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The Photographic Materials of Michael H. Finegan Collections
Michael H. Finegan Collections of the Archives of the Institution of Taiwan History include copious photographs and post cards. In addition, many photographic materials stored in the Institution of Taiwan History were collected from our researchers or donated by private collectors. These materials feature a wide range of topics and they are very precious. The Preparatory Office of the Institute of Taiwan History and the Institute of Folk Arts of Taipei National University of the Arts cooperated on the project “Taiwan Visual Memory Digitization and Preservation Project.” We jointly revised and established an appropriate photographic database and its field design from 2002 to 2004. Now, the result of the digitization project is merged into Taiwan Archival Information System and is searchable online.

Publication of the newspapers series including The Taiwan Minpao, The Taiwan Shinminpo and the subsequent Kounan Shinbun (Kounan News) spanned from 1923 to 1944. It was in April 1932 when The Taiwan Shinminpo became a daily that Taiwanese finally had a newspaper they considered their own and of significant meaning to them. In contrast to the fortnightly, 10-day and weekly versions, the daily edition enabled more effective dissemination of thoughts and opinions to the general public. Although with some issues missing, the collection of The Taiwan Shinminpo and Kounan Shinbun (Kounan News) at our Institute is currently the most complete and exclusive. This article is a comprehensive review of this single newspaper founded by the Taiwanese, from the layout format and language use to main contents and subject matters covered in the columns. Moreover, it further analyzes the particularity and variations in content materials as time evolved.

The main contents of the daily included news, commentaries, columns, and advertisements. Besides reporting on domestic and foreign events and local news, it also had rich contents on arts and literature. In addition, the columns on each page carried in-depth thematic contents, including editorials, features of local events and the industries, as well as financial and legal information. Further observation revealed the changes in reporting and choice of contents with political developments as time evolved. From 1938 onward with the war intensifying, it became increasingly difficult for Taiwanese to express their opinions and to fight for their rights; and the way of reporting was accordingly adjusted. In line with the southward advance of the Japanese military and the national kōminka (Japanization) policy, the number of pages was reduced and the commentary and tone became different. The reports were mainly updates on the war and most of them became the mouthpiece of the colonial government. Some reports were even inconsistent with historical facts. In addition, most columns were phased out, reflecting the curtailment of media freedom and official control on speech during World War II. The changes in content of The Taiwan Shinminpo reflect that the newspaper does not equate society and historical reality but is a media product, influenced by the external environment and constructed by internal decisions, involving the political parties behind the newspaper and its political stance, business nature and ideology.

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