Want a really different way to talk about WWII with your child? I’m reading a book right now that is a memoir of a Taiwanese man who was in university in Japan at the time of WWII. While I’m not finished reading the book and I’m not sure how much of it I’ll share with my kids, I know I’ll be reading them some of it. I want to read to them about the schools and hospitals, the systematic racism, and the little bits about how the country mobilized for war. The little details are fascinating.
It is too easy to teach ‘history’ as the story of the west and then study other countries only as a side-topic. I am excited finding this book for the ability to bring a non-western perspective on a major world event that my children already know something about.
The book I have is titled A Taste of Freedom: Memoirs of a Formosan Independence Leader by Peng Ming-min. When I looked for a copy online I found one at Bookshop.org with the title A Taste of Freedom: Memoirs of a Taiwanese Independence Leader. The title changes makes sense. Not everyone would recognize that Formosa was an earlier name for Taiwan. However, I wonder where the name has been updated throughout the book or not. The author’s ancestors were Chinese, but he grew up as part of the Japanese empire, and being a Formosan was being a ‘colonial’ or second class citizen. I don’t know whether the renamed book has him refer to himself as Taiwanese instead of Formosan or not.