2009年12月18日 星期五


Update 1/17/2014

TOKYO (AP) — Hiroo Onoda, the last Japanese imperial soldier to emerge from hiding in a jungle in the Philippines and surrender, 29 years after the end of World War II, has died. He was 91.

(A 引揚 certificate dated May 19, 1946, issued to Mr 鶴山Zuruyama, a farmer originally from 熊本県Kumamoto-ken, who had settled in Taichu-shu - now Taichung Hsien, Taiwan)

Originally, 引き揚げ (hi-ki a-ge, recovery) refers to the repatriation of Japanese civilians and non-combatant Japanese soldiers (with the ranks of 軍属 and 軍夫) after WW2 from occupied territories including China, Korea, Russia (also 樺太島, the Sakhalin Island, or 庫頁島 in Chinese), Southeast Asia, and of course, Taiwan. For the combatants (軍人), it was 復員 (fuku-in, to re-group); and for the IJN, 解員 (kai-in, to disband). More recently, however, 引揚 is taken to mean the repatriation of all Japanese.

By 1946, around 90% were already shipped back to Japan (left: children on board a hi-ki a-ge ship). Those marooned in North Korea, and those who were sent by the Soviets from Manshu (滿洲, Manchuria, 東北Northeast China) to labor camps in Siberia as POWs all had a much longer delay going home and endured much harsher conditions than the rest. And then there were the forgotten ones. An example: some of the thousands of abandoned children raised by Chinese (and a few Russian) foster parents, known as 中国残留日本人孤児, were repatriated, starting in 1965 when they were discovered by reporters visiting from Japan. And sighting of Japanese military hold-outs in SE Asia is still being reported today; although 中村輝夫Nakamura Teruo (李光輝, a Taiwanese drafted in 1943) and 小野田寛郎Onoda Hiro (drafted to serve in 1941), both of whom finally surrendered and returned to Japan in 1974 from Indonesia and the Philippines, respectively, maybe the last ones.

Organized Japanese emigration actually started during the Meiji Era when the increase in population could no longer be supported by the agriculture. Some emigrated overseas to Hawaii and the Americas. The dominating military decided, however, that the most expedient way to resolving this issue was to grab lands off the neighboring Korea and China and send the Japanese there. And as they say: the rest is history.

The first Japanese immigrants of 133 families (385 members) arrived in Taiwan in 1899, organized by a private 賀田Kata company. They settled in Hua-lien area in a brand new village named 賀田村 (the village is still there today under the same name). This first attempt did not fare too well, though. The immigrants were allowed contractually to grow only sugarcane, not staple food. Plus eastern Taiwan was not exactly a hospitable place. There were the hostile Aborigines and malaria to contend with. Some died from diseases and many moved out or went back to Japan.

The pace quickened somewhat in 1909-18 after the Governor General of Taiwan had instituted a new policy that offered free land use plus 3 years of free medicine. Home construction, health care, and purchase of agricultural equipment were all subsidized. More than 1,700 immigrated and settled in Hua-lien and Tai-tung areas. Between 1917-24, private enterprises then took over and recruited more immigrants from 四國Shi-koku and 九州Kyu-shu. They were again all sugarcane farmers.

By 1932, the settlement sites had shifted to western Taiwan in the dry river beds in the southern plains of Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung. In addition to sugarcane, the farmers were now permitted to grow rice and other crops to become self-sufficient. The tillable lands were divided into large squares and each village was completed with irrigation canals, levees, roads, and drinking water supply. About 4 hectares of land was allotted to each family; however, no land ownership was ever granted.

The immigrants were in fact all tenant farmers working for the Japanese-owned 製糖會社sugar factories. Their villages numbered:
Hua-lien and Taitung: 15
Taichung: 8
Tainan: 2
Kaohsiung: 3
And the total population of these farmers was around 50,000.

This farmer immigration into Taiwan was hardly a success; although the Japanese Government has thus far remained reticent on this issue. The farmers were only a small portion of the approximately 1/2 million (to be exact: 479,544) Japanese repatriated form Taiwan in 1946. Most Japanese immigrants at that time were not farmers. Instead, they occupied a higher niche, not only as the ruling class, but in a modernizing society, they were also administrators, businessmen, teachers, physicians, engineers, artists, musicians, students, military, and (the much feared) policemen. Most migrated to Taiwan on free will and stayed in metropolitan areas and small population centers (e.g., Danshui). And undeniably, gratuitous superiority complex sometimes did raise its ugly head.

In March, 1946, the repatriation process started (right: repatriates on a 引揚 ship). The Japanese were ordered to fill out various forms, hand over their properties item by item, and be certified (see certificate above). And each person was allowed to carry 1,000 Japanese yen in cash, one set each of summer and winter clothing, and one set of futon before boarding the hi-ki a-ge ships. Some had entrusted valuables to their Taiwanese friends and come back to retrieve them years later. With the meager possession, they returned to a bombed out Japan facing a bleak future. Some refused governmental assistance out of shame/pride and died in the winter cold. Most, however, had stuck it out and re-started their lives. Among the better known are, for example, industrialist 林虎彦Hayashi Torahiko (born 1926, Kaohsiung) and Senator 浜四津敏子Hamayotsu Toshiko (born 1945, Taipei).

Around 30,000 were allowed or asked to stay until 1948/9, most of them technicians and engineers needed for the infrastructure. And a few were scholars and university professors. An estimated 10,000 went underground, through marriages to Taiwanese husbands (some at the last minute) - never to re-surface as Japanese again. We remember one of these women living in Danshui as a shopkeeper who spoke Japanese-Hoklo to the great puzzlement of little kids.

And one of the few professors was 高坂知武Takasaka Tomotake (1901-1997) of National Taiwan University. He arrived in Taiwan an assistant professor in 1930, retired as Professor Emeritus and returned to Japan in 1987. He was a noted agricultural engineer/educator and an accomplished musician. He also founded the Imperial Taihoku University Symphony Orchestra which is now the NTU Symphony Orchestra. A building on NTU campus, the 知武館, was dedicated in 1989 in his honor.

A brief slide show of his life is presented here (accompanied by Haydn's Symphony No 94 in G-major - the very first piece performed by Prof Takasaka's orchestra in 1932):


2009年12月16日 星期三

Winter in Danshui

The coldest spot in Taiwan? Why, Danshui of course.

Enjoy the winter view (click arrow to start video):


Even better with a touch of Basho:

"year's end,
of this
floating world, swept"

"come out to view
the truth of flowers blooming
in poverty"

"blue seas

breaking waves smell of rice wine
tonight's moon"

-- 松尾芭蕉 Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

2009年12月7日 星期一

Going home

(Left: 福島安正 Fukushima Yasumasa, the first Japanese Administrator of Danshui)

After the loss of Keelung, Danshui was the only remaining port accessible to the Qing soldiers in northern Taiwan. They managed to arrive by following either the coastal roads from Keelung by way of 金山Gin-Shan, or the railroad tracks from Keelung to Taipei and then traveled along the northern shore of Danshui River. By early June, 1895, about 5,000 men (?) waited impatiently on the shipping docks in front of the 媽祖宮MaZu Temple hoping to catch a boat ride back home to China. At that time, there were supposedly still 300+ battalions (360 men in each battalion) of Qing soldiers on the island ready to fight. However, it is known that the Chinese officials often inflated the number of enlistees and pocketed the pay of the ghost soldiers. So the true strength remains unknown.

