2013年12月28日 星期六

Cheng Family in Tamsui

This three-volume 淡水鎮志Tamsui Town History is in amazing detail, published in June, 2013, now available online [here]. It contains parts of the more recent Cheng Family history.

The biographies of EyeDoc's granduncle (鄭木筆, a physician who gained fame for curing a stomach ailment of the defender of Tamsui, General 孫開華, immediately after the Sino-French war) and second uncle (鄭嘉昌, principal of Wen-hua and Tamsui elementary schools) appear on pp 306 and 304 in Vol 3, respectively.

Members of EyeDoc's paternal grandmother side of family, 忠寮李家, are mentioned in quite a number of places, and the most recent entry, engineer turned Tamsui landscape artist 李永沱. Most important is the record of arrival in Tamsui, from 福建同安, of the first 李 generation in 1751.

An old group photo, class of 1937/8 of 淡水女子公學校Tamsui Girls Elementary School from this blog [here] is quoted on p 300 in Vol 2.

The Cheng family of Tamsui, belonging to 蓮宅鄭 [The Cheng House of Lotus], was originally from 泉州南安石井 later re-settled in 同安. This branch descends from one of the survivors of the 1661 Qing Imperial edict of 誅三族, which was to execute not only 鄭芝龍 [鄭成功Koxinga's father, who had surrendered, after ignoring Koxinga's plea for him not to, to the Qing in 1646], but also three generations of the Cheng Clan including 鄭芝龍's parents, brothers and sons and their wives. Only his principal wife Lady 顏Yan and a brother 鄭芝豹 were spared. His grandchildren, fortunately, were left untouched.

Cheng Family record listing 鄭芝龍's sons, daughters-in-law, and grandsons;
鄭成功 is identified by his given names, 森 and 大木.

In the 1930s, 鄭木筆, better known in Tamsui as 木筆先Master Vo-Bi, had returned to 泉州 to pay respects to Cheng ancestors whose grave sites could only be located by landmarks because of previous destruction of the tombs by the Qing - a way of punishing Koxinga, in addition to killing his father and brothers, for his refusal to yield.

After the fall of Tung-Ning Kingdom東寧王朝 in 1683, Koxinga's direct descendants were held hostage in Beijing, pressed into military service, forbidden to return to their hometown in 泉州 where all their properties were already confiscated. Other surviving branches of the Cheng Clan continued on in Hokkien; one, as noted above, had moved to Tamsui, now into the 8th generation since the arrival.

2013年12月21日 星期六

Re-dedication of Baron Su Temple

The main altar

This year marks the arrival of the original Baron Su in Tamsui, from Hokkien, 318 years ago. The temple, 淡水忠義宮蘇府王爺廟, after extensive renovation, was re-dedicated yesterday complete with an elaborate Taoist ceremony.

Front entrance - the wooden plaque above the central gate was relocated from interior of the temple
Baron Su Nos 1, 2, and 3, originally only No 1
The Black Ship on which lost souls sailed back to China

Baron Su was the guardian deity, not only for Tamshui-lang but also for 淮軍 commanded by General 章高元. The latter fought French fusiliers marins in the Battle of Fisherman's Wharf in Tamsui during the Sino-French War in 1884. They had stationed in the nearby Hobè Fort and come to the temple to pray.

Local legend has it that Baron Su had sent divine soldiers to help defeat the French. The story is recorded in the panel above the central gate:

To the left on the ship were the French invaders, to the right is 章高元 and his army, and above the cloud is Baron Su and his divine soldiers

People of Tamsui have never forgotten the bravery and the sacrifice of soldiers from China, 湘軍 led by General 孫開華 and 淮軍 by 章高元. And our condolences to the families of the worthy French opponents who died fighting under the command of Adm Sébastien Lespès.

Photo credits: here (12/20/2013)
The original post on the history of this temple can be seen here

2013年11月16日 星期六

Tansui Kai 淡水會 2013

Those children who were repatriated to Japan in March 1946 returned to visit their hometown, Tamsui, on Nov 14, 2013. District Director Dr Tsai Yeh-Wei presented members of Tansui Kai with certificates of honorary citizenship and the newly published 3-volume Tamsui Township History淡水鎮志 as gifts.

These children were often discriminated against, referred to as "灣生" in the post-war Japan. The struggle to start a new life at that time is now beginning to be known, and some stories re-told in part in a new book "路" by 吉田修一. Many children have since come back to find their roots in Taiwan.

Wherever they maybe, Tamsui will always welcome her children back, every single one, with open arms.

For more, see here and here

2013年10月4日 星期五

Port of Taipei

The Port of Taipei 台北港 was built in 1998. It is located at the foot of Guan-yin Mountain in Bali, off highway 61, adjacent to the mouth of Tamsui River (the rectangular structure in Google Maps below). More recently in 2011, dredging of the port was completed to increase its depth. It has been designated a Maritime Center, although never realized significant utilization as far as cargo shipping.

Starting this week, a twice weekly passenger service will begin operation, linking Tamsui with its traditional trading partner-port, FuZhou福州 (via 平潭). This traditional route was closed during and since the Japanese Colonial Era. Now it is finally ready to re-open.

The passenger ship 海峽號 (capacity: 750) can make the trip in 3 hours and a round trip discount fare is pegged at NT$6,300.

