The legal integration of Formosa

By William Wetherall

First posted 1 January 2007
Last updated 1 November 2023

Sino-Japanese War Origins in Korea Hop to Liaotung Skip to Shantung Jump to Penghu Truce and treaty
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Sino-Japanese War

The Sino-Japanese War is one of the most controversial events in history of East Asia at the tend of the 19th century. Publicized "information" about the war leans strongly toward the view that China and Korea were victims of Japanese aggression and imperialism.

These are easy charges to make in a climate of political (and policized scholarly) opinion that has little tolerance for the notion that any other state in Japan's position would also have considered China's military initiative in Korea in 1894 a violation of the treaty that China and Japan had signed in 1885 regarding the independence of Korea.

China and Japan, having agreed in the 1885 Treaty of Tientsin to withdraw their military forces in Korea, and encourage Korea to develop its own defense forces, would naturally attempt to gain favorable treatment from Korea as Korea developed an independent government. Neither China nor Japan would benefit from a hostile Korean government, but given the hostility between the two countries, both had reason to fear the dominance of the other over Korea.

From its point of view, China perceived attempts by some Koreans to overthrow the still fairly pro-China Korean government as to its disadvantage. It also had reason to believe that, while many of the rebels were also anti-Japanese, some of the civil disturbances were being instigated by Japan.

From its point of view, Japan would want to permit -- encourage and even instigate -- the establishment of a Korean government that would turn to Japan as a model of legal reform and industrialization as to its advantage. Hence it was to Japan's interest to allow the rebellion to take its natural course, and not interfere unless the rebels threatened its legation or other properties.

Inevitably, though, neither China nor Japan were of a mind to permit the other state to unilaterlly dispatch armed forces to Korea, on any pretext. Japan obviously had difficulty with the fact that the Korean government had asked China, and not Japan, for military support against the rebels.

Seen in this light, the Korean government sparked the Sino-Japanese War, first by failing to defend itself, and then by inviting only China to come to its aid. Given the diplomatic imperatives of the times, which emphasized military responses, Japan could not possibly have stood by and allowed China to rescue the failing Korean government on its own terms.

The swiftness with which Japan responded to the situation on the peninsula was a showcase of "crisis management". Japan quickly marshalled enormous military and other resources to impose an essentially pro-Japanese order on the Korean government, destroy much of China's fleet in the Yellow Sea, and drive Chinese forces out of Korea.

Recent East Asian history would have been totally different if Japan had stopped at the Yalu river. Japan's military strategists, however, found themselves on a roll. Taken advantage of the momentum of Japan's advance and China's retreat, they crossed the Yalu and took the Tengtien (Liaotung) peninsula. They also crossed the mouth of the Pohai sea and took Weihaiwei, thus gaining naval supremacy at the Yellow Sea gateway to Peking.

Japan's next move was as brilliant as it was conniving and even deceptive. After peace negotations had already started, Japan -- coveting Taiwan as a territorial prize -- invaded and occupied the Penghu islands, thus preventing China from reinforcing Taiwan, and positioning itself to invade Taiwan and ports along China's continental coast should the war drag on.

Japan's actions on Korea are understandable -- rational, even just -- given the nature of its relationship with both China and Korea, and contemporary standards of diplomacy. However, Japan's actions beyond the Yalu and the Yellow Sea are unstandable only as those of a state that had become territorially greedy and politically arrogant.

Japan's greed and arrogance are clearly seen in the terms of the Treaty of Shimonoseki -- which ended the Sino-Japanese War but started the Taiwan-Japanese War, and set the stage for the Russo-Japanese War. Every later imperialistic step Japan took on the Asian continent in the 1920s and 1930s, and in Southeast Asia and the Pacific in the 1940s, can be traced to Japan's fateful decision to cross the Yalu river and Yellow Sea during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895.


Origins in Korea

Japan's involvement in affairs on the Korean peninsula go back to the start of Japanese history, meaning the earliest written accounts of events in what are today Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. There were periods when contacts between entities in the Japanese islands and the Korean peninsula were infrequent, but generally speaking, there have always been exchanges of one kind or another between entities on the islands and the peninsula.

The so-called centuries of relative seclusion during the Tokugawa period witnessed a fairly constant trade between Japan and Korea with occasionally exchanges of missions and, at times, the presence of a Japanese legation in Korea. Ties between the two entities intensified during the Meiji era, largely in the forms of frictions created by Korea's inability or failure to adequantly defend itself from the predatory interests of its nearest neighbors and several Euroamerican countries.

Korea, which had become essentially a tributory of China, was also coveted by Russia. The peninsula was problematic for Japan to the extent that it would be unfriendly toward Japan as a result of its alliances with other countries. Conquest or control of Korea by a country that was hostile to Japan could impede its industrialization and otherwise threaten its geographical security.

While any number of sparks could have ignited the Sino-Japanese War, the war was mostly triggered by an acute outbreak of tensions that had been festering between China and Japan since the late 1860s. These tensions involved all manner of issues, including China's control of Okinawa and its lack of control of Taiwan.

Korea had been the object of Sino-Japanese disputes during the 1870s and 1880s. By the 1890s, Japan's desire that Korea become an independent state friendly toward Japan had inspired more Koreans to endeavor to end China's control of Korean affairs.

Civil disturbances in Korea -- including clashes between pro-Chinese and anti-Chinese Korean factions, some of the latter pro-Japanese -- provoked China to send troops to Korea. China gave Japan prior notice, as required by the 1885 Treaty of Tientsin (Tianjin).

However, the treaty presumed the necessity of a troop dispatch, and Japan did not recognize a need for Chinese troops in Korea. Viewing China's actions as a violation of the treaty, Japan its own troops, and inevitably the two forces collided.

The Treaty of Tientsin had followed by only three years the 1882 Treay of Chemulpo, which marked the legal start of Japan's military presence on the peninsula in the late 19th century.

1882 Treaty of Chemulpo

The Treaty of Chemulpo begins the recognition that, on the 9th day of the 6th month on Chosen's calendar, and the 23rd day of 7th month on Japan's calendar, in reign years corresponding to 1882, the Japanese legation in Hansong (漢城 J. Kanjō, WG Hancheng, PY Hanzheng) was overrun by mobs of Chosen heinous villains (朝鮮兇徒). Some Japanese officials and staff were killed. Others fled to Chemulpo and from there to Nagasaki. Hansong and Chemulpo (済物浦 Chemulp'o) are now known as Seoul and Inchon.

Japan sent warships and troops to protect its people and property. China sent its own troops to protect its interests, which included preventing Japan from doing more than reclaiming its legation.

On 30 August 1882, Chosen (朝鮮国) and Japan (日本国) signed the Treaty of Chemulpo (済物浦条約) [濟物浦條約], which is written in Chinese. In the treaty, Korea agreed to, among other things, pay indemnities to the families of the victims, compensate Japan for damages to the legation and costs of dispatching land and marine forces to protect it, and permit Japan to garrison troops and some police in the legation for its protection (Japan would withdraw the troops in one year if security improved).

1885 Treaty of Tientsin

The Treaty of Tientsin (PY Tianjin) resolved a collision between Chinese and Japanese forces that had taken place the year before. The treaty provided that both countries would withdraw their military forces from Chosen, and that neither country would dispatch troops to the peninsula except when necessary and only with prior notification to the other country. In the meantime, Chosen would be encouraged to develop its own military forces with the help of other states if that was Korea's wish.

Signed on 18 April 1885, the Treaty of Tientsin had both Chinese and Japanese versions. Both versions refer to the entity of contention between the two states as 朝鮮 (J Chōsen) or "Chosen" and to the sovereign of the entity as 朝鮮國王 (J Chōsen kokuō) or "king of country of Chosen".


The above treaty particulars were viewed on scans of original copies of the 1882 Treaty of Chemulpo and the 1885 Treaty of Tientsin on the website of アジア歴史資料センター, the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records (JACAR), which is part of 国立公文書館, the National Archives of Japan.


Hop to Liaotung

Here are some dates of events that prefigured the start of the Sino-Japanese War.

6 June 1894   China, in accordance with the terms of the 1885 Treaty of Tientsin, notified Japan of its intentions to send military forces to Chosen. The pretext of China's action was that it was responding to requests from the Korean government to help it stop a rebellion that had started a few days earlier.

7 June 1894   Japan, also in accordance with the terms of the 1885 Treaty of Tientsin, notified China of its intentions to send military forces to Chosen. The terms of the treaty presumed the need to dispatch troops, and Japan did not accept the pretext that a third party should intervene in a domestic power struggle.

8 June 1894   Japan lands superior numbers of troops at Chemulpo (now Inchon) and within three days the rebellion are supressed -- with thousands of Japanese troops now in Hansong (now Seoul).

China and Japan negotiate the withdrawal of their military forces, but condition their withdrawal on reform of the Korean government. Each state argues for reforms that would favor its own national interests on the peninsula at the expense of the other state's interests.

Meanwhile, both sides build their naval forces in the Yellow Sea.

By 23 July 1894, Japan has occupied parts of Hansong and the palace, installed a pro-Japanese government, and secured from it a mandate to expel Chinese forces.

25 July 1894   Battle of Pungdo Offing (豊島沖海戦). In this first naval controntation of the war, Japan prevents China from landing ground forces at Asan to reinforce its forces there and at nearby Sŏnghwan, from which they could march on Hansong (Seoul).

Pungdo (豊島) is an island at the mouth of Asan bay, which opens on the Yellow Sea. Pungdo offing (豊島沖) is in the Yellow Sea just west of the pay. Asan (牙山) and nearby Sŏnghwan (成歓), like Chemulpo (Inchon) to the north, offered fairly easy overland access to Hansong.

28-30 July 1894   Battle of Sŏnghwan (成歓作戦), aka Battle of Asan (牙山作戦). Japanese ground forces defeat Chinese forces at Sŏnghwanin and also occupy Asan. Surviving Chinese forces retreat north to join other Chinese forces at Pyongyong.

1 August 1894   Japan formally declares war on China. An imperial decree (詔書 shōsho) issued the same day alleges that China (1) had ignored the status of Chosen as standing among the ranks of independent countries, and the treaty which had determined this, (2) had harmed Japan's rights and interests, and (3) did not assure the peace of Asia (東洋).

15-16 September 1894   Battle of Pyongyong (平壌作戦). Japanese troops surround and route Chinese forces at Pyongyong and occupy the city. Surviving Chinese forces retreat north to the Yalu River, which marked the northern boundary between Chosen and Manchuria.

17 September 1894   Battle of Yellow Sea (黄海海戦), aka Battle of Yalu River (鴨緑江海戦). This was the second and largest naval battle of the war, fought in the Yellow Sea at the mouth of the Yalu River. Surviving Chinese forces cross the Yalu river into Fengtian province province of China.

Fengtien (奉天 PY Fengtian) province is now Liaoning (遼寧) province.

Invasion of China

Presumably Japan's aim in going to war with China was to push Chinese forces out of Korea. That goal was essentially achieved when Japan defeated Chinese forces at Pyongyong.

Given the momentum of the war, and the additional push of territorial ambition, Japan decided to pursue Chinese forces into China -- or what China considered part of China, though Japan had its own view on the status of Manchuria.

24-25 October 1894   Battle of Yalu River (鴨緑江作戦). This small battle took place at the Yalu (WG Yalu-chiang, K Amnok-kang) itself, and nearby areas. Japanese land forces bridged the river from the Korea side to attack and take several China's positions in the area.

This resulted in Japan's occupation of Antung (安東 PY Andong), now Dandong (丹東 WG Tantung). From this point, Japan pushed across Fengtien province to Anshan (鞍山), then swept south down the Liaotung (遼東 Liaodong) peninsula to Port Arthur.

By 7 November 1894 Japan had occupied the port town of Talien (大連 J Dairen, PY Dalian) just to the north of the port of Lushunk'ou (旅順口 J Ryojunko, PY Lushunkou). Talien, a larger and more protected harbor, was mostly a commercial port. Lushun, a more exposed but strategically better located harbor on the southern tip of Liaotung, was a naval facility.

Lushunk'ou was better known in English as "Port Arthur" -- so-called after a British naval officer who took refuge in the harbor during the Second Opium War.

12 November 1894   The United States proposes conciliation (peace).

21 November 1894   Japanese forces occupy Lushunk'ou (旅順口 Ryojunko, Lushunkou) after pushing into Manchuria and down the Liaotung peninsula overland.

Lushun was situated on the southern tip of the Liaotung (Liaodong) peninsula, which juts into the Yellow Sea and forms the northern arm of land that embraces the gulf or sea of Pohai.

Pohai (Bohai) was the marine gateway to Peking (Beijing), a short distance overland from Bohai ports like Tientsin (Tianjin). Lushun was the northern part of the rib cage that protected the heart of China. The southern part was Weihaiwei -- the object of the next major Japanese campaign in the war.

22 November 1894   Japan and the United States sign a treaty of commerce and navigation, and related memoranda. In the treaty, the US agrees that its extraterritorial status will end in 1899, and Japan agrees to give the US most-favored-nation treatment.

This is just one of several such treaties that Japan was concluding that year with Euro-American states to which it had given extraterritorial status in earlier treaties.

27 November 1894   Japan declines America's peace overtures, which are made on behalf of China. Efforts by Great Britain to mediate on behalf of China in July, when Japan informed China that it also intended to send military forces to Korea, had also failed.

13 December 1894   Haich'eng (海城 PY Haicheng) occupied. Haich'eng was in Fengtien province. Fengtien city, otherwise known as Mukden (in Manchu), is now Shenyang (瀋陽), the capital of Liaoning province. This was the heart of Manchuria, which later became a part of Manchoukuo (満州国).

4-6 March 1895   Niuchuang and Yingk'ou operation operations. Niuchuang (牛荘 E Newchuang, PY Niuzhuang) was a port town a short distance upstream from the mouth of the Liao river, which spills into Pohai bay.

Newchuang had became a treaty port under the terms of the 1858 Treaty of Tientsin (Tianjin), which ended the first phase of the Second Opium War. Britain then opted for a site that was closer to the mouth of the river and deeper. The new site, called Yingkow (營口 WG Yingk'ou, PY Yingkou), became the treaty port from 1864.

When Japan took Haich'eng, which is further upstream, Chinese forces retreated to Niuchuang. From there they made several attempts to retake Haich'eng.

Japan took Niuchuang and then Yingkou in order to consolidate its possession of the entire coast of the Liaotung peninsula -- from the southern mouth of the Liao river to the mouth of the Yalu.

This was last notable Japanese military action on the Liaotung peninsula during the Sino-Japanese War.

The significance of this action is seen in the wording of Article 2 of Treaty of Shimonoseki. The article cedes "in perpetuity and full sovereignty" three territories, includin (a) the "southern portion of Fengtien province", (b) Formosa (Taiwan), and (c) the Pescadores.

The "boundaries" of the Fengtien territory is described as follows.

The line of demarcation begins at the mouth of the River Yalu and ascends that stream to the mouth of the River An-ping, from thence the line runs to Feng-huang, from thence to Hai-cheng, from thence to Ying-kow, forming a line which describes the southern portion of the territory. The places above named are included in the ceded territory. When the line reaches the River Liao at Ying-kow, it follows the course of the stream to its mouth, where it terminates. The mid-channel of the River Liao shall be taken as the line of demarcation.

The spelling in the place names reflects contemporary English conventions. The English version -- which China and Japan agreed would be the standard for resolving differences in opinion they might have about the meanings of the Japanese and Chinese versions -- was written by John W. Foster, a recently retired former US Secretary of State then working as a consultant for the government of China.


Skip to Shantung

The other part of the terrestrial ribcage that protected Peking from attack by sea from the east was Shantung (Shandong) peninsula. The peninsula juts into the Yellow Sea on the south side of the mouth of the sea (gulf) of Pohai, to the south of Liaotung peninsula on the north side of the mouth.

The Shantung equivalent of Liaotung's Port Arthur was Weihaiwei (威海衛), or Weihai Garrison, known as Port Edward when later under British control. Like Port Arthur, it was on the tip of peninsula, was therefore an extremely strategic locality from the viewpoint of naval operations.

Japan was determined to destroy the remnants of China's naval forces, which had gathered at Weihaiwei. Japan mounted its attack on Weihaiwei from Lushun.

20 January - 12 February 1895   Weihaiwei and nearby areas fall to Japanese ground and naval forces in what was arguably the most difficult operation of the war, considering the logistics and winter weather.

Possession of both Port Arthur and Weihaiwei not only gave Japan control of shipping in and out of Pohai, but from these ports its navy could dominate the Yellow Sea. Japan knew the history of warfare in China, especially its coastal chapters, some very recent.

Japan's possession of the major defensive base on the tip of the Shantung peninsula was also significant because the peninsula is directly north of Taiwan. Warships could easily steam from either Lushan or Weihaiwei to the staits of Taiwan.

Britain had called Lushun "Port Arthur" after a British naval officer took refuge there during the 1860 campaign of the Second Opium War (1856-1860). Lushun was then still mostly a fishing village.

During this phase of the war, joint British and French forces took Chefoo (now Yantai) near Weihaiwei, and Talian (Dalian) near Lushun. This set the stage for seige of Peking, which ended the war -- but not before the Europeans had destroyed the Summer Palace.

Chefoo was a smaller port just to the west of Weihaiwei. Weihaiwei and Chefoo are now parts of Weihai and Yantai cities.

Chefoo -- to return to the Sino-Japanese War -- was the site of the exchange of the instruments of ratification of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which as the name implies was signed in Japan.


Jump to Penghu

Both Itō Hirobumi (伊藤博文 1841-1909), Japan's prime minister throughout the war, and Mutsu Munemitsu (陸奥宗光 1844-1897), his foreign minister, had argued since 1894 that Japan should occupy Taiwan. Itō expressed his opinion that such an operation could be mounted from Weihaiwei.

Japan had been pressing China to cede Taiwan and wished to prevent China from reinforcing its garrisons on Taiwan. As Penghu is situated in the Taiwan straits, naval control of the islands would give Japan an advantage in any attempt by China to keep Japan from taking the islands.

17 March 1895   A provisional truce agreement covered only areas where there had been fighting. Penghu and Taiwan were not included.

20-26 March 1895   The P'enghu (PY Penghu) islands (澎湖列島), called the Pescadores Group in the English version of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, were invaded and occupied with pratically no opposition.

Japan's expeditionary fleet stood off the islands on 20 March 1895 after five-days at sea from Sasebo in Nagasaki prefecture. Bad weather prevented the landing of ground forces until 23 March. Their landing was preceded by some shelling by Japanese ships of shore batteries.

Japanese troops marched on Makung (馬公 J Bakō, PY Magong), the principle port and municipality of the island group, on 24 March but found it mostly deserted. Other strategic sites were taken, also with little resistance, by 26 March.


Truce and treaty

Chinese and Japanese delegates had met in Hiroshima to discuss peace terms as early as early as 1 February 1895. More serious deliberations began at Shimonoseki on 20 March, the day the Japan's expeditionary fleet arrived off Penghu.

During the negotiations, an attempt was made on the life of China's chief negotiator.

20 March 1895   Negotiations between at Shimonoseki.

23 March 1895   Japan commences its invation of the Penghu islands.

24 March 1895   A Japanese man makes an attempt on the life of China's chief negotiator, Li Hung-chang (李鴻章 PY Li Hongzhong), shooting him in the face, but he survives. On this same day, Japan occupies Penghu's principle port and municipality.

25 March 1895   An imperial edict (詔勅) is issued concerning the "distress [caused] the envoy of China" (清国使節遭難).

26 March 1895   Japan completes its invation and occupation of Penghu.

27 March 1895   The emperor of China, on account of the wounds suffered by Li, permits an unconditional truce.

30 March 1895   China and Japan agree to an armistice and also to a recess in the negotiations.

10-13 April 1895   Negotiations resume after a brief recess.

Japan somewhat relaxes its demand for indemnities and continental concessions and territory, in view of its demand for Taiwan and the Pescadores, and possibly also out of consideration for the attempt to assassinate Li.

Russia, France, and Germany attempt to dissuade Japan from demanding the Liaotung peninsula. Japan, however, declines to withdraw its demand for the territory.

17 April 1895   China's and Japan's plenipotentiaries sign a peace treaty at Shimonoseki.

21 April 1895   An imperial decree (詔勅) is concerning the restoration of friendship after the conciliation with China.

23 April 1895   Russia, France, and Germany threaten to evict Japan from Liaotung if Japan did not return the peninsula to China and withdraw its military forces. Japan failed to gain the support of the United States and Great Britain, which chose to remain neutral.

4 May 1895   Japan agrees to return the Liaotung peninsula to China in exchange for additional compensation. Japan notifies concerned parties of this decision the following day. The particulars would be stipulated in another treaty.

8 May 1895   China and Japan exchange instruments of ratification at Chefoo. The treaty had been ratified as signed.

10 May 1895   Kabayama Sukenori (樺山資紀 1837-1922) appointed the first Governor-General of Taiwan.

10 May 1895   Japan issues an imperial decree (詔書) -- making specific reference to the demands made by Russia (露西亜), Germany (独逸), and France (法朗西) -- to the effect that it will return the Liaotung peninsula.

Newspaper reports of this development engenders all manner of discontent among all manner of people in Japan who felt that Japan had won the war but lost the diplomacy. The impression was that Japan was being bullied by Russia, Germany, and France into giving up just rewards for its victory in the war with China. All three of these states -- as well as the United States and Great Britain, which chose to remain neutral in the intervention -- continued, at the time, to have extraterritorial privileges in Japan.

5 June 1895   Russia and Japan exchange declarations in St. Petersburg, confirming the terms of the 1875 Treaty of St. Petersburg, and otherwise pretending to be friends despite Russia's leading role in the Triple Invention.

8 November 1895   China and Japan sign a treaty in Peking (Beijing) in which Japan agrees to retrocede the Liaotung peninsula for a stipulated compensation, and to withdraw its military forces within three months after its payment.

27 December 1895   Japan withdraws the last of its military forces from Liaotung peninsula.

Treaty of Shimonoseki

The Treaty of Shimonoseki was signed ten years nearly to the day after the signing of the Treaty of Tientsin. While the Tientsin treaty had created a sort of bilateral Sino-Japanese guardianship over Korea, with the intent of fostering Korean independence, the Shimonoseki treaty in effect gave Japan full custodial rights over Korea. Again Japan's intent was to foster Korea's independence, albeit as a state that was friendly toward Japan.

The Treaty of Shimonoseki, as signed by the two party states, has Chinese and Japanese versions. The English version is generally attributed to John W. Foster, a former US Secretary of State who participated in the forging of the treaty as a consultant to the Chinese Government.

The entity called Korea in the English version was called respectively 韓国 and 朝鮮国 in the Chinese and Japanese versions.

See Nationalization treaties: Texas, Alaska, Chishima, Taiwan, Liaotung, Hawaii, Philippines, and Karafuto on this website for Chinese, Japanese, and English versions of the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki and further information about John W. Foster.

Liaotung peninsula

The terms of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, however, set the stage for the chain of events that led to the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 -- beginning with the Triple Intervention. One month after the treaty was signed, France and Great Britain threatened to evict Japan from Liaotung if Japan did not retrocede the peninsula back to China and withdraw its military forces from the region.