Most of the soldiers who ended up in Danshui were from Canton previously brought over by 唐景崧Tang Jing-Song to fortify the defense of Taiwan. They owed no loyalty to the people of Taiwan and in fact ran away en masse at the first sight of the Japanese Forces. In retreat, they wrecked havoc wherever they went. The looting and killing in Taipei had prompted the merchants, both Taiwanese and European, to seek Japanese intervention. (Needless to say, these merchants are now branded as traitors of China.) On June 7, the Japanese cavalry pretty much trotted into Taipei unmolested. In so doing, they had also underestimated the resolve and the fighting capabilities of Taiwanese resistance south of Taipei and later paid for this oversight dearly.

There are two versions of what had happened to the Qing soldiers in Danshui:

The Chinese version (from "喋血台湾岛" published by 中国国际广播出版社, 1995):

June 5: Chinese merchant ship 駕時(the Cass) took a number of the soldiers back to Shanghai.

June 9: A Japanese force of about 500 men entered Danshui. There was some sporadic shooting from the Qing side. At 10AM, two Japanese warships 浪速Naniwa and 高千穗Takachiho sailed into Danshui River and fired warning shots at the soldiers. The Qing soldiers were now under Japanese custody. In the afternoon, 60+ men led by Col Fukushima Yasumasa arrived on warship 八重山Yaeyama and set up a Township Office quickly to register the soldiers. The Qing men did not comprehend the Japanese process believing that if they took off their uniforms and discarded their weapons, then they'd be free to go as civilians. The Japanese, however, saw this as a violation of the surrender and started shooting and killing those who tried to leave. It was unclear how many died. The estimate was 2,000 because it appeared only about 3,000 out of the 5,000 eventually made it back to China:

June 10: At 8:30PM, 1,200 boarded the Japanese ship 磯浦丸(? - might have been the 有磯浦丸 owned by 南嶋間作) which sailed for Hong Kong.

June 11: The remaining 1,700 were put on board of the Chinese ship 萬國號 and arrived back in Amoy.

The Japanese version (according to "淡水新政記", a 14-day diary written either by Fukushima Yasumasa himself or possibly recorded by his subordinates - several editions now exist):

June 9: Sent back 1,000+ Qing soldiers whose luggage was inspected by the military police and then allowed on board a British ship which then sailed for China. A hectic day with no time for meals. From early afternoon to dusk, representatives from several villages came to request protection from pillaging by the Qing soldiers.

June 10: Announced the exchange rate of Japanese and Qing monies. Hired 36 locals to do a census survey and purchase foodstuff plus cleaning and cooking. There was a report of a 14-men gang robbing 新莊Shin-Juang. Dispatched one military police with 11 soldiers to catch these bandits who ran off upon learning the impending confrontation.

June 12: Reported to the headquarters that 1,700 Qing soldiers were sent back to China yesterday. Decided to distribute rice to the local poor.

June 14: Appointed locals as policemen to maintain law and order. The eligibility included:

滬尾街有家屋者 (owns a house in Danshui)
年齡20-30歲 (is 20-30 years old)
娶妻成家者 (has a wife and family)
不抽鴉片者 (is not an opium addict)
能取得二人具保者 (can obtain guarantees from two others)

June 15: Announced the hygiene law. There was a one-day delay for a British ship to take on some Qing soldiers who were therefore given a one-day's ration. They were quite uncouth leaving filth and garbage scattering on the docks, had to force them to clean up at gun point. Census showed 1,019 families residing in Danshui.

June 16: The patrol found one dead Qing soldier, had to force 5 surprisingly unsympathetic others to bury their comrade. Distributed 308 boarding passes. In the afternoon, sent back 350 Qing soldiers. Paid 15 local laborers and 10 carpenters.

June 19: To speed up the repatriation process, negotiated with 3 Chinese ships, one could take 60 to 溫州Wen-Zhou, and the other two, 136 and 62, respectively. Finally, the repatriation was finished. Caught two escapees, a 44 year old tailor from 江西Jian-Xi and a 20-year old peasant.

The Japanese version is probably closer to the truth. The Chinese version argued for 2,000 massacred based on conjecture and an unsubstantiated estimate of 5,000 at the beginning. For one thing, the many westerners in town (including Dr George Leslie Mackay) would have taken notice as they had done during the Sino-French War and reported any large-scale killings to the outside world - not to mention the logistics needed for the burial of 2,000 that Danshui certainly did not have. [Note: JW Davidson's 1903 eyewitness account also did not report such an incident.] The Japanese house-keeping log indicated that in 10 days, around 3,300 Qing soldiers were repatriated. It was probably close to this number, not 5,000, who had arrived in Danshui. Fukushima also had written to the Chinese Government in Canton requesting humane treatment of these returning poor souls.

These poor souls came back 50 years later to re-claim the island. On Oct 8, 1945, the 9th Company (106 men) of the 4th Regiment of KMT Military Police
(國軍憲兵第四團) arrived in Danshui on junks. They were called 雨傘兵 (the umbrella troop), disappointingly, by the welcoming residents of Danshui. Because, for some inexplicable reason, most soldiers carried on their backs a folded umbrella (on top of the pots and pans plus some rifles and bags of rice that they were also carrying). Yes, the rag-tag army had just landed. And Danshui-ren were stunned by their disheveled appearance not knowing that these soldiers had gone through hell before arriving in Danshui - not until recently anyway.

A postscript: In the 228 Incident of 1947, all three battalions (with the 2nd Battalion joining in from Foochow) of the 4th MP Regiment played a brutal role in northern Taiwan.

2009年12月3日 星期四

Danshui resistance 1895

(A 1911/2 Map of Japan incorporating Taiwan and the Pescadores)

The Japanese forces arrived in Danshui on June 9, 1895. There were locally organized resistances which for some reason remain little known outside of Danshui. The following is taken from Danshui's town history now amended and translated into English:

光緒二十一年 (一八九五)
Guan-xu Year 21 (1895)

五月十四日[note: this is a lunar calendar date - June 6 in western calendar],台灣民主國總統唐景崧得淡水滬尾稅務司英人馬士(H-C C Morse) 幫助,乘德輪鴨打(Arthur) 號逃至廈門。滬尾舉人李應辰(1860-1922) 聯滬尾十八莊,壯丁五百人與各地義軍聯結,定於十四日合力打擊日軍,因唐景崧逃亡,計畫中止。
[On the 14th Day of the Fifth Month, President Tang Jing-Song (1841-1903) of the short-lived Taiwan Democratic State (May 26 - June 6, 1895), with the help of Danshui Customs Chief - a Brit named H-C C Morse, got on the German ship Arthur and escaped to Amoy. A local gentleman Mr Li Ying-Chen (1860-1922) raised a 500-men militia from the 18 villages of Hobe (Danshui). And together with the militiamen from other areas, they were to attack the Japanese Army on this day. This plan was, however, called off because of Tang's desertion.]

五月十六日,日軍少將川村景明(Kawamura Kageaki - 1850-1926) 率兵入臺北城,命中西中佐(Nakanishi) 率大隊西取淡水,當晚兵宿關渡。當日,李應辰滬尾義軍迎戰日軍一中隊於士林,激戰兩小時,敵軍不支而退,義軍也退向大屯山深處。
[On the 16th, Lt Gen Kawamura Kageaki (1850-1926) led an army and entered the City of Taipei. He ordered Lt Col Nakanishi to take one battalion, go west, and invade Danshui. This army camped in Guan-du for the night. On the same day, Li Ying-Chen's militia engaged one Japanese company in Shi-lin. After two hours of intense fighting, both sides retreated with Li's back deep into TaTuan Mountain.] (Note: Two months later, Li was wounded in a battle and had to evacuate from 鹿港Lu-Kang to Amoy together with his family.)

五月十七日,日中西中佐率部至滬尾。日軍大本營參謀步兵大佐福島安正(Fukushima Yasumasa -1852-1919) 率佐藤(Sato)憲兵大尉等六十人,通譯官十一人,乘八重山(Yaeyama)軍艦,由基隆至滬尾,入海關署,設淡水事務所。
[On the 17th, Nakanishi's men entered Danshui. In addition, Chief of Staff of Japanese Headquarters Col Fukushima Yasumasa (1852-1919), together with Military Police Major Sato and 60 others, plus 11 Translator Officers arrived from Keelung on board of warship Yaeyama. They took over the Customs Office and set up a Tansui (Danshui) Township Office.]

[On the 18th, the Japanese took over the taxation affairs of Danshui and Keelung harbors. Scouts were sent over to Bali. Three warships swept the mines of Danshui Harbor. They had also established a tele-communications office, revoked the township and changed it to the Tansui Branch Office of the Taipei Prefecture.]

十一月十七日(日曆一月一日)七時許,金包里(今金山)義軍簡大獅 (1870-1900) 部約六百餘名,出江頭(今關渡)以攻淡水,日軍淡水守備隊會赤羽(Akahane?)支隊,憑淡水街天公廟至墓地為陣,戰至八時,在淡水街兩軍肉搏戰,日軍憑壁防禦,砲火熾烈,義軍乃退街外高地。
[On the 17th Day of the 11th Month - Jan 1, 1896, at around 7AM, a 600-men militia led by Jien Da-Shi (1870-1900) of Gin-Shan came out of Guan-du and attacked the Japanese military in Danshui. The Japanese fought from the now Tamkang University area, near the public cemetery, until about 8AM. The battle then shifted into hand-to-hand combat fought inside the town itself. The Japanese, hiding behind the walls, fired back intensely. The militia had to withdraw to the higher grounds outside of town.] (Note: Mr Jien continued his unsuccessful fight against the Japanese and had finally surrendered in 1898. In 1899, he snuck back to Hokkien but was extradited back to Taipei where he was executed. His plea to die in China went unheeded.)

[On the 19th, Taipei and other areas descended into chaos, the British sent a battleship to Danshui to protect its citizens.]

Eventually, after about 5-6 months, the resistance in Taiwan gradually subsided (but never totally stopped). There had been no support from China and none was forthcoming, either. Tang Jing-Song (left, the "10-day President") lived out his life in luxury. He was the biggest patron of the Guang-Xi opera and in his spare time wrote poetry. And yet, he is now enshrined in 淡水忠烈祠 - for reasons still unknown. The only achievement that the Danshui-ren know of was his successful escape back to China. Even the shots fired at Arthur from the stranded Qing soldiers had failed to stop him. It is said (of Tang) that "英雄懦夫僅是一念之差而已 (the difference between a hero and a coward is only a mere change of heart)" - a very accurate description indeed.

There was more. According to
連橫Lien Heng's 台灣通史Comprehensive Taiwan History: ...「李文魁馳入撫署請見,大呼曰:『獅球嶺亡在旦夕,非大帥督戰,諸將不用命』。景崧見其來,悚然立;而文魁已至屏前。 即舉案上令架擲地曰:『軍令俱在,好自為之』。文魁側其首以拾,則景崧已不見矣。景崧既入內,攜巡撫印,奔滬尾,乘德商輪船逃。砲台擊之,不中。文魁亦躡景崧後至廈門,謀刺之。事洩,為清吏所捕,戮於市。」- A subordinate of Tang's, Commander Li Wen-Quei, who had just lost Keelung to the Japanese, barged into the President's Office in Taipei and pressed for Tang to personally lead the battle at Shi-chiu Ling, the gateway to Taipei. A terrified Tang did not want any part of it and merely threw down a rack of "Orders" and exclaimed "The military orders are all here, do your best!!" Li picked up the orders and saw from the corner of his eyes that Tang had already disappeared [onto Danshui and then Amoy...] Li later secretly followed Tang to Amoy and plotted to have Tang assassinated. He was caught and killed in public by Qing officials.

And how did those stranded leader-less soldiers return to China? That is another story.

2009年11月30日 星期一

In the news 台灣好味道節目

Nov 29, 2009 登峰魚丸博物館 - 亞洲電視--蔣怡採訪

(A bayonet used by the French Fusiliers Marins is displayed in the lucite case in the foreground.)

Special Sino-French War Exhibition
All are invited

2009年11月23日 星期一

李鸿章 Li Hung-Chang

Whether the fully-empowered Chinese emissary who ratified the Shimonoseki Treaty Li Hung-Chang李鸿章 (1823年2月15日-1901年11月7日) was a traitor is still being debated in China. There is absolutely no doubt as far as the Taiwanese are concerned, he had betrayed Taiwan.

One year after Japan took over Taiwan, Li went on a grand tour, ostensibly as a fact-finding mission, of Europe and finally the US. He was welcomed in New York City in a manner befitting that of a head of state:

According to New York Times (August 28, 1896, Wednesday):

"AWAITING THE VICEROY; Plans for Li Hung Chang's Reception To-day. GEN. RUGER TO WELCOME HIM Salutes to be Fired by Naval Vessels and Land Guns. THE VISITOR TO RIDE UP BROADWAY He Will Land at the Pier of the Steamship St. Louis -- Troops and Police to Escort Him. TO BE LODGED IN THE WALDORF Preparations for Banquets There and at Delmonico's -- "Chinatown" to Celebrate with Fireworks."

In a NYT interview at 9AM, Sep 2, 1896, he was asked if there would be any future for American investments in China:



His reply cited an advice from his old friend Gen Ulysses Grant: "You must allow European and American capitals into China to establish industrial enterprises, to help the people of Qing develop and profit from the rich natural resources. However, the management and control must be in the hands of the Qing Government." And based on this doctrine, all investments were welcome.

To put everything in perspective, four years later in 1900, the US joined England, Japan, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, and Austria in sacking Beijing in the Boxer Rebellion. The looting of the Qing royal palaces and gardens and the pillaging of Beijing went on for days with no one claiming disadvantageous illnesses as in other previous wars with the Qing.

And despite fits and starts, in another 100 years or so, the US becomes the biggest debtor nation of China.

On the odd side, in an ad in Harper's Monthly (left, dated 1896, click to enlarge), Li appeared to be endorsing Johann Hoff's malt extract.

Malt Extract was/is not known in China (maybe 麥精?) Presumably, it is a product used in beer and bread making that is a ready to use form of the sugars found in grain.
--Usually made from barley
--Can be liquid or dried
--Flavor varies by type of grain, and how long it was roasted prior to extract

A comparison of the signature with that in Li's calligraphy (bottom right, click to enlarge) shows in the latter, the word 章Chang was without a vertical stroke extending through the middle, i.e., a 日, not a 田. This ad was probably one of those JoHo creations well-known at that time.

Not surprisingly, Li had amassed immense wealth with huge real estate holdings - rumored to "rival that of a nation". He was not without defenders, however:


Although this still means a net worth of US$125 million.

2009年11月6日 星期五

清日甲午戰爭 (1894-5)

How did Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands (漁翁島, i.e., 澎湖), both of which Chinese territories since the early 1600s, end up becoming ceded to Japan? In an era of the Sleeping Lion exposed to be a Paper Tiger, the inept Qing Court lost many wars to foreign powers and was forced to sign humiliating treaties. In mid-1894, Japan invaded Korea, then a client state of China. The map above [source: here] shows the Japanese Army [red arrows], based in Hiroshima, landed in Pusan and advanced through Seoul and Pyongyang to reach Liaodong Peninsula where the battle of 旅順 (Port Arthur) took place - among many other skirmishes that one of the defenders of Danshui (in the Battle of Fisherman's Wharf) 章高元總兵 had also participated. The Japanese finally crossed the 膠州Bay and attacked 威海衛 (Port Edward) in Shantung Peninsula in Feb, 1895.

