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Archives Related to the February 28 Incident and the White Terror

2017 marked the 70th anniversary of the February 28 Incident and 30 years since the martial law was lifted. Although the February 28 Incident and the White Terror are not forbidden topics in Taiwan society, many relevant archives are yet to be acquired and disclosed. Since its establishment, the Institute of Taiwan History has striven to collect folk papers, such as the following records related to the February 28 Incident and the White Terror: Historical Materials Related to the February 28 Incident and White Terror, Yang Zhao-jia Collection, Chen Cheng-po Paintings and Papers, Yeh Sheng-ji Papers, Chen Wen-xing Papers, Chen Zhong-tong Papers, The Diary of Lin Xian-tang, and The Diary of Wu Xin-rong.

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Let’s read newspaper-Contents of The Taiwan Shinminpo and Kounan Shinbun
Let’s read newspaper-Contents of The Taiwan Shinminpo and Kounan Shinbun

Author: Lee Yiling |Staff member at the Archives of the Institute of Taiwan History

When was the last time you read the print edition of a newspaper? Digital reading has become a prevailing trend of this age. Gone were the days when every household subscribed to the dailies. Paperboys on their delivery routes or fathers engrossed in reading the news were images of the yesteryears. Taiwan’s modern newspaper industry emerged during the Japanese colonial era. Newspapers was the main channel for the public to obtain information. However, under early colonial rule, the Japanese official media monopolized the newspaper industry which served as a propaganda tool for the government. The Taiwan Minpao, first issued in 1923, was the only newspaper published by Taiwanese, who were eager for changes and to disseminate their thoughts and opinions through publications. After changing to The Taiwan Shinminpo in 1930, the newspaper gradually expanded its operation; and eventually became a daily in 1932. It is a newspaper Taiwanese considered their own and of significant meaning to them. Affected by the ongoing war and political situation at that time and in line with the southward advance policy of Japan, The Taiwan Shinminpo was forced to be renamed as Kounan Shinbun (Kounan News). Despite deterioration in quality of views and opinions, the newspaper remained representative of the voice of Taiwanese in the Japanese colonial era.

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 these 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 alterations in layout format, source materials and particularity of content in response to changes on the political scene. The newspapers analyzed included early publications of April-May 1932, May-July and September-November 1933, and later ones during the war from 1938-1944 (except the missing issues of June 1938, May 1941 and October-December 1943). This article provides an in-depth introduction to this newspaper of the Taiwanese, and invites you to read and revisit major and minor happenings of Taiwan past.


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