Shadows of the Crimson Sun: One Man’s Life in Manchuria, Taiwan, and North America

After the Russian invasion of the Japanese puppet state of Manchuria (Manchukuo) in 1945, fourteen-year-old Akihisa Takayama escapes with his family to their ancestral Taiwan. Here they find themselves under the brutal Chinese dictatorship of the Kuomintang. In the 1960s, now a physician calling himself Charles Yang, he escapes with his young family to the United States, from where they finally go on to Canada to become among the first Taiwanese Canadians in Vancouver. Charles Yang’s experiences illuminate the “White Terror” of Taiwan, and the geopolitical dispute between Communist China and Taiwan over the meaning of “One China.” This is a rare, humane, and personal account of the little known histories of Manchukuo and Taiwanese immigration to North America.

Shadows of the Crimson Sun, the story of how Akihisa Takayama, eight-year-old subject of Japanese Emperor Hirohito in 1930s Manchuria, became respected Canadian gynaecologist and immigrant Taiwanese community leader Charles Yang is riveting. It is the story of the personal quest for identity amid the wars and civil tumult in Asia over the last 80 years. But author Julia Lin has also expertly framed Dr. Yang’s memories of the remarkable saga of himself and his family in the context of their times.  And, ultimately, this is Dr. Yang’s manifesto of the right of Taiwan’s 23 million people to self-determination and international recognition of their nationhood.
— JONATHAN MANTHORPE, veteran journalist and author of Forbidden Nation: A History of Taiwan

Julia Lin seamlessly interweaves history and memory in this fascinating narrative of a Taiwanese-Canadian doctor who grew up as a Japanese subject in occupied Manchuria and suffered hardship and dislocation at the end of the Pacific War before leaving martial-law ruled Taiwan for North America.  Lin tells a story unfamiliar to both Western and Asian readers of the impact of Japanese colonialism and the post-war years of suffering under the KMT regime in Taiwan on a middle-class Chinese family. In particular, she helps unravel the complex mixture of identities that shape the man at the centre of this narrative –  Japanese, Taiwanese, and Canadian – against a compelling background of personal and political events spanning almost eighty years.
— D. ALISON BAILEY (PhD), Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia

Born in 1932, Dr Yang has experienced and epitomizes to a great degree of the vicissitudes of his beloved motherland Taiwan (a.k.a. Formosa). He lived through the three phases of Taiwan: as a colony of Japan, under the rule of the KMT, and the democratization of the island.  Colonial rule took him to Manchuria and the autocratic KMT made him join oversee Taiwanese anti-KMT activities for several decades. A dedicated member of the Formosan diaspora and a good citizen of Canada, his chosen land, Dr Yang’s life story is very touching and elevating. Facing her still very difficult future Formosa is grateful for all the efforts and sacrifice of her once-exiled children.
— WAN-YAO CHOU (周婉窈), Professor of History, National Taiwan University

Dr. Charles Yang’s Message for Taiwanfest Book Launch on September 4, 2017:

Media Coverage:
Georgia Straight (September, 2017)
CBC Early Edition (September 4, 2017) segment: