2010年8月29日 星期日

The Tung-kang Incident 東港事件

With materials provided by Mr R Huang

Most people in Taiwan know about the 228 Incident. It has become a political point of contention in recent years. The West also has learned about it from George H Kerr (1911-1987) through his book, Formosa Betrayed.

It must be noted, however, that the history of modern Taiwan does not begin solely with this incident of 1947. Sadly, because of the White Terror, the Taiwanese have chosen to remain silent and the history of 1941-45 has gradually faded from the collective memory. In fact, very few now know what had transpired in the Tung-kang Incident 東港事件.

The better-known 東港事件 or 特高事件 was one of the 4 major political persecutions of the Takao Taiwanese by the Japanese Colonial Gov't, collectively known as 高雄州不逞陰謀事件. This Incident was preceded by the 鳳山事件, followed by 旗山事件 and 旗後事件. In all, 4-500 of the Taiwan leadership elites were imprisoned, severely or fatally tortured, and some sentenced to death.

特高, short for 特别高等警察 Special high-command police, was the secret police unit created in the French/German mode in 1911. It was directly under the Ministry of the Interior. Its main mission was to protect the emperor from potential assassination by communists and anarchists. Taiwan, under the colonial rule, was a police state, much more so than mainland Japan and Korea, the latter was then also under the Japanese colonial rule. And the Special Police Unit went wildly out of control in Taiwan in an attempt to stamp out the Chinese nationalism of the Taiwanese who began to realize that Japan was losing the war and anticipated a reunification with China. The Japanese colonial gov't would not tolerate the increasing Taiwanese political activism and sought to suppress this tiny opposition group. Unfortunately, they had targeted innocent citizens. What followed were the four incidents all occurring in 高雄州Takao Prefecture:

(1) 鳳山事件 [Feng-shan Incident]: This incident took place in 1941 in 林園鄉. It started by a Japanese policeman 櫻井勇 and his informer (a certain 蘇) seeking revenge that eventually spread like a wild fire. 櫻井 was initially stationed in 林園鄉. Together with his informer, they terrorized the residents who complained to their superiors. 櫻井 was charged with corruption and transferred to Pintung and 蘇 went to jail for being his cohort. They soon hatched a plot to take revenge on the people of 林園鄉. The opportunity presented itself when first in June, 1941, at a lunch gathering, a 黃允南 argued heatedly with 黃和順 over the misdeeds of 櫻井. And on Aug 25 when 黃允南 told others that "we will soon see the light" referring to Japan's losing the war, it was promptly reported by 黃和順 to "保正"黃水香. The latter filed a false report claiming that 黃允南 was organizing a revolt. 櫻井 forwarded the report to 鳳山 County police which started a surveillance on 黃允南 and his associates. The county police then submitted a report to the special police and on Nov 8, 22 people were seized and imprisoned. Three more waves of arrests were to follow, the last one on April 24, 1942, netting more than 50 that included Dr 吳海水, Dr 莊媽江, 蘇泰山, and 李元平. 吳海水 was a physician, hardly an armed revolutionary. His only "crime" might have been helping 林獻堂 and 蔣渭水 in founding the 台灣文化協會Taiwan Cultural Association, a literary club known to espouse anti-Japan views. He was sentenced to 15 years of prison. Many others were tortured to death refusing to admit the gratuitous guilt or implicate innocent others. The charges were all trumped up, there was simply no evidence of any organized revolt to support the landing of Chinese troops [who were nowhere to be found in any case].

(2) 東港事件: Unfortunately, the 鳳山事件 was to spill into the nearby 東港. The instigator was Takao-shu Special Police chief 仲井清一 (who was to meet an untimely death in 1945 when Japan surrendered). In Aug, 1942, based on the statement extracted from 黃本 and 張明色 after severe beatings, a famous lawyer Mr 歐清石 was incarcerated. The police action extended into 東港 with the detention of 陳江山, 陳月陣, 郭生章, 許明和, 趙榮讓, 洪雅, 張恨 - all from 東港街; 周慶豐 and 張朝輝 from 溪洲庄; 何寅 and 陳言 from 新園庄; and 王永漳 from 茄苳庄. And because of the ready access to news from outside of Taiwan and the potential of collaborating with the Americans, the fishermen were also investigated and jailed. The most well-known was 伍主賀.

