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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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III. Local News & Special Features – Reaching the grassroots

Reporting on local news throughout Taiwan was a major feature of The Taiwan Shinminpo, mainly because of the objective behind its inauguration and with local Taiwanese being its target readers. At a meeting held on April 15, 1933, Dr. Yang Chin-hu, consultant of The Taiwan Shinminpo proposed direction of reforms for the newspaper office, with the branch offices used as liaison hubs for people with vision and insight. The contents carried in The Taiwan Shinminpo did echo this reform proposal. Compared with Taiwan Nichi Shinpo (Taiwan Daily News), The Taiwan Shinminpo had more reports on local events and figures. Through the media, views and opinions could reach and spread among the local grassroots.

The morning edition usually had 1-2 pages of domestic news, covering local matters related to politics, education, economics and society across Taiwan. For example, local news of politics included resolutions made at city and town councils; those of education covered the establishment of schools for learning Japanese with branches specially for the aborigines, and sports events to be held; those of economics reported on meetings of industrial groups and economic control measures; and social news included condolences to families of the military, parades of the Youth and Militia Corps, civil defense drills and crime incidents. On the whole, local news though many were mostly short and the page carried as many items as the layout allowed. With the war getting intensified, news on mobilization of manpower and materials as well as civil defense drills gradually increased. Regular columns were designated for news flashes on event comments, personnel changes and activities classified according to regions. These columns were originally titled “Local News”. From 1938, they were first called 「ローカルセクション」 (Local Section) in the Japanese pages and then changed to 「地方便り」(Local News) from July 16, 1941. (Figure 4)


Figure 4 On May 18, 1938, the "Local Section" column took up a third of the Local News page reporting news flashes about Daxi, Guanyin, Hukou, Zhunan, Miaoli, Baihe, Okayama, and Nengao County . Geographically, the then Nengao comprised Puli Township, Guoxing Township, Renai Township, and Yuchi Township in today’s Nantou County. One of the news flashes concerned the visit of the director of Obayashi, the contractor company that won the bid for constructing the road between Wushe and Wanda for the Taiwan Electric Power Co., Ltd. Source: The Taiwan Shinminpo No. 2616 (1938-05-18), Records of the Taiwan Shinminpo (T1119_02_077_0018).


Besides covering local news regularly, the Chinese pages of the morning edition of the early days had a “Local Features” column reporting on local events in simple and easy vernacular language with brief comments and short reflections. For example, The Taiwan Shinminpo No. 451 (1932/5/27) recorded the plight of laborers living on the island: “I was starving. Had nothing to eat for two days. Had to borrow some rice from my neighbors to make porridge. Yet, they were also frowning and sighing over their livelihood issues. This is the cry of the laborers on the island now... More miserable than tea farmers, these laborers found no voice advocating for their relief. Do the laborers really deserve to be in such plight?” (Figure 5). This column with contents critical of the government but sympathetic for the people had ceased to exist since 1933.



Figure 5 On May 27, 1932, the “Local Features” column carried a short commentary from Hsinchu speaking out for the laborers and another from Taipei expressing sympathy for the tribulation illegal opium users experienced in their lawsuits. This report revealed the particularity in the use of Chinese language at that time; i.e., Chinese mixed with Japanese and colloquial language. For example, 「無免許癮者」(“unauthorized addicts”) in the report referred to those who smoked opium without permission, and「密吸」(“secret smoking”) denoted smoking opium in secret. Source:The Taiwan Shinminpo No. 451, Yang Zhao-jia Collection (LJK) (LJK_09_10_0411810).

Furthermore, The Taiwan Shinminpo carried in-depth reports on government decrees and current affairs for the local grassroots, and produced special features every month or two. In particular, the newspaper would run special thematic reports in great length and multiple pages featuring townships being upgraded or significant events in the industrial sector, enabling readers to gain a thorough understanding of the related issues. An example of such special features was the report on Dadaocheng published in October 1933 introducing its transformation from a traditional Taiwanese neighborhood into a modern town. Another was the two-day multi-page coverage on a restored old mountain railway line in September 1938 along with an overview from the local people and congratulatory messages for celebrating future prosperity of central Taiwan to be brought by the re-opening of the railway. Compared with the matter-of-fact report in straightforward narrative that appeared in Taiwan Nichi Shinpo (Taiwan Daily News), the special feature run in The Taiwan Shinminpo revealed greater importance attached to this incident by the newspaper. Similarly, the special report on the Keelung County published in September 1939 when Oyama Yiyi was newly appointed as county chief served to highlight the significant contribution of Keeling as a major mining town in the southward advance policy. (Figure 6)


Figure 6  Details on local areas, peoples and events included in thematic reports and special features are important materials for research on local history. Source: The Taiwan Shinminpo No. 940 (1933-10-02), The Taiwan Shinminpo No. 2674 (1938-07-15), The Taiwan Shinminpo No. 3107 (1939-09-23), Records of the Taiwan Shinminpo (T1119_02_022_0002, T1119_02_079_0015, T1119_02_093_0023).

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