Upon arrival, passengers will enter the visa processing area newly decorated in May 2013, designed by famed artist Chen Hui-Chun:

Entry to visa processing area - courtesy of Ms Chen Hui-Chun

This route caters to those who wish to forgo the often much-hassled traveling via Taoyuan International Airport and those worshipers carrying over-sized carriages of deities (note: exchange visits of various deities is a popular activity between Taiwan and Hokkien). It is anticipated that 100,000 visitors each year will travel through the Port of Taipei.

2013年9月22日 星期日

A painting by Kinoshita Seigai

This is a painting by Kinoshita Seigai 木下靜涯 (1887-1988), a long-time Tamsui resident until March 1946 when all Japanese immigrants, including Mr Kinoshita, were repatriated. The painting is in the 無骨畫 style with brush and ink. His old residence is now Kinoshita Seigai Memorial Park, across the street from George Leslie Mackay's statue.

For more see here and here

2013年8月23日 星期五

Black Mullet in Tamsui River 淡水河的烏魚

烏魚Black Mullet (Mugil cephalus, also known as 鯔魚) is a migratory fish. Each winter, schools of them travel from along the shorelines of Chinese mainland, through the Taiwan Strait to reach western shores of Taiwan. They actually follow the warm ocean current southward. And, almost like clockwork, they arrive around 冬至 (the beginning of winter) and start spawning. The fish is in fact harvested for its roes (i.e., ovaries full of eggs). After processing, this is the final product:

烏魚子Mullet roe is a very expensive delicacy, also known as Black Gold. Traditionally, it is grilled gently over charcoal flames, then thinly sliced, and served together with garlic seedlings (diagonally cut):

Some fish actually swim into Tamsui River. This video, courtesy of Teng-Feng Fishball Museum, shows the easy catch with an umbrella fishnet:

Notice the inverted V-shaped mouth, a distinct feature of the Black Mullet

Black Mullet fishing has a long history. Each winter, ancient Chinese fishermen would follow the fish to Taiwan. The Dutch East India Co (1624-1662) had levied a 10% tax on the harvests. And during the Ming-Cheng rule (1662-1683), fishermen were required to pay for permits - in the form of a white flag printed with the fisherman's name stamped with gov'tal seals, to be displayed on the boat. One document from that era recorded 94 such permits in Feng-Shan District, "... 給烏魚旗九十四支,旗用白布一幅,刊刷烏魚旗子樣,填寫漁戶姓名,縣印鈴記,插於船頭,帶綑採捕". Taxation, of course, continues to this day.

Unfortunately, Black Mullet fishing in Taiwan may soon become a thing of the past. Out of either greed or ignorance, or both, Mainland Chinese fishermen have intercepted the migrating fish before they even reached Taiwan Strait. These pirate-like fishermen use giant nets to corral the fish, then catch the fish with smaller nets with hooks, a barbaric practice frowned upon by the Taiwanese. As a result of this pre-emptive over-fishing, Black Mullet are deprived of the opportunity to spawn and the stock is now much depleted.

Some have argued that the water temperature in the Taiwan Strait for some reason is no longer high enough to attract and guide the migration; although this theory seems to go against the natural geographical instincts of all migratory species.

In any case, the counter-measure will have to be through large-scale fish farming. This remains a work-in-progress, however.

2013年8月21日 星期三

Typhoon and Tamsui

It gets a little tiring, every time a typhoon visits Taiwan (this time, 潭美颱風), TV news reporters will congregate in Tamsui to show that Tamsui "老街" is flooded, when in fact, only two spots along the Tamsui River are. One is in front of the Starbuck's where George Leslie Mackay's kneeling bronze statue is located, and the other is on the outer skirts of the new landfill area. Neither is anywhere near 老街.

Below: reporters, Starbucks, and the praying George Leslie Mackay:

And the landfill area (flooding is an expected consequence of claiming land from the unforgiving sea):

Of course, the real 老街, i.e., 中正路, is just a little wet:

So is the rest of the area along Tamsui River:

There you have it: Tamsui is safe and sound. Please pay no attention to the false news reports.

A bit of nostalgia here: It was the same way when we were growing up in the 50s, not much flooding was going on, either. Our elementary school remained open, as were other schools both big and small, and we had to cross a muddy 中山路 to reach the school ground. The aftermath was even more spectacular. The River would turn yellow from soil washed down from upstream. It took a few days for the high water level to subside. Nothing much has changed since - except these days schools are sometimes closed for safety reasons.

2013年8月6日 星期二

Tainan Airfield(s) 1944-45 Part 4

Memories of 1 March 1945

Contributed by Wu Jung-Ming  


3/1/1945 - My grandfather's pharmaceutical company 榮安堂 caught fire from the incendiary bomb attack on the first day of Tainan city bombing (3/1/1945). We were told that it displayed brilliant color fireworks in succession as the different stock chemicals in the plant caught fire and burned over the next three days.

Bronze busts of Mr and Mrs Wu, founders of 榮安堂

疏開 [so-khai, evacuation] - We escaped the burning city that night on foot on pitch dark dirt road, headed for country side, i.e., so-khai. The river of fleeing refugees was overflowing the dark dirt road leading to the countryside villages.