This painting (right) depicts the battle of 旅順, a major harbor city coveted also by Russia, Germany, and France. These three nations had objected to and ultimately denied the Japanese demand for the Liaotung Peninsula in the Shimonoseki Peace Treaty (detailed below). 旅順, however, eventually became a battle ground in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-5.

The Japanese Navy [blue arrows in the map above], in coordination with the Army, had launched from Nagasaki and sailed steadily north along the west coast of Korea. In July, 1894, it dueled with the Qing Navy in the 豐島 Sea. And in the Battle of the Yellow Sea (Sep, 1894) had annihilated the Qing 北洋Beiyang Fleet. In this diagram on the left, the Japanese battleships are shown in black. Togo Heihachiro commanded the 浪速Naniwa. He had come to observe the Battle of Fisherman's Wharf in 1884.

The commander-in-chief of the Qing Fleet, the British-trained Admiral 丁汝昌Ting Lu-Chang was on board his flagship, the Battleship 定遠TingYuan. Both Ting and the ship were wounded. Unfortunately, Adm Ting did not designate a second-in-command and the chain of command was lost. With the fleet now in poor formation, the ships became easy targets for the faster and more powerful Japanese fleet. All together, 5 Qing warships were sunk. After the loss at the Battle of the Yellow Sea, the Qing fleet regrouped to defend 威海衛. This mission had also failed. And on Feb 11, 1895, Adm Ting committed suicide refusing to yield to the Japanese. The Qing Court did not honor his death citing dereliction of duty. It actually disallowed a proper burial for Adm Ting until 1910 when he was somehow exonerated for losing both the battle and the fleet.

As a footnote, the 定遠, built in Germany and commissioned in 1883 but delivered only after the Sino-French War, was a steel-hulked warship (see picture below). At 7,220 tons with 22 guns (4 of them Krupps at 305-mm), it was one of the most formidable battleships of the Qing Navy. It evoked a sense of doom among the Japanese during an 1886 port call to Japan. It, as other warships in the Qing fleet, had fallen into disrepair owing to the misappropriation of funds by the Qing Royal Court. By 1894, it was no longer an adequately armed warship. 定遠's sister ship, the 鎮遠ZhenYuan was captured near 威海衛 by the Japanese and conscripted into 17 years of service before being scrapped and sold in 1912. Some remaining parts were returned to China in 1947.
To end the war, a peace treaty must be agreed upon by both sides. On March 23, 1895, Japan attacked the Pescadores Islands [with Togo Heihachiro playing a crucial role] to put pressure on the negotiation. The meetings took place in a restaurant 春帆楼 in下関, also known as 馬關, in 山口Yamaguchi Prefecture. And the first part of the treaty reads as follows:


大日本帝国全権 伊藤博文首相、陸奥宗光外相
大清帝国全権  李鴻章
明治28(1895)年4月17日 調印
明治28(1895)年4月20日 批准


Essentially, the Shimonoseki Treaty下関条約 [or 馬關條約 in Chinese] stipulates:

1. 清朝の朝鮮に対する「宗主権」放棄(朝鮮独立の承認)[that the Qing Court recognize the independence of Korea]
2. 遼東半島・台湾・澎湖諸島の割譲 [that Liaotung Peninsula, Taiwan and the Pescadores be ceded to Japan]
3. 庫平銀(賠償金), 2億両(テール, 約3億円)の支払 [that Japan be compensated for 200 million silver taels or about 300 million Japanese Yen]
4. 新通商条約の締結と最恵国待遇条款 [that Japan be granted the most favored status in a new commercial trade treaty]
5. 沙市・重慶・蘇州・杭州の開市・開港 [that several named ports be opened for trade]
6. 条約履行の担保として山東半島の威海衛の一時占領 [that the port city 威海衛 be temporarily occupied by Japan to guarantee the execution of the peace treaty]

So, there it was, in Article 2: Taiwan and PengHu would henceforth become part of Japan.

The reaction in Taiwan? To put it mildly, it was one of disbelief with an overwhelming sense of betrayal. On May 29, 1895, Japanese forces landed in northern Taiwan ready for the occupation. They ran into fierce Taiwanese resistance which was to last for 5 months until all major cities were lost. It was not until 50 years later, in 1945, when another war nullified the treaty.

2009年10月10日 星期六

Danshui History Museum

Special Sino-French War Exhibition (with English translation)
117 Chung Cheng Road, Danshui

淡水鎮中正路 117 號

西仔反125周年紀念 1884 - 2009

"西仔反" is Taiwanese for "the 'revolt or uprising' of the French". An outdoor re-enactment/dramatization is scheduled for

October 10/11: 2009 臺北縣淡水藝術舞動街坊~環境劇場西仔反傳說
Place: 淡水滬尾砲台公園 (Danshui Hobe Fort Park)
Program: 由金枝演社擔任編導,淡水地方藝術團隊和民眾協助,紀念清法戰爭125週年,從滬尾之役還原清法戰爭的地理空間及路線,結合古戰場景觀、歷史、傳說,用戲劇創作的大型戶外環境劇場,作為本活動特色及主軸,代表淡水特有的藝術饗宴。

Rehearsals have been conducted:

And here is the show:

2009年10月4日 星期日


Tsing Tao (Qing Dao 青島) is famous for its German beer, the Tsingtao lager [left]. The Germans invaded this beautiful city in ShanTung (山東) on Nov 20, 1897, under the guise of a military exercise. They occupied strategic locations and trained their guns on the Qing army gun batteries and menacingly at the military headquarters. And the high official in charge of defending the city was none other than General Zhang Gao-Yuan章高元總兵 - of the Battle of Fisherman's Wharf fame.

A brief biography of General Zhang states:

"章高元,字鼎臣,安徽合肥人。早年入淮軍,隸劉銘傳部,參加鎮壓太平軍和捻軍起義,累遷至副將擢總兵,賜號奇車巴圖魯。後隨劉銘傳戍守台灣,“平日認真操練,臨敵尤能奮不顧身”。一八八四年,法軍入侵台灣,章高元奉劉銘傳之命,往援滬尾(今淡水)。在基隆 [註: 應為基隆及淡水] 戰役中奮勇作戰,榮立戰功,更勇號年昌阿巴圖魯,擢登萊青鎮總兵,駐守山東半島。"

Essentially, Zhang was from An-Huei, a member of the Huai Army and a trusted lieutenant of Liu Ming Ch'uan. During the Sino-French war, he was ordered by Liu to come from the mainland to defend Northern Taiwan. He was dispatched posthaste to Danshui, from Keelung, when the French intention of attacking Danshui became clear. At the Battle of Fisherman's Wharf, in a pincer movement, his infantrymen together with those commanded by Sun Kai-Hua defeated the 5 Fusilier Marin companies. He was later promoted and sent to Tsing Tao to be the commander of the regional Qing Army. In the battle field, his nickname was 章迂子 or Foolish Zhang because he often braved flying bullets and personally led hand to hand combats. He had distinguished himself in several battles in Liáodōng Peninsula during the Sino-Japanese war of 1894-5.