From Aug, 1942 to July, 1943, more than 200 were detained and in all, 4-500 were implicated - all based on essentially an imaginary crime against the state. Again, many were tortured to death. The special police was especially creative in the methodology of torture which could only be found in Hell as many survivors later recalled.

At this point, because of the cases threatened to involve all prominent Taiwanese whose cooperation was still needed, Governor General 長谷川清 [from 1940-44, succeeded by 安藤利吉] requested that the inquisitions be limited in scope and also sought for an early conclusion of these cases.

In a cruel twist of fate, Mr 歐清石 and Mr 洪雅 [for more, see here] were both killed when the American bombers bombed their prison in Taipei in 1945.

In addition, Dr 郭生[成]章's beloved son Dr 郭鴻文 [left - from R Huang] who returned from postgraduate studies in Japan to care for his father's patients, was intentionally drafted to serve as a military doctor in the IJN. Dr 郭鴻文and 40 other Taiwanese physicians perished in Cape St Jacques near Saigon on Jan 12, 1945 [for more, see here].

(3) 旗山事件 [Chi-shan Incident]: To imitate the successful prosecution in 東港, Special Police 寺奧徳三郎 of 旗山 played up a minor offense. In which some 4th graders of 溪州庄國民學校 wrote essays and innocently parroted the family views of the impending demise of the Japanese Empire. The teacher and the school principal apparently panicked and promptly alerted the Special Police who proceeded to investigate and found that a popular physician Dr 柯水發 often discussed contemporary affairs with his patients. On Nov 8, 1941, Dr 柯水發 together with 陳金秋, 郭萬成, 黃石松, et al, were imprisoned for allegedly plotting to aid the [imaginary] invading Chinese forces. In April, 1944, Dr 柯 was sentence to life imprisonment and his friends 陳秋明 to 15 years; 黃石松 10 years; and 劉萬成 7 years. Mr 黃石松 was to die in prison from torture.

(4) 旗後事件 [Chi-hou Incident]: In 1940, 王天賞 was elected the city senator of Takao who ran against several Japanese candidates. As a matter of personal principle, he refused an invitation to participate in the 皇民奉公會Council of Loyal Imperial Subjects, an organization for converting the Taiwanese to Imperial Japanese. This refusal caused him to be charged as a spy [for China] in 1944. And 20 some others were also implicated that included 潘致祥, 潘吉祥, 李水, and 陳福全. In prison, they could hear the American bombers flying overhead and the explosions from the dropped bombs. Unfortunately, Mr 李水 died in prison before the surrender of Japan.

Most these detainees were freed after the end of the war. Lessons from these incidents, however, were totally ignored and history repeated itself only 2 years later. In many ways, the 228 Incident paralleled the Tung-kang Incident. They were both fostered by circumstances, aided by collaborators-informers, and abetted by the authorities - the same deadly drama only under different titles, played by entirely different casts. It is also fair to say that the pent-up anger between 1941-45 finally erupted in 1947 when again, it was the quasi police that triggered the events.

In retrospect, the White Terror in fact started in 1941 if not earlier. Its grip was loosened somewhat in 1945, tightened again in 1947, and officially sanctioned in 1949. The Taiwanese became 噤若寒蟬 - as silent as a cicada in the wintertime - until 1987. And for 20+ years, the battle cry for the democratic movement has been a "respect human rights" and the 228 has become, since 1995, the only known incident of Taiwan's suppressed past.

For the falsely accused of the Takao/Kaohsiung Incidents of 1941-45 who paid such high personal and family prices for retaining the Chinese identity, however insignificant that was, it has all come unjustly to a naught. It has been deliberately neglected because there is nothing to gain for Taiwan politicians as the perpetrators had long ago returned to Japan. On humanity grounds alone, however, it is time now for the victims to be remembered, by ALL Taiwanese.

2010年8月22日 星期日

Cremation site in Keelung 1895

Losses of the IJA, when they invaded Taiwan in 1895, sometimes were etched in stone. The above is a small monument with the markings of "軍人軍屬火葬場之碑" [The cremation site of soldiers and military employees] located in Keelung基隆三坑龍安街198巷.

