12/05 (Tue)

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Bubonic Plague, Cholera and Influenza in the History of Communicable Diseases in Taiwan(1895-1920)

In view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the Institute of Taiwan History has chosen ‘Outbreaks of Bubonic Plague, Cholera and Influenza in Taiwan under Japanese Rule’ as the theme of the exhibition for the 2020 Academia Sinica Open House. A selection of photographs, illustrations of publications, postcards, official documents, diaries and other collections bears witness to the history of how the inhabitants of this island fought against communicable diseases a century ago.

V. Rebirth – Digital Archive & Value Addition

With Chinese pages banned and tighter restrictions imposed on the press by the Government-General of Taiwan, The Taiwan Shinminpo was forced to change its name to Kounan Shinbun (Kounan News) in 1941. Not only was the number of pages halved, the reports were mainly about the war and the coverage was no different from the pro-government media. In March 1944, six major newspapers in Taiwan, including Kounan News were merged to become Taiwan Shinpo (Taiwan News), essentially bringing an end to The Taiwan Shinminpo. Nevertheless, the Taiwanese held on to their spirit of critical thinking and expression of opinions through the media and persisted till the post-war years.

From The Taiwan Shinminpo to Kounan Shinbun (Kounan News), this sole Taiwanese-run private newspaper spanned across more than two decades, from 1923 to 1944. The publication of its first issue dated back to almost a century ago. The Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica has recently established the digital archives of The Taiwan Shinminpo published between 1938 and 1941 and of the Hsinnan News, between 1941 and 1944.

In view of the importance of newspapers and periodicals, digitalization and value addition of the Records of The Taiwan Shinminpo were carried out and is now featured at The Archives of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica for online access by the public. It is hoped that the archives featured would promote a better understanding of the social culture and everyday life of the public from the 1920s till the end of World War II, offering a perspective different from the pro-government media and a closer reflection of Taiwanese thinking. These materials would be of useful reference for broadening and deepening research studies in Taiwan history.

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