Pro-Japanese sentiment crosses all generations. The most notable group is the elderly that were raised during colonial rule. It can be said that these people are more Japanese than people nowadays in Japan. When I met a few of them at a nearby park, the Japanese they spoke was not only flawless, but incredibly polite. One even asked me how the emperor’s health was! At a time when slang has overtaken honorifics and the imperial family largely forgotten in the public conscience, it was incredible to meet a group of people outside of Japan that still kept Japanese values at heart.
The younger generation may not ask how the emperor is doing, but nevertheless have a large intrigue towards Japanese language and culture. Japanese is the second most popular language studied amongst Taiwanese college students (after English). Streets are full of billboards that say meiriyu (美日語: English and Japanese language classes). Given the high number of Japanese foreign exchange students, it is common to see Taiwnaese-Japanese student mixers, where people find language exchange partners. The younger Taiwanese are also intrigued by Japan’s modern culture. Clothing stores frequently have a section of Rishi (Japanese style clothing. Manga shops are prevalent, full of translated Japanese comic books, And last week, I saw a line four blocks long for people waiting to enter an anime convention. Although some reports speculated after the 2008 territorial disputes that the younger generation of Taiwanese was turning their back towards Japan, what I saw did not suggest any of that.
BA, International Affairs 2012