On the road, there wasn't much voice conversation but the noise of foot steps and semi monotonic sounds of rolling steel wheels of ox drawn carts hitting the uneven dirt road. With the exception of a few lucky families with carts, most refugees, small children and all, were on foot carrying minimal luggage. The city was burning behind us. The dark sky was painted with orange and red by the burning city.

Partially melted bronze bust of Mr Wu

Silent witnesses to the war - My grandparents' bronze busts recovered from the rubble after the war show the intensity of the fire. The burning heat was so intense that it partially melted and deformed my grandfather's bust. The bronze bust of my grandfather survived WWII to tell the story of the Allied fire bombing of Tainan.

2013年8月1日 星期四

Tainan Airfield(s) 1944-45 Part 3

Eiko Airfield, Formosa. Note bomb-drop pattern following strike by planes from USS Essex. January 4, 1945

Tainan is a historical city, the seat of power of the 17th century Dutch East India Co colonialists, the Ming-Cheng Kingdom founded by Koxinga, and the Qing, barbarians from the north. And since Koxinga's time, with the establishment of the very first Confucius Temple, the city had become the educational/cultural center of Taiwan. This venerable tradition continued even under the Japanese rule of between 1895-1945.

This, however, did not seem an issue of concern to the US military. Similar to the bombing of Dresden in Feb 1945, for the American planners, the decision to bomb Tainan was a military one that targeted not only Tainan Airfield(s), but also military installations and war-material-producing factories. Apparently also targeted were the Tainan-shu prefectural gov't and the headquarters of the Taiwan 2nd Infantry. "Targets of opportunity" that had caused the most civilian casualties, unfortunately, appeared to be any building that had anti-aircraft placements on the rooftop or adjacent to it. This in fact meant most of the city. By the end of the war, 51% of Tainan City had been wiped out. Yet, curiously, there was almost no official post-war record of the Tainan bombing as if it had never happened. We are left with only some personal recalls and remembrances.

Here is a chronology of the events:

12 October 1944: At dawn, between 7:20 to 7:45, 3 dogfights between American and Japanese fighters broke out above Tainan City, witnessed by a number of very surprised residents. On the same day, the whole Taiwan saw at least 1,100 US bombing runs. Older folks still remember that the Americans came early in the morning and quit at around 5PM, office hours, in fact. Sensing the impending doom, large-scale evacuations to the countryside started. In Tainan, residents moved to towns such as 大内 and 關廟, some even further away to 玉井 and 楠西.

1 March 1945 (the "Longest Day" in Tainan City history): Carpet bombing with incendiary bombs; 1,520 houses destroyed, 90 dead, and 146 wounded. 

3-17 March 1945: By the 17th, the symbol of power, the building of Tainan-shu Admin Office had been reduced to rubbles. A large bomb shelter behind it received a direct hit and 40 people killed as a result. The buildings nearby including the tallest building in Tainan, the 5-story Hayashi Departmental Store, were all damaged.
The Hayashi Departmental Store today

20 March 1945: The FEAF chronology had stated simply "B-24s bomb the town of Tainan", when in fact, around noontime, 18 B24s attacked Tainan Normal School and its affiliated elementary school and dropped 126 incendiary bombs on the campus. The area erupted into a gigantic fireball that continued to burn for 2 hours. The ammunition stored in one of the buildings (possibly the real target) also exploded, further adding to the destruction. 90% of this campus quickly went up in smoke. In the city itself, along 西門路, 南民權路, and 永福路, most houses were burned to the ground. The Railroad Station, Tainan Hospital, Dept of Justice, several Buddhist temples, and a number of factories were all severely damaged. The 東岳殿 slum area, apparently mistaken as military barracks, was attacked 3 times. Miraculously, the temple itself remained standing with only minor damages, not the hapless residents, though. In fact a still unknown number of them had perished. Not only the East District, the historical An-Nan District was also hit for it was where a major chemical plant was located. Luckily, Ft Zeelandia and Ft Provintia were spared.

The intended targets therefore had included not only the Tainan Airfield(s) but equally important, the admin center of Tainan-shu and the barracks of one of the two garrison forces, the Taiwan 2nd Infantry台湾步兵第2連隊, then headquartered in Tainan.

The multiple bombing of Tainan Airfield in the US records can probably be explained that it actually meant 2-3 targets. On the other hand, the dogged efforts of the defenders in repairing the damages probably should not be overlooked. In fact, the last FEAF entry on July 10 1945 stated: "B24s bomb Tainan Airfield destroying several planes", this seems to indicate that the airbase remained operational despite the umpteen attacks.

17-18 year-old Kamikaze pilots from Kyushu, some stationed briefly at Tainan Airfields
Sadly, at least two squadrons of Kamikaze pilots, all around 17-18 years old, almost all of them from Kyushu, had either based here in the Eikosho and Eineisho Airfields, or were further sent to Kiirun宜蘭 Airfield in Eastern Taiwan to carry out their final mission.

A little bit of a long-forgotten history here: The Taiwan 2nd Infantry was commissioned in Japan in 1907 and sent to Taiwan to be the garrison force. In 1937, the 2nd and its sister army the Taiwan 1st Infantry, then stationed in Taipei, were both dispatched to fight the KMT force in Shanghai. The 2nd had quickly returned to Taiwan while the First had fought all the way to 武昌, and subsequently, re-deployed in southern China, Hainan Island, Indo-China, the Philippines, and finally Java. At some point, the 2nd Infantry had also joined in. Both eventually surrendered in E Timor. Taiwanese soldiers were promptly separated from the Japanese in POW camps.

