Ishigaki Shincho was born as the fifth child of seven in a farmer's family.
He explained the reason why he migrated to colonial Taiwan at the age of 14.
Author: What were your parents’ jobs?
Ishigaki: They were farmers. In Ishigaki Island in the past, most people worked in agriculture. Commerce was underdeveloped. This was a rural island where we cultivated both rice fields and vegetable fields, and lived in a self-sufficient economy. Primary school was six years and the advanced course was two years; we had eight years’ education. But after completing school, there were no jobs here. As middle schools were only in the main island of Okinawa, nobody was able to go because it cost a lot. Thus, we all went to Taiwan after graduation since it was the Japanese colony. Taiwan was more prosperous and flourishing, thus I thought it would be better to go there for job hunting.
Author: Did you go to Taiwan immediately after graduating from the advanced course of the primary school?
Ishigaki: Yes, I was 14 years old.
Author: How many of your classmates went to Taiwan?
Ishigaki: Most of them went there because there were no jobs here.
Author: Didn’t you need to help your parents in farming?
Ishigaki: Nobody wanted to work in agriculture. Not all of us, but perhaps one third did the agriculture; others hunted for jobs in Taiwan. […]
After graduation, well, as my brother and sister were in Taiwan, I could find nothing to do here.
Author: Did you have only an elder sister?
Ishigaki: There were seven children in our family and I was the fourth, well in fact, fifth. All of my elder brothers and sisters went to Taiwan. They got jobs in Taiwan. You know, it was so close. It took only six hours by ship. In addition, it was a colony of Japan, wasn’t it?
Author: Before going there, what kind of jobs did you want to look for?
Ishigaki: I did not know. Well, as I gave up school, a higher education, I wondered if I could get a good job over there, then I went there.