The Taiwan Hellships Memorial was erected in early January 2006 and dedicated on the 26th of that month. It is was built to honour all the prisoners of war who suffered and those who died on the terrible hellships in Taiwan waters while being transported by the Japanese to places of enslavement.
Taiwan was a Japanese colony and a secure base and port of call for many of the hellships en route from Singapore and the Philippines to Japan. Almost 30,000 POWs went in and out of the ports of Takao (Kaohsiung) and Keelung from 1942 - 1945. Over 4350 POWs stayed on Taiwan to slave for the Emperor and many later left from here on these ships to go to Japan and Manchuria.
The memorial is located on Chijin Island which forms the outer rim of Kaohsiung Harbour and is located in the War and Peace Memorial Park next to the sea. It is situated right across the road from the former mass grave of the men who died when the hellship Enoura Maru was bombed in Takao Harbour on January 9, 1945.
In May 2011 a permanent display telling the story of the hellships was opened in the Taiwan Veterans' Museum located in the War and Peace Park. The exhibit - in English and Chinese, tells the story of the hellships and in particular, those that transported POWs to and from Taiwan and the hardships the men suffered.
Photo of the permanent wall display in the museum telling the story of the Taiwan hellships.
The Taiwan Hellships Memorial and the display are meant to compliment the World War II Hellships Memorial and Museum located at Subic Bay in the Philippines which was also dedicated in January 2006. It is our hope that many people will learn the story of these ships and the terrible conditions the POWs suffered on them. Many former POWs have said that the time they spent on these ships was the worst time they had as POWs, diminishing even the Bataan Death March or the slavery on the Thai-Burma Railway and the mine at Kinkaseki.
May we never forget their suffering and sacrifice for our freedom!
The Taiwan Hellships Memorial is located in the War and Peace Memorial Park on Chijin Island. The location of the memorial park is north of Chijin Windmill Park ( 旗津風車公園北邊 ) at No. 990, Chijin 3rd Rd. ( 旗津三路990號 ). Everyone is welcome to visit the memorial and museum.