When the Germans came calling, Zhang frantically telegraphed the General Headquarters in HeBei and ShanTung for instructions and was ordered absolutely not to fight back, citing "敵情雖橫,清廷決不動兵". On Nov 25, he was captured by the Germans. After the almost routine signing of treaties in that humiliating era, the Qing Court ceded Tsing Tao and 膠州灣Jiaozhou Bay to the Germans who then proceeded to transform the city into a German one (the colonial rule lasted until 1914). This had included the building of a beer brewery which is now the supplier of the world-renowned Tsing Tao Beer.

After the release, Zhang was so anguished by his being held back unable to fight off the invaders for even once that he became stone-deaf. He refused (or avoided) further assignments and died in Nanking in 1900 at age 71.

The photo here is Zhang Gao-Yuan's headquarters in Tsing Tao, taken shortly after it was occupied by the Germans. It shows German soldiers posing at its front entrance.

2009年9月28日 星期一

A small world after all

It is now clear, the internet is actually a time machine. It in fact does transcend time and space.

On this 1944/5 map, you can see the Danshui Public Hall - managed by Mr Hirokawa's grandma. A picture of this Hall, previously posted on the net, has led to the discovery that Mr Hirokawa's house was diagonally across the street from Eyedoc's house, which in turn was a stone's throw from Cho-san's house. And the Public Hall and the post office nearby were both built by Cho-san's dad.

All three are Tamsui-lang, born and raised, now residing away from Danshui. All have gone back to visit albeit at different times. And yet, through the net (and the net only), old pictures and/or common memories are exchanged and shared. We have even found that at least two older Danshui-ren were students of Mr Hirokawa's father at Danshui Public School, class of 1939.

Indeed, "it's a small world after all".

There is more: Mr Hirokawa also remembers being treated for stomach ailments by a local medical doctor. And a map, drawn from memory by his father, shows Japanese small shops dotting the whole length of the now Chung Cheng Road. Cho-san also recalls a very popular noodle shop.

2009年9月21日 星期一

Grumman Fighter

by Cho-San

The full-scale air raid on Formosa by the task force of the United States has begun in the morning of October 12, 1944. I was a 6th grader at the Showa elementary school昭和公学校. The first wave of the formations reached Karenkou花蓮港 just after we had finished our late breakfast; so it must be around 9:30 or 10:00AM. Hearing the strange engine sound, I knew immediately that they were here finally. We ran to the shelter at once. For the whole day, the air raid by the waves of Hellcats continued endlessly. Attacked by bombing and machine gun sweepings, the citizens had experienced the fears of the air raid for the first time and what they could do was nothing but to beg for the help from Buddha and kept chanting the prayer.

Around noontime, the impatient people were already hand carrying all they could and started escaping to the countryside by trains. The trains that ran between the gaps of raiding were attacked while stopping at the Keikou Station渓口駅. Many were killed and more were injured by the sweeps of the machine gun fire from the Hellcats. I was not aware of the incident neither had knowledge that my classmate, Chen陳 was in the trains until received an E-mail from other classmate recently. After the attack, Chen successfully escaped to Houlin鳳林 on foot and was saved by a stranger, so ended the unfortunate story happily.

Not knowing the attack on trains, we went to the station while the Americans had finished a day’s work and were enjoying their dinners with favorite steaks. The trains were all fully occupied and we had to climb in through the windows and standing on feet all night long to reach our destination.

We had no way of knowing then that it was the beginning of the long evacuation period that we had to bear through until the end of war, August 15, 1945. We have read many stories written by the authors who are on the victims’ side, but not too many or none at all from attackers’ side. It was a surprise when I read an article in the Air Classic magazine recently. The story was about a pilot who had participated in the campaign of attacking Taiwan. I thought it was a good idea to translate part of the story into Japanese (then to English later) for our classmates so that we can compare the different viewpoints of the participants on both sides.

“Hellcat Ace in a day”, November 2003 issue was the story describing how Charlie Mallory became an Ace in a day. When the Navy came to West Virginia University in order to recruit Aviation Cadets, just few days after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Mallory volunteered at once and finished his training successfully to become a Naval Aviator in January 1943. Mallory was then sent to light carrier USS Monterey as a dive-bomber pilot. He met Gerald Ford who later became the President of the United States. Luckily, he also met Cecil Harris who was a combat veteran with a total of 23 aerial victories. “I credit most of my success as a fighter pilot to the rigorous training of Harris,” Mallory said afterward, “he made me appreciate that I was part of the team.” Later, Mallory was transferred to USS Intrepid as a fighter pilot and left Hawaii on August 16, 1944. It was on September 21 that day Mallory had destroyed 5 Japanese enemy plans while on the mission for photo taking and became an “Ace-in-a-day.”

As one of the 24 high-speed aircraft carriers, Intrepid was commissioned in 1943. She suffered from the torpedo attack the next year and just has finished the repair works at San Francisco, and carrying a full load of Grumman Hellcat F6F-5 when Mallory boarded in Hawaii in August. Intrepid was also called the “untouchable” since she recovered and joined the battle again and again after many Japanese attacks. After serving in the navy for 31 years, she finally retired. Luckily, instead of being scrapped, she was converted as the Air and Sea Museum and now greeting the spectators at New York harbor.

The Grumman fighter F6F was nicknamed the Hellcat when unveiled to the world for the first time in August 1943, with a maximum speed of 380 MPH and equipped with six 13mm cannons. Created as the direct response to the Mitsubishi built Zero-fighter, Hellcat had established the highest kill ratio of 5156/270 at the end of war.

Commanded by John McCain Sr., the grandfather of the defeated presidential candidate, the attack on Formosa continued for 3 days, starting on October 12, 1944. The allocated area for Intrepid was northern Taiwan, the targets were Shinchiku新竹 air base, and the seaplane base located in Tamsui淡水, which happened to be my hometown. I wonder where Mr. Iwamoto 岩本was when Charlie was attacking the seaplane base. I met Mr. Iwamoto in the States years later, and he claimed that he was a Japanese Zero fighter pilot stationed at Tamsui air base.

The followings are condensed from Mallory’s diary: As expected the anti-aircraft fires were heavy. Suddenly, 4 Tojos東條 showed up and started coming behind us. After shaking the Tojos loose, I saw 3 attacking Beatley and Picken. I shot down the one chasing Beatley. Then together we shot the one chasing Picken until Beatley killed it. When we started home, the third one showed up, we chased it all over the northern part of island and finally I got it with the only remaining gun. We met the fourth one on the way home at 10 miles off Karenkou at the sea. We realized he was the best one at once. He flow low from sea to land and escaped to a valley. Beatley and I shot alternatively at the enemy plan until Beatley run out of ammunitions. While I was leading, I knew that he would come up sooner or later and followed him tightly. As expected at the end of valley he did pulling up and exposed in front, and I finished the enemy plane with my last round of ammunition.

A 12 year-old boy who ran for his life from the air raid and a pilot who flew the Hellcat at age 24 have crossed at the same spot once in their life times. It is strange that 64 years later, the boy is retired in California, and so is the Ace who seemed to have retreated to the other side of the States - at least I thought so, but was not sure.

Did not hear from Mr. Mallory since I wrote him on April 15, 2004, I started wondering what appended to him or I might have made a mistake by sending the letter to a wrong address. My question was not answered until last week when I received a voice mail, left by Mr. Mark Pieschke, the chairperson of the AFAA. To my surprise, Mark said that Charlie was invited as a guest speaker for the American Fighter Aces Association Convention 2008 in Moffett federal field in Sunnyvale, CA near S.F. on Veterans Day weekend. He asked if I was interested to participate, and also mentioned that my phone number was from Charlie.

Indeed, Charlie Mallory, the Ace is still very alive and full of zip at his age, and my letter was mailed to the right address. After so many years, my questions were finally answered.

