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Visiting the Dadaocheng Customers of Tai-yi-hou in Nagasaki through Time Traveling
The Chinese enterprise Tai-yi-hou in Nagasaki, one of the figures in Traveling in Time Exhibition, was established in the beginning of the 20th century. Its commercial trade network crossed East-Asia including the treaty ports in Vladivostok, Korean Peninsula, coastline of China, Taiwan, Luzon, Malay Peninsula, etc. Tai-yi-hou’s customers were mainly Chinese merchants in Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Since Taiwan became the colony of Japan in 1895, the Japanese Government proactively increased economic and trade relationships between Japan and Taiwan. Within this context, Tai-yi-hou gained the upper hand in expanding its business to Taiwan with its advantageous location, language and culture. Among all Tai-yi-hou Papers, approximately 17,000 commercial letters sent from Taiwan were preserved until today, and around 10,000 of which were sent from stores in Dadaocheng.
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I. John Thomson’s background

John Thomson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1837. He was an apprentice of an optical instrument manufacturer in his early years. During the time of being an apprentice, he had learned the techniques of photography, which was helpful for him to document what he saw in different societies. Like many ambitious young Scottish people, John Thomson longed for Asian world. Therefore, in his age of 25, he went to Singapore with his brother, who had the profession of photography and watch manufacturing, and managed precision instrument, nautical equipment, and optical instrument businesses together. In addition to that, John Thomson established his own photography studio in Singapore and then started to visit neighboring countries, documenting locals’ daily life via photos and words. In 1866, He went back to Edinburgh and published his photographs taken in Siam and Cambodia. In the same year, he was elected as a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. In early 1867, he published his first photography portfolio The Antiquities of Cambodia and then went back to Singapore in the same year. In 1869, he moved to Hong Kong, where he established a new studio and started to document the diversity of Chinese society. He met the Presbyterian missionary Dr. James Laidlaw Maxwell in Xiamen and heard interesting stories about the aboriginal peoples in Taiwan from him. Because of this, he visited Formosa (Taiwan) with Dr. Maxwell and began his adventure.


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