Ceremony to mark end of Pacific War set for today

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 - Page 3

A ceremony to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of the World War II will be dedicated to the Taiwanese who fought —and died — in the war in a bid to remind people of the true significance of the anniversary.

The ceremony tomorrow at the War and Peace Memorial Park in Greater Kaohsiung’s Cijin District (旗津) will be the first time the end of World War II has been commemorated in Taiwan, said Chuang Sheng-huang (莊盛晃), executive director of the Taiwan Extra-patriot Veterans Association (TEPVA), one of the organizers of the event.

The ceremony will include a short play, titled Symphony of War, and a memorial service to pay tribute to thousands of dead Taiwanese and the surviving veterans who fought in the Pacific War or in the Chinese Civil War, whether they were soldiers of the Japanese Imperial Army, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) National Revolutionary Army or members of the Chinese Communist Party’s Chinese Workers and Peasants Red Army.

Citing statistics from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, TEPVA said more than 200,000 Taiwanese were directly involved in World War II, including about 8,000 soldiers and more than 120,000 other service personnel. The number of Taiwanese who fought in the Chinese Civil War could be as many as 15,000, the association said.

The ceremony would also highlight that the end of the war, which meant peace for other countries around the world, brought more fighting and created confusion among Taiwanese about their identity, Chuang said.

“With the event, we are questioning the absurdity of wars and the suffering of the Taiwanese in historic mishaps,” he said.

Other countries have marked Aug. 15 as the end of World War II in the Pacific because that is the day that former Japanese emperor Hirohito gave a radio address announcing the surrender of Japan to the allies. However, the date has been controversial in Taiwan for many years.

The KMT and other pan-blue supporters, as well as old history textbooks, consider the day the beginning of Taiwan’s retrocession from Japan, while pro-independence and pan-green supporters preferred to call it “Memorial day for the end of war.”