2013年7月31日 星期三

Tainan Airfield(s) 1944-45 Part 2

“20 Oct 1944 – United States Army Troops with General DOUGLAS MAC ARTHUR in personal command, land on LEYTE ISLAND in the PHILIPPINES.”
"I shall return" and he did.

To prepare for this glorious MacArthur event, however, incessant US bombing of Taiwan started in earnest on 12 October 1944.

In the early days of the Pacific War, the Japanese High Command had decided to make Taiwan a formidable fortress and transform it into an aptly named "Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier". It was estimated that 71 airbases had been reinforced or constructed since then. Initially, some were intended for civilian use, for example, the Tainan Airfield (Eikosho) was built in 1937, drafted by the IJA Air Force in 1943 as were many other civilian airports. [Note: The seaplane port in Tamsui became an IJN base at around the same time.]

From the strategic POV of the US High Command, this Unsinkable Carrier must be sunk at all costs, not only to neutralize the Japanese offensive capabilities but also to clear the way to mainland Japan. The invasion into Taiwan area spearheaded by US Naval Task Force 38 of the Third Fleet, aided by the US Army Air Force, can be found in this book:
The Army Air Forces in World War II, Volume Five: THE PACIFIC: MATTERHORN TO NAGASAKI JUNE 1944 TO AUGUST 1945 - available online [here].

As far as the bombing of Tainan Airfield(s), we will use the declassified history of the 40th Group under the XX [i.e., 20th] US Army Air Force Command, one of the several bombing groups involved, as an example:

Office of the Historical Officer
APO Number 631
20 November 1944
Group History: 1 Oct to 31 Oct 1944
Prepared by WILLIAM M. MC NAIR, Captain, Air Corps, Actg Historical Officer


"It was decided that combat B-29’s should carry bombs rather than gasoline over the hump as XX Bomber Command now had a fleet of C-109 tankers carrying gasoline to the forward area. On 2 October some of the newer B-29’s with center wing tanks were dispatched to China with a load of 40 x 500 pound bombs in each airplane. The trip was accomplished without any unusual occurrences.[Note: this group was based in India, mobilized to Chengdu, China by flying over the Himalayas ("the hump").]

"On 9 October, the 40th Group began dispatching aircraft to China for the first of three missions scheduled for October. The target was the OKAYAMA airfield and arsenal at OKAYAMA, FORMOSA [Note: this was 岡山], called by the 20th Air Force as “the most important target south of Japan.”

“Starting at 132256Z on 14 October 1944 all 34 aircraft were airborne to attack the OKAYAMA airfield and arsenal at OKAYAMA, FORMOSA. By 132338Z 32 aircraft had been airborne, the remaining two being delayed, one by mechanical difficulties and the other becoming mired when it taxied off the runway. Both difficulties were overcome and the last aircraft was airborne at 140117Z.

“A total of 473,500 lb An-M 64 TNT bombs with .1 sec nose and .01 sec tail fusing and 236,500 lb AN-M 76 type incendiary bombs with instantaneous nose and non-delay tail fusing were dropped on the primary target.

"At the completion of the mission the Group did not return to India, but awaited further order in China and they came the next day. Another strike was to be made, this time a maximum effort against Japanese installations at EINANSHO airfield and repair depot at TAIWAN, FORMOSA. The assigned secondary target was shipping harbor installations at TAKAO, FORMOSA. This was to be a special mission by 40th Group airplanes, on 17 October, as planes from the other Groups had flown a mission on 16 October.

“A total of 32 B-29 aircraft at A-1 were considered available for the mission. Starting at 16230Z 30 aircraft were airborne with the last aircraft taking off at 170015Z. Two aircraft were unable to take off due to mechanical difficulties.

“Of the 30 aircraft airborne 10 attacked the assigned primary target dropping a total of 174 GP and 50 incendiary bombs from 24,000 feet with reported good results. Weather over primary target was such that the target was covered by cloud from the east up to the extreme western edge. The target was clearly visible coming in from the west and bombs were seen to explode in the aiming point area. No worthwhile photos were obtained due to cloud cover.

“Between 12 and 14 enemy S/E fighters were sighted below the formation but attacks were not pressed home in this area. Antiaircraft fire was meager and inaccurate. Several aircraft reported sighting high altitude balloons, spherical in shape with a long black box-like object suspended beneath them. The balloons were reported at 23,000 feet and it is believed photos were obtained.

“Thirteen aircraft proceeded to the primary target but finding it cloud covered went on to the secondary target and dropped a total of 281 GP and 121 incendiary bombs from 24,000 feet with good results. Approximately 15 ships, six of which were large ocean going type, we re found in the harbor. The center of the main bomb pattern appears from strike photos to have hit in the midst of the anchored shipping slightly short of the assigned aiming point. Three or more ships appear to have sustained direct hits and there are apparently numerous near misses. Some bombs are seen to be striking the main northern dock area. Weather was CAVU,

After accomplishing the missions in Taiwan, Group 40 was dispatched to attack Japan:

“Starting at 241828Z a total of 14 aircraft were airborne to attack the OMURA Aircraft Plant at OMURA, JAPAN [Note: This was 大村 in Nagasaki].

