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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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IV. The equipment and technique of photography that John Thomson applied

The photography technique that John Thomson applied was wet-plate collodion, which was invented by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851. The equipment included a wooden camera, a portable tent to be a dark room, glass plate negatives, collodion and silver nitrate used to be sensitizers and developers. However, walking in the old-growth forest with the equipment was not convenient at all. Hence, John Thomson hired several porters assisting him to take photographs. Since the exposing process of wet-plate collodion took several seconds to 2 minutes, the photographer’s expertise and his interaction with the models were both tested. Surprisingly, there were no serious conflicts between the plain aborigines in Taiwan and western people. It was likely that Dr. Maxwell’s introduction already won the trust from Taiwanese plain aborigines. Therefore, they were calm and comfortable when facing John Thomson’s lens. According to what Thomson wrote in Through China: with a Camera, we can know that Taiwanese plain aborigines were very hospitable.


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