And on its back side, in classical Chinese:

"In Meiji Year 28 [i.e., 1895], the Taiwan campaign started. The enlistees, either perished in battles or died from diseases in Keelung totaled 2,156. Since the circumstances did not allow proper individual burials, the remains were cremated and the ashes returned to their hometowns. To commemorate completion of the recovery of the ashes, this monument is hereby erected. [Dated] November, 1895"

In the haste of the battles, it might have been difficult to differentiate between deaths in battle or from diseases. The record did show, for example, in the battle of Rui-fang瑞芳, 8 war dead and 6 deaths from sicknesses. It is unknown if this ratio applied to other battlefields but was probably very close.

Graves of the Japanese, including that of the military, actually scattered throughout Taiwan, some were quite old dating from 1895. In 1945, through civilian efforts, more than 14,000 sets of remains were recovered from abandoned Japanese graves. They were interred in three locations, Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung. Only one site is well-known, the 日本人遺骨安置所墓園 [below] established in 1961 on the grounds of 寶覺寺Bao-jue Temple in Taichung [健行路140號]. Many have come to pay their homage. Buddhism memorial services, open to the public, are conducted every year in early December.
A number of Japanese cemeteries were built over when waves of refugees arrived from China in 1949 who desperately needed housing. The best known is the 三板橋 Japanese Cemetery in Taipei. This settlement was demolished in 2000 and turned into a public park, the 林森公園; although the whereabouts of the 2-3,000 sets of remains are unclear [may have been moved to 三芝San-zhi, north of Danshui]. Another site, a Japanese military cemetery, in Tainan was built over by 實踐三村 [台南市北區西門路門段], now converted into 實踐國宅. The construction occasionally uncovered bones together with military swords.

2010年8月14日 星期六

The execution of French POWs 1884

It was often difficult to know how truthful the news reports were during the Sino-French war.

The above is an illustration [click to enlarge] published in 點石齋畫報Dian-shi-zhai Pictorials Issue 乙七 Page 50 (in the 9th Month of 1884). The artist was 吳友如Wu You-ru. In it, General 孫開華Sun Kai-hua, with subordinates, is seen presiding over the execution of French POWs in front of Ma-Zu Temple in Danshui - under a banner [upper left] marked with his name 孫.

And the caption reads: "...after a four-hour battle, the French lost. Our army were in hot pursuit. The French retreated to the beach and more than 100 of them drowned. A 3-striped officer was captured and a 7-striped officer was killed. More than 40 were decapitated and their heads hung high above the Ma-Zu Temple for all to see. Everyone is happy for justice has been done..."

In truth, this scene never occurred. To sell more copies, the Pictorials had played up Chinese nationalism and gave the readers what they wanted, i.e., a public execution.

And the French casualties in the caption might also be exaggerated. This appeared a common Chinese practice. Indeed, even Liu Ming-Ch'uan's own dispatch to the Qing Court stated that 25 were beheaded, more than 300 shot dead, and 70-80 drowned. These were very different from the French version. In La Terre Illustrée, under the heading of "Le mousse de l’amiral Courbet: Campagne de l’Indo-Chine - Fou-Tchéou et Formose", the young French sailor/author reported on Oct 15, 1884, that in the Danshui campaign, 17 were killed and 49 injured. The captured 3-striped officer was the already wounded Lieutenant Fountaine [the French map of the battle of Tamsui recorded the location where his body was abandoned], but no loss of a 7-striped officer was ever known [that would have been the fleet commander Rear Adm Sébastien Lespès who had lost the battle but not his life].

And the breakdown of the losses (ship name/dead/injured) was:

La Galissonnière/9/9; Triomphante/4/17; Duguay-Trouin/0/4; Château-Renaud/0/7; Tarn/2/4; Le Bayard/0/3; and d'Estaing/2/5. [Note: Le Bayard was still in Keelung, the numbers here are its Fusiliers marins re-assigned to assist in the attack of Danshui.]

Of course, we can't really be sure if the French deliberately played down their own losses to counter the Chinese claims.