[Note: More information on the operation of  Group 40 also can be found in this excellent post: http://taiwanairpower.org/blog/?p=4178]

Group 40 Bombardment Group was only one of the many that had bombed Taiwan. From November 1944 to February 1945, bombing events without mentioning specific targets were documented in
The United States Air Force: A Chronology

On November 25 1944: B25s, P38s, P51s of the 14th Air Force attacked Formosa Taiwan for the first time
In 1945:
January 17: 91 B29s of the XX Group attacked Hsinchuku, the last mission from Chengdu
January 22: B24s and P38s from the 5th Air Force attacked Formosa, their first mission
February 19: The 14th Air Force hit Formosa with B24s, B25s, and P40s

Then from 1 March 1945 on, a long list of sorties against "Tainan Airfield" and the town of Tainan:
Loading bombs onto a B24 Liberator
American missions against Tainan Airfield
March 1 - July 10, 1945
March 1, 1945
(FEAF [Note: Far East Air Force]) B-24s bomb the Takao aluminum plant, Tainan Airfield
March 3, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s pound the Tainan area
March 12, 1945
(FEAF) On Formosa B-24s, with P-38 support bomb Takao and Tainan. P-51s also hit Tainan
March 18, 1945
(FEAF) Aircraft hit Tainan Airfield
March 20, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s bomb the town of Tainan
March 22, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit Tainan
March 28, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit Tainan
April 8, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s and B-25s hit Tainan
April 12, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s attack Tainan
April 13, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit Tainan Airfield
April 18, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit Tainan Airfield
April 19, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit Tainan Airfield
April 20, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit Tainan Airfield
April 24, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit Tainan
April 30, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit Tainan
May 18, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit Tainan Airfield
May 18, 1945
(FEAF) Fighters sweep the Tainan area
May 29, 1945
(FEAF) B-25s, and fighter-bombers, hit the Tainan alcohol plant and targets of opportunity
July 10, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s bomb Tainan Airfield, destroying several planes
The immediate questions are (1) which Airfield and why so many attacks? (2) why target Tainan (City) at all? and (3) what were "targets of opportunity"?

2013年7月29日 星期一

Tainan Airfield(s) 1944-45 Part 1

It took a while to piece together the missing details of the bombing of Tainan Airfield, from 12 Oct 1944 til the end of the Pacific War in 1945. 

Thanks to Prof YangHL who points the way: The paper published by 杜正宇 and 吳建昇, "日治下臺南永康機場的時空記憶", 台灣文獻 Vol 63, Issue 1, Pp 230-284 (2012) has reported that there were actually three Tainan Airfields, located in 永寧庄, 永康庄, and 歸仁庄, respectively. Only one remains today, i.e., the present Tainan Airport, previously known as the 臺南飛行場(永寧庄). The other two have long disappeared, both physically and historically. Now, with the seminal efforts of Prof 洪致文, the above-mentioned paper has reconstructed the history of 臺南飛行場(永康庄), unknown to even natives of Tainan. One of them, Mr WuJM comments: "I did not know there used to have an airfield although I went to Tainan Industrial Tech High in Yong-kang. I traveled on dirt road from near Tainan railroad station to YongKang every day for three years. Of course I was young then."

The proper Japanese kan-ji pronunciation of 永寧庄 and 永康庄 is Eineisho and Eikosho, respectively. For unknown reasons, perhaps for disinformation purposes, the former was misspelled as "Einansho" which consistently appeared in all 1944 US military documents. "Einei-sho" is seen only in the 1945 map of Tainan City made by the US Army Map Service (in the Univ of Texas Library map collection)[http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ams/formosa_city_plans/txu-oclc-6565942.jpg]. Both airfields were targeted by the US.

There are multiple confusions: (1) in the US records, "Tainan Airfield" is not necessarily the Einansho Airdrome and Depot, it can be one of the 3 different airbases of the same name; (2) since two of the 3 bases vanished after the war, it was never clear which one(s) the US bombers had hit on each mission; (3) Einansho is actually Eineisho - almost no one could decipher what Einansho was in Japanese kanji; and (4) on at least one occasion, the USAAF had bombed 麻豆飛行場 also in Tainan, mistaking it as the Tainan Airfield (Eiko) because of the proximity and the almost identical runway configuration.

Here is the narrative of a USS Enterprise-based Navy Ensign, Bob Barnes, who piloted a Helldiver in the attack on:

12 October 1944 - Einansho Airfield (Formosa)

Robert J Barnes, then 20 years old on the wing of his Curtis Helldiver
We headed for Formosa (Taiwan) to attack a very large Japanese airfield. We headed in with VB-20 leading the way under CDR Riera and VT-20 and VF-20 for fighter cover. As we got close to the target and ready to peel off for our dive, we heard the fighters on the radio say 7 Zekes (Japanese fighters) were heading to attack. I switched gas tanks to have a full tank and peeled off. On the way down - straight down - I was concentrating on the target, wind, etc., when I heard a tremendous explosion. The plane shook and at first I thought I had forgotten to switch tanks and the empty tank had caused the engine to backfire.

