Huang Fu-san (黃富三), a historian at Taiwan's Academia Sinica, ascribes the differing attitudes toward Japan among Taiwanese and Chinese to their differing experiences under Japanese rule.
In China, he says, World War II Japanese forces engaged in widespread brutality, while in Taiwan, Japan's colonial administration brought stable government, rapid economic development and excellent educational opportunities.
"The Japanese operated quite effectively here," he says. "Taiwan had the highest primary school enrollment rate anywhere in Asia outside of Japan itself."
Wu Zhiou-feng, 77, remembers the Japanese colonial period with great fondness.
"Things were good then," he said. "The political situation was settled and while things were tough economically we always got along."
Wu and many other Taiwanese of his generation favorably contrast the Japanese colonialists to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), who arrived in Taiwan from China in 1945.
But right from the start many Taiwanese disliked their new masters, regarding them as corrupt, overbearing and uncultured.
"Soldiers took many things from us," Wu said. "Including our young women."
In early 1947, riots broke out after soldiers beat an elderly Taiwanese woman for illegally selling cigarettes near Taipei's main railway station.
Fearing a loss of control, KMT dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) sent reinforcements from China, who killed, maimed and imprisoned thousands of Taiwanese -- including many of Taiwan's elite -- on the pretext that they were communists or saboteurs.
Huang sees the 1947 events as a turning point in modern Taiwanese history.
"It drew a clear wedge between the Nationalists and the local Taiwanese, and deepened our appreciation of Japanese rule," he said.AP , TAIPEI
Saturday, Feb 11, 2006,taipei times
Japanese leaders are routinely caricatured in the Chinese press with unflattering buckteeth and Hirohito-style metal-rimmed glasses, and Chinese broadcasts are rife with portrayals of rapacious Japanese soldiers despoiling the pristine Chinese countrysid中国人の日本人の描き方というのコリアの人の日本人の描き方とにていますね。
"I last saw sumo here in 1942," said Lee Byoeng-chon, who like many Koreans of his generation was educated in Japanese.
"I've overcome my hard feelings towards Japan. It's often the younger people who are more hostile. They've been fed only the worst stories about the colonial period but they don't know the reality the way we do."
BBC Charles Scanlon Monday, 16 February, 2004,