These numbers games abound in history. A victory, unless Pyrrhic, means much greater enemy losses and the more lopsided the more glory. And unacceptable losses can always be blamed on diseases.

Modern-day Frenchmen may have already forgotten la Guerre Franco-Chinoise. The interest in this part of the history has long faded. And if anything at all, the attention would have been placed on the major battles fought in Tonkin, not China. For the people of Danshui, however, the memories of being at the receiving end of 2,000 shells and the sacrifice of the Chinese soldiers from Hunan remain fresh. And all important landmarks are still around us. In fact, celebration of the 126th anniversary of the victory at Fisherman's Wharf, organized by the Tamsui Township Office, is now underway.

2010年8月6日 星期五

Japanese coolies 1895

[A "civilian" Japanese coolie in rain gear, ca 1885. The pole was used to carry heavy burdens hanging on the two ends, and the whole load balanced on one shoulder.]

Japanese transport coolies who accompanied the troops to the front line as Military Laborers [軍夫] were supposedly non-combatants who simply provided the much needed logistical support. This was generally true; although they did volunteer to fight, e.g., in the previous sacking of 大連Port Arthur in Nov, 1894.

In fact, even though it was never mentioned in the history books, Japanese 軍夫 did commit violent acts against the Taiwanese during the Japanese invasion of Taiwan in 1895. James Wheeler Davidson (1872-1933) had hinted at such in his 1903 book "The Island of Formosa, Past and Present"; London and New York: Macmillan & co.; Yokohama [etc.] Kelly & Walsh, ld. [The full version can be found here: http://www.archive.org/details/islandofformosap00davi]

On pages 341-2, he wrote:

...It was not considered politic to depend entirely upon Chinese, although they had so far been found satisfactory; so Japanese coolies were brought into the island in numbers sufficient to completely equip the expedition. Japanese coolies accompanied the Imperial Body Guards [i.e., the 近衛師團] when they first arrived in the island, and whether they were then more carefully selected or were under better control I do not know; at all events they made no trouble. Also the soldiers of the guards seemed to be polite and gentlemanly, quiet, and good humored, and many well educated young fellows were among the privates. I was with them on and off for three months, and the conduct of officers and privates was such that I became enthusiastic over their general good qualities. On my return from the south, I found a decided change for the worse. Scenes of violence, approaching to ruffianism, took place in the streets. First, there appeared to be a deplorable change in the character of the soldiers. One saw among the new arrivals many who were rough, uncouth, insolent, and disagreeable. They, of course, formed but a small part of the whole; yet they were sufficient in number to lower the reputation of the service to which they belonged. Chinese are adepts in acts of foolishness, and often give cause for much irritability; yet there was but little forbearance shown them on the part of some of the soldiers. My experience with the Japanese troops in the field leads me distinctly to disbelieve the tales of wholesale slaughter reported by the Chinese, which occasionally reached the columns of foreign journals. The troops were then marching in large numbers under the control of their officers, who were educated and enlightened men. There is no doubt that occasional excesses occurred; for soldiers, whatever be their nationality, are far from immaculate; but the injury to Japanese reputation thus caused was small compared with that worked by the coolies, individual soldiers, and the lower class Japanese, in the thousand little acts of harshness and abuse towards the Chinese during the period of occupation. Much as I respect the Japanese people in general, I must admit that the coolie class, as I encountered them on the streets, in public places, etc., were inferior to the Chinese coolie of Formosa in general bearing, in cheerfulness, and in politeness to strangers. I say "of Formosa;" for I do not wish to convey the idea that the coolie, as seen in this island, was a representative of the large mass of laboring men in Japan; in fact, so striking was the difference that two English gentlemen, both of long experience with the Japanese of all classes, informed me that they could not have believed that there was material in Japan from which to draw such a class, had they not witnessed their ill-mannered conduct with their own eyes. The reader should also understand that the Chinese in Formosa have of late been very friendly to foreigners and are more liberal-minded than the mainland Chinese; in fact they show none of the hostility to strangers common in some districts of China. Therefore, it would not do to extend this comparison either to Japan or to China. On the part of the military administration, whose whole attention was directed towards the completion of the occupation of the island, but little attempt was made to curb the high spirits of the Japanese coolies. It is true that the poor fellows spent a good deal of their time in the various hospitals, and large numbers found a grave in the island, and we should perhaps take into consideration the arduous labor in which they were engaged in a country not their own; with but scanty food ; often forced to sleep in the open fields, and exposed to an intense heat to which they were not accustomed. Again the Chinese often thought they were ill-treated when they were not. Military rule is in many ways unpleasant, but is the same in that respect all over the world. If the necessity should again arise for the Japanese coolies to be made use of in military operations, some provision should be made to place them under more strict control than they were under in the expedition in question. One can scarcely blame the better class of Japanese for not having come to the island during the early days of the occupation. Quarters were few and miserable, and disease was attacking large numbers. During the latter part of August, the three government hospitals in the north of Taipeh, Kelung, and Teckcham [note: this was 竹塹, the present-day Hsin-chu] received nearly 2,000 patients, and deaths were occurring at an average rate of 18 per day...

