Sunday, December 21, 2008

SERIAL 12: Kondo Katsusaburo among Taiwan's Atayal/Sedeq peoples, 1896 to 1930

Kondo crosses the mountains and reaches Hualien! Enjoy the latest installment of Dr. Paul Barclay's translation of Kondo Katsusaburo's experiences up to and during the 1930 Wushe revolt, which were serialized in the local Taiwan Japanese-language papers in the early 1930s. Kondo married into an aboriginal family and traveled extensively in aboriginal territory. (For introduction to Kondo and his era, see Installments 1 & 2. Links to other installments are on the bottom of the right-hand sidebar). Dr. Barclay is the general editor of the wonderful Gerald Warner Taiwan Image Collection which I urge everyone interested in Taiwan to visit.


Chapter Nineteen: Mission Accomplished! Kondō Reaches Hualian Harbor
(Trans. from Taiwan nichinichi shinpō January 30, 1931).

They were going to sleep in the monkey's lair. Judging from the size of the cave, they surmised that this was a very large troupe. Nevertheless, the Aborigines did not care. Once they figured out that this was a monkey's shelter, they resolved to kill them and eat the meat for lack of other provisions. According to the Aborigines, the number of monkeys did not matter, even if it were thousands, so long as the head monkey could be killed. Thus, they loaded their guns and began preparations. At perhaps 3:00 p.m., a loud gusting noise came from the mountain. It was a really big sound, hard to describe, the unleashing of pent-up energy; it gradually approached them with countless numbers of monkeys, returning to their lair! Without realizing they were being watched from behind, the monkeys playfully cavorted about, screaming and crouching in their spacious abode.

There was a large monkey who appeared to be the head. A shot was fired by the Aborigines, who never missed. It knocked him tumbling head over heels. The large monkey crazily fled the cave and stopped just short of the cliff, where he fell over dead. The unexpected gun shot coupled with the head monkey's sudden demise stunned the rest of the monkeys, who stood bolt upright shrieking, fleeing for their lives. It was as if heaven and earth themselves were roaring. Watching carefully to be sure the coast was clear, Kondō and the Aborigines came out of the cave. They started cooking the meat gleefully, overjoyed to eat at last. Kondō knew not how many more days it would take to reach Hualien, so he ordered the men to save the meat. They also caught rainwater in a pot, which they used to boil the bones and intestines for their evening meal. They ate and went to sleep that evening on full stomachs.

On September 27th, they finished their ascent of "Needle Mountain." They still had to make the descent, but this was relatively easy—they practically slid down. This place looked familiar to Kondō, so he checked the landforms. Guess where he was. Oddly enough, he had emerged just over the cave in which he had stashed those provisions the previous January! He could not resist yelling, "We've arrived in Hualien Harbor! And we have something to eat!" Kondō was so overcome by joy that he wanted to jump, so filled with gratitude he wanted to melt into tears. It struck him; this had been his goal for over twelve years, since 1896. As he dug up the canned food, rice and saké in the cave, he prayed to the Ise inner-shrine and Narita Temple. The five of them raised their cups to the flag, nearly in tears, happily embracing each other. It was about 1:00p.m. Kondō was moved to utter speechlessness.

The Aborigines could not resist drinking at this relief. They sang and continued their Aborigine dances into the night. What a difficult route to find. This cave was located just to the right of Chiyakan ravine, or the craggy mountain impasse [they had approached the previous January]. Nonetheless, it required two days to make the ascent and climb down again. What Kondō dubbed "Needle Mountain" was downstream from Xikou, below the mountain known today as "Hiyama." They were exhausted from drinking, dancing, and hiking; they slept soundly. The next day, September 28th, they happily left this memorable cave to arrive at a police substation located about thirteen miles away, at Xikou. Here they saw human faces for the first time in a while. Soon after, it was reported by telephone to the Hualien sub-prefect that Kondō had successfully crossed the central mountains. They stayed overnight at the police sub-station.

September 29th, 1907. What an unforgettable day! After leaving the village Wawwaku, they really entered Hualien Harbor. When they reached Wuquancheng on foot, Hualien Infantry Battalion leader Major Kinoshita Ryōkurō and some soldiers came out to greet them. A cart had been prepared for their arrival. The troupe was given a big welcome, and led to the sub-prefect threadbare, dirty, and covered in sweat from sleeping out of doors—they were in no condition to pay their respects. The major looked askance at the flag's [scrawled on] characters. When he heard the story, however, he told Kondō that he was a classmate of Captain Fukahori’s. This connection greatly augmented the Major's elation at the success of the crossing. Moreover, he happened to know Captain Fukahori's widow's address. A telegram was quickly sent to her to inform her of the success of the crossing that day.


Stefan said...

This is a great read - thank you so much, for making this available.

Anonymous said...

A good post but a few mistakes for a professor of all things! First of all, his name in English is Katsuburo Kondo, NOT Kondo Katsuburo. Sure, in Japanese it is KONDO first, but not in English. Junichi Koizumi, for example. Haruki Murakami, for another example. At least get your posts correct. Also you lowercased the word "aborgines" -- wrong again. It is a capital A there, as in Aborigines.....they are a real ethnic people. Cap their names at all times to show respect, sir. Would you write "christians" for Chistians, or jews for Jews, hindus for Hindus or taiwanese for Taiwanese. I sometimes wonder how people with college degrees don't know how to capitalize words or write names in Japanese in English. You obviously do not live in Taiwan and find your ivory tower in the USA or UK if you are a brit, oh sorry, Brit, to protect you from all this. Join the real world, sir.

Michael Turton said...


1) Japanese names are represented either way in English

2) aborigines are not an "ethnic group" but catch-all term that includes many different groups and as such should not be capitalized, and is not normally.

3) It's quite stupid to conclude that because aborigines isn't capitalized I must not live in Taiwan.

But thanks for commenting.


Kaminoge said...

Thanks for posting this story. It was very interesting to read the ongoing chapters.

Too bad about the stupid anonymous comments. As you point out, Japanese can romanize their names in either order. In fact, the trend these days in academic circles is to render names in English the same way it is done in Japanese (Japan Focus is one example).

Seeing as you obviously don't live here, Michael, it must cost you to fortune to keep flying out here every few days from your ivory tower in order to ride around on a scooter and take pictures to post on the blog. Or do you just pay locals to do that for you?

Michael Turton said...

I bought a Predator drone from the US AF and cruise it around Taiwan every day!


historyguy said...

If there are offensive or inaccurate items in my translation of Mr. Kondo's memoirs, I am very easy to reach directly. I do not post anonymously, and I have put my name and URL all over these postings. Far from being in an ivory tower, I am exposed and public. In fact, that is what makes academics different from spammers, lurkers, basement dwellers and flamers: we have return addresses and like to be corrected, advised, and helped.

I agree that Aborigines should always be capitalized in this situation. Mr./Ms. Flamer was correct on this point. When I publish in print journals, I do use this convention. It was careless of me not to make this right before I sent it to Michael.

Michael Turton cannot be held responsible for every jot and tittle on his comprehensive and fine website. Indeed, responsibility for the small mechanical points of this translation rests with me.

yours, openly,
Paul Barclay