Japan colonized the island of Taiwan from 1895-1945. During this period, the colonial administration set up the first modernized education system on the island, which emphasized learning the Japanese language at the expense of the students' native Chinese language. Even though the government espoused ideals of equality, in reality it discriminated against the Taiwanese. This impacted Taiwanese of all social and economic strata, from rural children to the most educated elites. From the viewpoints of an educated Taiwanese, a Japanese government official, and western observers of the period, the discriminatory nature of the Japanese colonial government is fleshed out.