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A Brief Journey through Tainanfu, Lugang, and Bangkah

Taiwan has been an important stronghold in the Pacific Ocean since the Age of Discovery. Tainanfu, Lugang, and Bangkah were three critical commercial port cities that played a crucial role in the trading history of Taiwan. These three cities witnessed Taiwan’s involvement in the international trade zone and symbolized its busy business activities starting in the seventeenth century. This article investigates records created by a Qing official Shen Bao-zhen, the Hsu family enterprise in Lugang, and the Chen family enterprise in Nagasaki to illustrate the rich history of these three port cities.

"The Diaries of Taiwan Governor-general Den Kenjiro" Now Online

As a part of the "International Collaboration of Taiwan Historical Resources Acquisition Project," the Institute of Taiwan History acquired and published the diaries of Den Kenjiro, Taiwan’s eighth Governor-general. In 2011, digitized annotations and full-text of 610,000 words of the diaries were collected in the "Taiwan Diary Knowledge Bank." Den’s diaries from 1919 to 1923 are now available online.

Den Kenjiro (1855-1930), born in Hyogo prefecture, was the first civilian Governor-general of Taiwan with a deep understanding of Sinology. Before being appointed to Taiwan, he served different posts, including the Chief of Police Department of the Kanagawa Prefecture, Director of Railway Bureau, member of House of Peers, Minister of Post and Communication, etc. During his term as Governor-general (1919-1923), Den promoted the policy of assimilation and carried out various reforms: he reformed the locality system, legalized Taiwanese-Japanese intermarriage, abolished caning as a criminal punishment, and expanded the public education system. He even recruited Taiwanese for high civilian positions as well. All these implementations are important issues for research on Japanese colonial rule.

Among the 19 Japanese governor-generals of Taiwan, Den Kenjiro was the only one who kept detailed records of his daily life and personal viewpoints on state affairs in Chinese for 40 years. Hence, his diaries are definitely valuable primary sources for studying modern Japan and Taiwanese history. You may explore Den Kenjiro’s diaries through the "Taiwan Diary Knowledge Bank."

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