Comments: 274 • Responses: 21  • Date: 

thombudsman121 karma

What's her opinion of the Japanese today?

macbook_amateur8 karma

She has a favourable opinion of Japan. In fact, she's visited Japan! lol. Like I said in my previous reply, she talked with a few Japanese soldiers and realized that a lot of them were just drafted and hated what they were doing. She believes that many of their Japanese soldiers were good people. She only has ill feelings towards the commanders and officers of the army because she believes they did the worst things.

AlwaysaskforProof74 karma


macbook_amateur1 karma

I will post some pictures for proof soon!

macbook_amateur1 karma


IFeelLikeAndy30 karma

Let's start with a nice memory, how did your grandparents meet?

macbook_amateur1 karma

Very traditional way. My grandpa was 22, and in China that was THE age to get married (My grandma is telling me how everyone got married young, and if you got to 25 without getting married you'd be seen as a hag that no one wants lol). The traditional way to find a wife back then is to let your relatives find one for you, so they looked around for suitable girls and found my grandma. My grandma met my grandpa that way, and once they liked each other and their parents approved they tied the knot.

Simple huh? No need to do any work yourself to get a date hahaha

iamgarron25 karma

My grandma was in Hakka town too! She's 80, so they might actually know each other. Her stories are great.

macbook_amateur1 karma

That's cool! I know the hakka people in that area dispersed to a variety of places after the war. I remember my grandma told me there were some people from her town who immigrated to Jamaica

andypommier24 karma

What is the story she tells most often? Was her town affected by the scorched earth policies? That's great that you recognize how valuable your grandmother's stories are.

macbook_amateur1 karma

She loves to tell me about the first encounter with the Japanese. When she was 13, the Japanese finally hit southern China and got to her small town. A troop of about 10 Japanese soldiers marched into the town and everybody went into hiding.

My grandma tells me that back then if you had the money, it was popular to have a "guntower" in your house (I can attest to this, I've been to my grandpa's old house in China and I've seen it). The tower was maybe 3 or 4 more stories higher than your house, and it was used to protect yourself against thieves as it was a good vantage point to shoot them (A lot of people had guns then), and it was fortified with steel doors. When the soldiers came, everyone hid out in their towers. She went to go hide with her family in her grandma's sister's house who had one. The Japanese started knocking and breaking into everyone's houses to catch people, but they couldn't get through the steel doors of the towers. When they couldn't break them down they tried to burn the towers to kill the people inside. Luckily because it was a small town, the commander of the troops decided to just give up after that and go to another town. When they heard the signal they sounded for the troops to go they pretty much let out the biggest sigh of relief ever. She remembers afterwards they spent a lot of time dumping water on the steel door so they could get out because it was scorching hot. After that they ran home, and she would have more instances of running and hiding from Japanese after that.

mik5487 karma

Was your home vandalized when you got back? And was it hard to restart your life after the war?

macbook_amateur2 karma

Luckily her house wasn't vandalized. When she ran to Hong Kong to hide, her parents stayed behind at the house. The Japanese came in waves through their small town throughout the years, and whenever there was a big group of them there'd be a warning and her parents would go hide in the mountains. When they were hiding a lot of the soldiers would take their livestock, and that was about the worst that happened to their home.

For her, restarting her life wasn't really hard I guess, because she was really young when she was running and hiding from the Japanese. Also, a year after the war she got married to my grandpa so in a way it was a fresh start and that's when her life really started. For the farmers in her town though, she knows it was hard because they had the tough task of rebuilding their farm, and many of them didn't have money.

chestermusic7 karma

Do you believe that ALL Japanese soldiers at the time were evil?

macbook_amateur3 karma

No. She does think that the commanders and officers were evil though.

She tells me that one of the Japanese troops would come stay overnight in their town because they had nowhere to sleep, and some of them would just stay at their school. One time at school a bunch of her classmates decided to have a conversation with them, and the soldiers told them that they were just students, and they hated being soldiers. They said that one day they got home from school and just got drafted into the army and they didn't want to go to war. My grandma felt really sorry for them and felt that a lot of them were good people.

She hates the commanders and officers though because they were the ones who were responsible for capturing people and committing violence.

hhhnnnnnggggggg5 karma

What rumors did you hear of the medical experiments going on by the Japanese? How did you survive?

macbook_amateur2 karma

She actually didn't hear anything about it. I think that being a simple farmer kind of sheltered her from some of the worst atrocities because she didn't have good access to the news.

peabodygreen4 karma

Did you ever meet any American or European soldiers? What were the circumstances? What did you think of them? How did they treat you? Has your opinion of these soldiers ever changed?


macbook_amateur1 karma

My grandma said that she never encountered any western soldiers because they never came to her area. However people in her area were very supportive of them because they knew they were helping the Chinese drive out the Japanese.

killerqueen164 karma

How did the war affect her everyday lifestyle? Does it still affect her today?

macbook_amateur1 karma

Happy cake day! She says it didn't affect her too much. Her family was a poor simple farming family, so when war broke out they just carried on farming and just ate less. Of course her pace of life changed when she was running and hiding from the Japanese, but overall it didn't affect her that much.

jinwonkim4 karma

In Korea, there is the big issue of sex slavery/comfort women used by the Japanese. Does your grandma have any experience with this or heard of friends /relatives suffering this?