2009年9月13日 星期日

Danshui Golf Club 淡水球埔

This striking picture, showing the entry way to Danshui Golf Club 淡水球埔, is from the "VS de Beausset Collection", donated by the de Beaussets to the Library of National Taiwan University in 2006. Mr de Beausset was a leading figure in US Aid to Taiwan between 1950 and 1957. (See also here.)

The fate of the two ishidoro (石灯籠 stone lanterns) in front of the torii is unclear. They might have been removed and preserved in Danshui 行忠堂 (not 行忠廟) [left, 行忠堂 in the background] - together with other lanterns relocated from Tansui Jinja. The torii had also disappeared.

Danshui Golf Club was established in 1919 on the very site where the barracks of the Hobe (Huwei) Fort were originally located. It was the first golfing facility in Taiwan starting with 六洞球道 with more added later.

[Right: Bank of Taiwan Danshui Branch, opened on Oct 2, 1899.]

The Golf Club was first proposed by the President of the Bank of Taiwan 櫻井欽太郎 and the Chief of Danshui Customs Office 原鶴次郎 with the enthusiastic support of the then Vice Governor General 下村宏. They were able to raise funds, lease the land from the Japanese Army and start construction in Aug, 1918. On June 1 of the following year, 下村 hit the first ball and declared the Club open for business. The opening ceremony, amidst great fanfare, was attended by 10 high officials from the Governor General's Office and 30+ due-paying members. The latter included locals 黃東茂 (五舍), 許丙 and 洪以南.

Needless to say it was an ultra exclusive club catering to the rich and the powerful. Most locals kept a healthy distance except the curious kids. Some kids went there to retrieve wayward golf balls. While others, e.g., 陳清水 and 陳金獅, actually went on to become the first professional golf players during the 1920-30s.

[Left: a view of the Course circa 1920.]

In 1945, near the end of the Pacific War, to stave off a potential invasion by the US, anti-tank trenches were dug all over the Club which rendered the courses totally useless. After the war, at the suggestion of the US Military Assistance Advisory Group, re-building of 18 holes was started in 1952 and the Club gradually returned to its pre-war grandeur. In the further expansion of 1979, 27 holes were planned and construction finished in 1982. It has been one of the 50 premier golf courses in the World ever since.

Today, one can play 18 holes on discount Mondays for a greens fee of NT$ 2,730. The regular club membership fee is still stratospheric, however.

2009年9月9日 星期三

A sliver of Japanese life in Danshui

This is or was the 淡水神社Tansui Jinja built in 1939. Which was dismantled in 1951 as were most of the 420 jinjas in Taiwan. This site was rebuilt as 台北縣忠烈祠 in 1968. The original gate 鳥居torii was torn down and a Chinese style monument-gate牌樓 erected in its place in 1990. And the stone lanterns (around 20 of them) were salvaged and relocated to 淡水鎮行忠堂.

[Left: 昭和14年6月2日台灣日日新報 reporting the celebration of Tansui Jinja dedication. Click to enlarge.]

At the last stage of the Pacific War, 淡水神社 was the site for many public rallies. It was also used to instill patriotism and to prepare high school students (and others) for Japanization. The history of Tam-Kang High School records the following (quoted from here):

"...新的淡水神社位於油車口,供奉天照大神 (日本的黃帝)、明治天皇以及征台的軍神能久親王。海軍墓地在今第一公墓上方,是紀念1895年在淡水港殉國的九名日本海軍,他們的事蹟被視為日本軍魂的象徵,除了例行隆重的祭祀外,並鼓舞學生平時自願去打掃環境。無數次往祭海軍墓地,當全校師生的行列通過淡水街頭時,這支軍容壯盛,訓練有素,精神煥發的隊伍,都讓民眾留下深刻的印象。"

"到 了太乎洋戰爭後,隨著戰況的發展,學校更加強使學生做皇民的信念和決心,每週有板[一世]校長親自主持「必勝鍊成會」,學生也組成「奉公隊」到校外協助民防,救災 演習。到了寒暑假學生還得下鄉參與「勤勞奉仕」,常時的中學生大都前往宜蘭建機場,部份到台北附近築路和煤礦礦坑工作。而淡中較特別的是被分派往水硯頭建 「電探」(雷達) 基地,白日做工,夜宿今水源國小,極為辛苦。到了戰爭末期,日人更將學年由五年縮為四年,以便學生及早投入戰場。隨著戰線的逼近,1945年8月15日,有板校長和學生在淡中聽到昭和天皇的「玉音放送」,得知日本已戰敗無條件投降,此舉也等於宣佈淡江中學日人治校的時代結束。"

The other older jinja in Danshui, 淡水稻荷社 would have been destroyed around the same time as the others, i.e., 1951, leaving only the foundation. Next to it, the 淡水公會堂, occupied by Air Force personnel after 1949, was burned down soon after (but probably not before the destruction of 稻荷社). This explains what had happened to these two buildings.

There were at least two very well-known Japanese artists associated with Danshui: 木下靜涯 (1889-1988) who became a long-time resident, 24 years at 三層厝26番地 (left: a 日盛 by Mr Kinoshita). He specialized in traditional brush-painting and had accepted quite a number of Taiwanese students. And 大久保作次郎 (1890-1973) of Osaka, an oil-painter who spent a few months working out of the 公會堂 and elsewhere in Taiwan (right: 庭の木蔭 by Mr Ookubo).

These sites plus Danshui Golf Course, the Danshui Beach, the Residence of the Customs chief, and the public schools constituted the centers of activities of the Japanese residents of Danshui. After their repatriation in 1945/6, their lives in Danshui did not leave much behind, almost a total blank, in the history books. People's memories, for better or for worse, have survived, but they are gradually fading as well.

There are still some very rare physical reminders in Danshui. The house of one of the mayors of Danshui 多田榮吉, located on 馬偕街19號, is now being preserved (right). It is across the street from the old 淡水公會堂, on the way up to 文化國小Wen-Hua Public School.

Many Danshui-ren still remember this type of Japanese wooden houses, seen mostly in 砲臺埔 area. Another, located near 油車口 (left) was the residence of the then branch manger of the Bank of Taiwan.

Still others also remember their Japanese elementary and high school teachers. The 和楽園 at the 海水浴場 was owned and operated by a very nice Japanese lady. There was also a Japanese midwife who delivered Japanese and local babies alike. These were the known interactions between the Japanese and the locals. It was stand-offish on both sides with a bit of live-and-let-live mixed in, unless enforcement of laws or decrees were involved.

Some who went back to Japan seem to also remember Danshui. A blog worth visiting is 紺碧の海, posted by a Japanese gentleman born in Danshui (in 1940), in which life in Danshui in the 40s is described.

2009年9月6日 星期日

客家人 Hakka in Danshui

Officially, this is 鄞山寺 (left). To the locals, it is simply the 鄧公廟. The deity in residence is actually 定光佛. 定光 and 鄧公 are pronounced the same in Hoklo. So there was no Mr Deng but who's counting. Hakka's own guardian 定光佛 was a high-priest-monk during the Song Dynasty. His original name was 鄭自嚴, a Hoklo who had spent a life-time ministering the 汀州 Hakkas.

This temple, first proposed by 張鳴岡, was built in 1822-23 by the Hakka residents of Danshui (with contribution from other Hakkas in northern Taiwan, particularly 三芝 and 石門), on a parcel of land donated by two Luo羅 brothers, also Hakka. Inside the complex, there was accommodation, known as 汀州會館 (Ting-Chow Meeting Place), for visiting Hakkas.

