義勇隊。

日本紀錄片工作者柳本通彥在花蓮壽豐村採訪的影片中,原住民的耄耋老婦的親身經歷是:當時她的孩子才生下來十四天,但丈夫就急著要從軍。「丈夫說,周圍的朋友都去了,我怎麼可以不去?丈夫還說,『不當兵,不像男人』」壽豐村老婦說起當年情境。

為了誘使個性純樸的原住民當兵,日本人一方面給予高薪──屏東縣太武鄉的第五回高砂義勇隊員楊清課(日本名平山勇)回憶,當時說好每月支給八十圓。這對當時少有貨幣收入的原住民很具吸引力,一方面也以心理戰向原住民遊說。「日本人用的是『兩面手法』,一面向原住民小姐教育說『沒參加高砂義勇隊的,不是男人』;一面又向原住民青年說:這些小姐認為,不參加高砂隊的,不是男人。」林榮代說。

從許多倖存者的回憶看來,當時的高砂義勇隊員心裡再有怎樣的惶恐不安,也在周遭環境為「國」而戰這種「集體起乩」的情緒下被掩蓋了,他們有的行程匆匆,「連跟家人說一聲再見的機會都沒有就走了,」新竹關西泰雅族義勇隊員劉德祿(日本名武山勝雄)說,也有的在台灣島上或菲律賓受短期軍事訓練後再派往南洋。

在沒有道路的叢林裡……

雖然沒有正式戰史記載,但許多日本老兵的札記裡,對「高砂義勇隊」的描述,充滿神奇色彩。

「高砂義勇隊彷彿是為了打游擊戰而生的年輕人,特別是展開敵營攻擊時,他們所有先天本能的直覺,連畢業於中野學校(編按:二次大戰期間,日本為培養軍事間諜人員所發展出來的秘密訓練學校,學員皆從日本官兵中選出,受到嚴格的軍事諜報訓練)的我們也大吃一驚。」(林榮代整理十八軍參謀隨從成合正治口述)

「在沒有道路的叢林,來回穿梭偵察著敵情。他們可以分辨出遠處的聲音,將敵軍誘到指示的正確方位。他們將游擊戰的妙處發揮到極致,是使我軍佔優勢的原動力。

此外,他們並精於狩獵,野豬、雉雞、山貓、蛇、蝦、鰻魚、青蛙、小蟲,都可以分出可食與不可食加以獵取,在無糧食的山中得以充飢,教授我們應付日常生活的基本方法。當我罹患瘧疾,被高燒所苦,他們冒險從海岸取來椰子水,當我營養失調而身體衰弱,他們更悉心照顧。」(摩羅泰戰友會編纂《春島戰記》 )

在日本戰後老兵口中整理出來對高砂義勇隊的描述。英勇、服從、為長官效命,即使犧牲生命也在所不惜,這幾乎就是高砂義勇隊員的典型印象了。

相較於日本老兵的回憶,倖存高砂義勇隊的口述則充滿悲慘色彩。

「離開巴拉灣島時同樣搭乘貨船,滿裝糧秣、彈藥航赴新幾內亞漢瑟港,第三天清晨,首先遭到飛機轟炸,導致整個炊事班人員全部死亡……」

「撤退途中,高砂義勇隊背著相當重的糧秣,沿途所見皆是因體力不支而落伍的士兵,步態蹣跚,面容憔悴,甚至罹患痢疾、瘧疾……,有些體力不濟的士兵,為了喝山澗水,一蹲下去就沒法再站起來。路上為避免生火容易被盟軍飛機發現,常常就啃生米粒充饑。……」(台灣省文獻會第五回高砂義勇隊員楊清課〈日本名平山勇〉口述)

高砂義勇隊的愛恨情仇

戴國煇指出,在日本人的回憶中可發現,高砂義勇隊看似每個人都是順從日本的「乖乖牌」。但事實上卻不盡然。

林榮代所做的訪談中提到,第五回義勇隊副官中村數內的妻子中村哈密提到,在日本戰敗後兩天,中村要求她帶著三歲孩子逃離家門,數日之後,代其看守家門的衛兵居然被人斬首,屍體在台中市被發現。

