Tuesday, January 06, 2009

SERIAL 16: Kondo Katsusaburo among Taiwan's Atayal/Sedeq peoples, 1896 to 1930

Kondo encounters anti-Japanese sentiment during his marriage ceremony! 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 left-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 Twenty-Three: A Bacchanal Turned Dangerous
(Trans. from Taiwan nichinichi shinpō February 4, 1931)

On January 1st, 1909, a calendrically auspicious day, Kondō entered Wushe as a groom. The guardline to Wushe was already under construction. The Police Inspector's headquarters was situated a little over two kilometers from Kirigaseki. The prefect Mr. Nose was posted here. This installation was also built to protect Kondō, for no one knew if the Aborigines would suddenly have a change of heart. On the morning of January 1st, the bride's relatives came to Kondō's house and received the gifts of the six oxen and twenty cans of saké provided by the Aborigine Affairs section. They formed a procession. They departed from Puli and passed before the [new] headquarters; they took a rest after they passed Kirigaseki. Then they discovered that one of their cans was leaking. This happenstance was all the more reason to [begin early], so they opened the can to commence the celebration.

The saké ran out after about twenty of them had become gloriously drunk. They therefore opened another can, which was a mistake. Everyone became completely inebriated; the procession fell apart into disarray. The bride's brother, Aui Nukan, and his brother, became especially drunk and began to quarrel and wrestle. There wasn't much Kondō could do, so he just looked on. He became anxious, however, when the tenor of the shouting became threatening.

"Brother! Is it necessary for you to assist Japan so? It is inexcusable that you could help Japan without thinking [first] of the village."

The younger brother repeatedly [leveled the accusation]. Up until this point, Kondō believed that the whole village was on board. It was terrible to learn about dissension among them, especially between these two men of influence. If he went among them, Kondō could no longer be sure that some member of the anti-Japanese faction would not take his head. It was already the evening of January 1st. Drunken people slept in the field, scattered about like the dead. Aui Nukan had fled somewhere, having been forced to retreat from the strength of his brother's onslaught. Alone, this younger brother went so far as to approach Kondō and continue his harangue.

Since the groom's procession was so late, an anxious Mona Ludao came all the way to meet them. When people are frightened, they behave in an odd manner; indeed, Kondō was of no mind to spend the night there, [at the scene of the fighting and anti-Japanese sentiment]. He braved the darkness to flee back to the inspector's station. Kondō recalled being so frightened that even the sound of his finely woven wedding-day pants brushing together made him feel as if he were being pursued. Sub-prefect Nose was very concerned about Kondō. Nevertheless, Nose thought it unseemly for Kondō to avoid the village and let things stand as he had left them. Therefore, he urged Kondō to return once again. Eventually, Kondō made up his mind and silently returned at about 4 o'clock in the morning. At daybreak, Kondō told Mona Ludao about the previous evening and what he had heard. Mona Ludao also considered such a difference of opinion to be a problem. He woke Aui Nukan's younger brother and questioned him. To his surprise, the younger brother was still besotted from drunkenness. Not only did he claim to know nothing of the previous evening, he was even contrite from regret at having roughed up his elder brother. So things concluded here with the Aborigine Affairs Section's festival liquor making Kondō, for the time being, into a coward.

The procession successfully entered the village on January 2d [1909]. That same day, Kondō handed over the goods, an ox to Piho Nasui and seventy trade-items to Waris Nukan, for the land in Kirigaseki. This exchange concluded the negotiations. Thereupon, the six oxen were slaughtered and distributed among all of the villagers. The wedding celebration had begun. The celebration continued until January 7th. During the festivities, Kondō steadily prepared and planned maneuvers for the extension of the guardline. On January 3d, Kondō borrowed 50 guns and 1000 rounds of ammunition from the inspector's station and brought them in. He gathered the Aborigines together on the 8th to report that the fighting would finally get underway on the 10th. He also ordered them to brew liquor for the expedition's departure. On the 9th, Kondō returned to Puli to make his final preparations. He also picked up sixty-four flags blazoned with large characters that intoned "Protect us Merciful Buddha!" (namu amida butsu), which Kondō had ordered beforehand.

Previous Installments
Installment 1 & 2 with Introduction to the series Installment 3 & 4 Installment 5 & 6 Installment 7 & 8 Installment 9 & 10 Installment 11 & 12 Installment 13 Installment 14 Installment 15 Installment 16 Installment 17 Installment 18 Installment 19 Installment 20 Installment 21

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