Here I was, in a dive through heavy anti-aircraft fire, with Jap fighters chasing me. I switched tanks again, released the bomb, pulled out and the engine quit. In the meantime, my rear seat aircrewman confirmed we had been hit in the tail by AA. I quickly checked my fuel tanks and then realized I had already switched tanks and in the heat of the moment had switched back to the low tank. After switching back to the full tank, the engine started. What a relief! I headed for our rendezvous for the return to Enterprise. After landing, it was found that the plane had a large hole in the vertical stabilizer from the AA that had hit and bursts which sprayed shrapnel holes all over the rear of the Helldiver.

The defenders had put up a fight and incurred some losses: "On 12 October 1944, when we attacked Formosa, two of our Helldivers flown by LT Sam Tharp and LT(jg) George Muinch were hit by AA but were able to glide out to sea, to be picked up by our good old lifeguard submarines. One of my roommates, ENS Fred Turnbull from VF-20, was shot down that day and taken prisoner. I next saw him at a reunion 45 years later, in Pensacola. That same day, LT(jg) William F. Ross of VT-20 and his crew, Harry Aldro and Charles E. McVay, were shot down and captured. Sadly both crewmen were killed while prisoners. LT(jg) Ross was a prisoner throughout the war. That was one rough day!"

The Oct 12 1944 attack on Taiwan was island-wide, conducted principally by the US Navy with carrier-based aircraft. Bombing with land-based long-range bombers followed two days later and continued well into the early part of 1945.

2013年7月9日 星期二

Tamsui Town History

Tamsui District Office announces the publication of Tamsui Town History淡水鎮志 [quoted from Mayor Tsai Yeh-Wei's Facebook pages of Jul 7 and 9]:

有關「淡水鎮志」索取原則[The availability of Tamsui Town History]:

1. 紙本印刷數量有限,將依慣例,送全國319鄉鎮市公所、重要圖書館(如央圖、本區各學校圖書館...等)。[Limited hard copies will be distributed nationwide as usual to 319 units, including city/town offices, major libraries, and school libraries within Tamsui district.]

2.光碟版500套,供市民索取,送完為止。年底如還有預算再追加。[500 sets of DVDs are available upon request by citizens. Re-supplies will subject to funds available.]

3.已責成本所資訊室同仁,將數位檔案公開,未來市民可在本所網站下載區內自由下載,廣為流傳。[A downloadable digital version will soon be accessible through the District Office website.]

4.淡水鎮志版權歸淡水區公所所有,本著政府資訊公開原則,歡迎大家下載、分享、廣為流傳,但如引用,請註明出處。[This History has been copyrighted by the District Office. The public is welcome to download, share, and distribute. Please include the source in citation.]

感謝淡江大學歷史系、中文系,真理大學宗教系等各位篆稿委員及審稿委員的努力,終於出版。[Thanks are due to the writers and reviewers of Depts of History and Chinese Literature, Tamkang Univ, and Dept of Religion, Aletheia Universities, whose joint efforts have made the publication possible.]

2013年5月12日 星期日

History of Tamsui Seaplane Port

For decades since 1945, no one in Tamsui knew why this small town was twice targeted by the US Navy. Thanks to Mr N Hirokawa who has finally detailed the history of Tamsui Seaplane Port, and with it, the background of the attacks. His original post, written in Japanese, can be seen here: http://www.shipboard.info/blog2/ [published on 5/8/2013]. The following is an edited version:

The aerial photo above was taken on Oct 12, 1945, by one of the 13 F6Fs of the 18th US Navy Corps. They were based on carrier "USS Intrepid (CV-11)" then operating off the southern coasts of Taiwan. Three seaplanes on the ground near the sloping runway can be clearly seen. Another appears on the surface of the water to the left with one more locating in the bunker on the right. It is not possible to distinguish if they were mono- or bi-planes from the photo; although, based on records, they were most likely the reconnaissance monoplanes. The railroads of the Tamsui Line and the two cylindrical-shaped oil storage tanks of the Rising Sun Petroleum Co also are seen.

In 1937, The Aviation Administration of the Colonial Governor General's Office began planning for the construction of a seaplane port at 鼻仔頭, near Tamsui Station. It was built in 1941. The twice-monthly flying-boat ran between Bangkok and mainland Japan, operated by the Great Japan Airlines, had used it as the port of call for refueling. Unfortunately, this civilian airline operation ceased on Dec 12, 1941, when the Pacific War broke out.

Subsequently, Model Zero reconnaissance seaplanes were dispatched from 東港Donggang Air Base in Kaohsiung-shu, and deployed in Tamsui for weather observation and security patrols. The Zero's made water-landing, grazing the sandbar, then in the middle of Tamsui River, in a maneuver known to the town folks as "wearing wooden clogs下駄履き".

The operation of the IJN in the vast Pacific Ocean was often hampered by the paucity of well-maintained air fields. The observation and guidance of the accuracy of shells fired by warships were performed by the Yokohama Air Corps using flying boats and the Donggang Air Corps with seaplanes and reconnaissance aircraft. The Mitsubishi carrier-based Zero's had also been re-deployed in many land air bases. And in addition, when outfitted with pontoons, these Zero's also could fly out of seaplane ports.

The IJN air corps were named after the locations where they were stationed. Initially, there was the Tainan Air Corps with re-deployed carrier Zero's and then the Donggang Air Corps, adding a flying boat unit. As the war progressed with re-assignments to the front lines, for counterintelligence purposes, the corps names were changed. And the Donggang Air Corps was re-designated as the 851st Air Corps.