另一位第五回警官上野保也提到,在戰後自南洋撤回台灣的船上,他差點被丟進大海,戰後兒子們建議他去台灣旅行,但他遲遲不敢,深怕遭到義勇隊隊員的報復。

孫大川指出,原住民對日本統治者的情感,的確混雜著「愛恨情結」,在日本長達五十年的理蕃政策底下,原住民一直是被看不起的,落在社會的底層,是種「屈辱似的認同」。

「日本人是一等,擺浪(阿美族語,意為漢人)是次等,原住民是三等國民,」台東阿美族原住民鄭王金宗形容。「這樣的背景使得過去的原住民同胞,碰到日本人時,總有自動矮一截的心態,」孫大川說。

這樣的心理在碰到像參戰這樣可能犧牲性命的抉擇時,原住民一方面反應的是戴國煇所形容的要更努力爭先,以「洗卻污名」的心情。但到了戰爭末期,親眼目睹到戰爭的非人待遇,日本人非理性精神,開始對自己有所懷疑,不知自己「為誰而戰」的原住民也所在多有。

第三回高砂義勇隊員劉德祿指出,他也是一直到戰後復原,甚至到現在,才開始對戰爭的本質有點兒疑惑,回想起日本人在撤退前沒有說明什麼原因,就一路宰殺曾經幫助過他們的當地土著,「日本人真是殘忍呀,」他說。

「別看他們在公眾場合,有時穿日本軍服、帶日本軍帽,唱日本軍歌等,儼然親日模樣,但一喝起酒來,大罵日本人不仁不義、日本帝國主義的行徑不難看見,」林榮代說,這些行為都可看出高砂義勇隊有極難化解的戰爭情結。

恐懼心理的反彈

最悲慘的,是霧社事件的後代。戴國煇指出,霧社事件之後,十五歲以上「起義」的泰雅族男人幾乎全被殺光。許多後代被強制遷居到霧社附近的清流(川中島)。據林榮代的統計,清流地區約有三十三位青年參加義勇隊,他們曾在幼時目睹兄長被日本人以飛機大砲鎮壓的境遇,「是否基於對日本人的恐懼及『在劫難逃』」的心情,乾脆逢迎及討好日警,對日本更為盡忠,」戴國煇認為,這種心理的變化也是許多遭高壓反彈者的共同經驗。

許多劫後餘生者,在戰後回到已然「改朝換代」的中華民國,原來日本語的世界,突然之間變成國語(北京官話)的世界,收音機、電視等大眾媒體的語言、意識型態一夕之間改變,兒孫們開始接受完全不同於日據時期的國民政府教育,高砂義勇隊成了寂寞失落的一群。

有人選擇封閉自己,將自己留在過去世界裡,不與現實生活接壤。孫大川有一位小舅就是如此。「光復後小舅原本樂觀開朗的個性,變成沈默寡言,平常只收聽日文收音機、看日本電視台,一心務農,不與外界接觸,」孫大川描述。

高砂義勇隊成員中大多本來就是族中體力、能力俱佳的部落菁英,也因為曾參與戰爭的不凡經歷,光復後有人奮力學國語,成為部落舉足輕重的領導人物。「不少人後來當了縣議員、鄉長、鄉代表等職,」孫大川說。致力於台籍日本兵索賠事件的第七回隊員高聰義,前後就曾擔任過南投縣仁愛鄉鄉長、南投縣縣議員多年。新竹縣關西鎮的第三回隊員劉德祿也曾擔任過新竹縣議員。

回歸正義的起點

九○年代,台灣史進入「重塑」的過程,許多過去曾被淹沒的歷史重新被提起。沈默半世紀的高砂義勇隊員也開始發聲,一九七四年的李光輝事件,使得台籍原日本兵戰時賠償問題端上台面。

「日本政府對李光輝三十年的日本兵身分做出人道賠償,自我推翻日本政府不對個人進行戰爭賠償的主張,」藤井志津枝表示,一九七五年,台籍原日本兵組織成立,展開從七七到八七年日本法庭上控訴日本政府對高砂義勇隊與日本軍人慰問金待遇不同的「不人道」行為控訴。雖然經日本高等法院三審確定高砂義勇隊敗訴,但中日相關民間人士仍認為不合理,擬繼續與日本政府周旋。(編按:日本對高砂義勇隊戰後賠償如今已經確定。例如戰時未領的軍事儲金、未領薪資、年金、保險金,稱為「確定債務」。原台籍日兵只能索取一次領清的一百二十倍補償,但是他們所計算出的補償倍數是七千倍,與結果相差甚遠。戰死者及重傷者則只有兩百萬圓日幣,與日本軍人至少可領四千萬圓日幣難以相較。)

