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100 Years of Taiwanese Voice & 30th Anniversary of ITH

The 30th anniversary of the ITH coincides in 2023 with the centennial of the launching of ‘Taiwan Minpao.’ Both institutions are important milestones for the people of Taiwan coming into the process of exercising their self-awareness, voicing their opinions accordingly and forging a consensus around the issue. With ‘100 Years of Taiwanese Voice’ and ‘30th Anniversary of ITH’ as focal points, the exhibition makes use of specially selected diaries, newspapers, old books, manuscripts and photographs retracing the 1920s and how contemporary Taiwanese popularized ideas by means of the press, thereby sowing the seeds of conviction for change. The founding and subsequent development of the ITH help to explore Taiwan’s journey from the yoke of martial law to the state of diversity as well as the evolution of Taiwanese history from a marginal academic discipline to a new frontier in mainstream academic research.

Port Construction - From Commencement to Completion

1. Commencement of Port Construction in 1931

The cause for a port to be constructed in eastern Taiwan with local Japanese capital had been unsuccessful after years of campaigning due to government policy and fiscal austerity. It was not until the Government-General of Taiwan suspended the southward expansion policy and opened instead the Taitung Line, thus attracting development resources and Japanese-funded investment to eastern Taiwan that port construction became the focus of the subsequent infrastructure development.

In 1930, the Transportation Bureau of the Government-General of Taiwan formulated a five-year survey plan on all harbors island-wide. Survey on the harbors in Hualien was completed in the same year. According to the findings, the site chosen for port construction was near Milun (the present-day Meilun). Strong breakwaters were to be built along the shoreline and sediments near the land were then dredged before seawater was allowed to flow into the harbor. Artificial harbor constructed in such a way first appeared in Japan in 1951, two decades after the commencement of port construction at Hualien, evidencing the advanced technological standard at that time. In 1931, the National Diet of Japan approved the budget for building Hualien Port, with the total cost exceeding 7.42 million yen. The construction would take 7 years. On the day when the construction commenced, government officials and citizens paraded the streets with cheer, eagerly anticipating the completion of the new port.

Figure 9  Summary of the port construction plan and floor plan of the port in 1935
Source: Summary of Hualien Port Construction Plan, Records Preserved by Bank of Taiwan (T0868), 1935.

2. Port Construction Site

The then Hualien Port had an annual cargo throughput of 200,000 tons, and three wharves where three 4,000-ton ships could dock at the same time. Construction of this unique artificial harbor involved dredging by steam shovels. The rocks and sediments excavated were then transported by dozens of trucks and hundreds of coolies. Eastern Taiwan Prospect, a book edited by Mori Yukitoshi (毛利之俊) in 1935 contains precious photos of eastern Taiwan when Hualien Port was built, and of the ongoing construction at that time.

Figure 10  A distant view of the port construction site from the harbor railway line (臨港線鐵道)
Source: Eastern Taiwan Prospect, Guo Shuang-fu Collection (T1022), 1935.

Figure 11  A new dyke constructed near the old Eguchi Breakwater
Source: Eastern Taiwan Prospect, Guo Shuang-fu Collection (T1022), 1935.


Figure 12  Coolies working at the construction site of Hualien Port
These coolies included Han, aborigines and Chinese.

Source: Eastern Taiwan Prospect, Guo Shuang-fu Collection (T1022), 1935.


Figure 13  Selected western painting Crane by Kawamura Koichi for the Ninth Taiwan Art Exhibition in 1935
Kawamura Koichi (川村幸一) was a teacher at a public school in Fenglin District of Hualien Prefecture. During the summer vacation, he made sketches of the port construction onsite at Milun. Upon returning to school, he spent days polishing the details. The painting Crane depicts the ongoing port construction with breakwaters built along the shore lined with tetrapods hoisted by two cranes.

Source: Catalogue of Ninth Taiwan Art Exhibition, Kuo Hsueh-hu Paintings and Papers (T1089), 1935.


3. First- Phase Completion in 1939

Owing to budget reductions and construction delays, the first phase of construction was completed only in 1939. On August 20, 1939, The Taiwan Shinminpo announced a forthcoming regular Keelung-Hualien shipping route (Figure 14), scheduled to set sail on October 1 in line with the celebration for the opening of Hualien Port. Osaka Merchant Shipping Co., Ltd. was responsible for this route served by Wuchang Maru (武昌丸) and Guizhou Maru (貴州丸). Daily departure was at 9 pm from Keelung Port, arriving at 7 am the next day at Hualien Port; and the return was at 9 pm from Hualien Port, arriving the following morning at Keelung Port.

The ceremony in celebration of the port opening was held in the morning of October 1, officiated by the Chief of General Affairs, Jiro Morioka (總務長官森岡二朗) on behalf of the Governor-General Seizo Kobayashi (小林躋造) along with hundreds of guests from Japan ferried to Hualien Port by Wuchang Maru and Guizhou Maru. That afternoon, there were performances by geishas and aborigines, and top-notch athletes from Keelung were invited to compete in a rowing competition. In the evening, the local residents held a lantern parade. The whole day was filled with activities and Hualien Port was enveloped in a festive atmosphere for four consecutive days.

In 1940, the capacity of the harbor became insufficient and the second phase of port construction was launched but was later suspended due to the intensifying Second World War. Figure 16 is a photo of Governor-General Kiyoshi Hasegawa (長谷川清, 1883-1970) inspecting the second phase of port construction in 1943.

Figure 14  A 1939 report on the forthcoming regular Keelung-Hualien shipping route
Source: The Taiwan Shinminpo No. 3073 (1939-08-20), Records of The Taiwan Shinminpo (T1119), 1938.

Figure 15  Arrival of Wuchang Maru at Hualien Port
Source: Japan Travel Association, Taiwan branch, ed. Taiwan Railway Travel Guide (1940 edition) (Taipei: Editor, 1940), Taiwan Rare Book Collections.

Figure 16  Governor-General Kiyoshi Hasegawa inspecting the second phase of Hualien Port construction in 1943
Source: Album of Inspection Photos (17), Kiyoshi Hasegawa Papers (T0886), 1943.

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