The cession ceremony took place on board a Japanese vessel because the Chinese delegate feared reprisal from the residents of Taiwan. Though the terms dictated by Japan were harsh, it is reported [ by whom? The men and women are inofficious and are not passionate either. Arriving in Taiwan, the new Japanese colonial government gave inhabitants two years to choose whether to accept their new status as Japanese subjects or leave Taiwan. The "early years" of Japanese administration on Taiwan typically refers to the period between the Japanese forces' first landing in May and the Ta-pa-ni Incident of , which marked the high point of armed resistance.
During this period, popular resistance to Japanese rule was high, and the world questioned whether a non-Western nation such as Japan could effectively govern a colony of its own. An session of the Japanese Diet debated whether to sell Taiwan to France.
Japan's approach to ruling Taiwan could be roughly divided into two views. Thus, Japan would have to follow the British approach, and Taiwan would never be governed exactly the same way as the Home Islands but would be governed under a whole new set of laws.
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The opposing viewpoint was held by future Prime Minister Hara Takashi , who believed that the Taiwanese and Koreans were similar enough to the Japanese to be fully absorbed into Japanese society, and was thus in favor of using the same legal and governmental approaches on the colonies as those used in the Home Islands. During this period, the colonial government was authorized to pass special laws and edicts, while wielding complete executive, legislative, and military power. With this absolute power, the colonial government moved to maintain social stability, while suppressing dissent.
The second period of Japanese rule is generally classified as being between the end of the Tapani Incident , and the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of , which began Japan's involvement in what would become World War II.
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World events during this period, such as World War I , would drastically alter the perception of colonialism in the Western world, and give rise to growing waves of nationalism amongst colonial natives, as well as the ideas of self determination. As a result, colonial governments throughout the world began to make greater concessions to natives, and colonial governance was gradually liberalized.
The political climate in Japan was also undergoing changes during this time. The new policy was formally announced in October This policy was continued by the colonial government for the next 20 years. In the process, local governance was instituted, as well as an elected advisory committee which included locals though strictly in an advisory capacity , and the establishment of a public school system. Caning was forbidden as a criminal punishment, and the use of the Japanese language was rewarded. This contrasted sharply with the mostly hands-off approach taken by previous administrations towards local affairs, where the only government concerns were "railways, vaccinations , and running water ".
Even after Formosa had been ceded to Japan by the Qing dynasty , it still attracted many Chinese immigrants after the concession. Taiwanese also had seats in House of Peers. Democracy was introduced in response to Taiwanese public opinion. Local assemblies were established in With the rise of militarism in Japan in the mid-to-late s, the office of Governor-General was again held by military officers, and Japan sought to use resources and material from Taiwan in the war effort.
To this end, the cooperation of the Taiwanese would be essential, and the Taiwanese would have to be fully assimilated as members of Japanese society. As part of the movement, the Colonial Government began to strongly encourage locals to speak the Japanese language, wear Japanese clothing , live in Japanese-style houses, and convert to Shintoism. In , laws were also passed advocating the adoption of Japanese names. With the expansion of the Pacific War , the government also began encouraging Taiwanese to volunteer for the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy in , and finally ordered a full scale draft in In the meantime, laws were made to grant Taiwanese membership in the Japanese Diet, which theoretically would qualify a Taiwanese person to become the premier of Japan eventually.
As a result of the war, Taiwan suffered many losses including Taiwanese youths killed while serving in the Japanese armed forces, as well as severe economic repercussions from Allied bombing raids. Coal production dropped from , metric tons to 15, metric tons. As the highest colonial authority in Taiwan during the period of Japanese rule, the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan was headed by a Governor-General of Taiwan appointed by Tokyo. Power was highly centralized with the Governor-General wielding supreme executive, legislative, and judicial power, effectively making the government a dictatorship.
Following reforms in , , and the Home Affairs Bureau gained three more offices: General Affairs, Judicial, and Communications. This configuration would continue until the end of colonial rule. The Japanese colonial government was responsible for building harbors and hospitals as well as constructing infrastructure like railroads and roads. By the Japanese expanded the roads by 4, kilometers, in comparison with the kilometers that existed before the Japanese occupation.
The Japanese government invested a lot of money in the sanitation system of the island. These campaigns against rats and unclean water supplies, contributed to a decrease of diseases such as cholera and malaria. Throughout the period of Japanese rule, the Office of the Governor-General remained the de facto central authority in Taiwan. Formulation and development of governmental policy was primarily the role of the central or local bureaucracy.
In the 50 years of Japanese rule from to , Tokyo dispatched nineteen Governors-General to Taiwan. On average, a Governor-General served about 2.
The entire colonial period can be further divided into three periods based on the background of the Governor-General: the Early Military period, the Civilian period, and the Later Military period. During their tenures, the Colonial Government devoted most of its resources to economic and social development rather than military suppression.
Besides the Governor-General and the Chief of Home Affairs, the Office of the Governor-General was a strictly hierarchical bureaucracy including departments of law enforcement, agriculture, finance, education, mining, external affairs, and judicial affairs. Other governmental bodies included courts, corrections facilities, orphanages, police academies, transportation and port authorities, monopoly bureaus, schools of all levels, an agricultural and forestry research station, and the Taihoku Imperial University National Taiwan University today. Administratively, Taiwan was divided into prefectures for local governance.
In , the prefectures were:. Japan's annexation of Taiwan did not come about as the result of long-range planning. Instead, this action resulted from strategy during the war with China and from diplomacy carried out in the spring of Prime Minister Hirobumi's southern strategy, supportive of Japanese navy designs, paved the way for the occupation of Penghu Islands in late March as a prelude to the takeover of Taiwan. Soon after, while peace negotiations continued, Hirobumi and Mustsu Munemitsu, his minister of foreign affairs, stipulated that both Taiwan and Penghu were to be ceded by imperial China.
Li Huang-chang, China's chief diplomat, was forced to accede to these conditions as well as to other Japanese demands, and the Treaty of Shimonoseki was signed on April 17, then duly ratified by the Qing court on 8 May. The formal transference of Taiwan and Penghu took place on a ship off the Keelung coast on June 2. The annexation of Taiwan was also based on practical considerations of benefit to Japan. Tokyo expected the large and productive island to furnish provisions and raw materials for Japan's expanding economy and to become a ready market for Japanese goods.
Taiwan's strategic location was deemed advantageous as well. As envisioned by the navy, the island would form a southern bastion of defense from which to safeguard southernmost China and southeastern Asia. These considerations accurately forecast the major roles Taiwan would play in Japan's quest for power, wealth, and great empire. Most armed resistance against Japanese rule occurred during the first 20 years of colonial rule. This period of Han and aboriginal resistance is usually divided [ by whom? Afterwards, Han armed resistance was mostly replaced by peaceful forms of cultural and political activism, while the mountain aboriginals continued to carry out armed struggle such as in the Musha incident in On 25 May , a group of pro-Qing officials and local gentry declared independence from China, proclaiming a new Republic of Formosa with the goal of keeping Taiwan under Qing rule, choosing then Qing governor Tang Jingsong as their reluctant president.
In response, Japanese forces landed in Keelung on 29 May, taking the city on 3 June. Later in the same month, remaining supporters of the new Republic gathered in Tainan and selected Liu Yongfu as the second president. The local Taiwanese Han militia units were mobilized to counter the Japanese occupation.
After a series of bloody conflicts between the Japanese and local Taiwanese forces, the Japanese had successfully seized Tainan by late October, inflicting heavy casualties on the Taiwanese side. Shortly afterwards, President Liu fled Taiwan for mainland China, bringing the day history of the Republic to an end. For nearly two years afterwards, a bitter guerrilla resistance was offered to the Japanese troops, and large forces — over , men, it was stated at the time — were required for its suppression. This was not accomplished without much cruelty on the part of the conquerors, who, in their march through the island, perpetrated all the worst excesses of war.
They had, undoubtedly, considerable provocation. They were constantly attacked by ambushed enemies, and their losses from battle and disease far exceeded the entire loss of the whole Japanese army throughout the Manchurian campaign. But their revenge was often taken on innocent villagers. Men, women, and children were ruthlessly slaughtered or became the victims of unrestrained lust and rapine.
The result was to drive from their homes thousands of industrious and peaceful peasants, who, long after the main resistance had been completely crushed, continued to wage a vendetta war, and to generate feelings of hatred which the succeeding years of conciliation and good government have not wholly eradicated. Following the collapse of the Republic of Formosa, the Japanese Governor-General Kabayama Sukenori reported to Tokyo that "the island is secured", and proceeded to begin the task of administration.
However, in December a series of anti-Japanese uprisings occurred in northern Taiwan, and would continue to occur at a rate of roughly one per month. By , however, most anti-Japanese activity amongst the ethnic Chinese population had died down. Along the way, 14, Taiwanese, or 0. The reason for the five years of calm is generally attributed [ by whom? Under this carrot-and-stick approach, most locals chose to watch and wait.
Liao Tianding became a Robin Hood-like figure for his opposition to the Japanese. The "New Flora and Silva, Volume 2" said of the mountain Aboriginals that "the majority of them live in a state of war against Japanese authority". The Bunun and Atayal were described as the "most ferocious" Aboriginals, and police stations were targeted by Aboriginals in intermittent assaults. However, head hunting and assaults on police stations by Aboriginals still continued after that year.
In one of Taiwan's southern towns nearly 5, to 6, were slaughtered by Japanese in The third and final stage of armed resistance began with the Beipu uprising in in which Saisiyat Aboriginals and Hakka people revolted against the Japanese. Between this and the Tapani Incident thirteen smaller armed uprisings took place.
In many cases, conspirators were discovered and arrested before planned uprisings could even occur. Of the thirteen uprisings, eleven occurred after the Revolution in China, to which four were directly linked. Conspirators in four of the uprisings demanded reunification with China, conspirators in six planned to install themselves as independent rulers of Taiwan, and conspirators in one could not decide which goal to pursue. The objectives of the conspirators in the other two cases remain unclear.
It has been speculated [ by whom? Starting from , the Japanese began a road building program that brought them into the indigenous people's territory. This was seen as invasive. Contacts and conflicts escalated and some indigenous people were killed. In , in a battle with the Japanese, indigenous people defeated Japanese soldiers. As a result of this, in , the Japanese isolated Musha. Between and , Japanese forces carried out an aggressive 'pacification' program killing many resisting people.
At this time, leader Mona Rudao tried to resist rule by Japan, but he failed twice because his plans were divulged. At his third attempt, he organized seven out of twelve groups to fight against the Japanese forces. When Japanese soldiers raped some indigenous women, two leaders and twenty men killed thirteen Japanese soldiers. The Japanese wanted to take over the Truku people.
After eight years of investing the area, they attacked. Two thousand of the indigenous people resisted. Some of the Tgdaya people who resisted the Japanese were shot. Because of this, fighting broke out again. Direct police involvement in local administration was curtailed in urban areas, and elements of self-government were introduced on various levels. Moreover, the colonial law-codes were revamped. Most of the harsher punishments ordained by ritsurei enactments were or had already been abolished or suspended, and the Japanese Code of Criminal Procedure of became effective in the colony by For with the exception of the brief Musha incident of , when aroused Seediq tribesmen killed and injured some three hundred and fifty Japanese, armed resistance to colonial authority had ceased.
On October 27, , following escalation of an incident in which a Japanese police officer insulted a tribesman, over Seediq aborigines under Chief Mona Rudao attacked Japanese residents in the area. In the ensuing violence, Japanese nationals and two ethnic Han Taiwanese were killed, and Japanese nationals injured. The Han were mistaken for Japanese by the aboriginals since one of the victims, a Han girl, was wearing a Kimono. Many of the victims were attending an athletic festival at Musyaji Elementary School. In response, the colonial government ordered a military crackdown.