Japan complied, and a month later, on 5 June 1895 (Russian [Julian] 27 May 1895), in St. Petersburg, Japan and Russia signed a declaration to confirm the terms of the 1875 Treaty of St. Petersburg and its attatchments, and otherwise relieve the stress the Triple Intervention had placed on Russo-Japanese relations.

On 8 November 1895, Japan and China had signed the Treaty for Return of Fengtien Peninsula -- aka Treaty of Liaotung Peninsula and Treaty of Peking. And by 27 December Japan had withdrawn its military forces from the territory.

In 1898, however, China leased the peninsula to Russia, which again put Korea in the position of being both a buffer and pawn in the mounting geopolitical rivalry between Japan and Russia. By 1905, Japan and Russia, both hemoraghing from a war that Japan had barely won, were signing a treaty in which Russia's lease over Liaotung was transferred to Japan, along with the South Manchuria Railway and other Russian properties.

During the Russo-Japanese War (1894-1895), Korea had become a protectorate of Japan, shortly after the war it delegated its foreign affairs to Japan -- essentially losing its qualifications as a sovereign state.

See Nationalization treaties: Texas, Alaska, Chishima, Taiwan, Liaotung, Hawaii, Philippines, and Karafuto on this website for Chinese, Japanese, and English versions of the 1895 Treaty of Peking



Taiwan was legally under Japan's control and jurisdiction from May 1895 when the Treaty of Shimonoseki came into effect, to October 1945 when the Republic of China accepted Japan's surrender of Taiwan. It remained legally part of Japan's sovereign dominion, however, until 28 April 1952.

Japan acknowledged that it would lose its control and jurisdiction, and sovereignty, when it signed the Instruments of Surrender on 2 September 1945. It legally lost control jurisdiction, and in effect also its sovereignty, when it surrendered the territory to ROC, and formally lost the territory on 28 April 1952 when the terms of the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect.

Under the terms of the 1895 Simonoseki Treaty, Taiwan affiliates would become Japanese unless, within two years, they chose not to leave or otherwise established that they were nationals of another state. Under Japanese law, Taiwanese who had been Japanese nationals lost their Japanese nationality on 28 April 1952.

All the above statements will be disputed by critics from various points of view -- including those as radically different as the view that Taiwan had never legally been part of Japan, and the view that it had never legally become part of the Republic of China.

Nonetheless, history is history, treaties are treaties, and laws are laws -- and no matter of ideological quibbling can undo what was done -- and what happened as a consequence of what was done -- in the name of formal agreements and related actions.

Whether Taiwan and the Penghu islands, as the substantial parts of the Republic of China, are therefore parts of the People's Republic of China, is an issue that involves post 1949 history.


Taiwan-Japanese War

The Sino-Japanese War ended with the enforcement of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. The enforcement of this treaty regarding Taiwan, however, began what I am calling the Taiwan-Japanese War.

It was not, in fact, a "war" (戦争 sensō) but an "operation" (作戦 sakusen). One popular Japanese publication summarizes the operation, which took place on Taiwan between May and October 1895, in the wake of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), as follows (page 51 of source described below, my translation).

Taiwan operations of tropical diseases and guerrillas

Among [As for] the Penghu islands and Taiwan, which had been exlcuded in the 17 March truce agreement -- Penghu island operation ends 15 April -- [On] Taiwan, which by [because of] the peace treaty had become a new territory [of Japan] while not-yet-captured (未攻略のまま mi-kōryaku no mama), the Taiwan People-ruled Country [Taiwan Republic] (台湾民主国 Taiwan minshukoku) is founded and commences an anti-Japan struggle (抗日闘争 kō-Nichi tōsō) -- In [because of] the violent guerrilla war and tropical diseases, among 26,000 Japanese military forces, [casualties] reach 164 war-dead and 4,642 disease-dead -- With [because of] the fall of Tainan the operation provisionally ends


Mainichi Shinbun Sha
[ Mainichi news company ]
Ichiokunin no Shōwashi
[ Showa history of 100 million people ]
日本の戦史 (全10巻)
Nihon no senshi (Zen jū kan)
[ War history of Japan (10 volumes) ]
牧野喜久男 (編集長)
Makino Kikuo (chief editor)
1 日清・日露戦争
1 Nisshin・Nichiro sensō
[ Volume 1: Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanesse wars ]
Tokyo: Mainichi Shinbun Sha, February 1979
[ Volume 5, Number 1, Issue 24 of series ] 274 pages, mook

All volumes in the Mainichi series are photo-journalistic records their theme and period. This volume is dedicated to Japan's two biggest interenational wars of the Meiji period (1868-1912).

The series is not nationalistic but merely reflects the tendency in all countries to focus on their own loses and casualties. Still, the cited volume amply shows and comments on the devastation that Japan's military forces sometimes wreaked in its campaigns to suppress resistance against Japan's governing of Taiwan.

One picture shows several guerrilla bodies and a disembodied head in Tainan, where supporters of the Taiwan Republic resisted to the end. The caption notes that "the Japanese army carried out total slaughter [butchery, massacre] (徹底的な殺りく tettei-teki-na satsuriku) in the guerrilla war" -- and that "the number of abandoned bodies on the entire island climed to around 8,000" (page 51).

Unrecognized government

The "war" that continued in Taiwan is called an "operation" (作戦) in Japanese. The self-declared "Taiwan Republic" was somewhat of an embarrassment for China, which could not in good faith have recognized the government, or otherwise reciprocated its recognition of China as its suzerain. The last thing China wanted was to give Japan pretext for regarding China as a belligerent in what was being called an "operation" (作戦).

The United States and Great Britain, which had mediated between China and Japan -- and even Russia, Germany, and France, which would force Japan to return the Fengtien peninsula to China -- recognized that Japan was entitled, by the Treaty of Shimonoseki, to take possession of Taiwan. In other words, the actions that Japan began to take regarding Taiwan, immediately after the end of the war, were legal in the world's eyes.

China makes preparations to defend Taiwan

China, hearing rumors that Japan would demand Taiwan as part of the settlement, sent troops to the island and otherwise made preparations to defend the territory. During the final stages of peace negotiations, though, Japan invaded and occupied the Penghu islands.

When singing the Treaty of Shimonoseki, China accepted the loss of Taiwan and the Penghu islands. And as soon as the treaty had come into force, Japan formally created a Government-General and appointed a Governor-General to head it.

Some Chinese generals on Taiwan, and other Taiwanese who had been preparing to defend the island, however, chose not to recognize the cession of the island and the Japanese military government, and declared the establishment of what they called the "Taiwan Republic" (台湾共和国 J Taiwan kyōwakoku, WG T'aiwan kunghekuo, PY Taiwan gongheguo) -- a nominally independent state under Chinese suzerainty.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of this new state had recently been "the military attache at the Chinese Legation in Paris" and had just arrived in Taiwan via Peking and Tientsin (Takekoshi 1907:83). It is not unlikely that some other Chinese officials were also partly behind the movement to create the republic.

Japan takes possession of Taiwan

10 May 1895   Kabayama Sukenori (樺山資紀 1837-1922) appointed the first Governor-General of Taiwan.

23-25 May 1895   Founding in Taipei of the "Formosan Republic" as it was called in English, and 臺灣民主國 (T'aiwan minchu kuo) or "Taiwan democratic state" in Chinese. Some writers refer to the entity as "Taiwan Republic" (臺灣共和國, 台湾共和国 J Taiwan kyōwakoku, WG T'aiwan kunghekuo, PY Taiwan gongheguo).

For examples of stamps issued in the name of this government, and some frankings showing its English name and dates corresponding with the government's final weeks, see 1895 Formosan Republic stamps in the "Taiwan as part of Japan" section of the article on "The empire of postal services" in "The Detritus of Empire" feature.

The Chinese version of the Formosan Republic's declaration of independence does not survive. An English version appears to have survived in the body of a contemporary report by an American correspondent in Taiwan.

Wikipedia "Republic of Formosa" articles

A Wikipedia article called "Republic of Formosa" refers to the entity as the "Republic of Formosa". It gives the characters 臺灣民主國 and 台湾民主国, reads them in Pinyin as "Taiwan minzhuguo", and explains that they literally mean "Democratic State of Taiwan".

The Chinese version gives 臺灣民主國 (WG T'aiwan minshukuo) and the Japanese version 台湾民主国 (J Taiwan minshukoku).

The English Wikipedia article cites the text of the English version of the Taiwan Republic's so-called "Declaration of Independence". The cited text refers to the new entity as the "Republic of Formosa" and to the people as the "People of Formosa". It also accuses Japan of having "affronted China by annexing our territory of Formosa" and there is a sense of urgency as "the Japanese slaves are about to arrive" and if nothing is done Formosa will become a "land of savages and barbarians" (retrieved 11 September 2009).

Wikipedia attributes the English text to "Davidson, J. W., The Island of Formosa, Past and Present, London, 1903", pages 279-280. This apparently refers to the following work, which I have not examined.

Source (Unconfirmed)

James W. Davidson
The Island of Formosa: Past and Present
(History, People, Resources, and Commercial Prospects)
[Tea, Camphor, Sugar, Gold, Coal, Sulphur, Economical Plants, and other Productions]

Yokohama: Kelly & Walsh, 1903
Nearly 700 pages and about 50 plates plus maps
Numerous reprints over the decades

29 May 1895   Japan begins landing ground forces on Taiwan to suppress efforts by Chinese and others to prevent its governmental takeover.

1 June 1895   Japanese forces take and occupy begins landing ground forces on Taiwan to suppress efforts by Chinese and others to prevent its takeover governmental takeover.

3 June 1895   Japanese forces commence their attck on Keelung (Kelung, Chilung), on the northern tip of Taiwan.

3 June 1895   While Keelung is under siege, a formal ceremony for transferring sovereignty of Taiwan and the Pescadores from China to Japan takes place at sea, off the coast of Taiwan, between Li Ching-fang (李經芳), Li Hung-chang's nephew and adopted son, and Governor-General Kabayama Sukenori.

7-8 June 1895   Japanese forces enter and take control of Taipei (台北) , the capital of Taiwan, to the south of Keelung. By this time, the president of the so-called "Taiwan Republic" has fled to China. A new leader assumes the mantle, and with remnants of the rebel forces, establishes the republic of the Taiwan Republic in Tainan (台南), on the southwest coast of Taiwan.

21 October 1895   Japanese forces occupy Tainan, where Japan had sent ground forces to help suppress resistance to its rule.

23 November 1895   Fall of Taiwan Republic at Tainan.

Return of Liaoting peninsula

The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, between Japan and China, was settled by the Treaty of Shimonoseki. China agreed, in Article 2 of the treaty, to cede Japan "in perpetuity and full sovereignty" (a) the southern part of Fengtien province, meaning the Liaotung peninsula and associated islands, (b) Formosa and associated islands (Taiwan), and (c) the Pescadores Group (Penghu).

A month after the treaty came into force, international pressure forced Japan to retrocede Liaotung back to China, thus voiding this provision in the treaty. Taiwan and Penghu, however, were internationally recognized as having become parts of Japan.

Taiwan (including Penghu) was the first territory a foreign state had ceded to Japan, which Japan had not previously regarded as part of its inherent dominion. Taiwan was not a dependency or a colony in the ordinary sense of either term, but an integral part of Japan's sovereign territory.

By the end of 19th century, the history of contacts between people in Japan and the islands of Taiwan -- incidental to shipwrecks, marine trade and piracy, and political and military adventurism -- went back about a millennium. The late 16th and early 17th centuries witnessed direct contact -- in the form of landings, explorations, and failed attempts at settlement -- intiated by Japanese political and military adventurists.

In the middle of the 16th century, Taiwan -- known by a number of names at various times in the various languages of East Asia and the Pacific -- came to be called "Ilha Formosa" (Island beautiful) in Portuguese. From the early decades of the 17th century, Taiwan came under Dutch and Spanish influence, but by the end of the century it was under Chinese suzerainty.

In the middle of the 19th century, Taiwan became a source of diplomatic friction between foreign states and China, because of the treatment their nationals had received by inhabitants of Taiwan when shipwrecked along its coasts. In 1874, Japan sent an expeditionary military force to Taiwan to punish a group of aborigines responsible for the killing of a number of Ryukyu fishermen who shipwrecked in south in 1871.

The Pescadores, and northern parts of Taiwan, became battlegrounds during the Sino-French (Franco-Chinese) War of 1884-1885, essentially over Vietnam. Though victorious in some of the battles involving the islands, France evacuated its footholds there at the end of the war.

During the Sino-Japanese War, Japan's prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, among others, coveted Taiwan for the usual reasons -- its natural resources and its proximity to Okinawa. For military and other security reasons, too, Taiwan was an obvious asset to Japan. However, it is highly unlikely that Japan would have acquired Taiwan had there been no Sino-Japanese War, which essentially involved rivalries in Korea.


Government-General of Taiwan

When Taiwan became part of Japan in 1895, Japan did not immediately know how it should govern the territority under its 1890 Constitution.

In principle Taiwan was part of the emperor's sovereign dominion. However, Taiwan was not automatically reached by laws that applied to the prefectures. The emperor, though, was empowered not only to sanction and promulgate laws consented to by the Imperial Diet, but to issue ordinances under his own authority.

Apart from the usual transitory measures inevitably required to effect transfers of state jursidictions, Japan faced widespread civil unrest and rebellion in Taiwan that made effective governance impossible until such resistance to its authority was suppressed. Some of the challenges to Japanese authority were specifically anti-Japanese. Other disturbances represented continuations of the sort of disorder that had plagued Chinese suzerains for more than two centuries.

Japan began its rule of Taiwan with the establishment of the Government-General of Taiwan (GGT) in Keelung (基隆 SJ Kiryū, Kiirun, WG Chilung, PY Jilong) in May 1895. The GGT moved to Taipei (台北) in June and branch offices were set up in various districts with police departments.

From August 1895, GGT shifted to a military administration, meaning that Taiwan was essentially under martial law. This shift facilitated the needs of the new government to suppress anti-Japanese rebellions.

GGT shifted to a nominally civil administration from 1 April 1896, the first day of the fiscal year of Meiji 29. This is the datum for the start of compilation of many kinds of social statistics.

As GGT expanded its operations, its agencies were frequently reorganized. The police, who were responsible for suppressing local uprisings and otherwise establishing public order and safety, underwent many organizational changes during the first two decades.

In August 1915, "managing barbarian" (理蕃) operations were shifted to the police. A police bureau (警務局) was established within GGT in July 1919.

Diet laws empowering the Governor-General of Taiwan

Government-General of Taiwan (台湾総督府 Taiwan Sōtokufu) means "Headquarters [seat, office] (府) of the governor-general (総督) of Taiwan". The first several Governor-Generals of Taiwan (台湾総督 Taiwan Sōtoku) were all military officers. Though accountable to the prime minister and the emperor, they had plenary powers over the territory with regard to its civil and military administration, and were empowered to give military orders -- until 1919, from which time GGT was headed mostly by men with civilian backgrounds.

Note   Unless otherwise noted, the promulgation dates shown for laws are the dates the original laws or their revisions were published in the Official Gazette (Kanpō). Otherwise the "seal" date is shown, meaning the date the emperor affixed his seal to the law. Most laws appeared in the Official Gazette the day after they received imperial sanction.

The first Governor-General of Taiwan, Kabayama Sukenori (樺山資紀 1837-1922), had been an army general and a navy admiral before becoming Minister of the Navy and retiring in the early 1890s. He returned to duty during the Sino-Japanese War and commanded the forces that began to occupy Taiwan. Kabayama headed GGT from 10 May 1895 to 2 June 1896.

Kabayama's first challege

Kabayama's first challenge was to suppress uprisings led by Chinese officials on Taiwan and others who rejected the terms of the Shimonoseki Treaty and attempted to prevent Kabayama from establishing Japan's rule over the territory that according to the treaty belonged to Japan. It took Kabayama bout half a year to secure Taiwan to the point that he could established offices of his government in the island's major cities.

Faced with civil unrest and even rebellion, Kabayama argued that he needed the authority to directly govern the territory with only the emperor's sanction and promulgation of laws his government deemed necessary. In other words, the Goverment-General of Taiwan should function the same as the Imperial Diet, with the mediation of the Prime Minister. Only the Prime Minister would stand between the GGT and the emperor.

Inaugural legislation

The Governor-General of Taiwan's position held sway. And on 31 March 1896, the emperor promulgated Imperial Diet Law No. 63, entitled "Law concerning laws and regulations to be enforced in Taiwan" (臺灣ニ施行スヘキ法令ニ關スル法律), giving the GGT three years of legislative authority, after which the Diet would review his mandate. Edward I-te Chen aptly calls this "delgated authority" (Chen 1984: 284, 252, and others).

The GGT's three-year mandate was thrice renewed, in 1899 (Law No. 7, promulgated 8 February, effective through 31 March 1902), 1902 (Law No. 20, promulgated 20 March, effective through 31 March 1905), and 1905 (I have not yet confirmed this law).

A new version of the 1896 law, enacted in 1906 (Law No. 31, promulgated 11 April, effective from 1 January 1907), extended the mandate to five years (effective through 31 December 1911).

The five-year mandate was twice renewed, in 1911 (Law No. 50, promulgated 29 March 1911 [seal], effective through 31 December 1916), and in 1916 (Law No. 28, promulgated 17 March 1911 [seal], effective through 31 December 1921).

Early Governor-Generals and Civil Administrators

Kabayama was replaced by a succession of army officers, including Katsura Tarō (桂太郎 1848-1913) from 2 Jun2 1896 to 14 October 1896, Nogi Maresuke (1849-1912) from 14 October 1896 to 26 February 1898, and Kodama Gentarō (児玉源太郎 1852-1906) from 26 February 1898 to 11 April 1906.

The director of civil administration under both Kabayama and Katsura was Mizuno Jun (水野遵 1850-1900), who held the title from 21 May 1895 to 20 July 1897. Nogi replaced Mizuno with Sone Shizuo (曽根静夫), who served in the post from 20 July 1897 to 2 March 1898. Kodama replaced Mizuno with Gotō.

Early Taiwan Governor-Generals and Directors of Civil Affairs


Period in office

Civil Administrator

Period in office

Kabayama Sukenori


Mizuno Jun


Katsura Tarō


Nogi Maresuke


Sone Shizuo


Kodama Gentarō


Gotō Shinpei


Sakuma Samata


Iwai Tatsumi


Iwai died in office. Three other men succeeded him as Civil Administrator during Sakuma's tenure as Governor-General.

Jurisdiction and sovereignty

Jurisdiction and sovereignty are not the same.

A state can be ceded a territory in a treaty, and thereby have sovereignty, but not yet have control and jurisdiction. This was the case with Taiwan in 1895, for the several months it took Japan to gain control over the territory after it became part of Japan's sovereign dominion. Without control, there can be no effective jurisdiction.

Or a state can lease territory from another state -- or capture territory during a war, or occupy territory after a war -- and thereby establish control of, and jurisdiction over, a territory without possessing sovereignty. This is the more common case. China retained sovereignty over Japan's Kwantung Leased Territory from 1905-1945, and Japan retained sovereignty over Okinawa under US administration from 1945-1972.

Under the terms of the general surrender, Japan agreed that it would lose Taiwan. However, Taiwan remained under Japanese control and jurisdiction until the territory was formally surrendered to ROC authorities representing the Allied Powers. Also under the terms of surrender, Japan delegated its sovereignty to the Allied Powers, and in effect lost its sovereignty over territories like Taiwan pending treaty agreements. Under the terms of surrender, ROC assumed that it would have sovereignty over the territory from the moment of the surrender in 1945. But in a sense, Japan retained residual sovereignty over Taiwan until the terms of the San Francisco Peace treaty came into effect in 1952.

Difference between Okinawa and Taiwan

The crucial difference between Okinawa and Taiwan is not the manner in which they came to be occupied and controlled by other states -- Okinawa by the United States, Taiwan by the Republic of China representing the Allied Powers. More important was the fact that Japan abandoned its sovereignty over Taiwan but not overe Okinawa. Hence Japan continued to have residual sovereignty over Okinawa until it was returned to Japan's control and jurisdiction in 1972.

In 1945, the United States invaded and occupied Okinawa prefecture in the process of pursuing the war it had declared against Japan. After the US captured the islands affiliated with the prefecture, and a few nearby islands that were part of Kagoshima prefecture, the US placed all of these islands under a military government (軍府 gunpu).

The Instruments of Surrender provided that these islands would remain under a US military government, and hence they were not part of "Occupied Japan" -- which, to some extent, remained under Japan's control and jurisdiction. Legally, the Ryukyu islands under US military and civil administration, and Occupied Japan under GHQ/SCAP, were different entities. Occupied Japan was the territorial foundation for the "Japan" that regained its sovereignty when the San Francisco treaty came into effect.

From 15 December 1950, General MacArthur, as Commander in Chief, Far East Command, replaced the military government of the Ryukyu islands with a nominally civil administration (民政) called the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands (USCAR) (琉球列島米国民政府) -- or simly Office of the Civil Administrator (国民政府).

USCAR was headed by a governor (長官) and deputy governor (副長官). In principle, the Commander in Chief, Far East Command, in Tokyo, was the Governor of the Ryukyus, while the Commander in Chief, Ryukyus Command (極東軍司令官), in the Ryukyus, was the Deputy Governor. Under the Deputy Governor was a Civil Administrator (民政官).

US Executive Order 10713 of 1957 replaced the Governor and Deputy Governor by a High Commissioner (高等弁務官). Six US Army lieutenant generals served as High Commissioner from 5 June 1957 through 15 May 1972, when Okinawa reverted to Japan.

Diet tightens harness on Taiwan governor

The first several Governors-General of Taiwan were military officers. Sweeping reforms, introduced by the Imperial Diet in 1921, included the appointment of the first civilian GGT.

Shift to "civilian control"

On 15 March 1921, a new "Law concerning laws and regulations to be enforced in Taiwan" (台湾ニ施行スヘキ法令ニ関スル法律) was promulgated (Law No. 3). This law, which came into effect from 1 January 1922, considerably curtailed the legislative authority of the GGT by allowing him to formulate laws only when interior laws could not be effectively applied. "In other words," as Edward I-te Chen writes, "after 1921 the application of Diet-enaced laws to Taiwan became a principle rather than an exception" (Chen 1984: 256)."

The 1921 law also extended the efficacy of laws and regulations previously issued by the Governor-General of Taiwan under Law No. 63 of 1896 and Law No. 31 of 1906. The law lost its effectiveness upon the enforcement of the San Francisco Peace Treaty on 28 April 1952.

1921 Law concerning laws to be enforced in Taiwan

Law No. 3 of 1921

Promulgated on 15 March 1921
Enforced from 1 January 1922

Lost effectiveness on 28 April 1952 due to enforcement of [San Francisco] Peace Treaty with Japan (Treaty No. 5 of 1952)

台湾ニ施行スヘキ法令ニ関スル法律 (大正10年法律第3号)

第一条 法律ノ全部又ハ一部ヲ台湾ニ施行スルヲ要スルモノハ勅令ヲ以テ之ヲ定ム
2 前項ノ場合ニ於テ官庁又ハ公署ノ職権、法律上ノ期間其ノ他ノ事項ニ関シ台湾特殊ノ事情ニ因リ特例ヲ設クル必要アルモノニ付テハ勅令ヲ以テ別段ノ規定ヲ為スコトヲ得

第二条 台湾ニ於テ法律ヲ要スル事項ニシテ施行スヘキ法律ナキモノ又ハ前条ノ規定ニ依リ難キモノニ関シテハ台湾特殊ノ事情ニ因リ必要アル場合ニ限リ台湾総督ノ命令ヲ以テ之ヲ規定スルコトヲ得

第三条 前条ノ命令ハ主務大臣ヲ経テ勅裁ヲ請フヘシ

第四条 臨時緊急ヲ要スル場合ニ於テ台湾総督ハ前条ノ規定ニ依ラス直ニ第二条ノ命令ヲ発スルコトヲ得
2 前項ノ規定ニ依リ発シタル命令ハ公布後直ニ勅裁ヲ請フヘシ勅裁ヲ得サルトキハ台湾総督ハ直ニ其ノ命令ノ将来ニ向テ効力ナキコトヲ公布スヘシ

第五条 本法ニ依リ台湾総督ノ発シタル命令ハ台湾ニ行ハルル法律及勅令ニ違反スルコトヲ得ス


1 本法ハ大正十一年一月一日ヨリ之ヲ施行ス
2 明治二十九年法律第六十三号又ハ明治三十九年法律第三十一号ニ依リ台湾総督ノ発シタル命令ニシテ本法施行ノ際現ニ効力ヲ有スルモノニ付テハ当分ノ内仍従前ノ例ニ依ル


Family registers

As was the practice in all of earlier incorporations of new territories into its sovereign dominion, Japan quickly adapted parts of the Interior Family Registration Laws to the new territory in the process of Interiorizing Territorial common laws.

Family registers in Taiwan

To be continued.

Hundreds of laws and ordinances were promulgated to facilitate the governing of Taiwan -- after the Japanese government accepted the arguments of the Governor-General of Taiwan that he, and not the Imperial Diet, should mediate between the Emperor and Taiwan.

A series of ordinances in 1932 and 1933 created specific registation laws for Taiwan, such that Taiwan subjects would be registered in Taiwan registers, and interior subjects residing in Taiwan would be registered in interior registers. Marriage between a Taiwan subject and an Interior subject would effect the transfer of one subject to the other subject's register.

To be continued.

In 1896 GGT had issued a notice (No. 8) called "Notice concerning Taiwan family registers" (台湾戸籍ニ関スル告示) to deal with household census registration.

Ordinances concerning civil and penal matters were issued in 1898.

In 1905, GGT Ordinance No. 95, called "Taiwan Household Census Regulations" (台湾戸口規則), provided that the registers of interior and Taiwan subjects be separated by region.

In 1908, GGT issued Decree No. 11, "Taiwan Civil Matters Decree" (台湾民事令).

Imperial Ordinance No. 361 of 1932, promulgated on 26 November 1932, was titled "Matter of causing district governors, police precinct chiefs, police sub-precinct chiefs, and sub-cho chiefs to handle affairs concerning household registers of [Taiwan] Islanders" (本島人ノ戸籍ニ関スル事務ヲ郡守、警察署長、警察分署長又ハ支庁長ヲシテ取扱ハシムルノ件).

This ordinance made the following provisions (my structural translation).

Matter of causing district governors, police precinct chiefs, police sub-precinct chiefs,
and sub-cho chiefs to handle affairs concerning
household registers of [Taiwan] Islanders






As for administration concerning the household registers of [Taiwan] Islanders, in Taiwan, district governors, police precinct chiefs, police sub-precinct chiefs, and branch-cho heads shall conduct them.

The Taiwan Governor-General, when recognizing necessity, pursuant to this ordinance, shall enable district governors, police precinct chiefs, police sub-precinct chiefs, and branch-cho heads to delegate the tasks [work] [concerning household register] to police inspector or assistant police inspectors.

As for household register administration, primarily the [provincial] governor or the cho head who has jurisdiction over the locality of the district hall, police precinct, police sub-precinct, or branch-cho shall supervise them; [and] secondarily the Governor-General of Taiwan shall supervise them [the provincial governors and cho heads].

Supplementary provision

As for the day of enforcement of this ordinance, the Governor-General of Taiwan shall determine it.

1932 (GGT Decree No. 2)
Matter concerning registers of islanders (本島人ノ戸籍ニ関スル件)


1933 (GGT Ordinance No. 8)
Matter concerning family registers of islanders (本島人ノ戸籍ニ関スル件)
Taiwan Governor-General Ordinance No. 8 of 20 January 1933


Civil Code



Nationality in Taiwan

The Treaty of Shimonoseki of 1895 provided two years within which inhabitants of Taiwan and Penghu -- and Liaotung, retroceded later that year -- were free to leave. But should they remain, Japan would have the option of regarding them its subjects hence nationals. Naturally Japan would have to regard people in the territories who were legal affiliates of other states it recognized as aliens. Most inhabitants of any degree of continental Chinese descent, however, were natives of the island in the sense they had been born there, and because they were totally settled in Taiwan they stayed and became Japanese subjects.

Japan's first Nationality Law did not come into effect until 1899, but as soon as it did, it and several other laws were made applicable to Taiwan by an imperial ordinace [edict] (勅令 chokurei).

The Nationality Law was promulgated on 16 March and enforced from 1 April 1899. The law was extended to Taiwan by Imperial Ordinance No. 289 of 1899, promulgated on and enforced from 21 June 1899.

The 1890 Constitution spoke of "Japan subjects" (日本臣民 Nihon shinmin), not "Japan nationals" (日本国民 Nihon kokumin), and not "Japanese" (日本人 Nihonjin), though as legal expressions all three terms were essentially synonymous. The Nationality Law, satisfied the constitutional requirement for a law that defined the conditions for being a subject of Japan, literally determined the conditions for being Japanese.

Note that extending the Nationality Law to Taiwan did not make Taiwanese nationals of Japan. The Nationality Law applies only to registers which are assumed to have already been incorporated into Japan's sovereign dominion.

Taiwanese became Japanese subjects and nationals as an effect of the Shimonoseki Treaty. Japan naturally regarded inhabitants who had remained as its subjects hence nationals. Already there were conflicts regarding nationality claims on the part of some Taiwanese who had gone to China and represented themselves as Japanese. China regarded some of these individuals as Chinese but had no legal provisions for regarding them so.

By 1898, Japan had a Rules of Laws, which determined applicable laws, Article 1, Paragraph 2 of which provided that "Regarding Taiwan, Hokkaidō, Okinawa prefecture, and [certain] other insular lands [places] [that are part of Japan's sovereign territory], it shall be possible for [the government] to determine a special [specific] enforcement date by imperial ordinance" (my translation). The regionality of the listed entities derived from the fact that they were entirely or partly overseen by authorities other than the Ministry of Interior, which oversaw the prefectures of Honshō, Shikoku, and Kyūshū.

Hence by the time the 1899 Nationality Law was applied to Taiwan, Taiwan had already become part of Japan's sovereign dominion, and Taiwanese were already regarded as Japan's subjects and nationals. This had to have been the case, for Japan's Nationality Law has no provisions for declaring that people already in registers affilated with Japan's sovereign dominion are Japanese. It determines only only gain and loss of nationality related to registers already regarded as Japanese.

In this regard, the 1899 Nationality Law was merely a statuatory codification of customary rules that had already been determing Japanese status, and which would have continued to determine Japanese status without a nationality statute. The 1890 Constitution required a subjecthood statute, and the writers of the Constitution had in the nationality section of the Civil Code, which was promulgated but not enforced 1890.

In the meantime, the 1890 Constitution did not nullify customary status laws, which had been operating from 1871 and 1873, and rested on centuries of written and customary household registration and family law practices. Not only did the earlier Meiji laws continue to operate until enforcement of the Nationality Law, but they continued to operate afterward, as the Nationality Law was predicated on their operation.

The Nationality Law was did not begin to operate in Karafuto until 1924, yet there was no difficulty in determining who was a Japanese subject, as territorial registers and the rules that applied to register status had the same effect. The Nationality Law was never applied to Chosen, where written and customary laws and practices determined who was territorially affiliated with Chosen, hence logically a subject and national of Japan, since Chosen was part of Japan's sovereign dominion.

Imperial Ordinance No. 289 of 1899, promulgated in the Official Gazette (官報 Kanpō) on 21 June 1899, provided for the enforcement, in Taiwan, of the Nationality Law and four other 1899 laws (Tashiro 1974: 848-849).

The title of Law No. 289 of 1899 was as follows.


Shikka no sekinin ni kan suru hōritsu, Meiji 32-nen hōritsu Dai 53 gō Kokusekihō, Gaikoku kansen noriai-in no taiho ryūchi ni kan suru enjo hō oyobi Meiji 32-nen hōritsu Dai 94 gō o Taiwan ni shikō suru no ken

Matters of enforcing in Taiwan the Law Concerning Responsibility for Losing [control of] a Fire, Law No. 53 of 1899, the Nationality Law, the Support Law Concerning the Arrest and Detainment of Foreign Vessel Crewmen, and Law No. 94 of 1899

All these laws were 1899 acts and they are listed in the title of the above act in the order of their 1899 law number. The fire responsibilty law was No. 40. I am unable to identify No. 53. The Nationality Law was No. 66 and the foreign vessel crew law was No. 68. Law No. 94 concerned the rights of persons who had lost their Japanese nationality (国籍喪失者ノ権利ニ関スル法律 Kokuseki sōshitsusha no kenri ni kan suru hōritsu).

See 1899 Nationality Law: "The conditions necessary for being a Japanese subject" for this law and its revisions through 1947.

Dual nationality after succession

China under the Ching Dynasty did not have a nationality law until 1909. However, not until the 1929 Nationality Law of the Republic of China was it possible for Chinese subjects to voluntaritly renounce Chinese nationality. Even after renunciation became possible, China was inclined to recognize anyone with a Chinese father as Chinese, and to regard Chinese subjecthood as inalienable. (For a general overview of Chinese nationality during this period, see Chiu Hungdah, "Nationality and International Law in Chinese Perspective (with special reference to the period before 1950 and the practice of the administration in Taipei)", Chapter 2, pages 27-64, in Ko Swan Sik (editor), Nationality and International Law in Asian Perspective, Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1990.

This meant that some people on Taiwan who had been Chinese -- who, in accordance with the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895, did not leave Taiwan, or did not otherwise clearly establish that they were Chinese subjects -- became Japanese in Japan's eyes, but continued to be regarded as Chinese in China's eyes.

Apparently some such individuals took advantage of their double status. George H. Kerr, in Formosa: Licensed Revolution and the Home Rule Movement, 1895-1945) (Honolulu: The University Press of Hawaii, 1974), makes this observation about the impact of the change in sovereignty of Taiwan on neighboring Fukien (page 41, underscoring and bold emphasis mine).

Amoy was restless under the growing pressure [of political reaction on Taiwan to Japanese rule and of Japanese interests in Fukien]. Formosans were coming into Fukien in large numbers, creating serious problems. Some who had found the Japanese administration intolerable made this the first line of retreat; those who considered themselves altogether Chinese turned their backs upon the island of their birth and cut all ties with it. Some set themsleves up in business in Fukien but kept alive the ties of clan and family across the Strait. Many exploited the advantages of dual citizenship. Peking considered all Chinese inalienable subjects of the Middle Kingdom because of race, language, and culture, but those who had opted for Japanese citizenship after May 1895, could also claim official Japanese protection in China if they maintained registration on Formosa and carried proper papers when abroad. Among these "dual citizens" were criminal elements who had been rounded up on Formosa and given a choice between prison there or service in China as subsidized agents, working as narcotics peddlers, as spies, or as disruptive troublemakers creating "incidents" leading to Japanese "protests," demands, and interventions.

Kerr uses the words "citizenship" and "citizen" in a very American way, unmindful that neither Japanese nor Chinese law defined "citizenship" or "citizens". People who possessed Japan's nationality were "subjects" (臣民 shinmin) in relation to the sovereign emperor, and "nationals" (国民 kokumin) in relation to the state's demographic nation.

It is not, in any event, a problem of dual nationality, as a problem of the existence and enforcibility of laws that determined which country's laws applied in the case of dual nationals. Under such laws, dual Japanese-Chinese nationals would have been treated as Japanese in Japan (including Taiwan) and Chinese in China.

Japan's 1899 Nationality Law made no provisions for renunciation -- until 1916, when Japan was diplomatically forced to legally facilitate requests by Japanese with another nationality to renounce their Japanese status. China's earliest nationality laws were based on Japan's 1899 law before its 1916 revision. The Nationality Law adopted in 1929 by the Republic of China reflected the renunciation provisons of the revised Japanese law.

One major difference between Japan's 1899 law and China's 1929 law concerned loss of nationality when naturalizing in another country. Japan's law provided that Japanese who volunarily acquired the nationality of another country would lose their Japanese nationality, whereas China's law allowed renunciation rather than mandate loss. Japan, in other words, did not attempt to cling to its nationals as much as China. Given that Japanese and Chinese nationality were mainly gained through descent at time of birth, Japan may be seen to be less insistent on demanding loyalty simply because of descent. In other words, Japan's view of "blood" was not nearly as determinist as China's.

Dual nationals during 1920s

Three decades later, during the late 1920s, Taiwan was restless with movements for local autonomy, some nativist or nationalist, others proletarian. Police broke up demonstrations and arrested leaders who advocated so-called "home rule" (自治). Communists and socialists generally were objects of police harrassment.

During the late 1920s in China, the rivalry between communists and nationalists was heating. There were also clashes between war lords. Nationalist campaigns against the war lords who had gained control of the Chinese government in Beijing resulted in the resurrection of the Republic of China in 1928.

The political environment in Taiwan, and events on the mainland, inspired many Taiwanese of Chinese descent to leave the island. Some explored communist or nationalist dreams on the mainland. Others studied abroad, in Russia or the United States, if not in the interior.

The mainland, of course, was not a particularly peaceful place to be in the late 1920s. Being a Chinese with Japanese nationality, though, had advantages, according to Kerr (Ibid., page 142)

In all, about eight thousand Formosans living in continental China at this time took the trouble to register at the Japanese consulates in order to enjoy the benefits of dual citizenship in a country ruled by generals and torn by civil war. It is not known how many more gave up all claims to protection as Japanese subjects and faded into quiet anonymity as businessmen lost in the great cities. Scores of young men left Formosa in this decade to study abroad -- in Japan proper, in China, and in the United States, Canada, or Europe, after which they returned to teach in China or to enter the Nationalist Chinese government service. . . .

Restoration of Chinese nationality after World War II

The Government-General of Taiwan formally surrendered to the Republic of China in Taihoku on 25 October 1945. The city instantly became Taipei (Taibei). The day was declared Taiwan Restoration Day [Taiwan Guangfujie]. It continues to be celebrated, but with less enthusiasm and no longer as a national holiday. Taiwanese who have opposed ROC's rule of Taiwan do not recognize the term "restoration" [guangfu].

12 January 1946 decree   Within three months after accepting Japan's surrender, the ROC government issued a decree that provisionally restored Chinese nationality to the people of Taiwan from 25 December 1945. The decree appears to have said this (Chiu Hungdah, op. cit., page 53, citing Hungdah Chiu (editor), China and the Question of Taiwan: Documents and Analaysis, New York: Praeger, 1974, page 204; corrections and notes are mine).

The people of Taiwan are people of our country. They lost their nationality because the island was invaded by an enemy [Note 1]. Now that the land has been recovered, the people who originally had the nationality of our country shall, effective on 25 December October 1945 [Note 1], resume the nationality of our country. This is announced by this general decree in addition to individual orders.

Note 1   The statement that Taiwan had been "invaded by an enemy" is that of a government so inebriated by "victory" that it has come to believe its own propaganda.

Note 2   If the following text is correct, the month is wrong, and some other details are not as faithfully reflected in Chiu's translation as one would like. Chiu (or someone) appears to have translated the decree from a somewhat longer text. The following text reflects a "National government decree" or "Executive Yuan decree No. 01297" (Several Big5 and GB versions can be found on the Internet; (parenthetic phrases) and [bracketed phrases] are variations); puncutation also varies).

查台灣人民原系我國國民,以受 (由於) 敵人侵略致 (致使) 喪失國籍。茲國土重光,其原有我國國籍之人民,自民國三十四年年十月二十五日起、[ 所有台民,台僑,] 應即一律恢復我國國籍。

Becauase Taiwanese were not held to have voluntarily lost their nationality, they were regarded as having all the rights of Chinese who had never lost their nationality, unlike those who regained their nationality after voluntarily losing it (Chiu, ibid., page 53).

The 22 June 1946 regulation, promulgated by the Executive Yuan, restored Chinese nationality to "overseas Taiwanese" or people with Taiwan registers -- retroactive to 25 October 1945, the date of ROC's "seizure" of Taiwan -- meaning the date ROC had accepted Japan's surrender of the territory. The regulation was titled "Law regulating the disposition of nationality of Taiwan sojourners residing outside" (Big5 在外台僑國籍處理辦法, GB 在外台侨国籍处理办法, JIS 在外台僑国籍処理弁法).

Taiwanese residing overseas could recover their nationality by registering at a Chinese embassy or consulate. This would then obligate the host country to treat the person as any other national of the Republic of China. Taiwanese who did not wish to recover their Chinese nationality were given until 31 December 1946 to notify an ROC mission or representative of their wishes (Chiu, ibid., page 54).

De jure loss of Japanese nationality

All the above not withstanding, Taiwanese did not formally lose their Japanese nationality until the de jure retrocession of Taiwan to ROC was effected on 28 April 1952. This was the date the Treaty of San Francisco came into force, and the date ROC signed its own treaty of peace with Japan in Taipei.


Mixed marriage and adoption alliances in Taiwan

By "mixed" alliances I mean alliances of marriage and adoption between people in Taiwan of different register affiliations. Such alliances involved the following three tiers of "mixture".

International   The parties were of different nationality (国籍 kokuseki) affiliations. For example, one party was "Japanese" (Interiorite, Chosenese, Taiwanese) and the other was "alien" (British, Chinese, Dutch, whatever).

Interterritorial   The parties were of different territorial (subnational) affiliations within Japan. For example, Interiorite-Taiwanese, Interiorite-Chosenese, Taiwanese-Chosenese.

Intraterritorial   The parties were of different subterritorial status -- i.e., different "clan" (種族 shuzoku) statuses. "Interclan" alliances would include, for example, Cantonese-Fukienese, Cantonese-Aborigine, Ami-Paiwan, whatever.

The possible mixtures increase as tiers are crossed. For example, a Chinese-Aborigine alliance would involve an alien status with a Japanese of Taiwanese sub-territorial status. And an Interiorite-Atayal alliance would involve two people of different territorial statuses, one of which was also of a Taiwanese sub-territorial tribal status. Whatever.

What customary laws, statute laws, ordinances, or other criteria applied would depend on legal or administrative precedents, if not on the whims of authorities with discretionary powers.

There is some tendency in reporting on such marriages in English to call them "interracial" or "interethnic" -- but such qualifications are beyond the pale of Japanese law. There were, of course, "racioethnic" concerns on the parts of some lawmakers and administrators. And certainly the classifications of people on household registers were "racial" or "ethnic" in the minds of most people. Nonetheless, as far as household register laws and ordinances were concerned, such classifications were merely civil statuses, and did not themselves define private or social perceptions of an individual's "race" or "ethnicity".

International alliances

Hosokawa, in "Japanese Nationality in International Perspective" (1990), first states that "The old Nationality Law was declared applicable to Taiwan by Imperial Ordinance No. 202 of 1905" (Hosokawa 1990: 184). Later he states that "The old Nationality Law was declared applicable in Taiwan by Imperial Ordinance No. 289 of 1899" (Hosokawa 1990: 228).

Hosokawa's second statement is correct regarding the Nationality Law. The ordinance he refers to in his first statement concerned the 1898 revision of the 1873 proclamation permitting marriage and adoption alliances with aliens.

Imperial Ordinance No. 202 of 1905, promulgated in the Official Gazette (官報 Kanpō) on 4 December 1905, was titled "Matter of enforcing in Taiwan Meiji 31 [1898] Law No. 21" (明治三十一年法律第二十一号ヲ台灣ニ施行スルノ件). The ordinance extended to Taiwan the short 1898 law which had modified rules and procedures concerning marriage and adoption alliances between Japanese and aliens, as provided for in Great Council of State Proclamation No. 103 of 1873 (Tashiro 1974: 849)

See 1873 intermarriage proclamation: Family law and "the standing of being Japanese" for the 1873 proclamation and its 1898 revision.

In other words, the same provisions that faciliated marriages between Japanese (including Taiwanese) and aliens in the Interior applied to Japanese (including Taiwanese) and aliens on Taiwan. Neither the 1873 GCS proclamation, nor the 1899 Nationality Law, in any manner referred to "race" or "ethnicity" in their facilitation of alliances between Japanese and aliens.

Interritorial alliances

Today, articles and books on "interracial" this and "interethnic" have become extremely fashionable that is academia. In the past, too, alliances between people of different nationalities -- Japanese-German, Japanese-Chinese -- were typically viewed as "interracial", whether or not countries of the two parties racialized their own national affiliations, or the national affiliations of other countries.

Contemporary writing about Taiwan, in English, was no exception. The following remarks about "Inter-racial Marriages" appear under "The Civil Code" in "The Law" chapter of a book called Taiwan: A Unique Colonial Record, 1937-38 Edition) (page 76-77, underscoring mine).

(2) The Civil Code

2. Orders and Ordinances about Inter-racial Marriages between the Taiwanese and Natives of Japan Proper:  The question of inter-racial marriages between the Taiwanese and the people from Japan Proper was long a mooted point. The Imperial Ordinance No. 361 (1932), the Order of the Governor-General of Taiwan, Ritsurei, No. 2 (1932) and the Ordinances No. 7 and 8 of the Government-General (1933), opened the way to inter-marriages between the old and new subjects of the Japanese Empire. As a matter of fact, marriages between Taiwanese and the people from Japan Proper had often taken place previously in various parts of the Island. The Ordinances and the Order of the Governor-General stated above, justified such marriages from a legal point of view, producing a far reaching effect in cementing the kinship between the "two members of the family." In this connection, it may be mentioned here that the proclamation of the Ordinances and the Order of the Governor-General, mentioned above marked a considerable progress taken towards the adjustment of the census registration of the Taiwanese.

The characterization of the listed orders and ordinances as being "about Inter-racial Marriages between the Taiwanese and Natives of Japan Proper" is not true. The later characterization of such marriages as "inter-marriages" is true to the exent that they they were between two status of Japanese -- one of Taiwanese status (regardless of "race"), the other of Interior status (again, regardless of "race").

The ordinances were entirely about household registers and the facilitation of private matters -- i.e., family law -- between individuals of Taiwanese and Interior registration status. They were not, in other words, about race.


Penal Code

Japan -- which inherited the laws, courts, and prisons that China had established in Taiwan -- restructured and courts and prisons along Japanese lines. However, Japan could not immediately impose prefectural laws on Taiwan, nor quickly introduce such laws, given the incompatability of Japanese and Chinese views of crime and punishment.

Moreover, there was not yet a "law of laws" to determine in what cases, involving what people, Taiwanese and Interior (prefectural) statutes and customary laws would apply. Language problems also conspired against any quick assimilation of Taiwan into the Interior (prefectural) legal system.