For a somewhat pro-Japanese westerner, Davidson did tell us the ominous change in the quality of some soldiers and, more important, the "thousand little acts of harshness and abuse towards the Chinese [i.e., the Taiwanese]" perpetrated by the lowly coolies. To the Taiwanese, there was no distinction between Japanese coolies and soldiers; they were all ruffians, or worse. Davidson himself probably was unable to differentiate between these unruly coolies, individual soldiers, and lower-class Japanese. And apparently the high command did not attempt to reign them in, either. These criminal acts no doubt had further fueled the Taiwanese resistance when the Japanese marched and attacked south. Despite Davidson's initial disbelief, many villages in southern Taiwan even now still bear silent witnesses to the atrocities committed against their residents. In all, about 14,000 Chinese soldiers and 100,000 Taiwanese civilians perished in the 10-month 乙未 war.

In the end, Japanese coolies did not fare so well in the Taiwan campaign. They died in the hundreds from diseases [possibly cholera and the mosquito-borne malaria] and exposure. Their deaths were excluded from military casualty records and were apparently forgotten.

As if heeding Davidson's advice, the status of 軍夫 was elevated in the subsequent foreign wars to almost that of the modern combat service support. The indoctrination was for all Japanese nationals to sacrifice for their emperor; becoming a 軍夫 was therefore a great honor and an important opportunity for this cause.

Starting in 1942, Taiwanese youths were officially drafted to serve as 軍夫 [and also as 學徒兵 and the higher ranking 軍人 and 軍屬]. These were the well-educated men with most of them from middle-class families. And to drive home the point, many prominent Taiwanese were also asked to serve as 軍夫. The song, the Honorable Military Laborer 誉れの軍夫 (1938), adapted from a popular Taiwanese ballad 雨夜花 (1934), became the call to duty:

赤い襷に誉れの軍夫 うれし僕等は 日本の男
[Wearing red sashes as a honorable military laborer, we are the men of Japan]
君にささげた男の命 何で惜しかろ 御国の為に
[I'll dedicate my life to the Emperor and unreservedly to the country]
進む敵陣ひらめく御旗 運べ弾丸 続けよ戦友よ
[Rushing into enemy lines waving the royal banners and transporting ammunition to my comrades]

寒い露営の 夜は更けわたり 夢に通うは 可愛い坊や
[Lying on the cold camping ground in the middle of the night dreaming about my loved ones]
花と散るなら 桜の花よ 父は召されて 誉れの軍夫
[If a flower is to wilt, let it be the cherry blossom - I call on my dear father, the honorable military laborer, to be so]

And they joined up in great numbers and were sent off to the Pacific War. Essentially, in less than 50 years, a whole generation of Taiwanese was transformed into loyal Japanese - only to be abandoned in 1947 when Japan revised its 戶籍法Household Registration Law that disowned non-Japanese nationals, including the Taiwanese. This generation now in their 80s is still with us today.

And the song 雨夜花 is still with us as well. The video below shows a recent rendition of the original, composed by Mr 鄧雨賢 (1906-1944) with lyrics by Mr 周添旺 (1910-1988), performed by 江蕙 and in the second part by Placido Domingo et al on Nov 28, 2002, in Taipei: