Retrocession Day is the name given to the annual observance and unofficial holiday and former public holiday in Taiwan to commemorate the end of Japanese rule of Taiwan and Penghu, and the claimed retrocession (“return”) of Taiwan to the Republic of China on October 25, 1945. However, the idea of “Taiwan retrocession” is in dispute.
Chief Executive of Taiwan Province Chen I (right) accepting the receipt of Order No. 1 signed by Rikichi Andō (left), the last Japanese Governor-General of Taiwan, on behalf of the Republic of China Armed Forces at Taipei City Hall.
Taiwan, then more commonly known to the Western world as “Formosa”, became a colony of the Empire of Japan when the Qing Empire lost the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894 and ceded the island with the signing of the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki. Japanese rule in Taiwan lasted until the end of World War II.
In November 1943, Chiang Kai-shek took part in the Cairo Conference with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, who firmly advocated that Japan be required to return all of the territory it had annexed into its empire, including Taiwan and the Penghu (Pescadores) Islands. Article 8 of the Potsdam Proclamation, drafted by the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union and China in July 1945, reiterated that the provisions of the Cairo Declaration be thoroughly carried out, and the Japanese Instrument of Surrender stated Japan’s agreement to the terms of the Potsdam Proclamation.
Under the authorization of American General Douglas MacArthur‘s General Order No. 1, Chen I (Chief Executive of Taiwan Province) was escorted by George Kerr to Taiwan to accept the Japanese government’s surrender as the Chinese delegate. When the Japanese surrendered at the end of World War II, General Rikichi Andō, governor-general of Taiwan and commander-in-chief of all Japanese forces on the island, signed an instrument of surrender and handed it over to governor-general of Taiwan Chen I, representing the Republic of China Armed Forces to complete the official turnover in Taipei (known during occupation as Taihoku) on October 25, 1945, at Taipei City Hall (now Zhongshan Hall). Chen Yi proclaimed that day to be “Retrocession Day” and organized the island into the Taiwan Province of the Republic of China. Taiwan has since been governed by the Government of the Republic of China.