TITLE/  台籍少年工「齒輪味炒飯」

"Fried Rice with Flavor of Gear Oil-- Shonenko" ( by Candy Bird)

DATE/  2017

CITY/ 橫濱市 Yokohama

READER/ 山野真悟 Shingo Yamano

  • -
  • 山野真悟 Shingo Yamano
00:00 / 00:00

( For English, please scroll down. )








This work is named after a scene in Japanese author Yukio Mishima’s Confessions of a Mask, describing the time Mishima spent during his military service with the Shonenko (Taiwanese child laborers).


“ ...Those little devils of twelve or thirteen were the only companions I had. They gave me lessons in Formosan and in exchange I told them fairy tales… One shrewd boy among them spirited away some rice and vegetables from under the eyes of the kitchen guard, and they made it into fried rice by cooking it in a copious amount of machine oil. I declined this feast, which seemed to have the flavor of gear oil.”


The Shonenko were the Taiwanese child laborers who were recruited to manufacture the Japan Imperial Navy’s fighter planes at the Koza Naval Arsenal in Kanagawa Prefecture from 1942 to 1945 during the World War II. Many of them were only teenagers, where some of them had only finished their elementary studies. The short lines of Confessions of a Mask had vividly revealed the harsh lives the Shonenko led during the time of war. Entangled in a complicated historical development of East Asia, these victims of the ideological conflict had also been silenced in the course of Taiwan history, where the stories of the Shonenko were only being noticed increasingly after the lifting of martial law in Taiwan.

Fried Rice with Flavor of Gear Oil debuted at the Koganecho Area Management Center, Yokohama. The Yokohama Port is half-hour drive away from the formal site of Koza Naval Arsenal and were where the child workers had stepped on and off the land of Japan. Looking back into Yokohama’s history, despite its being Japan’s dominant window to the West, there is also this relatively unrecognized past relation with Taiwan. Fried Rice with Flavor of Gear Oil had painstakingly delved into the history of Shonenko and represented this past through art-making to open up future imaginations of the East Asia. At the same time, the connection of the past in the structural aspects of the contemporary society was also examined in order to interpret the historic recurrence and the destiny of humans.





Web designed by April Chen

This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now