五十年後重新面對當年,尤其是當後來知道日本政府對待這批老兵的索賠條件,相對於原來參戰的日本兵有千里之別時,許多人憤怒、悲傷的心理不在話下。

天皇萬歲

「大家都是為日本而去的,衝鋒陷陣落難而死時,大家都是喊天皇萬歲,沒有人喊蔣中正萬歲的,」柳本通彥紀錄片裡,一位高砂義勇隊員控訴。「日本教科書教我們守信是最好的德行,是日本人對我們不義,」花蓮壽豐村另一位高砂義勇隊員也說。

曾經被歷史遺忘,半世紀重新被人記起,面對的,卻還是與過去不相上下的「差別境遇」。孫大川認為,這是歷史的反諷,也是對老人家最大的不敬。「我們現在想做的是先將這段歷史釐清,在精神上與老人家聲氣相通,至少在感情上給予支持,不要像往日一樣,對他們漠不關心,讓他們無聲無息地離去,」孫大川說。

原住民委員會也呼籲日本政府,對於這些曾經為日本國效忠盡職的老人家及遺族家屬,不管在精神或物質上都能有所補償,「不僅是補償金錢,重要在對我們所做一切的承認跟認同!」高砂義勇隊員高聰義也說。

原民會及中日聲援高砂義勇隊的民間團體都認為,針對高砂義勇隊的補償及賠償問題還待繼續與日本政府磋商,而因為高砂義勇隊隊員的老成凋謝,原民會也建議日本政府能提供獎學生給義勇隊後裔到日本留學深造。

一些後續的計畫也陸續形成。原民會建議,或許他們會找一天到南海去,在過去義勇隊員死難較多的海域,舉行一次安魂儀式,以告慰死難同胞在天之靈。

戰火無情,歷史的傷痕會不會消失,關鍵在後人怎樣對待。

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Voices from a Buried History- The Takasago Volunteers

Jackie Chen /photos courtesy of A History of the Rule of the Colony of Taiwan /tr. by Christopher MacDonald


Towards the end of the Japanese occu-pation, the aborigines of Taiwan found themselves forced into a vast conflict which engulfed the world. Several thousand of their finest sons perished during that war, on the sun-scorched islands of the Western Pacific.

This episode of history was seldom mentioned during the following three or four decades, whether in Japan, to which national loyalty was formerly pledged, or in Taiwan itself, now back in Chinese hands as part of the ROC. Then, in 1974, a surviving member of the Takasago Volunteers, Li Kuang-hui, emerged from the jungle on the island of Morotai, Indonesia. Later, through the investigative efforts of humanitarian researchers from Japan, along with numerous first-hand contributions from surviving Volunteers in Taiwan, a vague outline of this little-known story began to be pieced together.

What do these events from the past mean for us today, at a time when voices around the world still clamor to make some sense of World War Two? How did the aborigines, who had no concept of "nation" prior to the Japanese colonial era, fare during this period, and what were their experiences? And how about the welter of emotions felt by veterans of the war, the surviving Takasago Volunteers?

The injured arm protrudes from his rolled-up sleeve. There is a gnarled mass of bone at the elbow, above a forearm stripped of flesh-nothing but skin and bones, literally. It looks like a baseball bat. It was caught by an exploding shell, says the old gentleman, but he is no longer certain exactly where or how this happened.

The man who sustained this terrible injury is 77-year-old Atayal aborigine Lin Jen-chuan (Japanese name Morikawa Hitoshi), a member of the Lushan tribal community in Jenai Rural Township, Nantou County. Towards the end of the Second World War Lin joined the 3rd Takasago Volunteers, but after only four months' active service he was wounded, and left with a permanently maimed arm.

Men with similar stories can be found among aboriginal communities throughout Taiwan. Many more of those who went to war in the service of the Japanese emperor never made it back home again.

Takasago-the reformed "primitives"

Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 triggered war in the Pacific and drew Taiwan officially into WWII, the ravages of which reached not only the island's plains dwellers, but also the aboriginal tribes of the mountainous interior.