In March, 1945, crack combat units began to move into Tamsui. The 634th IJN Air Corps that had fought in the Philippines moved into Tamsui with its 24 reconnaissance seaplanes (18 on active duty with 6 in reserve), and 250 troops including the commander, aviators, crew, and ground personnel. Barracks in Shilin had been set-up as well. This Air Corps had carried out bombing missions, scoring direct hits on enemy warships sailing from the Okinawa area. Single-wing reconnaissance seaplanes such as Type "瑞雲auspicious clouds" could actually dive-bomb with the two 60-kg or 250-kg bombs on board.

We the Tamsui-lang now understand the first US attack on Tamsui on October 12, 1944, was a pre-emptive island-wide all-out offensive against the military forces in Taiwan. The main target for the attack on May 31, 1945, was Taipei when Tamsui was also hit, probably as a retaliation for the losses incurred by the 634th Air Corps.

Civilian lives and properties of Tamsui/Taiwan lost to the aerial attacks can never be justified, however.
Additional sources: http://taiwanairpower.org/blog posts on May 19 and September 15, 2012.

2013年5月3日 星期五

After 193 years

The Koxinga Temple in Penang, Malaysia, finally finds its roots in Taiwan.

To formalize the link-up, a statue of Koxinga, known as 金身, is prepared at the Cheng Family Temple in Tainan in an elaborate ritual, complete with food offering accompanied by traditional music. The process, 分靈 or "spiritual cloning" for lack of a better terminology, is required to authenticate the origin of this statue.

The statue is then officially handed over to Chairman Lim of the Koxiga Temple in Peneng for the journey to Malaysia:

Before boarding
Arriving in Penang
Reception at Koxinga Temple in Penang
Finally, the new statue takes up the rightful place (above), replacing the one lost in 1910-20.

After 193 years of isolation, the followers of Koxinga have finally come back to the seat of Tung-Ning Kingdom and celebrated, together with delegates from China and Japan, Koxiga's opening of Taiwan in 1661.

2013年4月18日 星期四

The gate to Taiwan

[Left: The shoeless Dutchmen door guards of 鹿耳門鎮門宮 (address: 台南市媽祖宮一街345巷420號).]

鹿耳門 (Luermen or Lakjemuyse) was where Koxinga's fleet sailed through at high tide in 1661 into the then Tai Bay, bypassing the defense of Ft Zeelandia, and landed north of Ft Provincia. The Dutch did not anticipate such a move. Ft Provincia quickly fell and Ft Zeelandia under siege for almost one year before capitulating. [For more, see here.]

A tiny shrine located in An-Ping honoring Koxinga and his mother was built in 1990 to commemorate the feat [better late than never]. It was aptly named 鎮門宮Gate-anchoring Palace, for 鹿耳門 was indeed the gate to Taiwan.

The temple fell into disrepair and was re-built in 2006. There are three sets of double-door gates and one of them features a pair of shoe-less Dutchmen. Bare feet跣足 symbolizes the POW status. They were therefore the defeated Dutchmen now guarding doors to the shrine. Their facial depiction is of modern origin, in fact painted by Mr 林中信Lin Chung-Shin. In 2003, the City Gov't of Tainan officially named them 鹿風Lu-Feng and 耳順Er-Shun, and conferred both of them citizenship, complete with shoe offerings. A popular petition to re-paint them with shoes on (so they can travel long distance - back home to the Netherlands) was not approved by the deities, however.

Traditionally, these paired door guards are high ranking generals known for their martial mights. Among them, the very original and the most famous are 秦瓊 (?-638AD) and 尉遲恭 (585-658AD), both Tang generals. Legend has it that the second Tang emperor 唐太宗 [李世民 599-649AD] was disturbed at night by the spirits of those he had murdered. The emperor ordered these two trusted generals to guard the palace gates that indeed effectively warded off the ghosts. Their full-length fully armored and armed portraits were then painted on the doors and found to be equally effective.

With no exception, all Buddhist and Taoist temples of Chinese origin are built with three double-door gates and each gate is guarded by a pair of door gods. The selection of these deities now varies according to the history of each temple.

The photos below show before, during, and after the re-construction of the 鹿耳門鎮門宮:


[We thank Ronnie for calling our attention to the Dutchmen door guards in Tainan.]

2013年4月16日 星期二

A cowardly attack on Boston

Eyedoc reporting from Boston:

It is Boston Marathon Day today. Since the E Africans always win, there is no point of following the progress on TV [addendum: and they did]. We still watch it, albeit only half-heartedly, hoping for surprises. Then all of a sudden, there are reports of two explosions near the finish line at around 3:10PM. Apparently, there have also been casualties.

It is still unclear as to what had really happened, certainly not who was responsible if this had been a terrorist attack.

3:28PM: The explosions took place across Boylston Street from Lenox Hotel and Boston Public Library.

4:55PM: Clearly two explosions, one city block apart, on Boylston Street. A third one occurred at JFK Library, a few miles south of Boston, off I-93 [6:05PM: now it is unsure if this is related to the explosions]. There is a 4th bomb discovered somewhere on Huntington Ave (where Boston Symphony Orchestra is located). It is still very confusing especially if Boston is now shut down. If so, then this is similar to 9-11. It is a holiday here today, the Patriot's Day. Many went downtown to cheer on the marathon runners.