Was this a rumor and well known among young women at the time that if you were caught, it would happen? Because these days the Japanese deny everything.

macbook_amateur3 karma

Yea she definitely knew about this. All the girls knew that if you were a young girl and you were caught you were either 1. raped 2. taken as a comfort women 3. killed or all three.

She always tells me this story about how when she and her sister were running and hiding, her sister, who was a bit older than her would smear her face with charcoal from their wood stove to appear "uglier" in hopes of not attracting any attention.

popsquawk3 karma

Did any of her/your family get permanently separated in the course of escaping the war? If so, where do they live now? Also does she have bound feet? Edit: another question - did they ever hear news from the European theatre?

flying_ass1 karma

bound feet? that is wayyyyyy old stuff, besides I doubt anyone would bound feet would make it far during the 2nd sino-japanese war....unless you are uber rich

macbook_amateur1 karma

Yes I can confirm she has normal sized feet

stichmitch3 karma

Have the Japanese apologized for their war crimes yet against the Chinese? Last I heard, they didn't. My grandmother also lived through this and still hated the Japanese because they killed her beloved brother.

Where does your grandma/you live now?

You should have her tell some of her stories and link to youtube videos of those (with subtitles in english if she doesnt speak english). It'd be interesting to hear about an average person's experience in their own language and words.

macbook_amateur2 karma

  1. Like the replies said, Japan has officially apologized for what they did. However, a lot of countries in the area still don't fully buy it because of some of the things Japan has done (Like neotiger said, putting WW2 criminals in their national shrine). I know in Hong Kong there are frequent protests against the Japanese government every year because of this issue.

  2. About half my family on my mom's side is here in Canada, and the other half is still in Hong Kong so she kind of switches back and forth between places lol. Right now she's in Canada

  3. I should totally do that! One of the reasons I really enjoy hearing her stories is because all the knowledge and experiences that our generation knows about WWII is through books, movies, and etc. To us, it's something in the distant past that we will never experience first hand. For her though, this was a real experience. She actually saw Japanese soldiers and felt the fear of being caught by them and has a very different perspective of it.

F0B2 karma

My grandpa was became an orphan as a result of the Japanese invasion. The family that adopted him treated him like crap, and the dad smoked a lot of opium (which is why my grandpa hates smokers). At around 12 years old, he ran off to join the guerrilla fighters. He did a lot of recon work, and was in several battles with the Japanese. When he was around 15, he joined the red army, and became somewhat of a personal security officer for a regimental commander of the Chinese Red Army. The commander taught him how to read and write. He was able to learn everything up to about high school level by the time he was around 19.

He then decided that he wants to be a doctor, so in 3 years, he taught himself college material and was accepted into one of the best medical schools in China, Zhongshan School of Medicine in Guangzhou. This was around the 1950s.

The Korean war started around that time, and armies from southern China were pulled to assist North Korea. Among those sent north, his old regiment was one of them. All of the men in the regiment died in battle.

My grandpa stayed in Guangzhou, and practiced medicine. Later he moved to Zhanjiang, where he met my grandma (who was a nurse) and that's where my dad was born. During the cultural revolution he was sent to the countryside for "re-education." But he continued to treat people, and everyone loved him. My grandparents lived in Zhanjiang until 1992, when I was born. Then they retired to be full time baby sitters for me :D

Growing up, I thought he was odd. He didn't want to tell me any of his stories, I mean, he has seen some shit. I've always wanted to ask him what it was like in a battle, seeing people die, and maybe when he first killed a man. He had to live through this during his teenage years! I just want to spend several months with him everyday, listen to his stories, and maybe even write a book about him.

He lives in Guangzhou and I live in Los Angeles. It's been really difficult working out a Skype time, since he has diabetes and rests a lot. Hopefully I'll be able to write down his experiences one day.

macbook_amateur1 karma

That's great that you are doing that! Wow your grandpa must have a lot of interesting stories being actually involved in the battles. My grandma is getting older and her memory is not as good as before so I am trying to record these stories as well

billythekiddd2 karma

Thank her for doing this! Did she feel there was anything civilians could've done against the occupation?

macbook_amateur2 karma

No. They were a small town of farmers and they had guns, but there is no way they could've taken on soldiers. All they could do was hide or run.

konayuki281 karma

I really appreciate your time here OP! Tell your grandma that she is awesome to be here now! I miss my grandparents lots!

macbook_amateur1 karma

Thanks! She thinks you are awesome too

ripkif3181 karma

Do you have any proof?

macbook_amateur1 karma

I will post some photos for proof soon!

mypetridish1 karma

Hong Kong is an island without much natural resources. So it compels me as to how did it manage to get to where they are economically? Why are their enterports so successful?

macbook_amateur1 karma

I can answer this one. You can find information about it online. Hong Kong is one of the busiest ports in the world, and with the trade came lots of financing. Also, because Hong Kong was under British rule, they had a free market capitalist system that flourished unlike mainland China. Look at Singapore if you want to see a similar development.

[deleted]1 karma


macbook_amateur1 karma

She slept well!

ManHuman1 karma

How did Unit 731 affect Southern China and Hong Kong? And, what were main pros and cons of the invasion?

Thank You

macbook_amateur1 karma

As I answered before, my grandma's area wasn't affected by unit 731 or she never anything about it. She never heard about the experimentations and stuff. She sees this time very negatively and doesn't see any pro to it. She just remembers the hardships.