"'Takasago people' was a term coined by the Japanese government for Taiwan aborigines. The word 'takasago' comes from Japanese mythology, and was used to indicate that the former 'primitives' had become semi-civilized through being ruled and reformed by Japan." National Taiwan Chengchi University (NTCU) professor Fujii Shizu, from Japan, who has conducted years of research into Japan's "governing the barbarians" policy, explains that the Takasago Volunteers were considered the best of the tribal people, those most representative of the Japanese spirit, who "volunteered," under prodding from the Japanese police, to go to war for Japan.

Takasago veterans can be found among aboriginal communities throughout Taiwan, yet the historical episode of which they were a part has hitherto been glossed over. According to Sun Ta-chuan, vice chairman of the Council of Aboriginal Affairs: "The old folk won't talk about it, and the young don't know how to ask." In addition to the communication problem-the older people can only speak Japanese along with their native tribal languages-a further reason for the neglect of this episode is the fact that the war history of people in Taiwan has itself received little attention during recent decades.

As Huang Chih-hui, an assistant researcher at Academia Sinica's Institute of Ethnology points out, Japanese military authorities, aiming to avoid prosecution after the war, destroyed records of the bitterly-fought campaigns that took place in Asia and the Pacific from 1942 onwards, during which numerous atrocities occurred, along with cannibalism and other inhuman acts.

Furthermore, Takasago Volunteers were classed as military employees, who worked mostly as porters, and as laborers on the construction of airstrips, and took part in guerrilla actions in the jungle. They usually had no rank or formal military status, hence their absence from official war histories, not to mention the lack of veterans' organizations to bring them together and through which to develop a collective memory of events. According to Hayashi Eidai, a Japanese writer conducting field research into the Volunteers: "The Japanese government has never released the relevant documents in its possession."

From "Nakamura" to "Li Kuang-hui"

In December 1974, Ami tribesman Suniyon (Chinese name Li Kuang-hui) was discovered, like a ghost from the past, living on the Indonesian island of Morotai. After being cut off from "civilization" for over 30 years, he was found naked in the jungle, gathering firewood with his knife. In his bamboo hut he still had his army rifle and 18 rounds of ammunition, along with a canteen, an aluminum pan and a steel helmet. The miracle of his survival, alone in the jungle for three decades, astonished the world.

Suniyon's story reflects much of what has happened to the Taiwan aborigines during the past century. Under Japan's policy of enforced japanification as a means of controlling the aborigines, he had to change his name to "Nakamura Teruo," and then had it changed again by officials after Taiwan's return to Chinese rule-when "mountain brethren" began applying for household registration-to "Li Kuang-hui."

In 1943, when "Nakamura" departed for war from his home in Hualien, he was serving in Japan's Imperial Army, but after his long sojourn in the jungle he returned to a different world. Taiwan had undergone a "dynastic change," from being a Japanese colony to part of the ROC; his wife, assuming him killed in action, had remarried; his son, just one month old when his father went to war, was now a grown man of 30, waiting to meet him off the airplane. For anyone who recalls that era, the sight of "Li Kuang-hui" being greeted by his kinfolk at Sungshan Airport after years of separation, their hands linked in unique Ami fashion, remains an abiding image. And it was as a special volunteer, with the Takasago Volunteers, that Li was originally posted in 1943, the 18th year of the Showa reign, to fight for Japan in the Western Pacific.

For many people, Li Kuang-hui's emergence from the jungle stirred dim memories of the war, and of a slice of history that had long lain neglected. It also inspired several Japanese writers and journalists to unearth further information about the bloody sacrifices made by Taiwan aborigines in the war on behalf of the Japanese emperor, so lifting the lid on the hidden story of the Takasago Volunteers.

Japanese writer Hayashi Eidai, who studied at Waseda University, was one of those whose interest was aroused.

In the city of Kagoshima, Hayashi traced a former adjutant with the Volunteers, a Mr. Nakamura, and was able, with difficulty, to contact the man's wife. It turned out that her husband, who had once led a detatchment of Takasago Volunteers to New Guinea, had passed away the year before, but had left behind a register of members of the 5th Takasago Volunteers.

A history to remember

Hayashi called on Mrs. Nakamura the following day, and was given a manual from the "27th Field Operations Supply Depot" (which is where the 5th Volunteers were stationed on arrival in New Guinea). There were nine volumes in total, listing names of men already demobilized, or killed in action, or alive and back in Japan, along with the location where the casualties fell, manner of death, next of kin and address in Taiwan. The registers were also packed with closely written statements of the sums that the troops held on deposit with the military postal authority, along with each man's seal and fingerprint. (Due to the difficulty of distributing wages during wartime, the Japanese established army post offices throughout the region, and credited wages to the soldiers' accounts. During the period of inflation and fiscal constraint that followed the war, Japan stopped accepting applications for the refund of these monies, triggering a wave of litigation against the authorities.)

