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Let’s read newspaper-Contents of The Taiwan Shinminpo and Kounan Shinbun

The Taiwan Minpao, The Taiwan Shinminpo and the subsequent Kounan Shinbun (Kounan News) constituted the newspaper series published between April 1923 and March 1944. However, surviving copies of the daily published since 1932 were few. In view of the importance of this newspaper series, the Institute of Taiwan History began gathering remaining copies both in Taiwan and abroad, and discovered an exclusive collection of The Taiwan Shinminpo (1938-1941). The newspapers carried diverse contents, including political and economic affairs, local news, arts and new knowledge, which are rare and precious historical materials for research on Taiwan history during World War II.

Reviewing the daily newspapers published since April 1932, this article attempts to elucidate the layout format and language use as well as main contents and subject matters covered in the columns. Moreover, it further analyzes the particularity and variations in choice of contents as time evolved and the environment changed. This article provides an in-depth introduction to this newspaper of the Taiwanese, and invites you to read the newspaper and revisit major and minor happenings of Taiwan past.

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II. The Chance for Visiting Taiwanese Plains Aborigines

After Thomson went to Taiwan, he mainly stayed in Tainan, which was one of the places where Dr. James Laidlaw Maxwell did his medical missionary work. Dr. Maxwell came to Taiwan for his medical missionary work five or six years earlier than Thomson so that he was more familiar with Taiwan than Thomson was. When Dr. Maxwell first began his medical missionary work in Tainan, he faced difficulty since the Han Chinese refused him. Luckily, he met William Alexander Pickering soon after that. At that time, Mr. Pickering had influence since he actively participated many events and established connections with different groups. He had served in customs, played an important role in camphor trading, helped consuls from the U.K and the U.S. to tackle the issues regarding Taiwan, and visited the aboriginal peoples in Taiwan frequently. Contributed to Mr. Pickering’s language ability and his good connections with people in Taiwan, Dr. Maxwell could visit several aboriginal groups when he felt frustrated at not being able to do his medical missionary work. In fact, those aborigines treated them more kindly than the Han Chinese did. Because of Mr. Pickering’s assistance, Dr. Maxwell developed a new route to do his medical missionary work and also reduced the distance from the aboriginal peoples in Taiwan. This is why Dr. Maxwell took John Thomson to visit his aboriginal friends in 1871.


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