In the two months that followed, most of the insurgents were either killed or committed suicide, along with their family members or fellow tribesmen. Several members of the government resigned over the incident, which proved to be the most violent of the uprisings during Japanese rule.
Local administration continued to be strict, however, and not all modifications in governance had liberal overtones. Special criminal statues relating to public order and peace preservation were introduced from Japan, for example. The revolt began at Dafen when a police platoon was slaughtered by Raho Ari's clan in A settlement holding people called Tamaho was created by Raho Ari and his followers near the source of the Laonong River and attracted more Bunun rebels to their cause.
Raho Ari and his followers captured bullets and guns and slew Japanese in repeated hit and run raids against Japanese police stations by infiltrating over the Japanese "guardline" of electrified fences and police stations as they pleased. One of the most notable features of Japanese rule in Taiwan was the "top-down" nature of social change. While local activism certainly played a role, most of the social, economic, and cultural changes during this period were driven by technocrats in the colonial government.
With the Colonial Government as the primary driving force, as well as new immigrants from the Japanese Home Islands , Taiwanese society was sharply divided between the rulers and the ruled. Under the constant control of the colonial government, aside from a few small incidents during the earlier years of Japanese rule, Taiwanese society was mostly very stable. While the tactics of repression used by the Colonial Government were often very heavy handed, locals who cooperated with the economic and educational policies of the Governor-General saw a significant improvement in their standard of living.
As a result, the population and living standards of Taiwan during the 50 years of Japanese rule displayed significant growth. Taiwan's economy during Japanese rule was, for the most part, a standard colonial economy. Namely, the human and natural resources of Taiwan were used to aid the development of Japan, a policy which began under Governor-General Kodama and reached its peak in , in the middle of World War II. From to , Taiwan's economy was dominated by the sugar industry, while from to , rice was the primary export. During these two periods, the primary economic policy of the Colonial Government was "industry for Japan, agriculture for Taiwan".
After , due to war needs the Colonial Government began to pursue a policy of industrialization. Although the main focus of each of these periods differed, the primary goal throughout the entire time was increasing Taiwan's productivity to satisfy demand within Japan, a goal which was successfully achieved. As part of this process, new ideas, concepts, and values were introduced to the Taiwanese; also, several public works projects, such as railways, public education, and telecommunications, were implemented.
As the economy grew, society stabilized, politics was gradually liberalized, and popular support for the colonial government began to increase. Taiwan thus served as a showcase for Japan's propaganda on the colonial efforts throughout Asia, as displayed during the Taiwan Exposition. Shortly after the cession of Taiwan to Japanese rule in September , an Osaka bank opened a small office in Kirun Keelung.
By June of the following year the Governor-General had granted permission for the bank to establish the first Western-style banking system in Taiwan. In addition to normal banking duties, the Bank would also be responsible for minting the currency used in Taiwan throughout Japanese rule. The function of central bank was fulfilled by the Bank of Taiwan. To maintain fiscal stability, the Colonial Government proceeded to charter several other banks, credit unions , and other financial organizations which helped to keep inflation in check.
As part of the colonial government's overall goal of keeping the anti-Japanese movement in check, public education became an important mechanism for facilitating both control and intercultural dialogue. While secondary education institutions were restricted mostly to Japanese nationals, the impact of compulsory primary education on the Taiwanese was immense.
The Colonial Government established the first Western-style primary school in Taipei the modern-day Shilin Elementary School as an experiment. Satisfied with the results, the government ordered the establishment of fourteen language schools in , which were later upgraded to become public schools. During this period, schools were segregated by ethnicity. Schools for aborigines were also established in aboriginal areas. Criteria were established for teacher selection, and several teacher training schools such as Taihoku Normal School were founded.
Secondary and post-secondary educational institutions, such as Taihoku Imperial University were also established, but access was restricted primarily to Japanese nationals. The emphasis for locals was placed on vocational education , to help increase productivity. Education was compulsory for children between the ages of eight and fourteen. By , there were primary schools in Taiwan with total enrollment rates of As a result, primary school enrollment rates in Taiwan were among the highest in Asia, second only to Japan itself.