As he delved deeper, Hayashi located several senior officers of the 5th Volunteers and traveled to Taiwan to talk with war survivors, collecting their accounts in his book The 5th Takasago Volunteers: Register of Names, Military Savings, Japanese Testimonies. Subsequently he visited tribal communities around Taiwan and interviewed surviving members of the Volunteers, resulting in the publication of Testimonies, as well as a volume of photography entitled A History of the Rule of the Colony of Taiwan. Together, Hayashi's three volumes constitute the most comprehensive collection of resources on the history of the Takasago Volunteers.

Huang Chih-hui notes that there are still a number of unresolved matters regarding the Takasago Volunteers. To her knowledge there are no more than ten works on the topic available in Japan, largely comprising oral accounts given by surviving officers and men, and there is, as yet, no systematic approach to the subject. There is even less Chinese-language research on the Volunteers, however, with nothing available other than a handful of first-hand accounts by veterans.

The story of the Takasago Volunteers that has been pieced together from the accounts of survivors and other historical documents is that the Governor-General's Office recruited eight separate corps of Taiwan aborigines, after the attack on Pearl Harbor and during the intensification of the conflict in the Pacific, and they were sent to fight between March 1942 and 1945.

While the 1st Volunteers fought mainly in the Philippines, the following six corps saw service in various parts of the Pacific and Asia, including British New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Rabaul and Morotai. As for the 8th Volunteers, some say that they were demobilized before they could ever be sent to the front, while others claim that they did in fact sail to Borneo before returning to Taiwan. In addition to the eight corps of Takasago Volunteers, there were also other volunteers serving in the army and navy.

According to research by Huang Chih-hui, a total of 7,000-8,000 men, at a conservative estimate, were recruited for the eight corps of Takasago Volunteers and other special volunteer services, the great majority of whom died in action. (However, Hayashi Eidai and others put the combined total for the eight corps at around 4,000 men, 30% of whom survived the war.)

At present, there are no conclusive figures for the numbers of men who died, or who remain alive to this day, and much is conjecture. Huang Chih-hui believes that this most fundamental of matters should be urgently investigated and clarified by the relevant departments.

Fight barbarians with barbarians

Why did the Japanese look to the aborigines, those on the lowest rung of Taiwanese society under Japanese occupation, as the war was expanding and entering its most critical phase, and send them to the front lines of Asia and the Pacific?

As Huang Chih-hui points out, the Japanese were early to recognize the fighting qualities of the Taiwan aborigines, with Lieutenant Nagano remarking on this fact during his inspection of mountain districts in 1895. But in the opinion of Hayashi Eidai, contemporary records indicate that it was the Wushe Incident, above all, that encouraged the Japanese to draft Taiwan aborigines for their armies.

In 1930, aborigines in the area of Wushe stormed a sports day at the local school, killing over 100 Japanese, including policemen and teachers. The motivation for the attack was anger at Japan's repressive policies for "governing the barbarians," by which the authorities endeavored to requisition territory and exploit the forestry resources of Taiwan's central highlands. Under these policies, the culture and traditional ways of life of aboriginal tribes were effectively outlawed, and those that resisted were massacred. The Japanese responded to the Wushe killings with massive force, bombarding the aborigines' mountain stronghold from the air, though without managing to subdue them. Finally the Japanese opted to "fight barbarians with barbarians," using inducements to recruit Atayals from another district, who attacked and defeated the defiant tribesmen.

After the Wushe Incident, the Japanese had a high regard for the aborigines' combat skills in the forested mountains. As Hayashi points out, one officer with the punitive expedition recorded the following comment about the aborigines in his notes: "Their ferocity is truly repugnant, but if they could be guided towards civilized ways, then maybe, in an emergency, they could under our leadership become part of the army." Following the Wushe Incident, the Japanese clearly began to regard the aborigines as a potent reserve force.

Another factor was that in the wake of Pearl Harbor, there were only limited numbers of fit, potential conscripts left in Japan, and with the expansion of the Japanese lines from the Pacific to Southeast Asia, the tough, hardworking aboriginal youths, with their knack for fighting in forested mountain terrain, naturally became a priority consideration.