These Hakkas migrated from Western Fujian, 汀州鄞江. Presumably the Hakkas in Danshui spoke 汀州客家話. Dr George Leslie Mackay must have met and preached to some, yet after 20 years he had never mastered the Hakka language. In fact, he had decided not to learn it because he was convinced that the Hakkas would be assimilated into the general population and the language lost. He might have been right, but only in Danshui. No one seems to recall Hakka being spoken in town in recent years. Of course, when it comes to the mother tongue, all bets are off. The Hakka language elsewhere has survived more or less intact and is enjoying the same Peh-oe-ji revival as the Hoklo these days.

There also have been transient Hakkas. The 500 Hakka Hillmen who arrived in Danshui in September, 1884, did take a very active part in the battle of Fisherman's Wharf. Oddly, no casualties were ever reported. And whether the same 500 men later went on to fight the French in Keelung also remains unclear. It seems that the ones fighting in Danshui were recruited from San-shia area, whereas those in Keelung, from Hsin-Chu. There were probably free to join up in each other's camp anyway.

The Hakkas of course had settled in different parts of Taiwan. On the left is a map made by early Swiss missionaries (date unknown) showing where the Hakkas were (click to enlarge). Danshui was not among the major settlements, however.

It is unknown when the 汀州 Hakkas arrived in Danshui and in what number. Although, like most Hoklo families, the info would have been recorded in Hakka family and clan histories which are usually still accessible. Generically, all Hakkas were from 汀州. Most, however, moved on to other settlements in, e.g., Canton. 汀州 Hakkas were those who had chosen to stay.

In 1688, a Hakka infantry battalion (about 100 men) was dispatched from Guangdong to fight the last of the 明鄭Ming-Cheng (東寧王朝 - Koxinga et al) army in Taiwan. These soldiers stayed on after 4 years of service, who latter moved to Pintung and intermarried with the Pinpuhuan there. In 1721-2, the Hakkas sided with the Qing and had put down a large-scale revolt by the Hoklos. That had precipitated the lasting distrust and animosity. In 1737, large numbers of Hakkas from Guangdong arrived and settled in Miaoli. This was 50 years after the ban on Cantonese migration instituted after the Qing defeated the Ming-Cheng Dynasty. The victorious Qing general cum Ming-Cheng turncoat Shi-Lang施琅 deemed the Cantonese too rebellious to be allowed in. This ban also applied to the Hakkas.

Danshui had its share of ethnic (more accurately gang-related) conflicts during the Qing rule, but all amongst the Hoklo people themselves. The Hakkas had wisely stayed out and become invisible. The French invasion of Danshui actually put a stop to these bloody conflicts when the Hoklos suddenly realized that unity equaled survival.

2009年9月3日 星期四

Pe̍h-ōe-jī 白話字

白話字 (pronounced Peh-oe-ji in Hoklo) is the script of vernacular speech, in contrast to the formal, stylized and far more condensed WenYen Wen 文言文 in Chinese writing. Because the Hoklo spoken language often lacks corresponding Han characters 漢字, one of the ways of writing it is to use phonetics, for example, the Roman alphabet. This, however, never really gained wide acceptance in Taiwan except in the churches.

The Bible used in Danshui Presbyterian Church is printed in Romanized Hoklo, for example.

[Top left]: This is the first church monthly and the first ever newspaper written in Peh-oe-ji published by Rev Thomas Barclay (1849-1935). Barclay, the 5th missionary from the Presbyterian Church of England, arrived in Tainan in 1875 from Glasgow. He oversaw the translation of the Bible into Hoklo using the Poe-oe-ji alphabet - first the New Testament in 1916 and then the Old Testament in 1932. Both are still in use today.

The news monthly headings read as follows:

Taiwan Prefecture-City Church Newspaper
GuanXu Year 17, the 3rd Month
Page 71
and the article title Siau-sit = news or 消息.

The use of Taiwanese dialects方言was discouraged during the Japanese colonial rule, a policy that ironically had continued after Taiwan was returned to China in 1945. In 1957, the government decreed that all preaching must be conducted in Mandarin Chinese. Sin Iok新約, the Romanized Hoklo New Testament was even seized at one point. Political reforms have since reversed the mono-linguistic policy.

Over the years, while the national language policy was quite effectively enforced through the education systems, the ban on the mother tongue was never successful. The Presbyterian Church in Danshui in fact has an uninterrupted history of Hoklo Bible use, for instance.

2009年8月31日 星期一


淡水公會堂 or Danshui Public Meeting Hall was somewhat of a mystery to the locals, possibly because this building was used exclusively by the elite, mostly Japanese, during the early Japanese colonial era. It was not a true "public" forum until perhaps the early 1940s when the Pacific War raged on and local supports were needed.

According to the history of Tam-Kang High School [see http://dns.tksh.tpc.edu.tw/historyhouse/p-6-11.htm]:

"...淡水稅關長成為淡水層級最高的官員,加上官署的優越位置和行政資源。淡水稅關長成為淡水官方儀式,節慶、文化活動的中心。稅關官員組了「五十會俱樂部」和 地方官員、台銀和日本商社社員、地方士紳,主催了日治時代早期淡水的社會文化活動,如「淡水俱樂部」的組成、公會堂 ( 今文化中心 ) 和淡水海水浴場的建設等,甚至全台第一的台灣高爾夫球場,就是透過稅關和臺灣銀行社員穿針引線,而在淡水設立的。此時,埔頂的稅關舊官邸,自然就是淡水最浪漫的賓館了。" [Note: The residence of the chief of the Customs Office was across the street from the high school.]

The principal sponsors for the Meeting Hall were then the Chief of the Customs Office and the General Manager of the Bank of Taiwan (Danshui Branch) with the co-sponsorship of the Japanese officials and merchants, and the local gentry. The picture above shows 淡水公會堂 (both the Japanese and the western structures) which was managed by an older Japanese lady from 廣島. Its address was 台北州淡水街砲台埔 No 38.

Not seen in the picture, lateral to the western meeting hall were two shrines, 淡水稻荷社 and 淡水社 [砲台埔 No 28]. And according to this site:

"...根據昭和18 (1943) 年由臺灣總督府社會課編印的「臺灣に於ける神社及宗教」的記載,日治時期於台北州淡水郡淡水街淡水字砲臺埔二八番地ノ一建有「淡水稻荷社」[明治39 (1906) 年11月15日鎮座,社,祭神為倉稻魂命、猿田彥命、大宮女命,例祭日為每年的3月10日及10月10日],但該社現址不詳..."

淡水社, established in 1911, was smaller in size but higher in rank than 淡水稻荷社. It was the predecessor to 淡水神社 (dedicated in 1939).

According to another site: ''... 公會堂是淡水最早的「文化中心」,它是由淡水稅關日本官吏的「五十會俱樂部」以及日商「在淡水商船會社俱樂部」共組成俱樂部後,為推動文化休閒所建的活動場所。於1909年4月完工使用,提供了聯誼、進修、撞球、棋藝、食事、圖書新聞閱覽和藝文活動的場所。是淡水最著名的賞景點,昔日不少風景照和畫作都得以此。可惜戰後荒廢倒塌,改建今日文化大樓時居然面壁背著「山光水色」。"

The general activities were indeed culturally oriented. However, the opening date of the building was put at April, 1909, close to that of the 淡水稻荷社 (1906), but very different from the ones listed in the Danshui town history:
1918: 興建淡水公會堂 (即今淡水文化大樓所在地)。
1928: 八月一日,淡水公會堂落成。

Most likely, the construction had been on and off or in different stages; in fact the two buildings were quite different in both style and construction.

