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An extraordinary man who led a remarkable life

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In his serial travelogue "Kaido wo Yuku" (Travelling the highway) that ran in the Shukan Asahi weekly magazine from 1971 to 1996, author Ryotaro Shiba (1923-1996) wrote about a dog he once came across in Taiwan.

Its owner was an elderly man who had lived through the Japanese colonial era. When Shiba asked him the dog's name, he replied after a brief pause: "It's Pochi."

That being the commonest dog name in Japan, Shiba felt "sad beyond words," he recalled.

Every Taiwanese who lived under Japanese rule had to take a Japanese name.

It was Masao Iwasato for former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui, who died on July 30 at age 97.


© The Asahi Shimbun

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