As usually happens when a state gains sovereignty over a territory with a different legal system, for at least some period of time people in the territory will be treated differently according to their territorial affiliation. In Taiwan, too, from the very start of Japan's assumption of jurisdiction, Interiorites in Taiwan were generally tried and convicted under Interior laws, while Taiwanese were treated according to Taiwanese judicial and penal standards.

Japan did, however, endeavor from the beginning to Japanize (Interiorize) existing Chinese courts and prisons, while constructing many new courts and prisons. What is clear from the earliest statistics on crime, courts, and prisons in Taiwan under Japanese rule, however, is that everyone -- Taiwanese, Interiorities, and aliens -- were subject to such laws as applied to them under Taiwanese courts.

See Police statistics below in this report. Also see Laws (Taiwan 1937) in the "Taiwan reports" article in "The Empire in English" feature.


Taiwan publications

Thousands -- literally -- of publications were cranked out by various agencies of the Taiwan Government-General from the moment Japan began ruling Taiwan, until after it surrended the territory to the Republic of China (ROC) in 1945. Political events in China, and international recognition politics, found Japan and ROC closely allied after the establishment of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 and the signing of a peace treaty between Japan and ROC in 1952.

While PRC today dominates Japan's interests in "China", ROC is still very much part of Japan's political, economic, and even cultural scene. Taiwan continues to be an object of study in some quarters of Japanese academia.

Of the thousands of Taiwan-related titles that have been published in Japanese -- from propaganda pamphlets to multi-volume scholarly studies -- the items shown here represent just a few of the sources that have especially attracted me because of their general sweep or specialization.


Taiwan general statistics

By 1895, Japan's bureaucracy was making maximum use of the developments in Japan's printing industry and mass media. When moved by the occasion, the government was capable of publishing all manner of material from scientific reports to political propaganada.

By 1895, Japan was better than par with most European states in terms of its bureaucratic control and statistical compentency -- to say nothing of the United States, where national standards in most areas of information gathering and reporting were practically unknown. All this control and competency came to bear on Japan's administration of Taiwan.

Agencies of the Government-General of Taiwan were set up throughout the island. Officials posted from the Interior, including cadres of bean counters, mobilized and trained Taiwanese to help them tighten household registration and other forms of social control tally households by type, and their members by sex, age, marriages and divorces, births and deaths, morbidity and mortality, criminal offenses, land allocations and usage, agricultural and industrial production, ad infinitum.

By "type" of household I mean the national or subnational affiliation of its register -- whether Nachi [Interior, i.e., Prefectures], Taiwan, Chosen (after Korea became part of Japan), and foreign entitites beginning with China. Naichi [Interior], Taiwan, and Chosen, as well as Karafuto, were subnational entities within Japan (though Karafuto was often treated as part of the Interior). Taiwan registers were subclassified by 種族 (shuzoku) or "clan" -- a label used in some statistics to differentiate nationality as well.

種族 (shuzoku) -- commonly translated "race" in English reports on Taiwan -- is not to be confused with 人種 (jinshu) as the more common term for biological "race" though even it was used to mean more literally "type of person". The use of 種族 (shuzoku) in official statistics was peculiar to Taiwan, where it designated a legal status based on household registration. The term was not used to classify legal status elsewhere in Japan -- i.e., in the Interior prefectures (Naichi), or in Karafuto or Chosen.

See more below about 種族 (shuzoku) or "clan" below.

Taiwan Government-General statistical reports (1897-1939?)

[ Taiwan Sōtokufu tōkei sho ]

At least 43 volumes continuously covering 1897-1939.

No.  1 1897 (Meiji 30) [published 1899]
No. 43 1939 (Showa 14) [published 1941]

Most issues were published two years after the year of their data.

Covers of typical issues looked like this ([bracketed] translations are mine).

[ 1937 ]
[ GGT No. 41 statistical report ]

[ GGT logo ]

[ Taiwan Governor-General secretariat ]
[ Investigation [survey] section ]

[ Published 1939 ]

This issue ran over 550 pages. No 33 (covering 1929, published 1931) had about 740 pages. No. 30 (covering 1925, published 1928), had roughly 660 pages.


Taiwan vital statistics

So-called "vital statistics" (人口動態統計 jinkō dōtai tōkei) in Japan are essentially tallies of "status acts" related to population (household, family) registration matters -- beginning with birth and ending with death. Changes of status between birth and death include alliances of marriage or adoption, divorce and other dissolutions of alliances. All administratively significant aspects of a change in status are subject to classification and statistical compilation -- year, month, day, time, sex, place -- kind of adoption or divorce -- cause of death -- anything that bureaucrats deemed countable for the purpose of carrying out their governmental missions.

Cause-of-death statistics

Cause-of-death figures are broken down by numerous illnesses, then by external causes including "poisoning" (中毒 chōdoku), "suicide" (自殺 jisatsu), "different deaths other than suicide" ( 変死 (自殺ヲ除ク) henshi (jisatsu o nozoku)), and "other external injuries" (爾他ノ外傷 sonota no gaishō).


"Different death" -- or "equivocal death" as I generally translate 変死 (henshi) -- usually included all deaths that cannot be clearly attributed to natural causes, but especially suicides and homicides. Accidents may also be included, but usually the term refers to suspicions of suicide or homicide.

The term is no longer used in official statistics, but it continues to be used by police investigators, medical examiners, and journalists regarding a death for which the cause has not yet been determined. The cause is usually "equivocal" pending the results of an autopsy or other sort of investigation. Equivocation is mostly between between suicide and homicide.

Because deaths were subject to police inquest and clearance, Taiwan police statistics also reported suicide and accident counts in addition to homicides. This arrangement was not peculiar to Taiwan but reflected a practice that was standard throughout Japan.

Today, too, police continue to be responsible for mediating determinations of cause of death in order to rule out criminal causes. However, official cause-of-death data are compiled and reported by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. The term "henshi" is used internally by police investigators, but is no longer a statistical category.

See Police statistics below for more about cause-of-death statistics for Taiwan.

Taiwan vital statistics (1905-1942?)

This increasingly thick compendium, called 台湾人口動態統計 (Taiwan jinkō dōtai tōkei), was compiled and published by an office that went by various names. I have not personally examined any issues and cannot confirm the following particulars, which are based on various antiquarian book offerings.

1905-1906 (Meiji 38-39) [first] [published 1907]
1942 (Showa 17) [last] [published 1944?]

The earlier issues of this series were compiled and published by "Provisional Taiwan household survey section" (臨時台湾戸口調査部). Later issues were put out by the "Statistics section" (統計課) and then by the "Investigation section" (調査課) of the "Taiwan Governor-General secretariat" (台湾総督官房).

The volumes are B5 in size. The report on 1911 data, published in Taihoku (Taipei) in 1913, has 392 numbered pages of data, plus front consisting of a legend and table of contents, and back matter consisting of the law that required and governed the survey.

The cover looks like this.

[ 1911 ]
[ Taiwan vital statistics ]
[ Original tabulations part ]

[ Logo ]

[ Taiwan Government-General
Governor-General secretariat
Statistics section ]

[ Published 1913 ]

Shorter special reports related to vital statistics covered subjects like divorce.

One volume, dedicated to divorce in 1918, runs 62 pages and includes a 78-page supplementary volume of tables and graphs. B5 in size and string bound, it was published in 1920.

台湾人口動態統計記述報文 (離婚) 大正七年
台湾総督官房調査課 (大正9年)


Taiwan police statistics

Police in Taiwan, like those in the Interior and elsewhere in territories under Japan's legal jurisdiction, were involved not only in criminal investigation and related law enforcement, but also in matters related to public and national security. In Taiwan, this meant public hygiene and aboriginal affairs.

Taiwanese police were responsible for closely monitoring and guiding the indigenous tribes to ensure their cooperation with the Government-General's desire to exploit the natural resources of their tribal lands. Consequently, numerous reports on aboriginal tribes were compiled and published by officials and agencies of the police bureaucracy.

Partly in the service of criminal investigation, and partly as a matter of public hygiene, police vetted causes of death. In this role, they published statistics on cause of death by sex, age, and other cohorts.

Taiwan cause-of-death statistics

Taiwan cause-of-death statistics

The Hygiene section (衛生課) of the Police affairs bureau (警務局) of the Taiwan Government-General was responsible for compiling cause of death statistics based on police determinations of cause of death. Today police still mediate such determinations, but the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is now responsible for the compilation of Japan's official mortality statistics as part of its national vital statistics.

Annual reports called "Hygiene survey report: Taiwan cause-of-death statistics" (衛生調査書台湾死因統計) began to appear from the middle of the 1920s. Scans of the following volume, for example, are available from the National Diet Library Digital Archive Portal (PORTA) (国立国会図書館デジタルアーカイブポータル).

[ Taiwan Government-General, Police bureau, Hygiene section (comp)]
[ Hygiene survey report: Taiwan cause-of-death statistics ]
[ (General figures part, Age part, By-month part, infant mortality parts ]
衛生調査書 基本調査の5
[ Hygiene survey report / 5 of basic survey ]
[〔Taihoku〕: Taiwan Government-General, Police bureau, Hygiene section, 1926 ]

The volume is B5 in size and runs 755 pages. The cover of the volume on general figures looks like this.

[ Hygiene survey report ]
[ (5 of basic survey) ]

[ Taiwan cause-of-death statistics ]
[ (Part on general figures) ]

[ Compiled by Taiwan Government-General,
Police bureau, Hygiene section ]

[ Published 1926 ]

The first section is headed as follows.

[ Deaths by clan, physicality and cause ]

"Somaticy" (体性 taishō) refers to sex (性 sei), i.e., male or female.

"Clan" (種族 shuzoku) is subdivided "Interiorite" (内地人 Naichijin), "Islander" (本島人 Hontōjin), and "Alien" (外国人 Gaikokujin). Presumably these are affiliations based on national and subnational affiliation -- i.e., "Interiorites" and "Islanders" are Japanese whose primary household register in a municipality of respectively the Interior or Taiwan, while aliens are non-Japanese.

Annual cause-of-death tallies are shown for 1917-1921 (Taisho 6-10). Five-year totals are also shown. The section begins with totals for all of Taiwan (pages 2-5).

Taiwan Government-General crime statistics report

The earliest compendia of crime statistics compiled by the Taiwan Government-General appear to be the following publications.

台湾総督府 [ Taiwan Government-General ]
[ Taiwan Government-General crime statistics report ]
[Parts 1-4 (1905-1908)]
[〔Taihoku〕: Taiwan Government-General, 1907-1909 ]

The above information comes from the National Diet Library Digital Archive Portal (PORTA) (国立国会図書館デジタルアーカイブポータル), which provides high-quality scanned images of significant parts of all four volumes. The first volume was printed from mansucript. The second and subsequent volumes were printed with moveable type.


"Race boxes" in Taiwan statistics

Taiwan statistical reports generally breakdown figures by what family registers classified as 種族 (shuzoku). Here I will tag this category "clan" -- loosely using this English term to denote a register status that come about because of provisions in customary and statute family law regarding collective affiliation through lineal descent, marriage, or adoption.

The term 種族 (shuzoku) is consists of 種 (shu), meaning "seed" or "sew" and by extension can "type" or "variety" or "species" that results from sewing seeds, whether plant or animal -- and 族 (zoku), designating a tribe or group, usually defined by lineage or descent. It evokes, therefore, a strong sense of "racial" and "ethnic" affiliation in all sense of these two words.

I prefer "clan" to "race" as a simple tag for 種族 (shuzoku), mainly to differentiate it from biological "race" as a tag for 人種 (shinju), and less generally "race" and more generally "ethnos" or "nation" if not "ethnic nation" or "racioethnic nation" in the sense of "Volk" as tags for "minzoku" -- in addition to the following reasons.

On registers in Taiwan when it was part of Japan, 種族 was used to classify people on the basis of their legal status as inhabitants of Taiwan. All people legally residing in the territory were expected to register with police having jurisdiction over in the locality of their residence -- regardless of nationality, whether Japanese (Interiorites, Taiwanese, and later Chosenese) or foreigners (including Chinese).

Police registrars, working within the legal and administrative framework established by the Taiwan Government-General, were very much aware that Taiwan was part of Japan. Under the ordinances that guided their work, they were mindful that "nationality" was a civil status in both Japanese and international law.

Not that Japan needed to -- but mainly because there was no local equivalent of a "nationality" law in Japan -- Japan applied its 1899 Nationality Law to Taiwan within months after the law was promulgated and enforced in the Interior. Japan could only have applied the law on the assumption that Taiwanese were already Japanese subjects and nationals. And the law simply made it easier to deal with status issues involving Japanese (including, of course, Taiwanese) and aliens (non-Japanese).

The status term used in the 1899 Nationality Law, like the status term used in some earlier Meiji laws, was "Japanese" (日本人 Nihonjin). Registrars were thus legally mandated, by considerations of civil nationality, to draw a categorial line between Japanese and aliens. Whatever their personal habits of reference to people -- whether or not, in private, they spoke reserved the term 日本人 (Nihonjin) for Interior subjects -- as bureaucrats, police registrars were obliged to regard Taiwanese, and later Chosenese, on a par with Interiorites as subjects/nationals of the Empire of Japan. All others, including people of Chinese nationality, were aliens -- regardless of their putative "race".

While true that 種族 (shuzoku) has connotations of "race" in the broader anthropological (biological and/or ethnic sense) of the word -- and is commonly translated "race" -- the word needs to be metaphorically differentiated from 人種 (jinshu) or "person type" [variety of human], the usual translationese for what was more narrowly biological "race" in various European langauges. For a good example of the need to differentiate between "shuzoku" and "jinshu", see Fukuzawa 1875.

Japan's ICERD translation of "shuzoku"

Related to this distinction, it is worth nothing that Japan has translated "national or ethnic origin" -- a phrase in the definition of "race" in International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) -- as 民族的若しくは種族的出自 (minzoku-teki moshikuwa shuzoku-teki shusshin" -- while refusing to recognize that "national origin" should be taken to mean an original nationality -- appropriately so, since under both Japanese and international law, "nationality" (国籍 seki) is a purely civil status denoting affiliation with state.

Japan is thus assigning 民族 (minzoku) to "nation" in its racioethnic sense, and 種族 (shuzoku) to "ethnos" in its sense of meaning a racioethnic "tribe" or "clan" or "caste" or even "race" in its broader physical and/or cultural anthropological sense.

For more about this battle of words and their underlying meanings, see The racialization of Japan in the "Race" section of this website.

Three tiers of register classification

There were three tiers of register classification.

Tiers of classification

1. Nationality = global [international] status -- i.e., whether Japanese (Interiorite, Taiwanese, Chosense) or non-Japanese (alien)

2. Regionality = Japanese status -- i.e., whether Interiorite, Taiwanese, Chosenese

3. Raciality = Taiwanese status -- i.e., whether "Chinese" or "savage" (generally), and what kind of Chinese or savage (in detail).

All three of the above tiers are conflated in the term 種族 (shuzoku) as used in Taiwan statistics.

Wolf and Huang on "race"

This is far from clear in any of the literature on the subject, but particularly in English reports.

Arthur P. Wolf and Chieh-shan Huang show what they call a "Transcription of a Typical Household Register" (Wolf and Huang 1980:20-21, Figure 2.1, see source below). The transcription, in hand-written graphs, showing a single box to the right with the title 族稱 (zokushō), and several smaller boxes to the left with the title 種族 (shuzoku).

The latest entry on the register records the death of the head of household on 6 November 1922 (Taishō 11-11-6). Wolf and Huang describe this register as one which represents the sort of "information colelcted when the [Japanese-style household] registers were established in 1905" (ibid. 18).

In their translation of the register, the authors render 族稱 (zokushō) as "race" (ibid. 22-23, Figure 2.2). They also imply that the "race" would have been recorded as "Chinese or Japanese" (ibid. 18). However, the box in their transcrition is blank. Moreover, they do not otherwise show how "Chinese" or "Japanese" would have been written in Japanese -- the language used for all information on the register.

A footnote to the English translation of the register dubs 種族 (shuzoku) as "ethnic group". The head of household is classified as 福 (Fuku) meaning "Hokkien" -- as are the other four members shown on the transcribed register. (Ibid. 23, Note 2.)

Three of the five members were women, two with "bound" (纒 ten) feet and one with "unbound" (解 kai) feet according to the "bound foot" (纒足 tensoku) box. The woman with the "unbound" feet was born on 10 August 1899 (Meiji 32-8-10) -- four years after Taiwan became part of Japan.

Arthur P. Wolf and Chieh-shan Huang
Marriage and Adoption in China, 1845-1945
Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1980
xx, 426 pages, hardcover

Nakao Katsumi on Taiwan registers

A Japanese posting I have seen on the Internet (25 September 2009) presents a transcription of copy of a 1916 (Taishō 5) Taiwan register the poster attributes to the back matter of a 2005 article by Nakao Katsumi.

The article (which I have examined) clearly shows 生 (sei) -- an abbreviation for 生蕃 (seiban) -- in the 族稱 (zokushō) box. Oddly, however, there is no 種族 (shuzoku) box.

The poster says 日本人 (Nihonjin) or "Japanese" were classifed in the same box as 内 (Nai) -- an abbreviation for 内地人 (Naichijin), -- meaning "Interiorites" or people with 本籍 (honseki) in Japan's Interior (prefectural) jurisdiction.

The poster is forgetting that Taiwanese were also 日本人 -- hence their grouping with 内地人 as opposed to 外国人 (gaikokujin) or "aliens" (foreigners). The "post-colonial liberation" of Taiwanese and Chosenese from "Japanese" status is thus apparent in not a few Japanese sources, though not nearly as prevalent as in English sources.

By 1935, however, Taiwan registers are essentially the same as Interior registers.

At the time of this publication, Nakao Katsumi was a professor at the Graduate School of Literature and Human Sciences, Osaka City University, and was specializing in social anthropology and colonial history studies.

中生勝美 Nakao Katsumi
Nihon no shokuminchi ni okeru kazoku seisaku: Koseki・kazoku seido
[Family policy in colonies of Japan: Household-register-and-family system]
Pages 151-174 (Chapter 6) in
Hikaku kazoku shi gakkai kanshū
[Comparative family history association (Supervision)]
[Takana Masako, Shiraishi Reiko, Mitsunari Miho (editors)]
Kokumin kokka to kazoku・kojin
[National-state (Nation-state) and family-and-individual]
Tokyo: Waseda University Press, 2005
xiii, 285 pages, softcover
シリーズ比較家族 第V期
[Series comparative family 3]

Postulated "clan" abbreviations

In any event, not having directly examined other transcriptions (much less originals) of other examples of Taiwan registers, I cannot say with certainty what graphs would have been used to represent different 種族 (shuzoku) or "seed-clan" classifications, but I would hypothesize the following scheme.

廣 (広 Kan, Kō) = 廣東 (広東 Kanton, Kōtō) = Canton = Cantonese
福 (Fuku) = 福建 (Fukken) = Fukien = Fukienese (Hokkien)
熟 (Juku) = 熟蕃 (Jukuban) = cooked [assimilated] savage
生 (sei) = 生蕃 (Seiban) = raw [unassimilated] savage
内 (Nai) = 内地人 (Naichijin = Interiorite [prefectural subject]
朝 (Chō) = 鮮朝人 (Chōsenjin) = Chosenese [Chosen subject]

"Clans" in vital statistics

Taiwan vital statistics for 1911 break down vital events into both general and detailed legal affiliation statuses.

Note that in both of the following lists "Islanders" come first. Note also that in the detailed classification, "Fukienese" come first within the breakdown of "Han" and "Cooked savages" come first within the breakdown of "Savages".

General "clan" classifications

本島人 Hontōjin [Islander]
内地人 Naichijin [Interiorite]
外国人 Gaikokujin [Alien]
        合計 Gōkei [Total]

Detailed "clan" classifications

本島人 Hontōjin [Islander]
    福建 Fukken [Fukien(ese)]
    広東 Kanton [Canton(ese)]
    其ノ他ノ漢人 Sono hoka no Kanjin [Other Hanese ("Chinese")]
    熟蕃 Jukuban [Cooked savage]
    生蕃 Seiban [Raw savage]
        合計 Gōkei [Total]
内地人 Naichijin [Interiorite]
外国人 Gaikokujin [Alien]
        合計 Gōkei [Total]

"Clans" in crime statistics

Reports of crime statistics show breakdowns of "offenses" (犯罪 hanzai) by "clan" (種族 shuzoku).

Note that in the following lists, unlike the order in the above vital statistics, "Interiorites" come first, and "Cantonese" and "Raw savages" come first in their respective groupings.

Table 3 of Volume 1 shows 1905 (Meiji 38) data on 犯罪ト種族 (Hanzai to shuzoku) or "Offenses and clan". The corresponding table (Table 6) in Volume 2 is called 犯罪人ノ種族 (Hanzainin no shuzoku) or "Clans of offenders". In Volume 3 and 4, the table (Table 6) becomes 種族別犯罪人 (Shuzoku-betsu hanzainin) or "Offenders by clan".

Early classifications

All four volumes break down "clan" as follows.

内地人 Naichijin / Interiorites
本島人 Hontōjin / Islanders [This-island people]
    廣東 Kanton [Kuangtung, Guangdong] / Canton[ese]
    福建 Fukken [Fukien, Fujian] / Fukien[ese]
    生蕃 Seiban / Raw [unassimilated] savages
    熟蕃 Jukuban / Cooked [assimilated] savages
        計 Kei / [Sub] Total [of Islanders]
清国人 Shinkokujin / Chinese [Ching-country people]
其他ノ外国人 Sonota no gaikokujin / Other aliens [in addition to Chinese]
不詳 Fushō / Uncertain
合計 Gōkei / [Grand] total [of all inhabitants]

"Other aliens" refers to non-Chinese aliens. "Interiorites" and "Islanders" are Japanese.

Later classifications

By the start of the co-called Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945, in a publication called "Taiwan permanently-residing household statistics" (台湾常住戸口統計), the Planning department (企画部) of the Secretariat of the Taiwan Government-General was breaking down Taiwan's population into the following classifications. The statistics, published in 1937, appear to reflect results of the 1935 national census. The total Islander population was 5,524,985.

内地人 Naichijin / Interiorites
本島人 Hontōjin / Islanders [This-island people]
    福建系 Fukken-kei / Fukien-related [descent]
    廣東系 Kanton-kei / Canton-related [descent]
    其ノ他ノ漢人系 Sonota no Kanjin-ken / Other Han-ite-related [descent]
    平埔族 Heiho-zoku / Plains [mostly assimilated] tribes
    高砂族 Takasago-[Kōzan]- zoku / Koshan [less assimilated] tribes
朝鮮人 Chōsenjin / Chosenese
中華民国人 Chūka Minkoku jin / Chinese [Republic of China people]
其ノ他ノ外国人 Sonota no gaikokujin / Other aliens

Here, too, "Other aliens" are in addition to Chinese. Japanese include Interiorites, Islanders, and Chosenese. Chosen was the name given to Korea when it became part of Japan in 1910.

"Heiho" and "Takasago" tribes

平埔 -- meaning "flatlands" -- is Heiho in Sino-Japanese, P'ing-p'u in Wade-Giles, Pingpu in Pinyin, and Pên-po in Taiwanese. The local pronunciation seems to have inspired the term "Pepohoan" in the French title of a sketch of a mother and child in John Thomson's 1875 report on travels through Malacca, Indochina, and China (Wikipedia).