5:35PM: We maybe under attack, There maybe bombs along the marathon route. We are asked to stay home/indoors. Boston police urge people to stay out of the city.

5:48PM: Suspect in custody near Boston Common. Good. Let's all see who is behind this monster.

6:07PM: No suspect is in custody. Information changes by the minute, probably should wait a bit longer to see exactly what is going on. Various speeches by politicians, adding no new info.

8:27PM: 3 dead, one an 8-year-old boy. At least 134 hurt. This is a cowardly attack on Boston.
[Scene of the first explosion site - directly across Boylston Street from Boston Public Library]

8:45PM: Governor's press conference: nothing new added, no suspect(s) yet. Hotline for families of victims: 1-(617)-635-4500, and for witnesses who may have information, please call 1-(800)-494-TIPS.

11:25PM: Local media reporting significant police and feds presence at an apartment building on Ocean Ave in Revere, a town north of Boston, populated by new immigrants.

Overnight, now 7AM, 4/16/2013: Copley Square area in Boston downtown is still closed, now a crime scene. Heart-breaking stories of the victims begin to emerge, disruption of normal innocent family lives by pure evil that will forever tarnish Boston Marathon.

4/17/2013: More details on the pressure cooker bombs, designed to maim and kill. The hunt for the bomber(s) is on and is no doubt conducted in high earnest. Bostonians have never retreated in the face of adversity, certainly are not at all intimidated by this cowardly act.

Of the three who perished: The 8-year old victim is Martin Richard of Dorchester. The 2nd is Krystle Marie Campbell of Medford who had worked at Jimmy's Steer House on Mass Ave in Arlington. And the 3rd, a Chinese graduate student at Boston Univ (the family has requested that the name be withheld, even though it has already been widely reported in the Chinese press - update: BU finally disclosed her name, Lu Lingzi; she was from Shenyang).

1:42PM: Cable Channel 13 [Fox 25] reports a suspect has been identified through the surveillance camera records at Lord & Taylor, and the arrest is imminent.

7:04PM: A whole afternoon of confusion. No one was in fact arrested although two men carrying bags matching the description of the bombs were identified from photographic records. Their faces are clearly recognizable, the identities are still unknown, however.

4/19/2013 3:30AM: Disturbance at MIT, off Vassar St, one campus policeman shot and killed. Then gunfire and detonation heard on Mt Auburn St in Watertown. Huge police presence there. Boston Globe now reports one Boston marathon bomber in custody, the 2nd still at large. Apparently one event has led to another in the past few hours. The situation is still "fluid" as the reporters put it.

5:05AM: After much confusion, it now seems that after the MIT shootout, the 2 bombers hijacked a car and let the driver off at a gas station off Memorial Drive. This explains why Watertown which is at the end of Memorial Dr. One suspect was then shot by the police and died in custody. The hunt for the 2nd suspect is now going on.

7:06AM: The 2 bombers are brothers from Chechnya having lived in the US for at least one year.

8:50PM: After one full day of manhunt, it is now over. The 2nd bomber is wounded and captured. A greatest relief to all Bostonians. 

2013年3月20日 星期三

The Douglas Co in Tamsui

At 10:30AM on March 21, 2013, Tamsui re-opens the buildings that once belonged to the Douglas Shipping Co得忌利士洋行 (founded by a Scot, Douglas Lapraik, in Hongkong in 1863).
In its heyday when Tamsui reigned as the most important seaport in Taiwan, the Douglas, beginning in 1871, had operated passenger liners sailing to Hongkong and other ports in both Taiwan and China. The company owned administrative offices, dormitories, storage houses and staples, and a large waterfront warehouse in the 龍目井"Wells of the Dragons' Eyes" district in Tamsui. After Japan took over Taiwan in 1895, the Douglas shipping rights were gradually stripped, often by decree, and eventually given to Japanese shipping companies instead. The Douglas company properties, initially leased from the Qing Gov't, were also nationalized by the Japanese Colonial Gov't. And in 1912, a developer 中野金太郎Nakano Kintaro with permission from the gov't had built residential houses for elementary school teachers emigrated from Japan. Some of these houses have survived to this day. 

A few of the Douglas buildings located on No 316 Chung Cheng Road Sec 1 [above], were occupied by squatters when the Japanese left in 1946, while others remained unoccupied, unkept hence becoming quite dilapidated, and were in danger of being condemned. A restoration project was set in motion when Tamsui was administratively still a township with its own budgets.

The Douglas waterfront warehouse was a noted landmark until destroyed by fire in 1959-60. This rare 1945 photo shows a torpedo boat yard to the left of the building. The jumbo seaplane 神津 (J-BACT) parked in front of the warehouse was operated by the Greater Japan Air, it arrived on Sept 9, 1945, from Yokohama, loaded with a large amount of paper money to fund the evacuation of the Japanese. Some would argue that this infusion of money had helped fuel the post-war inflation, seeding the discontent of the Taiwanese with the KMT rule that had led up to the 228 Incident of 1947.

After 103 years, the Douglas buildings are now restored, a
nother piece of Tamsui history coming to life! 

Friends of Tamsui are invited to join us in the celebration of this event. 

Pictorial update (courtesy of TengFeng Fishball Museum):