A crucial element in the establishment of the Takasago Volunteers for combat in Southeast Asia was the fact that Lieutenant-General Honma Masaharu was commanding officer of the Taiwan region at the time. Known as an enlightened man, Honma also commanded the invasion of the Philippines. As professor Tai Kuo-hui of NTCU explains: "When Honma was fighting desperately in the Philippines, he thought of the remarkable abilities of the Volunteers, able to "run barefoot through the mountain jungles, and pierce the night with the power of their eyes."

If you don't join up, you're not a man

In a Japanese wartime propaganda film, young aborigines who have been studying away from home, return and eagerly wait to be recruited. Those who receive the call-up are jubilant, while those who don't are shattered by the disappointment. Allowing for some exaggeration, the film gives a fair reflection of the mood of enthusiasm for the war that had been whipped up among recruits at the time.

Says 78-year-old Bunun tribal and Wushe resident Kao Tsung-yi (Japanese name Kato Naokazu): "It was as natural then for a young man to be asked 'when do you join up?' as it is for someone today to say 'have you eaten yet?'" At that time, everyone thought it an honor to become a soldier, and was ready to die in the war. Kao wrote his "blood letter," a mark of determination, in July 1943, and joined the 7th Takasago Volunteers.

In a documentary by Japanese film-maker Yanagimoto Michihiko, an old aboriginal lady from Shoufeng village in Hualien is interviewed about her personal recollections. She describes how anxious her husband was to join the army, just 14 days after the birth of their son. "My husband said all his friends had joined up, so how could he not go too? He said: 'If you're not a soldier, then you're not a man.'"

The Japanese had two ways of enticing the guileless aborigines to join up. For one, they offered high wages. Yang Ching-ke (Hirayama Isamu) of Taiwu Rural Township in Pingtung County, a veteran of the 5th Volunteers, recalls that a monthly wage of 80 yen was promised-a highly attractive sum to people who in those days had little experience of working in return for money. Secondly, the Japanese employed a form of psychological persuasion. "They had a dual approach," explains Hayashi Eidai, "on the one hand teaching the girls to think that 'anyone who doesn't join the Takasago Volunteers isn't a man,' while at the same time telling the guys that according to the girls, anyone who doesn't join up isn't a man."

Judging by the recollections of the survivors, whatever fears the new recruits may have felt were swamped in the mood of "collective madness," and by the general fervor for war on behalf of "the country." Some joined the army in such haste that "they left without even having a chance to say good-bye to their families," according to former Volunteer Liu Te-lu (Takeyama Katsuo), an Atayal from Kuanhsi in Hsinchu. Others underwent a short training course in Taiwan or the Philippines before being sent to join the war.

No roads in the jungle

Although not recorded in official histories, descriptions of the Volunteers found in the notebooks of Japanese war veterans often exude an air of wonderment.

"The Takasago Volunteers were youngsters who seemed to have been born for guerrilla combat, especially when they launched an attack on an enemy camp. Their instincts and intuition amazed even those of us who were graduates of the Nakano School." (The Nakano School was a secret institution established during the war to train military espionage operatives. Students were selected from among Japanese officers and men, and received rigorous instruction in espionage and intelligence techniques.)-Excerpt from the oral testimony of 18th Army staff officer Nariai Masaharu, collated by Hayashi Eidai.

"They shuttled back and forth in the jungle, where there were no roads, gathering intelligence about the enemy. They could pick out sounds over great distances, and were able to lure the enemy into position, exactly according to instructions. They took guerrilla warfare to its extreme of ingenuity, and were a driving force that gave our side the edge.

"They were also expert hunters, able to catch boars, pheasants, and lynxes, as well as snakes, shrimp, eels, frogs and insects. They knew which parts were edible and which were not, saving us from starving in the mountains where we lacked provisions, and teaching us the basics of daily life under such conditions. When we had malarial fever they risked danger to bring coconut milk from the coast, and they also looked after us when we were weak with malnutrition." (From The Chuntao War Chronicles, compiled by the Morotai Veterans Association.)

The typical impression of the Takasago Volunteers that emerges from descriptions by the Japanese veterans is of men who were valiant, obedient, dedicated to their officers, and willing to lay down their own lives.

But in contrast to the reminiscences of the Japanese veterans, there is a heavy undertone of grief in the accounts given by ex-Volunteers themselves.

