Tang Te-Chang was one of the many victims killed during the 228 Incident in 1947. He was a well-respected lawyer of both Japanese and Taiwanese descent, born in Taiwan during Japanese colonial rule. Because of this, he struggled with his identity throughout the duration of his life as someone:

“…descended from both the colonizers and the colonized.”

Taipei Times

Tang’s father, Tokuzo Sakai, moved to Taiwan to serve as a police officer shortly after the Japanese government took over the nation. Unfortunately, he passed away when Tang was only 8 years old, during the 1915 Tapani incident, one of the largest uprisings by Taiwanese Han and Aboriginals against Japanese rule.

Because the marriage between his Japanese father and Taiwanese mother was not legal at the time, their family did not receive any compensation for his father’s death and fell into poverty. Tang grew up under his mother’s surname and worked on their family’s farm.

Tang was a high school drop-out, but he dedicated his time to studying the Chinese language, classic texts of Confucius (四書五經), as well as Chinese and Japanese martial arts. He later went on to become a policeman, like his father, but eventually switched paths to legal studies in order to carry out true justice. Tang left to study law in Japan at the age of 32. He returned to Taiwan in 1943 and served as an assemblyman in Tainan city

In 1947, Tang Te-chang was elected mayoral candidate by all Tainan senators, leaders of villages citizen organizations, and student representatives, when the February 28 Incident occurred. After many people in Tainan began to riot against the government’s misdemeanors, he joined Tainan’s temporary committee to help stop the local unrest. However, he promised them that he would make the government amend for their wrongdoings and turn Taiwan into a true democracy.

Even after the situation calmed down, reinforcements from the KMT National Revolutionary Army (NRA) arrived in Tainan to kill and arrest those suspected of being involved in the uprisings. About twenty officers broke into Tang’s house on March 11, 1947, to arrest him for the crime of rebellion. Prior to his arrest, Tang burned a list containing the names of the other people in the Tainan committee, an action regarded to have saved their lives.

Tang was tortured and interrogated by NRA soldiers regarding his ancestry, to which Tang reportedly replied, “I was born in Taiwan, I was raised in Taiwan. Am I not Taiwanese?” However, they insisted he was Japanese and was branded for starting the rebellion and still being loyal to the former Japanese government.

On March 13, Tang was paraded and shot at Taishō Park (大正公園).

Live reenactment of Tang’s execution in Tainan.

Taisho Park was later renamed as the Tang Te-Chang Memorial Park in 1988 to remember his efforts and honor his heroic death.

Tang Te-chang Memorial Park(湯德章紀念公園) | Tainan Travel
Tang’s statue in Tang Te-chang Memorial Park(湯德章紀念公園) located in Tainan city.

Despite being half-Japanese, Tang fought for the Taiwanese people until his death.

His last words were first shouted in Hoklo (a.k.a. Taiwanese):

 “You don’t need to tie my hands or cover my eyes, for I have the blood of the Japanese running through me! If you have to blame a criminal, I alone will suffice!”

Taipei Times

He then switched to Japanese for his last words:

“Long live the Taiwanese!”

Taipei Times