everyday life emulated the army; they had no freedom from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and between agricultural work, they learned how to stand straight, respond to orders, march, raise their hands, and look like real soldiers. The program stressed the educational aspect—the military officers not only gave lectures on the cause of Japan's war in China, but also brought the youth to the villages that were burned and destroyed in order to impress them with the devastation of the losing side of the war. 89 The stories of these youths were similarly symbolic and heroic compared to those of the Labor Corps in the articles of D ō k ō . The editors had already been stressing that farmers engaged in agriculture were equivalent to soldiers fighting in a battlefield. The Agricultural Corps was 90 the ultimate embodiment of the “warrior of the plow.” Many pages of D ō k ō printed the letters 91 from the Labor Corps and the Agricultural Corps participants together to report frontier 231 The Japanese military deliberately kept the recruitment processes of the translators unclear for strategic reasons 87 during the war but announced the number of Agricultural Corps openly. Taiwan s ō tokufu shokusan-kyoku, ed., Taiwan n ō gy ō giy ū danshi (Taipei: Taiwan s ō tokufu, 1942), 37-40, 87-116, 88 169-222. Ibid., 270-273. 89 Zou Yunyan, “Kama wa watashidomo no j ū ken de aru,” D ō k ō 212 (January 20, 1940): 8 for example. 90 “Honsh ū shusshin no seinen butai 9 nin sorotte suki no senshi,” D ō k ō 227 (September 5, 1940): 4. 91
experience. Membership in the Agricultural Corps was not restricted to the seinendan , but many from Xinzhu province were seinendan members. They found the agricultural techniques in Chinese villages so primitive that “invigorating the production requires the use of Taiwanese- style agriculture, and clearing and cultivating the land properly requires the involvement of Taiwanese youth.” While developing their self-recognition as Taiwanese farmers superior to 92 their Chinese counterparts, the Agricultural Corps, typical to youth training facilities at the time, also provoked rivalry between provinces. The Xinzhu youth participants proudly reported to D ō k ō that “we, from Shinchiku, are leading the other provinces and, with very few sick people, achieving good results. We enjoy a good reputation. I am so happy that we are doing better than those from the other provinces.” 93 The Agricultural Corps was not only the first exposure to the battlefield for many Taiwanese youth, but it also meant a major shift from the mountainous inner-land of Taiwan to lands beyond the island across the sea. Many of Xinzhu youth participated in the Agricultural Corps with an intention to remain in mainland China after the one-year program and become long-term agricultural colonizers. Despite the difficult nature of the work, the Agricultural 94 Corps presented a new frontier to conquer, replacing the mountains in Taiwan with the Chinese continent, and later with jungles of Southeast Asia.
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- Spring '16
- Empire of Japan