As part of the emphasis placed on governmental control, the Colonial Government performed detailed censuses of Taiwan every five years starting in Statistics showed a population growth rate of 0. In , the population of Taiwan was roughly 3 million. The Office of the Governor-General also placed a strong emphasis on modernization of Taiwan's transportation systems, especially railways, and to a lesser extent, highways. As a result, reliable transit links were established between the northern and southern ends of the island, supporting the increasing population.
After Taiwan was ceded to Japan, the push car railways were introduced in Taiwan. The push car railways were in general service from to the late s. The Railway Ministry predecessor of the modern Taiwan Railway Administration was established on November 8, , beginning a period of rapid expansion of the island's rail network. Perhaps the greatest achievement of this era was the completion of the Western Line , linking the major cities along the western corridor in , reducing the travel time between northern and southern Taiwan from several days to a single day.
Several private rail lines were also incorporated into the state owned system. Industrial lines such as the Alishan Forest Railway were also built. Plans were also drawn up for the North-Link Line , South-Link Line , as well as a line running through the mountains of central Taiwan, but were never realized due to technical difficulties as well as the outbreak of World War II.
Private railways such as the Taiwan Sugar Railways built to support the sugarcane industry , were also built. Like many other government offices, the Railway Ministry was headed by technocrats. Many of the railways constructed during Japanese rule continue to be used today. Compared to the rapid development of the rail system, the highway system saw much less attention. However, faced with increasing competition from motorcars, the Railway Ministry began purchasing and confiscating roads running parallel to railways.
Bus service was available in urban areas, but since the cities in Taiwan were quite small at the time, they remained secondary to rail service. Most bus routes of the time centered on local railway stations. Under these ideals, the colonial government, along with community groups, would gradually push to modernize Taiwanese society. The main thrust of these efforts targeted what were known as the "Three Bad Habits". The intentional disfigurement of female feet through binding was common to mainland Chinese and Taiwanese society at the time, and the queue hairstyle worn by the male population was forced upon Han Chinese by the Manchu rulers of the Qing dynasty Queue Order.
However, due to the pervasiveness of opium addiction in Taiwanese society at the time, and the social and economic problems caused by complete prohibition, the initial hard line policy was relaxed in a few years. On January 21, , the Colonial Government issued the Taiwan Opium Edict mandating a government monopoly of the opium trade, and restricting the sale of opium to those with government issued permits, with the ultimate goal of total abolition.
The number of opium addicts in Taiwan quickly dropped from millions to , in 6. However, the numbers were still higher than those in nations where opium was completely prohibited. It was generally believed that one important factor behind the Colonial Government's reluctance to completely ban opium was the potential profit to be made through a state run narcotics monopoly. In , the Taiwanese People's Party accused colonial authorities before the League of Nations of being complacent in the addiction of over 40, people, while making a profit off opium sales.
To avoid controversy, the Colonial Government issued the New Taiwan Opium Edict on December 28, and related details of the new policy on January 8 of the following year. Under the new laws, the number of opium permits issued was decreased, a rehabilitation clinic was opened in Taihoku, and a concerted anti-drug campaign launched.
Foot binding was a practice fashionable in Ming and Qing dynasty China. Young girls' feet, usually at age six but often earlier, were wrapped in tight bandages so they could not grow normally, would break and become deformed as they reached adulthood. The feet would remain small and dysfunctional, prone to infection, paralysis , and muscular atrophy. While such feet were considered by some to be beautiful, others considered the practice to be archaic and barbaric. In concert with community leaders, the Colonial Government launched an anti-foot binding campaign in The practice was formally banned in , with violators subject to heavy punishment.
Foot binding in Taiwan died out quickly afterwards. The Colonial Government took comparatively less action on queues. While social campaigns against wearing queues were launched, no edicts or laws were issued on the subject. With the fall of the Qing dynasty in , the popularity of queues also decreased.
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The Colonial Government initially focused on pressing needs such as sanitation and military fortifications. Plans for urban development began to be issued in , calling for a five-year development plan for most medium and large sized cities. The first phase of urban redevelopment focused on the construction and improvement of roads. Primary targets for improvement included roads and drainage systems , in preparation for the arrival of more Japanese immigrants.