"We left Palawan aboard a freighter, fully laden with provisions and ammunition, sailing for New Guinea. On the third morning we were bombed from the air, and the entire mess crew was wiped out at a stroke. . . .

"During the retreat the Volunteers carried heavy loads of provisions. The route was lined with exhausted troops who were falling behind, staggering on their feet, looking wrecked, suffering from dysentery, malaria. . . . Some soldiers were so worn out that when they squatted to drink from a mountain stream they couldn't get up again. To avoid lighting fires that might be spotted by Allied aircraft, we often had to gnaw on uncooked rice to stave off hunger." (Oral account of Yang Ching-ke, Japanese name Hirayama Isamu, of the 5th Volunteers, collected by the Historical Research Commission of Taiwan Province.)

Conflicting emotions

Tai Kuo-hui points out that in their reminiscences, the Japanese always portray the Volunteers as paragons of obedience to Japan. But in fact, the truth was somewhat different.

Hayashi Eidai learned from Mrs. Nakamura that two days after the defeat of Japan her husband, an adjutant with the 5th Takasago Volunteers, told her to take their three-year-old and get away from the house. A few days afterward the guard on duty at the house was killed, and his decapitated corpse was later found in Taichung.

Ueno Tamotsu, an officer with the 5th Volunteers, says that he was almost thrown overboard during the voyage back to Taiwan at the end of the war. Years later, his son suggested that he visit Taiwan again, but Ueno always demurred, fearing retribution from former Takasago Volunteers.

Sun Ta-chuan points out that the aborigines' feelings towards their Japanese rulers were certainly mixed-a "love-hate complex." Under Japan's 50-year policy for "governing the barbarians," aborigines were looked down on and placed at the bottom of the social heap. Their very identity "was a form of indignity."

"The Japanese came first," explains Ami aborigine Cheng-Wang Chin-tsung of Taitung, "and the pailang (Han Chinese in the Ami language) second, while the aborigines were third-class citizens." As Sun Ta-chuan says: "In such circumstances, aborigines invariably felt themselves inferior when they encountered a Japanese person."

With this kind of mentality, and faced with the prospect of going to war and maybe sacrificing one's life, the reaction of the aborigines was, as described by Tai Kuo-hui, a determination to join up as soon as possible, so as to "erase the stigma." On the other hand, towards the end of the war, having witnessed the inhumanity of the conflict and the senselessness of the Japanese spirit, many aborigines began to doubt themselves, and wondered "just who they were fighting for."

Liu Te-lu of the 3rd Volunteers says that it was not until he was recuperating that he began to have doubts about the war, which have lasted to this day. He recalls how, before retreating and without any explanation, the Japanese slaughtered all the local tribespeople who had previously helped them. "They're really ruthless, the Japanese," says Liu.

Hayashi Eidai says, of the Volunteers: "Don't be distracted by their seemingly pro-Japanese public appearance, sometimes dressed in Japanese uniforms, with Japanese caps, and singing Japanese army songs. As soon as they had a drink it was not at all unknown for them to start cursing the Japanese for being heartless and immoral, and damning Japanese imperialism." Clearly, the Volunteers carry heavy psychological baggage from the war.

The psychology of terror

Worst afflicted were the young aborigines who grew up in the shadow of the Wushe Incident. Tai Kuo-hui explains that after that incident, virtually all male Atayals over the age of 15 and involved in the "uprising," were wiped out. Many of their children were ordered to move to Chingliu near Wushe. According to statistics gathered by Hayashi, some 33 young men from the Chingliu district joined the Volunteer Corps. As children, they would have seen their elders killed under the Japanese bombarment. "Could it be that their terror of the Japanese, and a feeling that they were doomed anyway, made them willingly ingratiate themselves with the Japanese police and become loyal servants of Japan?" asks Tai. This is a common type of psychology among victims of severe oppression.

Many Takasago Volunteers who survived the cataclysm of the war returned to live under a "new dynasty," the ROC, and found that their formerly Japanese-speaking world had suddenly become a Mandarin one. The language of the broadcast media had changed overnight, along with the dominant ideology. As time went by, their children and grandchildren grew up under the educational system of the nationalist government, completely different from the system during the Japanese era, and the ex-Volunteers became a lonely, lost group.

