We now know the very first Shindo shrine in Danshui was the 淡水稲荷社 [Tansui I-nali sha]. 稲荷 [literally rice and lotus] of course refers to agriculture and the shrine seems to trace its origin back to the ancient Qin immigrants to Japan. In any case, the one in Danshui was established on Nov 15, 1906. It can be seen on a small elevation behind the 公會堂 (Ko-kai-do, built by ChoSan's father in 1928) in this photo:
[In the picture are the Harada and the Yamamoto families, the latter then visiting from Japan. And to the left and right are Mr Hirokawa's mother, then a teenager, and grandmother, the manager of 公會堂 from 1930-41.]
The address of the Inali Jinja was 臺北州淡水郡淡水街淡水字砲臺埔二八番地ノ一. On the same plot of land [see sketch below; source: 莊家維(成功大學建築所) 碩士論文《近代淡水聚落的空間構成與變遷--從五口通商到日治時期》], a separate shrine, the 淡水社Tansui-sha, was built and dedicated on Oct 10, 1911 [this according to 淡水郡管內要覽, 1930]. It was only a tiny structure; although it was the predecessor to the far more formal and elaborately built 淡水神社Tansui Jinja.
The construction of the new Tansui Jinja in 油車口 started in 1936. In the photo below, the Japanese immigrants are seen celebrating the arrival of royal timber on a cart:
[This picture was taken at 油車口 near the entry to the now Danshui Golf Course. In it, Mr Kinoshita Seigai (one with the white hat next to the drummer) and Mr Hirokawa's father (one with the megaphone on the cart) can be readily identified. On the right is of course Danshui River and Guan-yin Mountain.]
This shrine honored 北白川宮能久親王, 明治天皇, 大物主命, and 崇徳天皇, built in the classical Japanese style with a roofed gate, roofed walls, and a court yard in front of the main hall :
This complex was destroyed in 1974 to make room for Taipei County Martyrs' Memorial台北県忠烈祠. Only the stone steps and the foundation survived.
The shrine was completed on March 11, 1939, and consecrated on June 1, followed by public celebrations. Needless to say, all Japanese residents young and old were on site to take part. The following are the photographic records of the evening of the shrine dedication (immediate below) and the celebratory gathering of Tansui citizens:
[Below: Mrs Harada, Mr Hirokawa's grandmother in ceremonial garment/headgear, posing next to one of the two isidoros in front of the torii, at the entry to the Jinja.]
[Above: In subsequent years, Mr Hirokawa as a child, was carried by his Dad to participate in the ceremonies for students.]
The 1900 census showed that 161 Japanese families then residing in Danshui with 360 males and 224 females (total=584). There were 1,098 Taiwanese families at the same time with 5,500 men and women. In other words, approximately 10% of Tansui-jin were originally from mainland Japan. It is unclear what the ratio was in latter years; although the Nihon-jin were certainly in the minority. By 1946, all Japanese were gone and with them a chapter of the immigrant history of Danshui.