高砂 -- meaning "high sand" (高 takai 砂 isago) -- is an old Japanese name for Taiwan. It is thought to have come from "Takasangu", the Ryukyu appelation for the island as a land rising high from the sea.

Terms like "Pingpu-fan" (平埔蕃) and "Kaoshan-fan" (高山蕃) were used by Chinese migrants to Taiwan before Japan was involved in the island's affairs. The derogatory 蕃 was in time replaced by the ethnologically more neutral term 族.

平埔族 (SJ Heiho-zoku, WG P'ing-p'u-tsu, PY Pingpuzu, TW Pên-po-cho'k) is the current label for this group in the Republic of China (ROC), where at least one of tribes that are included in this group has been recognized. The group has no standing in the order of "minority nationalities" in the People's Republic of China (PRC).

高山族 (SJ Kōsan-zoku, WG Kao-shan-tsu, PY Gaoshanzu, TW Ko-san-cho'k) is no longer used in ROC, which now recognizes two tribes in addition to the nine that had usually been listed among the this group. PRC counts all Gaoshan or "high mountain" tribes as a single "minority nationality" in its official classification of recognized minorities.

1900 newspaper articles

The daily Taiwan nichinichi shinpō (台湾日日新報) carried a two-part article on the first pages of its 23 and 24 January 1900 editions called "Takasagi no kage: Taiwan ni okeru sanbyaku-nen-mae no Nipponjin" (高砂の影:台湾に於ける三百年前の日本人) or "In the shade of Takasago: Nipponese three-hundred years ago in Taiwan". There are many historical accounts of encounters between people from various parts of Japan and the island.

The newspaper articles are listed in an extensive catelog of materials related to the history of Taiwan, ordered by year, maintained by Ui Takashi, at the Center for Taiwan History Studies, Institute for Research in Social Sciences (IRSS), Chuo University (宇井隆, 台湾総督府文献目録編纂員, 台湾史関係文献目録 (編年), 中京大学, 社会科学研究所, 台湾史研究センター).

See following section on "Aborigine classifications" for more details about changes in classifications under Japan's rule until 1945, and under Republic of China's rule from 1945.


Aboriginal classifications


Another principal contributor to the "understanding" of aborigines in Taiwan was Inō Kanori (伊能嘉矩 1867-1925), an anthropologist who established one of the earlier classifications of Taiwan's aborigines into groups. The classification, then and still controversial, remains the basic framework of aboriginal recognition politics in the Republic of China today.

Pingpu recognition politics

So-called "Pingpu" people on Taiwan are considered the descendants of members of the several tribes that mixed with earlier foreign migrants to the Island and essentially assimilated into the ways of the alien rulers. By the time Taiwan had become part of Japan, Pingu people were considered to have been "cooked" in "civilized" Chinese ways, unlike the mountainous tribes, who were still "raw" in their own "uncivilized" ways.

Japan, and in turn ROC after it occupied Taiwan following Japan's surrender in World War II, did not "tribalize" Pingpu, meaning that they saw the group as an essentially mainstream population. Their status is somewhat like self-styled Méstis in Canada before the federal government came around to recognizing them as an aboriginal people of Canada.

Inspired by "indigenous peoples" movements in other countries, Taiwanese who consider themselves Pingpu descendants, have been organizing and campainging for recognition by the government of the Republic of China (ROC) of the ten tribes they claim make up the Pingpu people. ROC recognized one plains tribe in 2002, making it the 11th recognized tribe in the country -- which still considers itself a state.

ROC basically continued Japan's assimilation policies when it accepted the surrender of Taiwan in 1945. At first ROC recognized only nine of the tribes Japan had called 高砂族 (Takasago-zoku), which ROC and then PRC called 高山族 (WG Kao-shan-tsu, PY Gaoshanzu).

ROC, in its 2001 "Aborigine Status Law" [Indigenous peoples status law] (原住民身分法) defines the following two status of indigenous peoples (Article 2, received translation).

1. Mountain indigenous peoples (山地原住民): permanent residents of the mountain administrative zone before the recovery of Taiwan, moreover census registration records show individual or an immediate kin of individual is of indigenous peoples descent.

2. Plain-land indigenous peoples (平地原住民): permanent residents of the plain-land administrative zone before the recovery of Taiwan, moreover census registration records show individual or an immediate kin of individual is of indigenous peoples descent. Individual is registered as a plain-land indigenous peoples in the village (town, city, district) administration office.

The phrase "before the recovery of Taiwan" -- which actually reads "before the illuminous [glorious] return of Taiwan" (臺灣光復前) -- refers to Japan's surrender of Taiwan to ROC in 1945. Japan's loss of sovereignty was finalized by the San Francisco Peace Treaty.

On 28 April 1952, the day this treaty came into effect, Japan and ROC concluded a derivative treaty of peace in which recognized that ROC was the state in effective control of Taiwan -- though, from Japan's point of view, the two states had not been at war.

Taiwan had never been part of ROC as such. ROC was not founded until 1912 (so-called "First Republic"), had to be refounded in 1928 (so-called "Second Republic"), was a government in exile from 1938 to 1945, was unrecognized by Japan from 1940 to 1945, and has been a government in exile since 1949 (so-called "Third Republic"). Moreover, neither of the 1952 treaties named ROC as Taiwan's receiver state.

In any event, ROC clearly predicates its legal definitions of "indigeneous peoples" on legacy statuses -- which is typical of legal recognitions in other countries. As elsewhere, the indigenous status of the offspring of mixed marriages and adopted offspring has been equivocal, but today is generally recognized.

In ROC as elsewhere, people who consider themselves members of an indigeneous group which has not been recognized have resort to the usual political means to demand and gain recognition. Divisiveness in recognized groups has sometimes moved a faction to split off and gain independent recognition.

Since 2001, ROC has added five categories to the nine it had conventionally recognized. Two were new as previously unrecognized plains tribes, and three were new as split-offs of formerly recognized mountain tribes.

Recognition of plains tribes has been controversial becauses descendants of these tribes have long been considered essentially mainstream, both physically and culturally. Critics feel the recognitions have been motivated by the desire for entitlements and other forms of exceptional treatment, not by genuine need for maintenance of "traditions" (including languages) that don't really survive.

Splitting established tribes has been most strongly resisted by factions of the tribe that stand to lose by loss of membership, territory, and other facets of tribal power. The recognition of the Truku as the 12th indigenous tribe in 2002 came at the expense of the Atayal, which until then had been the second largest indigenous entity after the Ami.

The Truku faction outnumbered the Sedeq faction nearly two to one. The factions inhabited mostly different counties. The Truku are in Hualien, the most isolated province along the east coast. The Sedeq are also in Nantou county, in the center of Taiwan, immediately to the west of Hualien. These are respectively the largest and second largest counties of the island. The recognition was the result of a combustible mix of factional, county, and national politics.


1911 marriage statistics

The following statistics are from Taiwan vital statistics (台湾人口動態統計 Taiwan jinkō dōtai tōkei) [TJDT] for 1911, published in 1913 report for 1911. Though published in Taihoku (Taipai) in 1913, I am referring to it as "TJDT 1911".

Marriage and related alliances in Taiwan have been the subject of numerous studies in Chinese and Japanese, as well as in English and a few other languages. It is not my purpose here to review this literature, or to get involved in the finer arguments of customary and statute family law before or after the period that Taiwan was part of Japan.

I must, however, point out a few things that need to be kept in mind when looking at "marriages" in vital statistics compiled under the Taiwan Government-General.

To be continued.


Marriage terminology

Vital events called 結婚 (J kekkon) or "marriage" are broken down in to categories related to geography (place of residence), clan (demographic affiliation), and spouse (marriage partner).


Only two geographical terms appear in the titles or headings of the tables I am summarizing here.

Region 地方 chihō  Here this term refers to a major administrative juristiction.

Prefecture 廳 (庁) chō  Japan defined twelve "prefectures" in Taiwan -- as the term is rendered in the 1912 Statistical Summary of Taiwan. In many English reports on Taiwan when it was part of Japan, however, the graph represented by cho, province, or smaller province.

The graph 庁 (chō) was used to designate a sub-territory and its government. Generally it is a second-tier or third-tier division. How it is translated in English depends entirely on how related divisions are translated. Some translators have simply called it "cho".

In 1911 there were twelve "cho" prefectures, from Taihoku (台北) in the north to Karenkō (花蓮港) in the south on the island of Taiwan, and Hōkō (澎湖) or Penghu (Pescadores) off the westcoast of Taiwan. Each prefecture had a governor, and the governor was responsible for collecting and collating local statistics.

Administrative divisions

The names given to different tiers of territorial division and government are a major headache for translators, and there is not a lot of agreement in English writing on Taiwan. To complicate matters, during the fifty years that Taiwan was part of Japan, there were many changes in the manner in which the territory was subdivided for purposes of government.

During the first six years, from May 1895 to November 1901, the received system of provinces (県 ken) and districts (庁 chō) continued, though there were some major changes in the number of such entities and their boundaries. In his 1907 translation of Takekoshi 1905, Braithwaite speaks of "prefectures" (県) and "Cho" (庁).

From November 1901 to October 1909, the "province" (province) system was abandoned in favor of twenty "prefectures" (庁 chō) -- called "Cho" by Braithwaite in his 1907 translation of Takekoshi 1905.

From October 1909 to August 1920 there were only twelve provinces, hence the classifications in the 1911 vital statistics. Within some of the provinces were 郡 (gun), which most contemporary English publications (including the above 1912 report) dubbed "districts".

From September 1920 until the end of World War II in 1945 there were five "provinces" (州 shō) and two or three "cho" or "smaller provinces" (庁 chō). These constituted the larger "province / cho" (州庁) divisions of Taiwan. The provinces further divided into "districts" (郡 gun). Municipalities (市街庄 shigaishō) consisted of "cities" (市 shi), "towns" (街 gai), and "villages" (庄 shō). The above English terms are those used in the 1937-38 Unique Colonial Record. The publication uses "cho" while explaining that they were "smaller provinces", and refers to their subdivisions as "shicho (sub-districts)" (支庁).

The above shifts in the naming of administrative divisions made Taiwan increasing like the Interior and Chosen -- not so much in terms of the graphs that were used, but in terms of the tierring and nesting of authority and territory into municipalities and counties within various prefectural or provincial entities.

Under Republic of China

In October 1945, when the Republic of China gained control of and jurisdiction in Taiwan, it renamed Taiwan (including Penghu) a 省 (sheng) or "province" of China, and reverted to the practice of calling the largest subdivisions of a province 縣 (hsien) or "counties".

In the Interior (prefectural jurisdiction) of the Empire of Japan, the graph 縣 (県 ken) designated the most common type of "prefecture" within the Interior, whereas 省 (shō) was a "ministry" of the national government. These two graphs, and these two English translations, continue to apply to Japan today.


Clan reflects 種族 (shuzoku). See "Race boxes" in Taiwan statistics above for more about this term.

In the 1911 Taiwan vital statistics, clan affiliations are broken down in two way -- one general, the other detailed.

General "clan" classifications

本島人 Hontōjin [Islander]
内地人 Naichijin [Interiorite]
外国人 Gaikokujin [Alien]
        合計 Gōkei [Total]

Detailed "clan" classifications

本島人 Hontōjin [Islander]
    福建 Fukken [Fukien(ese)]
    広東 Kanton [Canton(ese)]
    其ノ他ノ漢人 Sono hoka no Kanjin [Other Hanese ("Chinese")]
    熟蕃 Jukuban [Cooked savage]
    生蕃 Seiban [Raw savage]
        合計 Gōkei [Total]
内地人 Naichijin [Interiorite]
外国人 Gaikokujin [Alien]
        合計 Gōkei [Total]


Widower (鰥 kan)  A man who had lost his wife in death and not remarried. The term sometimes included a man who had separated from his wife in life and not remarried, or otherwise to a man who had not had a wife for a long time.

Widow (寡 ka)  A woman who had lost her husband in death and not remarried.


Spouses by clan (1911)


Table 34

"Marriage" (結婚 kekkon) is the topic of the 7th part of Taiwan vital staistics for 1911. The part begins with Table 34 -- a very simple overview of "Clan of husband" by "Clan of wife" (page 276).


Shuzoku (saibetsu) ni yori wakachitaru kekkon
[Marriages divided by clan (detailed differentiation)]
[Marriages classified by clan (subdivided)]


Tsuma no shuzoku [Clan of wife]

本島人 Hontōjin [Islander]
  福建 Fukken [Fukien(ese)]
  広東 Kanton [Canton(ese)]
  其ノ他ノ漢人 Sono hoka no Kanjin [Other Hanese]
  熟蕃 Jukuban [Cooked savage]
  生蕃 Seiban [Raw savage]
  合計 Gōkei [Total]
内地人 Naichijin [Interiorite]
外国人 Gaikokujin [Alien]
合計 Gōkei [Total]


Otto no shuzoku
[Clan of husband]

Clan breakdowns for the husband are the same as those for the wife.

The entirety of Table 34 is shown below (TJDT 1911:276; arrangement, title, headings, and abbreviations mine).

Marriages classified by clan (subdivided), Taiwan, 1911

Fukien  = Fukienese [Fukienese Han Taiwan subjects / Japanese]
Canton  = Cantonese [Cantonese Han Taiwan subjects / Japanese]
Oth Han = Other Han [Other Han Taiwan subjects / Japanese]
Juku    = Jukuban [Cooked savage Taiwan subjects / Japanese]
Sei     = Seiban [Raw savages Taiwan subjects / Japnaese]
TOT ISL = TOTAL ISLANDERS [All Taiwan subjects / Japanese]
INTER   = ITERIORITES [Interior prefectural subjects / Japanese]
ALIEN   = ALIENS [Chinese and other foreigners]
TOTAL   = TOTAL [All registered residents of Taiwan]

CLAN     Fukien  Canton  Juku   Sei  TOT ISL  INTER  ALIEN    TOTAL

Fukien   30,689     361    93    12   31,155      2     52   31,209   
Canton      357   4,526    26     3    4,912      2      4    4,918
Oth Han       -       1     -     -        1      -      -        1
Juku        116      41   398    12      567      -      -      567
Sei          32       9    11   708      760      -      -      760

TOT ISL  31,194   4,938   528   735   37,395       4     56  37,455
INTER         -       -     -     -        -     426      1     427
ALIEN        31       1     -     -       32       -      5      37

TOTAL    31,225   4,939   528   735   37,427     430     62  37,919

Note   "Other Han" was not represented in the "Husband's clan" breakdown presumably because there were no "Other Han" husbands.


Spouses by type (1911)

Table 36 of the 1911 Taiwan vital statistics is titled, and its data is broken down, as follows (page 277).

Table 36

Chihō, otto no suzoku obyobi surui ni yori wakachitaru kekkon
[Marriages divided by region, and by clan and type of husband]


Shuzoku oyobi chō
[Clan and province]

本島人 Hontōjin [Islander]
内地人 Naichijin [Interiorite]
外国人 Gaikokujin [Alien]
合計 Gōkei [Total]


[ 種類 ] [ Shurui ]
[ [Type] ]

普通 Futsū [Ordinary]
人夫 J ninpu, WG jenfu, PY renpu [Servant]
壻養子 Muko yōshi [Groom as adopted son]
招夫[ Invited husband (J shōfu, WG chaufu, PY zhaofu) ]
合計 Gōkei [Total]

An "invited husband" was a husband who entered his wife's family, possibly as her only husband, possibly as a second husband. Polyandry was rare but was sometimes resorted to when a woman's first husband was ill or unable to sire a child. Such unions usually involved relatively poor people. A second husband may have lived under the same roof or elsewhere.

In Taiwan, the "invited husband" practice continued under Sinified family law -- which applied to Taiwanese but not to Interiorites or aliens. Interior family law applied to Interiorites, and private matters involving an alien usually had to be decided according to the alien's home country law before local or other laws could apply.

Which territory's laws applied to whom was a matter of "laws of laws" -- meaning laws which determined applicable laws in private matters involving people whose primary civil status was controlled by the laws of different legal jurisdiction. At the time, Naichi, Taiwan, Karafuto, and Chosen were different jurisdictions within the larger legal territory of the Empire of Japan, which in turn was differentiated from foreign jurisdictions.

The totals for Table 36 are as follows (TJDT 1911:277; arrangement, title, headings, and abbreviations mine).

Types of husbands by clan, Taiwan, 1911

            Ordinary  Coolie  Adopted  Invited     Total

Islanders     29,973     176    1,132    6,146    37,427            
Interiorites     416       5        9        -       430     
Aliens            62       -        -        -        62

Total         30,451     181    1,141    6,146    37,919

Matthew H. Sommer
Making Sex Work: Polyandry as a Survival Strategy in Qing Dynasty China
Pages 29-54 (Chapter 1) in
Bryna Goodman and Wendy Larson (editors)
Gender in Motion: Divisions of Labor and Cultural Change in Late Imperial and Modern China
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005 360 pages

Sommer, author of Sex, Law, and Society in Late Imperial China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), has been a professor of Chinese history in the Department of History at Stanford University since 2002. The above article on polyandry is a study mainly of cases gathered from the mainland. It translates an 1869 contract apparently related to Taiwan, but is not otherwise a study of "invited husband" practices in Taiwan either before or after it became part of Japan in 1895.

Sommer translates 招夫養夫 (zhaofu yangfu) as "getting a husband to support a husband" and calls it "a nonfraternal form of polyandry that, with some variation, appears to have been remarkably widespread among the poor in China during the Qing dynasty (1644-1912)" (page 30). He cites one case related to Taiwan common law, and translates the contract for this case which had appeared in 1869 rendered into Japanese circa 1910-1911 (pages 31, 36-37), and sources the Japanese study in Note 9 as follows (page 52).

9. Rinji Taiwan Kyukan Chosakai (Temporary committee on research of customs and practices on Taiwan) (1910-1911), Taiwan shihō furoku sankōsho (The common law of Taiwan, with reference materials appended) (thirteen volumes) (Taipei: Nantian shuju, 1995) (reprint), IIB:129-30.

"Nantian shuju" is better known as "Nan-tien shu-chü" (南天書局) -- and in English as "SMC Publishing" -- famous for its facsimile editions of historical materials related to Japan and Taiwan under Japanese rule. See SMC Publishing elsewhere on this page for more details about this company.

Sommer distinguishes the practice of 招夫養夫 from 招夫養子 (zhaofu yangzi), in which a widowed woman took in a husband to help her raise the sons of her deceased husband, and 招夫養老 (zhaofu yanglao), in which a widow remarried to help her through old age. All such marriages are characterized as "uxorilocal" -- an anthropological term referring to the movement of a groom into a bride's family or home.

I have preferred to use the term "matrilocal" in reference to the practice of adopting a husband as a son and heir (婿養子 muko yōshi) in Japan -- mostly because it is easier for me to get my tongue around. The two terms are synonyms -- and not.

In Sommer's translation of the contract, which is dated 1869, he glosses "uxorilocal husband" as reflecting "dengmen jinzhui" in the original text.

Notice that the vital statistics cited above for Taiwan differentiate 壻養子 (婿養子) and 招夫.


Spouses by status (1911)

Table 37 of Taiwan vital statistics for 1911 is titled, and its data is broken down, as follows (pages 278-279).

Table 37

[ Marriages divided by region, and by clan and mutual spousal statuses of the husband and wife at time of marriage ]


種族及庁 / 本島人 内地人 外国人 合計
[ Clan and province / ]
[ Main-island-er (Hontōjin) = Taiwan subject ]
[ Interiorite (Naichijin) = Prefectural subject ]
[ Alien [Outlander] = Non-Japanese subject ]
[ Total ]


[ Status of husband ]
初婚者 鰥 離婚者 結婚総数
[ First-marriage person ]
[ Widowed-man ]
[ Divorced [dissolved-marriage] person ]
[ Total marriages [formed-marriages entire-number] ]

[ Status of wife ]
初婚者 寡 離婚者
[ First-marriage person ]
[ Widowed-woman ]
[ Divorced [dissolved-marriage] person ]

Table 37 cross tabs all of the above categories, then shows totals by status of husband and status for wife, by clan and province. Here are latter totals by clan (TJDT 1911:279; arrangement, title, headings, and abbreviations mine).

Statuses of husbands and wives by clan, Taiwan, 1911

1st = First married
Wid = Widowed
Div = Divorced

             Status of husband      Status of wife
                1st    Wid    Div      1st    Wid    Div    Total
Islanders    29,529  5,390  2,508   27,500  6,624  3,303   37,427
Interiorites    353     46     31      396     14     20      430
Aliens           53      7      2       44     10      8       62

Total        29,935  5,443  2,541   27,940  6,648  3,331   37,919 

Note   The column totals are of people. The row totals are of marriages (couples), hence half the husband and wife totals.


Takekoshi Yosaburo

Takekoshi Yosaburō (竹越與三郎 1865-1950), an historican and politician, was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1902, and in the 1920s he held a seat in the House of Peers. He is best known today as the author of the following book, published in 1905, and available today in both original and facsimile editions.

臺灣統治志 (台湾統治志)
Taiwan tōchi shi
[Taiwan rule chronicle]
Tokyo: Hakubunkan, September 1905

This work has 534 pages of Japanese text plus a 34-page English-titled "Bibliography of Formosa" -- in addition to unnumbered pages of front matter consisting of a foreword by Goto Shinpei (3 pages), a foreword by Takekoshi (2 pages), and numerous photographic plates.

The texts cited in the following commentary are my transcriptions from scans of the original publication downloaded in pdf files from National Diet Library Digital Archive Portal (PORTA) (国立国会図書館デジタルアーカイブポータル).

A number of facsimile editions are available, including one recently published by "Nan-tien shu-chü" in "T'ai-pei-shih" in Taiwan (臺北市:南天書局、1997年12月, 568 pages) -- known in English as "SMC Publishing" (see below).

English translation

The following English translation is usually cited as though it were a translation of the above 1905 publication. While much of it does reflect much of the content of the 1905 work, it is actually an adaptation which omits some of the original content and adds other content. More importantly, though, the translator's recastings of many of the book's metaphors misrepresent the manner in which it described Taiwan and its inhabitants.

Yosaburo Takekoshi (Member of the Japanese Diet)
Translated by George Braithwaite (Tokyo)
Japanese Rule in Formosa
London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1907
Taipei: SMC Publishing Inc., 1966
xv (preface, foreword, contents, illustrations), 342, 18 (2 portraits, 38 photographs between foreword and contents), fold-out map, Chinese colophon (1966 edition)

The title page of the translation reads "With preface by Baron Shimpei Goto (Chief of the Civil Administration)". The preface, two pages, is dated August 1905 (see below).

"SMC Publishing Inc." is the English name of 南天書局 (Nan-tien shu-chü), a major T'aipei publisher of works related to Taiwan, especially its history. SMC has reissued most of the classic geographical, anthropological, and other reports on Taiwan in English, Japanese, and other languages.

George Braithwaite

George B. Braithwaite (1861?-1931) [ジョージ・ブレスウェイト], an English Quaker, arrived in Japan in the spring of 1886 as member of The British and Foreign and Scotch Bible Society. By the end of the century he was busy translating various works, some for the Japan Bible Track Society, while continuing to work as a missionary.

I strongly suspect that Braithwaite's call to translate Takekoshi's book came from Nitobe Inazō (新渡戸稲造 1862-1933), who had become a Quaker while studying in the United States in the 1880s. I can easily envision Takekoshi -- if not Goto Shinpei or someone else interested in publicizing Taiwan's progress in English -- asking Nitobe if he himself would translate the book or suggest who could.

Iwai Tatsumi presentation copy

That the translation was most likely commissioned is suggested by evidence of its use by officials in Taiwan. Antiquarius -- a book dealer in Falkland, BC, Canada -- offers, as of this writing (AbeBooks.com, 11 September 2009), a first edition which is described as having been a "Presentation copy to H. W. Arthur, [From Hori [?] Iwai, Esq., Civil Administrator of Formosa, 1906-8], in his hand, to ffep. Mr. Arthur was a Missionary."

The signature on the front free end paper (ffep) would appear to be that of Iwai Tatsumi (1865-1908), who replaced Goto Shinpei as the first of four civil administrators appointed during the years that Sakuma Samata served as Taiwan Governor-General.

Iwai, a career bureaucrat, entered the Ministry of Finance after studying law. He served as the head of the tax bureau of Okinawa prefecture before being posted to the Taiwan Government-General in 1896. He served as the director of the "Increase production" and "Finance" bureaus in the Civil Administration Department before become its chief in 1906. He died in office.

Iwai -- whose family name (祝) has sometimes been read "Hoori" (ほおり) -- was one of Goto Shinpei's "three crows" (三羽烏 sanba-garasu) -- along with Nakamura Yoshikoto (中村是公 1867-1927) and Nitobe Inazō. Nakamura, who like Iwai had come out of the Ministry of Finance, at one time simultaneously held the directorships of both the "General affairs" and "Finance" bureaus of the Civil Administration Department under Goto. He essentially became a protoge of Goto, and his own career as a bureaucrat and politican closely parallels that of his mentor. One wonders if Iwai would have followed a similar track had he not died so young.

Braithwaite's family

Braithwaite's credits include a translation called Life of Sogoro, the Farmer Patriot of Sakura (Yokohama: The Yokohama Bunsha, 1897). He is mainly known today, however, for his translation of Takekoshi's book on Taiwan.

Braithwaite's sister, Mary Caroline Braithwaite (d1818), became a Whitney through marriage in 1885 to Willis Norton Whitney (1855-1918), the son of William Cogswell Whitney (1825-1882). William Whitney had come to Japan with his wife and three children in 1875 to help Mori Arinori (1847-1889) establish a commercial school.

Braithwaite studies

Studies of the history of Christianity in Japan flourish, especially in Christian colleges in Japan. A number of scholars have been pursuing the personal papers of Meiji-era missionaries through descendants if not in university archives.

One such researcher is Kuroki Akira (黒木章), head of the Japan culture studies section of the Humanities department (人文学部日本文化学科 Jinbungaku-bu Nihon-bunka-gaku-ka) of Seigaku University(聖学院大学 Seigakuin Daigaku), a Christian (Disciples of Christ) institution in Saitama Prefecture. The school's roots go back to the late 19th century.

Kuroki examined and letters and other papers of George Braithwaite that had been in the possession of Braithwaite's son Burnham and then his granddaughter Elizabeth in the United Kingdom. Other than cited correspondence, and occasional personal names, the article is in Japanese. The received Japanese and English titles of the 2003 article I have cited here and elsewhere are as follows (based on pdf file downloaded from Seigakuin Daigaku website on 25 September 2009).

透谷が George Braithwaite に雇われた経緯と
William Jones の平和講演会のこと
(George Braithwaite 資料の翻刻と紹介 T)

Akira Kuroki
Details of How Tokoku Kitamura had been employed by George Braithwaite as intepreter and the Peace Lecture by William Jones
(Retyping and Introducing of the Materials by Geroge Braithwaite T)

Seigakuin Daigaku ronsō
<The journal of Seigakuin University>
第16巻 第1号
[Volume 16, Number 1]
November 2003
Pages 129-148

This is the first in a series of at least three articles by Kuroki on Braithwaite's activities in Japan, based on his diaries and letters. Unfortunately, Kuroki is concerned mainly with Braithwaite's earlier activities.

In the above noted work, Kuroki observes that Braithwaite's "Japan activities spanned his arrival in the spring of 1886 until [the lord] called him to heaven (召天する shōten suru) in Tokyo, Akasaka on 18 June 1931" (Kuroki 2003:131, my translation).

Braithwaite is buried in the foreign section of the Aoyama Cemetery, where his birthyear is given as 1861. Anna Whitney, the mother of Willis Whitney, Braithwaite's brother-in-law, is also buried there, as is Willis Whitney.

For more about the Whitneys and the Braithwaites in Japan, see Kaji Umetaro and Clara Whitney in the article on "Imperial mainstreaming" in the "One-hundred-million hybrids" feature of this website.

SMC Publishing

SMC was launched in Taipei in 1976 and is still run by Wei Te-wen (魏徳文), a medical school graduate and former pharmaceutical company employee who decided to dedicate his life to the reproduction of older publications, in all genres and languages, related especially to Taiwan.

SMC's first project was a 30-volume Survey of Taiwan Aborigines which had been published by the Taiwan Government-General during the period of Japanese rule.

Wei, though, is especially well-known for his collection and study of old maps of Taiwan. He views maps -- correctly, I think -- as the most important indicators of strategic interest and purpose on the part of the countries and companies that commissioned surveyors and cartographers to make them.


Goto Shinpei's preface

Establishing control over Taiwan was mainly a matter of military power. Excerising jurisdiction was required a combination of governmental skills.

Maintaining control and jurisdiction was a matter of policing and other forms of law enforcement, but gaining support for the Government-General required compentent civil administration.

The first three Governor-Generals did not give their civil administrators much authority. Arguably it was to early to transfer more authority to a civil administrator. And perhaps the first two civil administrators were not quite qualified, by reason of their training and viewpoint, for the task of bringing "civilization" to the territory.

Kodama Gentarō (児玉源太郎 1852-1906), one of the more accomplished army generals of his generation, was also known as a compentent administrator. And he understood that what Taiwan needed, when assumed the post of Governor-General on 26 February 1898, was less military might and more civil prowess.

During the Sino-Japanese War, Kodama had become acquainted with Gotō Shinpei at Hiroshima, where Gotō had been overseeing the quarantining of returning Japanese soldiers. Gotō had been appointed the director of the Hygiene [Health] Bureau of the Ministry of Interior in 1892, but had resigned in 1893 after becoming embroiled in the Soma incident, involving the death of Sōma Tomotane (相馬誠胤 1852-1892), a former daimyō.


Goto Shinpei's involvement in Soma incident

For an account of the Soma incident and Gotō's involvement in its investigation, see my article, Nishigori Takekiyo: Kinsei Jinbutsu Shi, Yamato Shinbun Furoku, No. 10, about Yoshitoshi's portrayal of Soma's former retainer Nishigori Takekiyo. The article includes an enlargeable scan of a copy of this woodblock print in Yosha Bunko.

Goto Shinpei's foreword (序 jo) runs 3 pages (unnumbered) in the Japanese text and two (pages v-vi) in Braithwaite's translation. Braithwaite calls it a "Preface" but it is actually a foreword, written by someone other than the author or editor to lend a book a measure of legitimacy or credibility.

Goto Shinpei's foreword to "Taiwan tochi shi"
"critics have not studied the question sufficiently"
Structural translation Received translation





Our administration in Formosa has been severely criticised, but the majority of our critics have not studied the question sufficiently to form an opinion. Very few of them have had an opportunity of visiting the island and testing the truth of their suppositions by personal investigation on the spot; hence, in most cases, their conclusions are wrong, because they arise from insufficient knowledge, and are based on false premises. Others have looked at the subject through coloured glasses, and thus have obtained a distorted view. Small wonder then that their criticisms are so wide of the mark.

As a matter of fact, our nation's history as a Colonial Power commences with the story of our administration in Formosa, and our failure or success there must exercise a marked influence on all our future undertakings.

We rejoice therefore to report that, thanks to the Great Guardian Spirit, who through unbroken ages has continually guided His Majesty the Emperor and each one of His Imperial Ancestors, and thanks also to the generous way in which the Formosan Administration has been upheld by the State, our plans for the colonization of the island have been crowned with a great measure of success.

There is an old saying, "Though you order me to be silent, I cannot obey you"; in like manner, though I hold an official appointment, and have been privileged to watch the development of the island, and on that account may not unnaturally be accused of boasting, yet for my country's sake I cannot forbear giving to the world the story of our success.

This book is the outcome of an extensive tour through the island undertaken by Mr. Takekoshi in which he had full opportunities of observing the manners and customs of the people. The account he therein gives of the history of our Administration is clear and authoritative, because his feet have trod the land he describes, and his statesmanlike ability has enabled him clearly to comprehend all sides of each question. I am not perfectly sure whether his criticisms are right in every case; but nevertheless I am satisfied that it would be a hard task to improve on his account.

Of late, the different Powers have come to realize that the question, as to which of them shall lead the world, can only be settled in the Eastern part of the world's great chess-board. We have, it is true, emerged victorious from the recent war, but the world still doubts our colonizing ability. I have been very glad, therefore, to write this Preface, believing that these pages will prove instrumental in removing these doubts, and hoping also that they may inspire my countrymen with fresh courage to take up the tasks which still lie before them. If so, it will matter little to me what the critics may say.

Mr. Takekoshi's felicity of diction and brilliant style are so well known that it is needless for me to add more.

     Chief of Civilian Administration in Formosa.     

  August, 1905.


Takekoshi Yosaburo's foreword


Takekoshi Yosaburo's foreword to "Taiwan tochi shi"
"extending to the inhabitants the benefits of civilisation"
Structural translation Received translation



昔し歴史家フラウドが西印度諸島に遊びて『西印度英人殖民誌』を著はすや、一世少年の誌、靡然として 植民地に向かふ。識者其書を以てチエムバレーン、ローヅの帝国拡大政策と功を同うすとなす。余豈に敢て自から之に擬するものならんや、唯此書、台湾の現状を知り、植民地の何ものたるかを解するの筌蹄たるを得ば、余の願や足れ理り矣。


As for the developing [cultivation] of unopened [undeveloped] national lands [territories, countries], and extending [imparting] the virtues [of development] [blessings of civilization], [this] was something that white people (白人 hakujin) have hitherto long believed to be [their] burden [responsibility]. Now Japan[ese] nationals (日本国民 Nihon kokumin, "the people of the country of Japan") have risen in the seas of the extreme east, and desire to divide [share] this great mission of white people. [I, we] do not know whether or not our [we] [Japanese] nationals (我国民 waga kokumin) have or not the ability to be the trunks [leaders] who will fulfill [carry out] the burden [responsibility] of yellow people (黄人 ōjin). As for the success or failure of Taiwan rule, [I, we] cannot but say that [it] [Taiwan's success or failure] is the test of gold or stone [touchstone, litmus test] of [for] resolving [settling] this problem [issue] [answering this question]. I, before and after twice visiting Taiwan while raising this problem, grassed [wrote] this book. As for the materials [I] have cited in the book, [they] are mainly according to documents the Taiwan Government-General donated [presented, gave, provided]. In recording [citing] [their content] here [I] testify to their certainly being reliable, and [I] thank the good will [kindness] of the Government-General.

That in the past the historian Froude [Note 3] visited the West Indies islands and wrote "West Indies Englishman colonists chronicle" (英国人殖民誌 Eikokujin shokumin shi, "English-country-people planted people chronicle"), was an inspiration for the youth [of] one generation . . .

To be continued.


Western nations have long believed that on their shoulders alone rested the responsibility of colonizing the yet unopened portions of the globe, and extending to the inhabitants the benefits of civilisation; but now we Japanese, rising from the ocean in the extreme Orient, wish as a nation to take part in this great and glorious work. Some people, however, are inclined to question whether we possess the ability requisite for such a task. I felt that these would doubt no longer, could they but read the account of our successes in Formosa. With this idea I twice visited the island to ascertain the actual conditions there, and have now prepared this book that all who wish may read the story for themselves.

Much of the information given in this work is derived from the archives in the Governor-General's Office, all of which were kindly placed at my disposal. I mention this to show that it may be relied upon as being correct, and I also wish to offer my sincere thanks to the Formosan authorities for all the kindness they have shown me.

Some years ago the historian Froude visited the West Indies, afterwards publishing his well-known work, The History of English Colonization in the West Indies. So great an influence had this book on the minds of the youth of that period, that for a time there was quite a rush to the colonies. Scholars have sometimes compared the practical effects of this book with those produced by the Imperialism of Chamberlain and Rhodes. I would not for a moment venture to class myself with these two great English politicians, but shall be fully satisfied if this book of mine should serve even a small measure to make known the actual conditions and potentialities of Formosa.


Okubo, Tokyo,
  July, 1905.

Note 3   Takekoshi is referring to James Anthony Froude (1818-1894). Among his many books is one called The English in the West Indies: Or, The Bow of Ulysses (1888). He does not list this or any work by Froude in his extensive Bibliography of Formosa in Euroean languages. I have not been able to determine whether『西印度英人殖民誌』is the title of a Japanese translation. But it seems to have inspired the 誌 in the title of his own book.


Japanese accounts of 1874 Taiwan Expedition

For a translation of a nishikie version of a contemporary newspaper report on the 1874 Taiwan Expedition, which uses similar "civilization and enlightenment" metaphors, see my article, Taiwan Botan girl: Tokyo nichinichi shinbun, No. 726. The article includes an enlargeable scan of a copy of this woodblock print in Yosha Bunko.

See also Taiwan Expedition prints and Meiji Taiheiki: Meiji Great Peace Chronicle at the same www.nishikie.com website.


Sham republic


第四章:過去の台湾 其四:清人生蕃の角逐 Pages 119-128 Chapter III. (Continued). FORMOSA IN THE PAST. Section IV.--Struggles between Chinese and Savages. Pages 68-73 第四章:過去の台湾 其五:列国に注目せらるゝ台湾 Chapter 4: Taiwan in the past Part 5: Taiwan draws [comes to] attention of powers Pages 128-136 Chapter III. (Continued). FORMOSA IN THE PAST. Section V.--Formosa and the Powers. Pages 74-79 第四章:過去の台湾 其六:偽共和国の興亡 Chapter 4: Taiwan in the past Part 6: Rise and fall of sham republic Pages:136-153 Chapter III. (Continued). FORMOSA IN THE PAST. Section VI.--Rise and Fall of the so-called Republic. Pages 80-91

Braithwaite's English translation (Takekoshi 1907/1996:90-91)

General Nogi entered the city [of Tainan] on 21st October and the rest of the army soon followed. Thus Formosa came into our possession in reality as well as in name.

Our losses in the whole campaign were as under, viz.:--

Died in Formosa of disease . . . . . . . . . . .  4,642
Sent to Japan for treatment  . . . . . . . . . . 21,748
Remaining in hospitals in Formosa  . . . . . . .  5,246
Killed in battle (officers and soldiers) . . . .    164
Wounded (not fatally, officers and soldiers) . .    515

Unhappily His Imperial Highness Prince Kitashirakawa succumbed to an attack of malarial fever. He was a great loss, not only to the army but also to the whole nation.

The Chinese losses are impossible to ascertain, but it is said that no less than 7,000 dead were actually found on the field.

Structural translation (Takekoshi 1905:152-153)

General Nogi on 21 October entered Tainan and [his] various armies came in succession. Thus Taiwan in name and reality entered our dominion. As for losses to our armies in [their] services (役 eki) [in this war] -- though combining officers and soldiers and [attached civilian] military workers [their numbers] [are said] not to exceed 4,642 persons who died of diseases, 21,748 persons who were sent to this country (本国 hongoku) [Japan] for treatment, 5,246 persons who remained in hospitals on Taiwan, and just 164 war dead 164 and 515 wounded -- that Prince Kitashirakawa [omitted] succumbed (蒙せられた kōserareta) on the field [of battle] in Taiwan on account of a malarial fever must be said to be one [a] great loss, not only for the military, but for the country of Japan (日本国 Nihonkoku) which will not be able to redeem [his death]. And coming to [as for] Chinese troops (支那兵 Shina hei), though the number of their dead cannot be known by obtaining [an accurate count], it is reported that the dead alone would not be less than 7,000.





Chapter 5: Geography, nature, and race in Taiwan
Pages 167-189

Geographical Features. -- Plants and Animals -- Climate -- Inhabitants.
Geographical Features. -- [Omitted].
Plants and Animals. -- [Omitted].
Climate. -- [Omitted].
Inhabitants. -- The Chinese population -- An interesting story -- Class and custom -- Savages -- Japanese.
Pages 102-116

Braithwaite's English translation (Takekoshi 1907/1996:114-116, underscoring mine).

Early in the spring of 1904, the island had a population of 3,137,000. The Chinese, who form the greater part of it, occupy the vast and fertile plains. They may be divided into two classes -- Haklos and Hakkas. This distinction first arose in China from historical and social causes, but it has become as clear and well defined as though founded on racial distinctions.

[ Four paragraphs graphs on Haklos (from Fokien, Fukien) and Hakkas (from Kwangtung, Canton) omitted, including story of "interesting tradition about them". ]

Before the arrival of these Chinese the savage tribes were the masters of the whole island, but, being driven back by the invaders, they took refuge in the mountainous districts. They now number it is believed about 100,000 souls. Some of them entered into close communication with the new-comers, and thus gradually abandoned many of their original customs, in some cases their language also, and adopted the language and customs of the Chinese. For this reason, they are often called "Domesticated Savages". They now number about 35,000 altogether.

The coming of the Japanese added a third distinct element to the population. Their number has already reached 50,000, exlcuding soldiers.

Structural translation (Takekoshi 1905:187-189)

As for the people (人民 jinmin) who dominate (管領 kanryō) the above land and nature, [there are] 3,137,000 (Early spring [Meiji] 37 [1904] survey), and the Chinese race [people types, kinds, strains] (支那人種 Shina jinshu) are the most numerous among them. Among the Chinese race are two types [kinds, strains] (二種 nishu). This special differentiation (種別 shubetsu) is not a raciologic distinction (人種学上の区別 jinshugaku-jō no kubetsu), [but] merely a historical, social distinction, but this distinction clearly (裁然 saizen [sic 截然 saizen, setsuzen]) approaches being practically raciological (人種学的 jinshugaku-teki). One of these . . . is from . . . Fukien . . . . One of these . . . is from . . . Kwangtung . . . [middle part of paragraph omitted] . . . Those who before these Chinese people (此等支那人 korera Shina jinshu) occupied this land were the raw savages (生蕃 seiban), [but] now they have evacuated [retreated, taken refuge] among the mountains and marshes (山沢 santaku, yamasawa). It is believed that their number generally would approach 100,000; and those who as raw savages have been in contact with [the] Chinese race for a long time and have assimilated into their life are called cooked savages (熟蕃 jukuban), and their number reaches 35,000. And those who as motherlanders (母国人 bokokujin) exist among these [Chinese and savages], excluding military people reach over 50,000.

[ Chapter 14: Population problems and state enterprisism ]

人口 庁別 (戸数、母国人、本島人、外国人、計)
[ Population by prefecture (Households, Motherlanders, Islanders, Aliens, Total) ]
Pages 325-326


Households       582,863

Motherlanders     50,339
Islanders      3,084,809
Aliens             2,417

Total          3,137,565


Convicts and defendants


Chapter 13: Judiciary and prisons
Pages 308-324
Law Courts -- Prisons -- Criminals.
Pages 188-197

This chapter is a good example of one that clearly "updates" and otherwise modifies the original text. In doing so, however, some very valuable data is lost.

The last page of Braithwaite's translation has two tables -- one headed "Summary of Prison Reports, 1897-1904" and the other headed "Table of Prison Expenditure". The first table shows annual totals for the following categories (Takekoshi 1907/1996:197).

Average Number Imprisoned each Day.
Died of Plague.
Died of other Diseases.
Average Deaths per 1,000.
Killed while attempting to Escape.
Sentences Reduced.
Released on Bail.
Criminals per 1,000 Inhabitants.

The data in the above tables is not in the 1905 publication, which shows instead a breakdown of "convicts" (囚人 shōjin) and "criminal [penal] matter [case] defendants" (刑事被告人 keiji hikokunin) by affiliation and sex for each year from 1897-1902.

The affiliation breakdowns are by "Interiorite" (内地人 Naichijin) and "Islander" (本島人 Hontōjin) and "Total" (計 Kei). The breakdown for the totals for the first and last years are as follows (Takekoshi 1905:322-324).

Convicts              1897                1902
                M   F    T        M   F      T
Interiorites  126   2  128      267   5    272
Islanders     583  16  599    3,179  93  3,272
Total         709  18  727    3,446  98  3,544

Defendants            1897                1902
                M   F    T        M   F      T  
Interiorites  104   6  110       41   1     42
Islanders     654  13  667      361  12    373
Total         758  19  777      402  13    415

These are actually very interesting stats. Without age-group breakdowns, for the convict and defendant cohorts, as well as for the affiliation and sex cohorts, it is not possible to compute age-adjusted "criminality" figures for any of the demographic cohorts or their totals.

However -- raw, if we compare the totals of the convict and defendant figures to the estimated populations for the affiliation cohorts, we get the following ratios for 1902. The population figures are from the pages at the beginning of the next chapter in the original publication (Takekoshi 1905:325-326). The per-10,000-capita ratios, and the ratio of ratios, are mine.

Cases per 10,000 population

Cases for 1902
Populations for 1904

Convicts       Cases   Population    Ratios
Interiorites     272       50,339      54.0
Islanders      3,272    3,084,809      10.6
Ratio of Interiorite/Islander ratios    5.1

Defendants     Cases    Population   Ratios
Interiorites      42       50,339       8.3
Islanders        373    3,084,809       1.2
Ratio of Interiorite/Islander ratios    6.9


Raw savages



Nitobe Inazō and Taiwan

I strongly suspect that Braithwaite's call to translate Takekoshi's book came from Nitobe Inazō (新渡戸稲造 1862-1933), who had become a Quaker while studying in the United States in the 1880s. I can easily envision Takekoshi -- if not Goto Shinpei or someone else interested in publicizing Taiwan's progress in English -- asking Nitobe if he himself would translate the book or suggest who could.


Mary Patterson Elkinton becomes Nitobe Mari

While in the United States in the mid 1880s, Nitobe met Mary Patterson Elkinton (1857-1938), a Quaker from Philadelphia. On 1 January 1891, enroute back to Japan from Germany, where he had studied, he married Elkinton, in Philadelphia. The following day, the headlines of an article on the front page of the next day's Philadelphia Inquirer read -- "Weds an Oriental Husband / Mary Patterson Elkinton, Quakeress, Marries Inazo Nitobe, Japanese / A Young Woman's Sacrifice for Love's Sweet Sake" -- according to the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia.

Elkinton became a Japanese woman named "Nitobe Mari" (新渡戸萬理 / 万理). A son born to the couple in 1892 died a week after his birth.

According to data compiled by Koyama Noboru, Nitobe was granted permission to marry Elkinton on 24 September 1890 (Koyama 1995:278). Apparently he had applied for permission to marry her -- under the 1873 proclamation concerning alliances of marriage and adoption between Japanese and aliens -- while in Germany.

