Taiwanese Imperial Japan Serviceman
A Taiwanese Imperial Japan Serviceman (Chinese: 台籍日本兵, Japanese: 台湾人日本兵) is a person, Taiwanese by identity, who served in the Imperial Japanese Army or Navy during World War II whether as a soldier, a sailor, or in another non-combat capacity. According to statistics provided by Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, during the Second Sino-Japanese War and the subsequent World War II, a total of 207,183 Taiwanese served in the armed force of Imperial Japan, and 30,304 of them were declared killed or missing in action.
In the fall of 1937, the Empire of Japan began recruiting Taiwanese into its military; prior to that, Taiwanese were banned from serving in the military of Imperial Japan. As the war continued, there was an increasing need of translators for conducting military operations in China, and many Taiwanese volunteers were given training courses in Min, Cantonese and Mandarin languages, and served as translators for the Imperial Japanese Army operating in China. The number of Taiwanese serving in this capacity was classified, and remains unknown.
In 1942, after the United States entered the war on the Allied side, Japan lifted its ban on Taiwanese serving in a combat capacity, and began the Army Special Volunteers Act (Japanese: 陸軍特別志願兵令) in Taiwan. This act allowed the residents of Japan's overseas territories and colonies to serve in its army, and was first enacted in Korea in 1938. The first few recruitment drives were limited in scale, with only a few hundred openings available to a relatively large number of applicants. The scale gradually expanded in order to replenish the loss of manpower on the battlefield. A similar program, the Navy Special Volunteers Program (Japanese: 海軍特別志願兵制度), was established in 1943 in both Taiwan and Korea to allow non-Japanese to serve in the Navy.
With Japan's manpower depleting, the Japanese government terminated the army and navy special volunteers programs in 1944 and 1945 respectively, replacing them with systematic conscription. Before Japan's surrender, there were 126,750 non-combatants and 80,433 soldiers and sailors serving in Japan's military, with roughly 16,000 of them having been recruited through volunteer programs. A total of 30,304 servicemen, or 15% of those recruited and conscripted, were killed or presumed killed in action. Additionally, 173 Taiwanese who served in the Imperial Japanese armed forces were found guilty of Class B and C war crimes, and twenty-six of those were sentenced to death.
When asked the reason for serving, many veterans stated that their reason for joining up was to receive better treatment. Veteran Chien Chuan-chih recounted his experiences: "While Japanese were rationed white sugar, Taiwanese were only given brown sugar; Japanese could have pork, and Taiwanese could only have a limited amount of lower grade meat. Only by joining the service can a Taiwanese be free of discrimination, and able to enjoy the same treatment as the Japanese. Therefore, many Taiwanese volunteered for the service."
Chiu Chin-chun, a pilot for the Imperial Japanese Army, stated in one of his interviews, "I was assigned to the Seventh Air Fleet, which was based in Nagoya. When I reported to my unit, the commander told the lieutenant commander 'Chiu is a Taiwanese, but do not treat him any different from others. We are all the Emperor's soldiers.'" He also claimed that because he served for Imperial Japan, he was discriminated against by the Chinese authority that later ruled Taiwan. "The Chinese soldiers criticized me whenever they saw me, and the police did the same... after the 228 Incident, some people came (to my work place) and said I served for Japan, that I betrayed the country (China)..." 
Former President Lee Teng-hui of the Republic of China briefly served in the Imperial Japanese armed forces shortly before the end of World War Two. His brother, Lee Teng-chin, was killed in action in the Philippines while serving in the Imperial Japanese Navy. His remains were never recovered. Furthermore, Lee Teng-chin and at least 26,000 ethnic Taiwanese Imperial Japan servicemen, who were killed or presumed killed in action, were enshrined in the Yasukuni Shrine.
Although not considered Taiwanese by ethnicity, Takasago Volunteers were sometimes considered to be Taiwanese Imperial Japan Servicemen, and statistics sometimes show the two groups as one. The Takasago Volunteers unit was composed of Taiwanese aboriginal volunteers, and Taiwanese people with Han Chinese background.