Another phase began in August and also included Tainan. By , urban redevelopment programs were in progress in over seventy cities and towns throughout Taiwan. Many of the urban plans laid out during these programs continue to be used in Taiwan today. In the early years of Japanese rule, the Colonial Government ordered the construction of public clinics throughout Taiwan and brought in doctors from Japan to halt the spread of infectious disease. The drive was successful in eliminating diseases such as malaria , plague , and tuberculosis from the island.
The public health system throughout the years of Japanese rule was dominated primarily by small local clinics rather than large central hospitals, a situation which would remain constant in Taiwan until the s. The Colonial Government also expended a great deal of effort in developing an effective sanitation system for Taiwan. British experts were hired to design storm drains and sewage systems. The expansion of streets and sidewalks, as well as building codes calling for windows allowing for air flow, mandatory neighborhood cleanups, and quarantine of the ill also helped to improve public health.
Public health education also became important in schools as well as in law enforcement. The aborigines were subject to modified versions of criminal and civil law. As with the rest of the Taiwanese population, the ultimate goal of the Colonial Government was to assimilate the aborigines into Japanese society through a dual policy of suppression and education. This Japanese policy proved its worth during World War II, when aborigines called to service proved to be the most daring soldiers the empire had ever produced. Their legendary bravery is celebrated by Japanese veterans even today.
Many of them would say they owe their survival to the Takasago Hei Takasago Volunteers. Throughout most of Japanese colonial rule, the Colonial Government chose to promote the existing Buddhist religion over Shintoism in Taiwan. It was believed that used properly, religion could accelerate the assimilation of the Taiwanese into Japanese society. Under these circumstances, existing Buddhist temples in Taiwan were expanded and modified to accommodate Japanese elements of the religion, such as worship of Ksitigarbha popular in Japan but not Taiwan at the time.
The Japanese also constructed several new Buddhist temples throughout Taiwan, many of which also ended up combining aspects of Daoism and Confucianism , a mix which still persists in Taiwan today. For most of the Japanese colonial period, the Taiwanese were banned from service in the military of Imperial Japan. However, starting in , Taiwanese were permitted to enlist, for support duties. In the Imperial Army's and in the Imperial Navy's respective: Special Volunteers Acts allowed Taiwanese to volunteer for those services' combat arms.
In and respectively those programs were replaced in Taiwan with systematic conscription. In addition, thousands of aboriginal men volunteered from onwards, eventually being taken out of support and placed in special commando type units due to their skills in jungle warfare. The Japanese used Aboriginal and Han Taiwanese women as " comfort women " who served as sex slaves to Japanese troops, along with women from other countries under Japanese colonialism such as Korea and the Philippines. A total of 30, servicemen, or 15 percent of those recruited and conscripted from Taiwan, were killed or presumed killed in action.
Taiwan under Japanese rule (1895–1945)
His elder brother, Lee Teng-Chin, was killed in the Philippines and is enshrined in death along with at least 26, other Taiwanese Imperial Japan servicemen and hundreds of Takasago Volunteers , killed or presumed killed in action, in the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo , Japan , where everyone who died fighting for modern Japan is honored. After , armed resistance against the Japanese colonial government nearly ceased. Instead, spontaneous social movements became popular. The Taiwanese people organized various modern political, cultural and social clubs, adopting political consciousness with clear intentions to unite people with sympathetic sensibilities.
This motivated them to strive for the common targets set up by the social movements. Their examination not only provides a singular understanding of Taiwan's colonial past, but also offers insight into Taiwan's relationship with China, Japan, and the United States today. Focusing on a crucial period in which the culture and language of Taiwan, China, and Japan became inextricably linked, Taiwan Under Japanese Colonial Rule effectively broadens the critique of colonialism and modernity in East Asia.
Dewei Wang. He is the author of nine books in Chinese and the coeditor of Blackwell's International Cultural Studies David Der-wei Wang is the Edward C.
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