For photographs, a chronology, and other information about the Nitobe-Elkinton union, see 1890 Nitobe Inazō and Mary Elkinton under "Couples 2" in the "People" section of the "Konketuji" website.


Nitobe heads "Increase production bureau"

For about three years from sometime in 1901, Nitobe -- at the request of Goto Shinpei -- served as the first director of the "Development and production bureau" (殖産局 Shokusankyoku) of the Civil affairs department of the Taiwan Government-General. Though usually called the "industrial" bureau in English, it was mainly concerned with agricultural and forestry production. Nitobe was appointed its head because he was an expert in agricultural economy. His principal legacy on Taiwan was the success of its sugar industry.


Nitobe's tug-of-war anecdote

In 1903, about two years into his Taiwan service, Nitobe began lecturing at the Taiwan Association School (台湾協会学校), established in Tokyo in 1900, renamed Asia Association Speciality School (東洋協会専門学校) in 1907 and Takushoku University (Takushoku Daigaku) in 1918. His affiliation with the univserity continued after he became emeritus in 1929. As "takushoku" impiles, the mission of the university was to educate people in the theory and practice of "cultivation" and "development" in the sense of "colonization" (see following box on Takushoku University).

In his first lecture, Nitobe begins by telling his students that, while it had been two years since he had gone to Taiwan, he had spent more than a year of that in foreign countries (外国 gaikoku) and barely 10 months in Taiwan. He said this by way of pointing out his awareness that he was speaking before an audience that had been studying Taiwan from morning to night for two or three years (see page 123 of the following on-line source, NII [National Institute of Informatics] Electronic Library Service, retrieved 12 September 2009).

農学博士 新渡戸稲造
[Nitobe Inazo, Doctor of agriculture]
Taiwan KYōkai Gakkō gakusei shokun ni tsugu
[Informing all you students of Taiwan Association School]
Takushoku Daigaku hyakunen-shi kenkyō
[Takushoku University centennial history research]
Volume 4, 31 March 2000, pages 123-133

Nitobe's lecture is studded with references to the "insular spirit" (島国根性 shimaguni konjō) of "Japanese" (日本人 Nihonjin) as opposed to "foreigners" (外国人 gaikokujin) and "westerners" (西洋人 seiyōjin). "Westerners" and "foreigners" appear to be synonymous, as a story he tells about a tug-of-war between westerners and Japanese on a ship he took from Europe to Japan.

Some 20 Japanese and 20 foreigners position themselves at either end of the rope. The foreigners seemed sure to win. The Japanese are humans who average around 100 pounds if that, are black in color, have small arms and legs, and eat vegetables and rice, while opposite them are big humans who were raised on beefsteak. But the Japanese won.

Some Englishmen, suprised by the outcome, wondered how such people had won. Nitobe, on the sidelines, said Well, they had won, so shouldn't they be praised? Whereupon the Englishmen clapped their hands. This, Nitobe said, Japanese would not have done had they lost -- and concluded that, though England was an island country like Japan, Englishmen were not "insular spirited" like Japanese. (Ibid., pages 125-126, my paraphrasing.)

Nitobe was an expert in agricultural economics -- the subject of his earlier studies in the United States and Germany and the cause for his appointment in Taiwan. As a university professor, he lectured on the application of agricultural economics to "colonization" a la "cultivation and development".

By the time Takekoshi's book on Taiwan came out, Nitobe had resigned his post in Taiwan and become a professor at Kyoto Imperial University. When Braithwaite was translating the book, he was the principal of a high school affiliated with Tokyo Imperial University.

Nitobe was an expert in agricultural economics -- the subject of his earlier studies in the United States and Germany and the cause for his appointment in Taiwan. As a university professor, he lectured on the application of agricultural economics to "cultivation" and "development" colonization.

Both as an academic, but also in various governmental and diplomatic posts, Nitobe was a fairly strong proponent of Japan's colonization of Taiwan, then of Karafuto and Chosen. As a pacifist, though, he openly opposed the violent aspects of imperial expansion and rule.

Takushoku University

Takushoku University (拓殖大学 Takushoku daigaku) began in 1900 as Taiwan Association School (台湾協会学校 Taiwan Kyōkai Gakkō). The school, renamed a few times, became Asia Association Speciality School (東洋協会専門学校 Tōyō Kyōkai Senmon Gakkō) in 1907, and Takushoku University (Takushoku Daigaku) in 1918. "Takushoku" means "cultivation" and "development" in the sense of "colonization".

The school's founder and first president (1900-1912) was Katsura Taro (桂太郎 1848-1913), an army general during the Sino-Japanese War, the second Governor-General of Taiwan (2 June 1896 to 14 October 1896), and later a three-time prime-minster of Japan. The purpose of the school was to produce people who were able to contribute to the development of Taiwan, which had become a became a Japanese territory in 1895.

The university's 12th director general (1967-1971) was Nakasone Yasuharu. It celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2000.

Takushoku University has nurturned many foreigns students, not a few from Taiwan, including Ko Bunyu (Huang Wen-hsiung) (see this link to my commentary on his life and writing in "Chinese issues in Japan: The re-examination of Sino-Japanese history").



Nitobe is perhaps best known outside Japan for a now controversial 1900 book he wrote in English called Bushido: The Soul of Japan. By 1908 the book had been translated into Japanese by Sakurai Ōson (桜井鴎村 1872-1929).

As Sakurai had rendered the English into a rather high Sinific style that recquired an education in Chinese texts to appreciate, in 1938 Yanaihara Tadao (矢内原忠雄 1893-1961) -- one of Nitobe's disciples and a fellow Christian and pacifist -- brought out an easier more Japanesque version.

By 1938, not only had Nitobe been dead five years, but Yanaihara -- an ardent critic of Japan's expansionist militarism -- had been forced to resign his university posts by ultranationalists. He resumed his teaching after the war, and eventually became the dean of Tokyo University.

Since the war, several other Japanese translations of Bushido have appeared. Yanaihara's version, though, continues to be published. I gather than he saw the book as a reminder of how true "samurai" were supposed to conduct themselves.


Fuzoku gaho

During the first months and years after Taiwan became part of Japan, the Government-General of Taiwan was much too busy setting up its offices in parts of the island it was able to control to give much attention to publicity. Nor was there much at the time to publicize that was truly in its favor -- other than the rising costs of police and military operations, the death tolls, and an uncertain future.

There was, however, considerable patriotic fervor in Tokyo when news arrived in November 1895 that Tainan, the last major holdout of the self-styled "Taiwan Republic", had fallen to Japanese forces. By spring the following year, the capital was celebrating the return of some of the troops with blessings from the emperor and cheers from elementary school students.

Meiji news media

Japanese news media had proven its capability of quickly reporting events around the country and abroad, in text and graphically, from the 1870s. In 1874, during the punitive expedition to Japan, it took more time for information to arrive at editorial offices, but Tokyo publishers lost no time in conveying the latest reports in newspaper stories and woodblock prints.

Kishida Ginkō, a journalist among other things, had accompanied the expedition to Taiwan and dispatched notes and sketches to the Tokyo nichinichi shinbun in Tokyo. Illustrators like Yoshiiku, one of founders of TNS but also a freelance drawer for woodblock print and book publishers, turned several of the stories into news nishikie.

The technology had somewhat changed by the 1890s. Photography had become common, and lithography had replaced woodblock printing of full-page illustrations in magazines as well as of standalone pictures. Still, several drawers were kept busy cranking out woodblock-printed triptychs of the 1894-1895 war. And a number of magazines featured at least one woodblock-printed page or foldout.

Graphic magazines

Fuzoku gaho (風俗画報 Fōzoku gahō), the most widely circulated graphic magazine in Japan at the time, got its start in February 1889 and had published about 517 issues by the time it folded in March 1916. The magazine thus spanned the last two decades of the Meiji period -- from the 22nd year of Meiji when the Constitution was promulgated (it came into force the following year) -- to the 5th year of Taisho, when the world was at war.

As its name implies, the magazine was a "pictorial report of manners and customs". Today it is highly valued as a primary source of visual but also textual material on all facets of contemporary life, political affairs, and even history.

A number of issues have been re-published in facsimile editions over the years. All 478 regular issues and 39 extra volumes were replicated in boxed facsimile editions from 1973 to 1976. A CD-ROM edition consisting of 11 disks plus an explanatory booklet was released in 2002.

The images shown below are of either facsimile or original editions in Yosha Bunko.

For a review of a widely available study in English on the woodblock prints and lithographs of the Sino-Japanese War, see Chaikin 1983 in the "Bibliography" section of the "News Nishikie" website.


Taiwan savage customs

Fūzoku gahō, like news media generally, intensely covered the Sino-Japanese War. In some sense the magazine was "blooded" by the war, which came five years after the launch and early growth of the magazine under peaceful conditions.

After the war, it followed developments in Taiwan with equal intensity, covering first the military actions to secure the island from local people who did not recognize or welcome Japan's acquisition of the territory from China, then the efforts to comfort the savages and develop their lands.

Here I will introduce three of several issues related to Taiwan. The first (No. 111) concerns the operations to eradicate the "native bandits" who consisted mainly of Chinese-related inhabitants. The second and third (Nos. 129 and 130) are related to the customs of the aboriginal "savages", including those who had been largely Sinified, and those that remained to cajoled, nudged, or forced into the folds of "civilization" whether Chinese or Japanese.



Taiwan dohi sojo zue
Fuzoku gaho, No. 111
25 March 1896
Yosha Bunko

Number 111: Taiwan bandit sweeping

風俗画報 Fūzoku gahō [Customs graphic]
第百十一號 [Number 111]
臺灣土匪掃攘圖會 (台湾土匪掃攘図会) Taiwan dohi sōjō zue
[Taiwan local-bandit sweeping-removal pictures]
明治廿九年三月二十五日 [25 March 1896]
東京:東陽堂 [Tōkyō: Tōyōdō]
32 pages (text), 2 pages (adverts), 9 drawings (including four 2-page drawings and 1 foldout) in addition to the cover (the cover and two other drawings are in color)

The copy shown to right is a facsimile reprint edition (復刻版).

The cover and foldout frontispice are by Ogata Gekkō (尾形月耕 1859-1920). Most of the other drawings are by Yamamoto Shōkoku (山本松谷 (1870-1965).

Gekkō, as Ogata sealed his drawings, was senior and better known drawer then and is certainly the more famous today, also for his paintings. Shōkoku, as Yamamoto sealed his drawings, was the longest-lived and arguably the most productive of the Meiji-born illustrators who were trained in both woodblock and newer technologies.

The keywords in the title require some comment.

local bandits

This term reflects 土匪 (dohi) -- in which 土 (do) refers to the "land" hence "local". 匪 (hi) means robber, bandit, brigand and the like -- essentially some sort of outlaw.

土 is compounded in the article with 民 to form the word 土民 (domin), meaning simply "local person" or "local affiliate" (page 3). It is also compounded with 人 (hito, nin, jin), meaning "person", to form 土人 (dojin), meaning "person of the land" hence "local person" or "native" (page 3). While terms are used to refer to "aboriginal" or "indigenous" people, their sense here is "local".

土匪 (dohi) thus refers to any 土民 (domin) or 土人 (dojin) in Taiwan at the time it was ceded to Japan, who militantly opposed Japan's occupation and control of the territory -- or who otherwise caused mischief or made life difficult for "the good people under heaven" (天下良民 tenka ryōmin) -- the good people in the world, especially those now under the emperor (heaven) of Japan.

In the article, 匪 (hi) is combined with graphs like 徒 (to) and 山 (yama, san) to form compounds like 匪徒 (hito) meaning "bandit gang", and 山匪 (sanhi) meaning "mountain bandits".

Both 匪 and 徒 are compounded with 賊 (zoku), meaning a rebel, insurgent, robber, bandit, or brigand -- hence 匪賊 (hizoku) and 賊徒 (zokuto). Both terms can refer to rebels, insurgents, robbers, thieves, or other kinds of outlaws generally. The latter is particular used to mean a "gang" (徒) of "outlaws" (賊).

賊 (zoku) is in fact the most common graph in reference to the objects of police and military action in the magazine. Typically it stands alone -- as does sometimes 徒 (to, ada). The editorial introduction, for example, states that "gangs of play-arounders [idlers] and drifting-eaters [vagrants] rise up and do banditry [rob and destroy]" (遊手浮食の徒、蜂起して賊を為す yūshu fushoku no to, hōki shite zoku o nasu) (page 1). Later, the two graphs are compounded as 賊徒 (zokuto) or "bandit gangs" (page 3).

The expression 遊手浮食の徒 (yūshu fushoku no ada) is essentially the same as 遊手浮食の輩 (yūshu fushoku no tomogara [hai, yahara]), which reflects the Japanese reading of the Chinese phrase 遊手浮食之輩. "Play-arounders" (遊手 yūshu, asobite) prefer to live without working. "Drifting-eaters" (浮食 fushoku) wander around and take or beg for food when hungry. Wastrels, vagabonds, scoundrels.

While usually appearing alone in the articles, 賊 (zoku) is sometimes compounded with other graphs, including 魁 (kai, kashira) meaning "leader", and 鼠 (so, nezumi) meaning "rat" -- hence 賊魁 (zokukai) or "bandit leader" (page 1), and 鼠賊 (sozoku) or "rat bandit" (page 1). The latter is also used to disparage an outlaw as a "small-time" or "petty" thief, robber, or bandit.

The articles are mainly about 土匪蜂起 (dohi hōki), meaning "local-bandit bee-risings" -- i.e., uprisings, insurrection, rebellions, and revolts that authorities face when approaching nests of hostile local inhabitants (page 13). The introductory editorial of the article even describes the "local-bandit sweep-removal" operation as one of searching their "nests and holes" (巣窟 sōkutsu) -- a term used to refer to nests, dens, haunts, and hangouts and whatnot of outlaws and criminals (page 1).

sweep and eradicate

The term 掃攘 (sōjō) consists of graphs meaning "sweep" or clean by sweeping (掃 sō, haku, harau), and "sweep away" or "sweep out" or "sweep off" in the sense of cleaning by removal (攘 jō, harau).

掃 is most familier today in the term common word 掃除 (sōji) or "cleaning", which also appears in the term 掃除機 (sōjiki) or "[vacuum] clearner".

攘 is limited mostly to uncommon words like 撃攘 (gekijō) meaning "to attack and drive out" an enemy, and to the familiar historical expression 尊皇攘夷 (son'ō jōi), meaning "revere the emperor and expel the barbarians" -- sometimes abbreviated 尊攘 (sonjō) or "revere / expel".

"Revere the emperor and expel the barbarians" was a slogan used during the years leading up to the start of the Meiji period in 1868 by people who advocated the expulsions of foreigners who had recently come to Japan and taken up residence in various ports under extraterritorial treaties that the Tokugawa government had signed essentially under threat of invasion.

The various "remove" (clean out, eradicate, expel) metaphors, however, have nothing to do with aliens. In fact, at the time of the operations, there had not yet been any clear implementation of provision in the treaty which gave inhabitants of Taiwan, who were affiliated with the territory, two years in which to decide whether they would accept Japanese nationality or be classified as an alien with another nationality -- such as Chinese.

Japanese forces obviously had to differentiate friend from foe. It was not a matter of "nationality" or other statuses but a question of whether or not one resisted Japanese authority -- or any authority for that matter.

Nogi's southern operations

A one-page introductory editorial is followed by a paragraph which introduces the articles, which consist of numerous accounts of the local "sweep and remove" operations which are said to have begun from 29 December 1895. The paragraph is followed by the text of the military order which facilitated the operations, called "Order to attack and reduce remaining bandits" (残賊討滅の令 Zanzoku tōmetsu no rei). The order was issued at the headquarters of forces in Tainan on 18 November 1895 by Second Division Commander Baron Nogi Maresuke (男爵 乃木希典). (Page 2)

Nogi's division had entered Tainan in October and the city was essentially occupied by November, by which time the Taiwan Republic government no longere existed. However, the area to the south of Tainan, between the city and the coasts, was full of remnants of various anti-Japanese elements. The security of this area posed an immediate problem for the general.

Lower Tamsui river

The first in-depth description of the conditions Nogi faced concerned bandits in the vicinity of the Lower Tamsui (下淡水 J Shimo Tansui, WG Hsia Tanshui, TW Ha-tamshui, E-tamsui, E-tamchui) river. The river is the second largest in Taiwan.

The Tamsui river (淡水河 WG Tanshui-ho PY Danshui-he), Taiwan's third longest river, empties into the Taiwan straits at the northern tip of the island after flowing through the city of Taipei, a few kilometers south of its mouth. It drains watersheds in a few of the northermost counties. It is unrelated to the Lower Tamsui -- except, in the past, as its namesake.

The Lower Tamsui, Taiwan's second longest river, flows south through the southermost counties of island, along the boundary between present-day Kaohsiung (高雄 PY Gaoxiong, SJ Kōyū) and Pingtung (屏東 PY Pingdong, SJ Heitō) counties -- hence its current name, Kaoping river [gorge] (高屏溪 WG Kaop'inghsi, PY Gaopingxi, SJ Kōheikei).

The mouths of the Lower Tamsui's larger downstream tributaries are port towns. The most important of these is the port of Takau (Takow) -- as it was romanized when Japan came into possession of Taiwan -- now the port of Kaohsiung (高雄), which today has become Taiwan's largest port.

"Takau" reflects "Tán-káu" -- the native name of the town and port, which Chinese graphed 打狗 (J Daku, WG Takou, PY Dagou). Japan regraphed the name 高雄, which is read Takao in Japanese. It is still known by these graphs today, but variously read in Chinese and native dialects. The Mandarin romanization is Kaohsiung (Wade-Giles) or Gaoxiong (Pinyin).

The southern reaches of Taiwan had been the more remote -- hence less controlled, settled, and developed -- from the standpoint of the Chinese government in Taipei, beyond which Chinese officials posted from China to oversee Taiwan's affairs had little interest or influence. The south had once been a place to which to exile people, though in time it came to be increasingly inhabited by migrants from the coast of China, especially Fukien (Fujian), directly west across the straits between the continent and Taiwan, but also from Kwangtung (Canton, Kuangtung, Guangdong) in southeast China southwest of Taiwan.

Southern Taiwan, including the Lower Tamsui region, was also more exposed to the arrival of non-Chinese. Its coasts were closer for European seafarers approaching from the south, and greeted numerous drifting and wrecked ships and their survivors.

Haklo and Hakka

Migration from the Chinese continent to Taiwan and within Taiwan, to the time that Japan acquired the island, had been every bit as complex as migration had been within China -- and, for that matter, within Europe, or between Europe and the Americas, and then within the Americas. By the time Japan took the reigns of Taiwan, the classification of people had already been decided by both its inhabitants their Chinese administrators.

Migrants brought their own labels and invented others. "Chinese" migrants and their descendants came to fall under two broad categories: Haklo and Hakka.

"Haklo" (Hoklo) (福佬, 學老, et cetera), also called "Min" (閩), referred to descendants of migrants from various parts of Fukien (Fujian) province (福建省). These migrants represented various Fukienese clans and spoke various Fukien dialects. Numerically and economically they were the dominent group by the time Japan took over Taiwan. Today, too, they outnumber other categories of Taiwanese, and "Taiwanese" is often synonymous with their language, customs, and political persuasions.

"Hakka" (客家) or "Yue" (粤) were mostly descendants of migrants from Kwangtung (Guangdong) province (廣東省). By the time Hakka began to arrive in significant numbers, Haklo had taken most of the better land. Considered a rougher, inferior, and somewhat nomadic breed by Haklo, Hakka were left to pursue livelihoods in the more rural, hillier parts of the island -- including the frontiers between the flatter eastern half inhabited mainly by Haklo, and the mountainous western half inhabited mainly by un-Sinified aborigines.

Hakka settled mainly in the northwest counties of northern Taiwan to the southwest of Taipei, the two southermons counties on either side of Lower Tanshui river, and in the foothills along the north-south frontier.

The Haklo and Hakka are highly represented in "overseas Chinese" communities, where the Haklo/Hakka divide continues to be discussed -- today in terms of "ethnic identity" with the expected emphasis on "heritage" as "cultural" and "linguistic" maintenance. Whatever importance was once attached to various forms of "racial" maintenance is pratcially nil today, as all studies of the histories of both populations show considerable mixing -- not only between them, but between them and the non-Chinese peoples with whom they had to share economic and political territory.

Taiwan was a veritable racial melting pot. While various clans favored marriages within their own broadly defined populations, social conditions encouraged arranged marriages to faciliate political or economic conveniences, and also led to personal romances that defied familial wishes.

Hakka more than Haklo appear to have more readily mixed with aborigines, arguably because they were somewhat sandwiched between concentrations of Haklo and aborigine populations. The highly mixed and assimilated "plains tribes" are often said to be indistinguishable from people of Hakka ancestry.

Late 19th-century classifications

Most broadly speaking, Taiwan's population at the end of the 19th century consisted of people of nominally Chinese descent and aborigines, and a few Euro-Americans and not a few people who represented mixtures of these three categories -- all of which were themselves subdivided. Racialistic classifications are inevitably limited by the standards of their social construction, which are at once too rigid and too fuzzy.

The most important legacy of the the classifications that came with the territory, so to speak, was that the demographic cohorts which became most problematic for Japan those which had been most problematic for China -- Chinese of Hakka ancestry and un-Sinified aborigines.

Headcounts at the time Taiwan became part of Japan are extremely sketchy, but census taken toward the end of the first decade of Japan's rule, in the spring of 1904, came up with 3,137,000 people. Counts in Japanized conventional categories showed that the vast majority of Taiwanese were of the "Chinese race", of which there were two types -- 2,400,000 "Fukuro" (福老) or "Min" (閩), who were descendants mostly of people from Fukien (Fujian) province (福建省), and 400,000 "Hakka" (客家) or "Yue" (粤), mostly the descendants of migrants from Kwangtung (Guangdong) province (廣東省). Aborigines numbered about 35,000 "cooked" or Sinified savages (熟蕃), and 100,000 "raw" or unassimlated savages (生蕃). (Takekoshi 1905:187, 1907:114-116)

This is an exeedingly over-simplified sketch of what is a much more complex mix of various migrants from the continent during the two centuries of Chinese control of Taiwan before its cession to Japan. However, it comports with the received image of "hakka" -- literally "guest houses" (客家) in the eyes of Fukienese and other Chinese -- as a linguistically and culturally different and somewhat embattled population.

At the time of Japan's occuption of Taiwan, which preceded from the north, the south had also been the escape route for remnants of rebel elements from the north, who found plenty of support among the Hakka, who tended to have settled in in the south.

The article on the conditions of bandits in vicinity of the Lower Tanshui begins with this statement (page 3, transcription, romanization (including older orthography), and structural translation mine).

下淡水附近の賊は所謂客家種と称する広東 (粤民) 移住民にして頑固強暴常に時の地方官に抵抗する叛乱の人種なり

Shimo Tansui fukin no zoku wa iwayuru Hakka shu to shō suru Kanton (Etsumin) ijūmin [ijiumin] ni shite ganko kyōbō [gwanko kiyaubou] ni toki no chiō kan ni teikō [teikau] suru hanran no jinshu nari

As for the bandits [brigands] in the vicinity of the Lower Tanshui, the Canton (Yue) migrant-residents [settlers] that [people] style [name, call] [so-called Hakka type [kind, strain] are a rebellious race [people type, kind, strain] that is obstinant and violent and always resist [oppose, defy] the local officials of the times.