Some chose to shut themselves away, inhabiting a world of the past, at one remove from real life. Sun Ta-chuan had an uncle to whom this happened. "My uncle was originally an optimistic, cheerful type, but after Taiwan's reversion to Chinese rule he became uncommunicative. He listened to Japanese radio programs and watched Japanese television shows, and became totally immersed in his farming, cutting himself off from the outside world."

Takasago Volunteer recruits were usually the fittest, most capable young men of their tribe. Some, because of their uncommon experience of the war, strove to learn Mandarin on their return and eventually became leading figures in their own communities. "Many became county councilors, township magistrates and township representatives," says Sun. 7th Volunteers veteran Kao Tsung-yi, who is committed to obtaining compensation for Taiwanese who fought in Japan's armies, has for many years served as magistrate of Jenai Rural Township in Nantou County, and been a Nantou County councilor, while 3rd Volunteers veteran Liu Te-lu has served several terms as member of Hsinchu County Council.

Bringing back justice

During the 1990's, Taiwanese history began to undergo a "re-shaping" process, during which long-buried episodes started being considered afresh. After half a century of silence, members of the Takasago Volunteers also began to speak out. But it was the return of Li Kuang-hui from the jungle in 1974, that first brought the issue of compensation for Taiwanese veterans of Japan's armies to public attention.

According to Fujii Shizu: "By compensating Li Kuang-hui for his 30-year status as a Japanese soldier, the Japanese government reversed their own stand on not paying war reparations to individuals." In 1975, an organization of Taiwanese veterans of Japan's armies was formed, and from 1977 to 1987 it pursued the Japanese government through the courts, charging it with the "inhumanity" of differentiating between aboriginal Volunteers and ethnic Japanese soldiers in terms of the scale of compensation offered. Although the case was rejected three times by the high court in Japan, there are still individuals involved in Sino-Japanese exchanges who do not accept this and intend to continue pressing their case with the Japanese government. (The level of compensation available for ex-Volunteers is at present assessed as follows: the total amount of savings, wages, annuities and insurance contributions owed to Taiwanese-Japanese soldiers at the end of the war, termed the "confirmed arrears," can be reimbursed in a lump sum, at the rate of 120 times the original value-far lower than the multiple of 7,000 calculated by the veterans. For Volunteers who were killed or seriously wounded the compensation is *2 million, which is dwarfed by the sum of at least *40 million available for ethnic Japanese casualties.)

For many people, it is source of anger and pain to look back after 50 years, especially now that they know the vast disparity between the Japanese government's treatment of its Taiwanese and Japanese war veterans.

Banzai!

"It was for Japan that we went to war, and it was 'Long live the emperor!' that we shouted as we charged and fell on the battlefield. No-one was shouting 'Long live Chiang Kai-shek!'" says one veteran interviewed in Yanagimoto Michihiko's documentary film. "Our Japanese schoolbooks taught us that honoring one's commitments was the greatest of virtues, but the Japanese betrayed their obligations to us," says another former Volunteer from Shoufeng village in Hualien.

Once forgotten by history, then rediscovered after a 50-year hiatus, these men still face the same "separate treatment" as before. Sun Ta-chuan regards this as a cruel irony of history, as well as a great disrespect to the old veterans themselves. "What we want now," he says, "is first of all to get this history clear and look it together with the old gentlemen, from their perspective. At the very least we can provide emotional support, not just ignore their concerns and leave them to slip quietly from sight, as in the past."

The Council of Aboriginal Affairs has also called on the Japanese government to provide some form of compensation, be it spiritual or material, for these old veterans, once so loyally committed to serving Japan, as well as for the families of those who died. "It's not simply about paying back money. The important thing is that there is an acknowledgment and affirmation of what we did," says ex-Volunteer Kao Tsung-yi.

The Council of Aboriginal Affairs, along with non-governmental groups involved in Sino-Japanese exchanges that support the position of the veterans, believe that the issue of compensation and reparation still awaits further consultations with the Japanese government. Also, with the passing away of the old Takasago Volunteers, the Council of Aboriginal Affairs has proposed that the Japanese government could provide their descendants with scholarships for study in Japan.

Among other plans that are taking shape, the Council has proposed a delegation traveling to Southeast Asia for a ceremony at one of the battlegrounds where Takasago Volunteers were killed in numbers, to finally lay their souls to rest.

War is merciless. Ultimately, it is how later generations deal with the scars of history that determines whether or not those scars ever fade away.

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