Between Taiwan and Yaeyama
Compared to traveling between Okinawa and North and South America, it was far easier to travel between Keelung and Taketomi Island. It took only a day by ferry and Japanese subjects did not need passports to travel between the islands. Thus, it was not unusual for Yaeyama immigrants to go back and forth between Taiwan and their home islands.
Ara Kinue stayed for a while in Taketomi Island and attended a school when she was about 10 years old.
I had no memory of Taketomi Island. I was raised in Taiwan from the very young age. I went back to Taketomi Island for a while when I was in the third grade of elementary school. We celebrated the New Year in Taketomi, and I wore a kimono with an obi band in the Japanese-style. Then, the kids on the island curiously looked at me and laughed at me in the Japanese-style kimono. Because I was only a third-grade pupil, I was so embarrassed, and could not go out.
Although she was born on Taketomi Island, she was raised as a “Japanese immigrant” in colonial Taiwan from an early age. Thus, going back to her “home island,” the local children recognized her as exotic and different from local people.