As usual I am translating structurally in an effort to show English that is metaphorically close to the Japanese phrasing and usage. My main interest here is to illuminate the language used to describe people -- in this case those are mostly descendants of migrants from the Kwangtung (Guangdong) parts of China, in particular -- as opposed to descendants of coastal (especially Fukienese) migrants, who constituted the majority of Taiwan's population.

The magazine is dense with detail of the kind that would have been easily available to any contemporary Japanese writer about Taiwan, as the island had been closely observed and studied by Japanese, before but especially after the start of the Meiji period -- and, of course, during the Sino-Japanese War. All manner of books had been written about Taiwan in English and other languages, as well as in Japanese, and these too were available to the more Japanese scholars and journalists.

Yue and Min

Yue people (粤民 PY Yuemin, J Etsumin) are distinguished from Min people (閩民 PY Minmin, J Binmin). These correspond to what Takekoshi (Takekoshi 1905:187) called "Yue clan" (粤族 PY Yuezu, J Etsuzoku) and "Min clan" (閩族 PY Minzu, J Minzoku). Braithwaite translates these as "Yueh Caste" and "Min Caste" (Takekoshi 1907:114).



Taiwan hanzoku zue
Fuzoku gaho, No. 129
1 December 1896
Yosha Bunko

Number 129: Taiwan savage customs [Part 1]

風俗画報 Fūzoku gahō [Customs graphic]
第百廿九號 [Number 129]
臨時増刊 Rinji zōkan [Special edition]
臺灣蕃俗圖會 (台湾蕃俗図会) Taiwan hanzoku zue
[Taiwan savage-customs pictures]
明治廿九年年十二月一日 [1 December 1896]
東京:東陽堂 [Tōkyō: Tōyōdō]
32 pages (text), 4 pages (adverts), 12 drawings (including two 2-page drawings) in addition the cover (the cover and the 2-page drawing in front are in color)

The copy shown to the right is a facsimile reprint edition (復刻版).

The cover drawing shows a "Picture of raw and cooked savages not getting along together" (生熟両蕃互に相親まざる図 Sei-juku ryohan tagai ni aishitashimazaru zu). The raw (unsettled, unsinified) savages appear to be about to attack the cooked (settled, sinified) savages.

The 2-page color frontispiece is called "Picture of Taiwan natives [local people's] manners and customs" (台湾土人風俗の図 Taiwan dojin fūzoku no zu).

Both drawings are attributed to Tomita Ryūtei (富田柳堤). They and some of the 1-page black-and-white drawings, are signed Ryūtei (柳堤). The cover drawing bears Ryūtei's vermilion seal.

All black-and-white drawings concerning customs of natives, not attributed to Ryūtei, are attributed to Irie Seiho (入江青帆) and signed Irie (入江).

A 2-page map of Taiwan, showing literally hundreds of place names, and rivers, roads, and other geographic features, is attributed to a "survey [actual measurements] by Irie Takeshi (入江英実測). The map states that the "surveyor" is Irie Takeshi of "Fukuoka city in Chikuzen".

The entire issue is an encyclopedic introduction to the natives of Taiwan and their customs. A brief introduction attributes the information in the articles to Irie Takeshi of "Fukuoka prefecture" (page 1). The northern part of Fukuoka prefecture had been the province of Chikuzen.

I would guess, without any evidence, that "Irie Takeshi" and "Irie Seiho" are the same person. See more about Irie in the description of the sequel issue (below).


The first article is on "Mountains and valleys" (山獄), the second on "Rivers and streams" (三流), the third on "Race" (人種), the fourth on "Divisions of Tribes" (種族の区分), and the fifth on "Savage temperment" (蕃人気質).

To be continued.



Taiwan hanzoku zue
Sono 2

Fuzoku gaho, No. 130
10 December 1896
Yosha Bunko

Number 130: Taiwan savage customs (Part 2)

風俗画報 Fūzoku gahō [Customs graphic]
第百三十號 [Number 130]
臺灣蕃俗圖會 (台湾蕃俗図会) 其二 Taiwan hanzoku zue, Sono ni
[Taiwan savage-customs pictures, Part 2]
明治廿九年十二月十日 [10 December 1896]
東京:東陽堂 [Tōkyō: Tōyōdō]
34 pages (text), 2 pages (adverts), 11 drawings (including two 2-page drawings and 1 foldout) in addition to the cover (the cover and four other drawings are in color)

The copy shown to the right is a facsimile reprint edition (復刻版).

The cover drawing shows a "Picture of soot dusting" (煤払の図 Susubarai no zu) -- people engaged in the sort of major cleaning that households customary did at the end of each year in preparation for New Years. All eyes are on the broken vessel -- probably a sake server -- knocked off the shelf.

The drawing is by Yamamoto Shōkoku (山本松谷 (1870-1965), the longest living and arguably the most productive of the Meiji-born illustrators who were trained in both woodblock and newer technologies. The two-page color frontispiece is also attributed to Shōkoku (松谷) as he sealed his drawings. Two of the three other color drawings are by Ogata Gekkō (尾形月耕 1859-1920), who is better known today as an artist.

The "cover story" as it were -- related to the Taiwan theme featured in the masthead on the cover -- is as follows.

入江英 (口話) Irie Takeshi (kōwa) [narration]
橋本繁 (筆記) Hashimoto Shigeru (hikki) [writing]
台湾蕃地雑俗 Taiwan banchi zatsuzoku
[Taiwan savage-land miscellaneous-customs]
Pages 26-32, plus three unnumbered lithographs

Only Irie Takeshi is credited on the contents page as the author. The first two lithographs are by Irie Seiho (入江青帆), the third by Ishizuka [Ishidzuka] Kūsui (石塚空翠) -- according to the contents. The first two lithographs are signed 青帆 (Seiho) and sealed (入江 (Irie). The third is unsigned. I would guess, without any evidence, that "Irie Takeshi" and "Irie Seiho" are the same person.

The article is broadly divided into "Northern savages (北蕃 Hoku-han) and "Southern savages" (南蕃 Nan-han). "Savages" (蕃人 hanjin) are either "raw-savage people" (生蕃人 seihanjin) and "cooked-ssavage people" (熟蕃人 jikuhanjin), or just "raw savages" (生蕃 seihan) and "cooked savages" (熟蕃 jikuhan). However, there are also "new cooked savages" (新熟蕃 shin-jukuhan).

Today 蕃 is read "ban" and 熟 is read "juku", but furigana in the text show "han" and "jiku".

"Savage-people local-bandits" (蕃民土匪 hanmin dohi) referred to savages who made raids on settled areas.

A number of "tribes" (族 zoku) are specifically named. The first named are the "Peepoonso" (平埔族 ペーポーンソ) or "Flatland tribe". The kana reading appears to approximate the Taiwanese term "Pên-po-cho'k". The graphs would be read "Heiho-zoku" in Sino-Japanese. The Mandarin Chinese reading would be romanized "P'ing-p'u-tsu" in Wade-Giles and "Pingpuzu" in Pinyin.

This tribe was actually a group of various groups that inhabited the "flatlands" as opposed to the mountaints. In the article, they are said "not to have stood against us [as enemies] (我れに適せず) at the time of the 1874 chastisement of the Botan tribe (牡丹族 Botan zoku)" -- a reference to the 1874 expedition undertaken to punished the tribe which had killed a number of Ryukyu islanders who had shipwrecked on their shores, on the southern tip of Taiwan, in 1871 (page 26).

The "Northern savages" are more fully called "Hoku-han-min" (北蕃民) -- "min" meaning "people" as "affiliates" of a population. "Aliens" (外人 gaijin) and "outlanders" (外国人 gaikokujin) are sometimes called "[western] oceaners" (洋人 yōjin). "Interiorites" (内地人 Naichijin) are variously "Japanese" (日本人 Nihonjin) and "our good people" (我が良民 wa-ga ryōmin).

It is not clear in this article whether "Chinese" (清国人 Shinkokujin) are categorically "aliens" or "outlanders". For certain they would not have been grouped with "[western] oceaners" (洋人 yōjin).

The text is toned in the usual manner of the times -- an adventure of how the good people of the Interior were being killed by members of certain tribes that did not welcome them -- savages who had at some time been provided muskets by aliens. There has not yet been much migration from the Interior to Taiwan. In fact, the prospects of Taiwan becoming a 移住民地 (idziumin-chi = ijūmin-chi) -- a "move-live-people-place" or a "place to which people migrate and settle" -- for more Interiorites are not discussed until nearly the end of article (pages 31-32).

"Migrant-settler" [move-live people] (移住民 ijūmin) is not used to refer specifically to Interiorites, but is a neutral term for any non-savage person who is has migrated to and settled in Taiwan, especially from China, or a descendant of such a person. The terms 植民 (shokumin), meaning "[trans] planted people" or "colonials" -- and 植民地 (shokuminchi), meaning "place for [trans] planting people" -- do not appear in this article.

The section on Interiorite migrant-residents follows sections titled "[Savages] do not dislike (are not averse to) Interiorites" (内地人を嫌忌せず Naichijin o kenki sezu) and "Raw savages change to cooked savages" (生蕃熟蕃に化す seihan jikuhan ni kwa su).

The latter speaks of certain raw savages who were the first to become "allegiance changers" (帰化人 kikajin) -- meaning that they submitted to Japan's authority. As the furigana for 化 are not given, I have romanized it "ka" as it would be rendered today, though at the time it was probably "kwa" -- as as "ga" in "gaijin" and (gaikokujin) would have been "gwa".

Not all of the hardships faced by Interiorites involve battles with savages. The story is told of a certain man named Hiyama Tetsusaburō (檜山徹三郎) who, according to the subhead, "takes [as wife] savage woman and makes [her a] mistress" (生蕃女を娶て妾と為す seihan onna o metotte shō to nasu). The lead sentence, in the manner of a typical news report, rephrases this Hiyama having "taken [as a wife] a woman of Chief Biyausabou of Buusha (霧社 ブーシャ Buusha)" (page 29).

The kana reading Buusha reflects Taiwanese (Fukienese) Bū-siā. The Sino-Japanese reading was Musha, and the Chinese reading would be Wushe. The area is best remembered in Taiwan today as the site of the Wushe incident (霧社事件 J. Musha jiken), in which many Interiorite settlers and some Taiwanese were killed by Atayal tribesmen. Many more Atayal were then killed by police and military forces in operations undertaken to suppress rebellious Atayal. The uprising was apparently started when an Interior patrolman insulted the son of the chief of the Atayal at the son's wedding, and then struck the son in an ensuing struggle, which triggered a fight with other Atayal, who wounded the officer.

Another source says that Hiyama was the chief of the Musha "Comfort [the savages] and develop [their land] station" (撫墾署 Bukonsho) one of several outposts which had been established -- before Japan acquired Taiwan -- in various parts of the island to "appease" aborigines and "cultivate" their lands.

Barclay has translated this as "Office of pacification and reclamation" (Barclay 2005:339). But "pacification" -- like "subjugation" -- is too strong as a translation of what is metaphorically "caressing, stroking, smoothing, petting" as act of kindness (apart from the actual motive or purpose). And "reclamation" is better reserved for taking something back -- rather than simply "opening and cultivating" and otherwise exploiting territory.

Apparently such stations or outposts were under the jurisdiction of the Civil Affairs Bureau.

According the article, Hiyama had been elected to the Imperial Diet from Shiba-ku in Tokyo. The previous year he had "offered his life" to his country and been appointed the head of the Horisha (埔里社 WG P'ulishe, PY Pulishe) branch office of the Taiwan Government-General. Horisha was a major settlement in the northern mountains, and Musha was nearby. The settlement was situated practically in the center of Taiwan, along the border between the mountain tribes and settlements in the plains, close to the borders of the Atayal to the northeast and east, and the Bunun to the southeast.

Immediately to the east -- just north of the Bunun -- was a subgroup of the Atayal that, in 2008, was recognized by the Republic of China as the Sediq (Seediq).

Following the account of Hiyama's apparently successful adventures in what was clearly a politically contrived bond was a shorter story titled "Love that couldn't be tied" (結ばれぬ恋 Musubarenu loi) -- about a certain Yamada who worked in accounting section of the Civil Affairs branch office. Yamada "drowned in the ditch of love" with the 28-year-old eldest daughter of the head of the in the accounting section

Barclay on Hiyama

Paul D. Barclay, in "Cultural Brokerage and Interethnic Marriage in Colonial Taiwan: Japanese Subalterns and Their Aborigine Wives, 1895-1930" (2005), describes Hiyama's marriage as follows (page 340).

Marriage, Concubinage, and Brokerage in the North

Puli subprefect Hiyama Tetsusaburō was the first prominent Japanese official to marry into an Aborigine polity. in early 1896, Hiyama wed the daughter of a paramount Wushe (Musha) chief named Bihau Sabo. [Note 7 omitted] To seal the alliance with Bihau, Hiyama slaughtered two oxen and numerous pigs in addition to distributing jars of liquor and blankets at the wedding feast. Ignorant of the local languages and oblivious to Wushe's historical enmity with Today, another cluster of villages to the east of Wushe, Hiyama admitted several non-Wushe guests to enjoy the largesse. After the celebration, Wushe warriors ambushed the returning Toda men and took their wedding gifts away, upset that Hiyama would treat visitors from afar with the same generosity shown to the tribe that provided his bride. Hiyama later distributed an ox and a jar of liquor to neighboring Toda, Perugawan, and Truku to display his impartiality, which only brought Bihau back to fire off his matchlock at Hiyama's gate for assuming the paramount chief's prerogative of distributing gifts among the subsidiary tribes (Hōchi shinbun, April 5, 1896; Iriye 1896a, 29; Araki 1987, 2:79; Deng 2001, 164). [Note 8 omitted]

Later in the same section -- after reviewing quickly reviewing Japanese terminology for various kinds of male-female unions and related family law -- Barclay makes this observation (page 344, underscoring mine).

. . . By the lights of Meiji Japanese practice, then, many of the more remarkable intercultural unions between Japanese males and Aborigine females are plausibly called "marriages" and the spouses called "husband" and "wife."

The Taiwan government-general, however, did not publicly acknowledge Japanese-Aborigine marriages. The government-general's vital statistics reports for the years 1905 through 1934 record not a single "Aborigine wife - Japanese husband" marriage. In contrast, these reports assiduously tallied thousands of mixed shufan-shengfan and Han-Aborigine marriages (Taiwan jinkō dōtai tōkei 1905-34). Moreover, not all "Aborigine hands" were as scrupulous as Watanabe in confirming their families' legal status by entering them into the koseki. The 1917 version of Kondō's koseki contains no entries for Iwan Robau (Taiwan sōtokufu 1920), a glaring omission, considering the very public nature of the marriage and the loyal service rendered to the government by Iwan.

Hiyama's marriage described, though somewhat differently, by Paul D. Barclay in "Cultural Brokerage and Interethnic Marriage in Colonial Taiwan: Japanese Subalterns and Their Aborigine Wives, 1895-1930" (2005), which I have reviewed in the "Bibliography" feature of this website as Barclay 2005.


The illustrations of of very high quality -- typical of most contemporary drawings that were, by then, more likely to be printed lithographically than by woodblocks. They reflect a very objective descriptive anthropological point of view -- and, in this regard, are reminiscent of some of the woodblock printed depictions of the lives of "raw savages" and "cooked savages" published in Japan in 1875 -- for examples of which, see Meiji Taiheiki (Meiji Great Peace Chronicle): The storied art of domestic and foreign wars in the name of civilization and enlightenment in the "News Nishikie" feature of Yosha Bunko.

The first two illustrations, by Irie Seiho, show local people at work -- fishing with bows and arrows and spears (between pages 27-28) and engaged in agricutlure and various industries (between pages 28-29).

Multilingual dictionary

The third, attributed to Ishizuka Kūsui, shows all manner of tools and implements used in daily life -- in the manner of a conventional illustrated dictionary (between pages 30-31). Each picture is titled with the name of the object in the graphs -- with two furigana readings in katakana, on either side of the graphs. Neither is in Japanese.

The kana on the right show the name of the object in the "inner-mountain language" (内山語 naisan go) -- i.e., the language of the mountain aborigines. The kana on the left show the name in the "migrant-resident language" (移住-民語 (ijō-min go) -- i.e., a dialect of Chinese. Japanese readers will easily recognize most of the objects from their fine-lined etchings.


China war of 1900

The "China war" (支那戦争 Shina sensō) as it was called in Japan is generally referred to in English as the "Boxer rebellion" or "Boxer uprising" in reference to the group which is supposed to have lit and fanned the fires that exploded into an international war.

Issue No. 215 of 5 September 1990 was the second of several special editions which reported and celebrated the multi-national victories in the "China war" (支那戦争 Shina sensō) -- referring to what is also called the "Boxer rebellion". The issues shared the title "China war pictures" (支那戦争圖會 Shina sensō zue). Issue 217 (5 October 1900) illustrates the seige of Peking with maps and diagrams.

The "Boxer rebellion" or "Boxer uprising" spanned the period between roughly 2 November 1899 to 7 September 1901. The "Boxers" rose against aliens, especially Christians, many of whom were killed. By the summer of 1900 foreign legations in Peking had been attacked and the British legation was surrounded. The Qing government, at first the object of overthrow, sided with the rebels in an effort to end China's subjecthood to estraterritorial treaties with foreign powers.

My mid August, a coalition of foreign forces had relieved the British legation and relaimed Peking from the rebels. The troops of some foreign states sacked the city. The powers which had formed the principle alliance in the siege of Peking signed a protocol agreement with the Qing government on 7 September 1900.

The cover of Issue 215, dated 5 September 1900, shows the flags of the countries that joined in the war against China. Japan's flags are shown at the top because Japan, though not the leader of the alliance, contributed the most naval and ground forces. The countries composing the so-called "Eight nation alliance" (C 八國聯軍、J 八ヶ国連合軍), in order of their military contribution, were Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Germany, Italy, and Austria-Hungary.

The size of Japan's contribution -- disproportionately larger than Japan's diplomatic presence in China at the time -- reflected the geographical conditions which favored the transport of military personnel and supplies to the ports in the Pohai (渤海 Bohai) or Chihli (直隸 Zhili) gulf, from which the allied attack on Peking was mounted. Japanese military commanders have been credited with keeping their troops from joining in the looting and plunder that some foreign regiments resorted to in the name of revenge. Some Japanese forces were even deployed to protect parts of the city from such ransacking and violence.

For more details, see Boxer Rebellion in "Imperial feeding frenzy: Open season on China, 1895-1945" under the "Empires of Japan" feature of this website.

Numbers 213, 215, and 217 were all special issues on the 1900 China war. The cover of Number 213 shows a map of the entire region, centering on the Yellow Sea and related coasts of China, that most stategically figured in the international response to the hostilities that had spread in China around and then in Peking. The cover of Number 215 shows the flags of the nations that were cooperating in the international response. The cover of Number 217 shows a detailed map of Peking.



Shina senso zue
Fuzoku gaho, No. 213
5 August 1900
Yosha Bunko

Number 213: China war [Volume 1]

風俗画報 Fūzoku gahō [Customs graphic]
第二百十三號 [Number 213]
増刊 Zōkan [Extra issue]
支那戰爭圖會 (支那戦争図会) Shina sensō zue
[China war pictures]
明治卅三年八月五日 [5 August 1900]
東京:東z堂 [Tōkyō: Tōyōdō]
58 pages, 8 pages of ads, 2 double-page color prints, 9 single page black-and-white prints, 1 double-page black-and-white print, 1 double-page of black-and-white photographs, and 2 fold out back-to-back printed maps and charts, in addition to covers

The copy shown to right is an original.

The map on the cover shows the most important real estate of northeast China, from the viewpoint of safeguarding or invading the country. The three most strategic waterways are labelled in graphs for Liaotung Bay (遼東湾), the gulf of Pohai (渤海), and the Yellow Sea (黄海). Whoever controlled these waterways, especially Pohai, controlled access to Peking from the east.

Manchuria is to the north and east of Liaotung Bay. Part of Korea can be seen to the east of the Yellow Sea, Japan is just to the east of Korea. The lower body of water on the map, though not labeled, is the East China Sea, bounded by the Ryukyus east and Taiwan south, just off the map.



Shina senso zue
Dai 2 hen

Fuzoku gaho, No. 215
15 September 1900
Yosha Bunko

Number 215: China war (Volume 2)

風俗画報 Fūzoku gahō [Customs graphic]
第二百十五號 [Number 215]
臨時増刊 Rinji aōkan [Special issue]
支那戰爭圖會 (支那戦争図会) 第二編 Shina sensō zue, Dai-ni hen
[China war pictures, Volume 2]
明治三十三年九月五日 [5 September 1900]
東京:東陽堂 [Tōkyō: Tōyōdō]
54 pages, 8 pages of ads, 2 double-page color prints, 1 foldout color print, 4 single page black-and-white prints, 2 double-page black-and-white prints, in addition to covers

The copy shown to right is an original.

Flags of 8-nation alliance

The cover shows the military and national flags of the 8-nation alliance.

The main title, and column and row titles, are as follows.

Top center title

Allied forces

Top right and left titles

大將旗 / 聯合軍 / 國旗
Taishōki / Rengōgun / Kokki
General [Admiiral] flags [standards] / Allied forces / National flags

Top to bottom and center out titles

日 英 露 獨 米 佛 伊 墺
Nichi Ei Ro Doku Bei Fu I Ō
Japan, England, Russia, Germany, America, France, Italy, Austria

The the order by contribution of forces would have been Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, America, Germany, Italy, and Austria-Hungary -- pretty much in the order of the "interests" of these countries in Chinese affairs.

Military uniforms of allied countries

The two double-page color prints of No. 215 are collectively titled, in the table of contents, "Picture of army uniforms of allied forces of powers" (列國聯合軍陸軍服装の圖 Rekkoku rengōgun rikugun fukusei no zu).

The first part shows the uniforms of England and India, Japan, America, and Russia (frontispiece before page 1). The second part shows the uniforms of Austria-Hungary, France, Italy, and Germany (between pages 6-7).

Each group shows soldiers of various ranks, and each soldier is identified by a number that is keyed to the names of name of rank.

While the formal alliance as represented by the flags on the cover had only eight countries, uniforms are shown for nine countries -- including India, which also contributed forces. However, the Indian forces are shown immediately to left of the English forces, and share the same background, indicating that the Indian forces were part of Britain's contingent.

Parade of Ching governors

The single foldout color print of No. 215 shows a "Parade of current Ching provincial governors" (現今清国巡撫官之行列) (between pages 50-51).

巡撫官 (hsünfu kuan, xunfu guan) means literally "officials" (官) who "circulate [make rounds] and stroke [placate]" (巡撫), i.e., "govern" people.

巡撫 was the title of a provincial governor (inspector) during Ming and Ching times.

To be continued.



Shina senso zue
[Dai 3 hen]

Fuzoku gaho, No. 217
5 October 1900
Copped from
Yahoo! Auction

Number 217: China war [Volume 3]

The following information on No. 217 is based on the copped and cropped image of the cover. I have not been able to examine a copy of this issue.

風俗画報 (臨時増刊)
北京市内戰闘布陣圖 (北京市内戦闘布陣図)