In any case, the meeting hall did host art exhibitions, for example:
1933: 11月3日,春陽會會員山崎省三個展於淡水公會堂。
1934: 1月13-15日,淡水趣味會木下靜涯等三人主辦,昭和新報分社後援,盆栽展覽會於淡水公會堂。

Also, the chief Shindo priest of 淡水神社 was 小笠原清禧. One of the main benefactors of the 神社 was 三卷俊夫. One of the principals of 滬尾公學校 was 小竹德吉. And the mayors of Danshui淡水街街長 included 多田榮吉, 鳥井勝治, 中原薰, and 小副川猛. These are the few known Japanese names associated with Danshui around that period.

And what had happened to the two buildings? By the 1950s, the western-style meeting hall was left with only an empty shell, 4 walls with a collapsed steel beam, and the other building had also disappeared. Some locals recall the destruction of the meeting hall by fire (not from neglect and disuse as described in one of the quotes above). This site is now occupied by 淡水文化大樓; both 稻荷社 and 淡水社 were long gone.

Anyone out there who knows more about 淡水公會堂,
淡水稻荷社, or 淡水社, please leave your comments.

Here is more, from a long-time Danshui resident: After 1949,
淡水公會堂 was turned into a rooming house for the Air Force personnel and their families. The seaplane port, or more accurately the weather station at the airport was run by this group. 公會堂 was indeed burned down in the 50s (cause unknown). And the families were relocated to Taipei. However, both 淡水稻荷社 and 淡水社 had already disappeared by that time. Most likely both of which, as fundamental religious sites of Japan, were demolished in 1945 or soon after.

2009年8月30日 星期日

Another battle scene

點石齋畫報 (left), a news pictorial first published in Shanghai in 1884, reported the Battle of Fisherman's Wharf with a drawing detailing the defense setup of Danshui. This reproduction (below) is a bit fuzzy; nonetheless, the heavy reinforcement at the mouth of the Danshui River still can be clearly seen. It shows several rows of boats or ships blocking the entry into Danshui River, far more complicated than the "Barrage" line on the French map shown at the beginning of this blog. We already know there were 10 mines strung across the River - this alone would have been too simplistic for a defense. Indeed the Qing military knew exactly what they were doing. It would not have been possible for the French fleet to blast their way through, hence the landing of the 600 fusiliers marins on the beaches at Fisherman's Wharf on Oct 8, 1884. The French marched into an area dense with 林投 trees and 黃槿 bushes, both quite thorny, and the progress further slowed by rifle shots from the well-hidden Qing infantrymen. Most locals even now are still surprised that the French had picked this area to do battle. The same vegetations are still there toady.

On shore, there are also locations of the gun batteries and military camps complete with other landmarks. In the Danshui Harbor, two large ships were trapped, one the British gunboat Cockchafer and the other the No 13 Qing transport ship (the 萬年清號). The French fleet is shown on the left ready to pounce.

2009年8月28日 星期五

Bricks of Danshui

[An 1899 map of northern Taiwan detailing all towns, big and small, located between Danshui and Keelung; click to enlarge.]

The navigational difficulty of Danshui River and Harbor owing to the sandy deposits has a long history. The following is quoted from Colquhoun, A.R., and J.H. Stewart-Lockhart. "A sketch of Formosa." The China Review (1885): 161-207:

"The harbour [left: an 1893 French map of Danshui Harbor, click to enlarge] is really formed by the debouchure of numerous streams rising in the mountains in various directions, and at distances varying from twenty to seventy miles from the mouth. The main branch comes from the south-east, but another important one rises in the north-east, in the immediate neighbourhood of Keelung, a few miles to the south, on the southern side of a hill-pass, the upper reaches being covered with fierce rapids. These streams flow towards Mêngka, called also Bangka or Banca, where they form a junction, some fifteen miles from the sea, into which they empty themselves. Large quantities of silt are brought down by the river, especially when swollen by heavy rains, the result being a troublesome bank in the middle of the river, and the narrow bar at the entrance, on which the sea at times breaks with great violence. A dangerous surf rises with a fresh breeze, and vessels cannot count on entering, or once within, on leaving the port. In fine weather and at high tide, coasting steamers of small draught can enter, but vessels of any considerable draught do not venture in, on account of the insufficient depth, and the surf-swell. The anchorage has shifted from the southern side, where it was within the memory of native residents, to the northern bank. This has been generally attributed to the wholesale deposit of ballast from junks in the river, never interfered with by the Chinese officials."

Apparently the authors did not realize the "wholesale deposit of ballast..." was in fact a defense against the French fleet consisting of stone-laden ships sunken on order of Liu Ming Ch'uan and later reinforced by Sun Kai-Hua.

The "ballast from junks" was actually red bricks used to stabilize small transport ships sailing across the often stormy Taiwan Strait from China. The bricks were a valuable commodity not to be discarded haphazardly as implicated in the above quote. Once arriving in Danshui, the bricks were sold locally. Many houses in Danshui were constructed with these ballast bricks and some still can be seen today. They are not to be confused with the bricks for the famed Fort San Domingo. The latter were of a different constitution; the Dutch had them shipped in from Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia).

And of course, in later days, bricks were produced in Taiwan by 台灣煉瓦株式會社 (Taiwan Renga Co) and 撒木耳煉瓦會社 (Samuel and Samuel Co) - the bricks were marked with TR and S (or reversed S), respectively.

Danshui Presbyterian Church, on the other hand, was built with
30,000 "high-quality" bricks imported from Amoy, possibly the same type of bricks used previously in the construction of the villa of oil tycoon 黃東茂. The 黃 residence was located in the area marked "Maisons européennes" in the lower right corner of the French map (see above). The "Europeans" refers to John Dodd and Dr Mackay's missionary colleagues. This area was vacated for the construction of the tiny seaplane airport in 1939. This international airport was bombed on Oct 12, 1944, by the Americans, three years after it opened for business.

黃東茂, nicknamed 五舍 (for 五少爺) was one of the three most wealthy locals of his time (the other two: 許丙 and 洪以南). Only they could afford to join the Danshui Golf Club.

2009年8月26日 星期三

大江大海 by Lung Ying-Tai

This book, published today (Aug 26), is subtitled "1949". It actually also covers a forgotten period of 1944/5-1949 in Taiwan history. It is a must-read for those interested in the modern history of this Treasured Island. For more details, see http://blog.udn.com/our1949/3242466

2009年8月25日 星期二

Danshui Presbyterian Church

For those who have never been to Danshui, a virtual tour of the Presbyterian Church and the Mackay Clinic is available here:

The many steps leading up to the main hall were (probably still are) pretty forbidding to little kids who could of course choose to stay on the ground level and attend outdoor Sunday School instead.

In the main hall, there is this famous Yamaha organ from 1909, preserved in the church when it was re-built in 1932. Also, the original bell is now on the ground of the kindergarten. In its heyday, tolling of the bell could be heard all the way across the river in Bali. See here for more details.

And the construction history of the two buildings:

Master 洪泉"司" (洪仔泉) worked with Dr Mackay and built the Mackay Clinic in 1879 (洪 later also built the Oxford College and the old Mackay Residence).

The Church was designed by Dr Mackay's son 偕叡廉 and built in 1932 by Master 樹"司", i.e., 黃阿樹, son-in-law of 洪仔泉.

樹司 had also constructed several buildings in Tamkang High School and Tamsui Girls' High, e.g., the 姑娘樓, 八角塔, and 體育館. And the designers of these buildings also included Rev 吳威廉 (William Gauld, a mathematician) and Rev 羅虔益 (Kenneth W. Dowie, an engineer). Many who had worked with the 洪 father- and son-in-law team later became successful builders and contractors themselves.