2012年4月29日 星期日

Compulsory public education

Graduation photo of the 14th Advanced Class (Class of 1939) of Tamsui Public School [front row, 4th from left was one of EyeDoc's cousins and 5th from left, husband of EyeDoc's aunt] (Courtesy of Mr N Hirokawa).

There were two reports prepared by the British Consul then stationed in Tamsui, dated 3/4/1940 and 6/17/1941, respectively, commenting on the public education reform in Taiwan. Quoted in part:

"The Japanese policy of assimilation demands as its ultimate aim that the Formosans shall not merely be loyal subjects of the Emperor, but that they should think, talk, dress and live in a manner indistinguishable from home-born Japanese. All Formosan students are expected to speak Japanese only, not merely in the classrooms, but in their private intercourse. By the use of such means it is hoped that Japanese will supplant Chinese as the language in daily use among the people; but obviously the aim cannot be achieved without universal compulsory education. This reform has been long delayed by financial stringency, and so recently as 1935 it was estimated that not more than 37 per cent of Formosan children went to school. The present figure [note: 1940] is unknown, but is still fall far short of the aim. Now, however, at least the intention has been declared of introducing the compulsory system as follows: --

"Primary" schools ("shogakko [note: 小學校]")--for Japanese children only--compulsion to be applied from the fiscal year 1941-42--period of attendance, 6 to 14 years of age.
"Public" schools ("kogakko [note: 公學校]")--for Formosans--compulsion to be applied from 1943--period of attendance, apparently from 6 to 12 years of age.

Children in the "savage" districts will not be included in the scheme. This, however, represents a very small leakage, since there are only some 150,000 aborigines in the island as against 5,400,000 Formosans of Chinese race. Mo doubt the details of the scheme may be mended later."

Kids in Tamsui belonged in the 37% that had attended elementary schools by 1935. There was one 小學校 and two 公學校, the latter for boys and girls, separately [known as 淡水國小 and 文化國小 after 1945]. They were taught by Japanese teachers. In 1941, all schools were superseded by the common title Kokumingakko [i.e., national school 國民學校] and by 1943, locals were also among the ranks of the teachers and the students were no longer segregated.

Supplanting the mother tongue even in private conversation never took place - with non-Japanese-speaking parents, it was mission impossible. The 8-year education had already been implemented at least in Tamsui, since after advanced class (高等科, equivalent to junior high) in elementary schools, kids who qualified went on to senior high schools in either Tamsui or Taipei. The elite high schools in Taipei, the First High was attended by almost all Japanese and the Second High, by Taiwanese only. Many then received even higher education in medical schools or universities in Taiwan or Japan, even in the Japan-controlled Manchuria and Korea.

The British Consul had also noted in his 1941 report that
"...With the initial hardship of being educated in an alien language, it is obvious that on a shorter educational course the Formosan child can never hope to succeed in open competition with the Japanese. Indeed, his educational facilities are expressly designed to ensure that he shall not."
"...since the island schools are used as an overflow of Japanese youths from Japan who cannot secure entry into schools in their own country, it is more likely that such new facilities as can be provided will benefit Japanese children rather than Formosan."

Again, the "shorter educational course" referred to the 6-year main student course [本科部]. While these observations might be factual, the Consul had not given Formosan children due credit for their ability to overcome any hardship, especially when the competition was with academic low-achievers from Japan.

9 則留言:

  1. "Again, the "shorter educational course" referred to the 6-year main student course [本科部]."
    It was called 尋常科 originally. Since it is a dead word 死語 today hence 本科.
    President Lee also attended 高等科 before enter 淡水中学 then to 台北高等学校, one year before graduation.
    among the 4, including his brother who took the entrance examination, Lee TF is the only one passed, so my sister remembered.

  2. Hi ChoSan, thank you and your sister for the additional info. I have always thought that Mr Lee had graduated from Tamkang - saw a picture of him practicing kendo at the gym in Tamkang - the 台北高等学校 part makes sense which would have enabled him to go for a university education in Japan.

    The competitiveness continues to this day; although with the new 12-year public education system, it may remove the motivation of students to do well.

  3. "From my earliest childhood the problem of being a Formosan had become psychologically more and more complex. I spoke Japanese perfectly and usually stood high in my class; nevertheless I was always self-conscious, constantly aware that I was different from my Japanese classmates. My name embarrassed me; the Chinese character for Peng is in Japanese pronounced "Ho," and when it was called out in the classroom if often provoked laughter....

    On entering Takao Middle School I found that about one-fourth of my schoolmates were Formosans, the majority of whom were excellent students for they had been obliged to pass stiff examinations designed to restrict Formosans access to higher education and professions. The colonial administration saw to it that the cut-off point in educational opportunity came at this middle school level. The theory seemed to be that it was useful to train Formosan laborers to read and write at the most elementary level, but dangerous to encourage development of an intellectual or professional leadership within the island." -- Peng Ming-min

  4. Hi Patrick,

    The Japanese Colonial Gov't seemingly had forgotten that the limit on the educational levels of the Taiwanese did not apply in mainland Japan. Many Taiwanese went to high schools and studied law and medicine in Japan.

    Mr Peng also finished high school in Japan, graduated from NTU with a law degree in 1948, escaped to Sweden to avoid prosecution in 1970, and finally returned to Taiwan in 1992.

  5. Yeah, I know. He's an amazing individual.

  6. Japanese pronounciation for 彭 is BO, not Ho.

  7. Hi ChoSan,

    The original text is this: "自從孩童時代,身為台灣人,便我在心理上愈來愈感複雜。我講的日語完美無缺,在學成績也不錯,但總是太清楚地自覺與日人同學不同。我的名字也使我尷尬。中文「彭」字,在日語發音為「何」,每次在課堂被叫到,總引起哄堂大笑。母親穿的是旗袍或洋裝,每當有公開場面,她來到學校,總令我尷尬不已,因為她看起來與其他日人學生的家長那麼不同。" Might have been a problem in phonetic translation.

  8. Thanks for showing the original in Kanji. Now I understand how it was translated through series of steps into English and evolved into a certain pronunciation.
    The Japanese pronunciation for 「彭」is "Bo" for sure and the closest Fukien sound 音訳 should be 「某」. As we know the meaning of 「某人」is "a certain person" in English, and is 「誰」 (pronounced DARE) in Japanese. Now 「誰」 in Japanese can be translated also as 「何人」in Kanji and pronounced as "Ho-Zin" in Fukien as well as in Mandarin hence 「彭」changes to 「何」and the pronunciation changes from "Bo" to "Ho".
    Personally I admire Mr. Bo and more so for his mother who dare to wear her Taiwanese costume while living in Japan. She is a true Taiwanese from in to out.

  9. That works for me, ChoSan.

    Mr Bo was the mentor of a friend. I met him once at the NTU Law School campus but did not realize that he had a prosthetic arm until much later.

    Also relevant to the present discussion is this: "我們離開大甲那天,那日人小學的校長率領了全校學生到車站給我們送行。這實在是前所未有的,使我們驚愕 [Note: Mr Bo was on his way to go to high school in Japan]。等到長大後,我開始發覺許多有思想的日本平民並不贊成政府的歧視政策。有許多無偏見的老師和知識份子其實想平等對待台灣人,並希望溝通日本人與台灣人間的裂縫。" In other words, the Colonial Govt's policy was not quite adhered to.