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Those two “master countries” had been
systematically taking attempts to construct a dominant Japanese or Chinese
identity in Taiwanese society, often through a violent policies to suppress
local consciousness1. They had been
numerously juxtaposed against each other in Taiwan.  This situation could be described by specific
example of identity–tug of war, a competition of nostalgias. The implementation
of identity policy either by Japan or China was inextricably tied with the
denial of the other. Thus, kominka policy employed in 1937 was aimed not only
on the japanization of Taiwanese but also on the necessary eradication of
Chinese identity among the Taiwanese (it could endanger Japanese war plans in a
longer perspective). Sinicization initiated by KMT was aimed on both national
integration and securing Taiwanese support to its conflict with the Communists
on the mainland; in the discourse of the time Japan was depicted as negative
“other”2 (only for domestic
purposes, in the terms of international politics Chiang Kai-shek considered Japan
as a potential ally against the Communist China). Eventually, the contemporary
Japanophilia (which kicked off rapidly after lifting the ban on Japanese
culture products in 19923), in order to
enforce a distinct Taiwanese identity has been consequently downplaying the
Chinese heritage of Taiwan, instead exaggerating Japanese colonial era as a
moment that represents an experience that differentiates Taiwan from China.
Japanese nostalgia and identity in Taiwan has become synonymous with opposition
to “China” in any possible form4. More and more
frequently, the Japanese colonization is represented, in the 1990s and 2000s
like a politics that left a positive cultural heritage; this contributed to
reinforcing an assumed originality of the Taiwanese identity as opposed to
continental China


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