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Taiwan frequently appears in world news. But not many Westerners know it well.
Many simply think of Taiwan as a "renegade Chinese territory" that has been an unofficial ally of the United States. Taiwan does not show up in prominent international events. Even in the Olympics, it is forced to call itself "Chinese Taipei."
Following Japan's annexation of Taiwan following the Treaty of Maguan/Shimonoseki in 1895, the Japanese colonized the island. Japan has rapidly industrialized the island, built cities, and began exploiting its natural resources.
By the 1930s, the flat terrains of western Taiwan between Keelung and Kaohsiung have been developed and industrialized by the Japanese Empire. Taiwan's society had become a mixture of Japanese, Han Chinese (mostly descended from Fujianese and Hakka), and indigenous Taiwanese. Nevertheless, children were educated in Japanese, under the school curriculum established by the Japanese government.
Kagi School of Agriculture and Forestry (commonly called "KANO", from its Japanese name, KAgi NOrin Gakko) was a secondary school in the southwestern Taiwan city of Kagi (Chiayi) whose student body came from all three major ethnic groups. KANO's baseball team had never won a single game. In 1930, Kondo Hyotaro, a coach from Matsuyama, Japan, arrives in Chiayi and transforms the underdog team into Taiwan's champion, overcoming racism and prejudice they faced at every turn. As Taiwan's top team, KANO qualified to play in the 1931 All-Japan Secondary School Baseball Championship Tournament at the Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan.
KANO won games after games, only to lose in the very last minute of the final game against Chukyo Commercial Secondary School from Nagoya.
After Japan's defeat in World War II, Taiwan was handed back to the Republic of China. However, in China a civil war between the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) and the Communist Party of China followed the ostensible liberation from the imperialists. As the Communists conquered the entirety of Chinese mainland, and Kuomintang fled to seek refuge in Taiwan from which it began their Chinese government-in-exile.