Saturday, January 17, 2009

SERIAL 19: Kondo Katsusaburo among Taiwan's Atayal/Sedeq peoples, 1896 to 1930

Kondo negotiates for guns and finds his old aboriginal father! 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.

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Chapter Twenty-six: Kondō and Bassau Bōran Reunited
(Trans. from Taiwan nichinichi shinpō February 7, 1931)

After some complaining, they decided to bring, for starters, about one hundred rifles and apologize. On February 28th, Kondō, with the headmen of Truku and Teuda, came out to Sanjiaopu, then onto the dispatch station at Tatsutaka. To prevent the impression of unfairness, Kondō acted as translator for the Aborigines, while [his brother] Gisaburō translated for the Japanese. They began to parley and submit the guns. From the start, the police knew about the Aborigines' tricks. The police insisted that they would not permit the Aborigines to turn over only 100 guns; they demanded all of the guns and promised to compensate them with trade goods. Because Aborigines valued guns more than their very lives, it was not easy to accede [to this demand]. Thus, the negotiations dragged on and seemed to last forever. If one headman would assent, another would make his objection; the scene was pitiful. Of course, even if all the guns were confiscated, the Aborigines could borrow them from the police whenever they needed them. But for ones so deeply attached to their guns, such an arrangement would be unsatisfactory.

The negotiations went 'round and 'round, stopping and stalling. The police became irate; and just as the discussions began to break down, a shot was fired. In the end, there was nothing the Aborigines could do when confronting artillery, so they submitted all of their guns and asked for permission [to surrender] on the spot. In fact, this was the first wholesale submission of guns in Taiwan; it created the basis for the [subsequent policy] of lending out guns [on a temporary basis]. In such a manner, Teuda and Tautsua were pacified. On March 1st, the guardline was thus extended to Azalea Hill, about two and a half miles ahead of Sanjiaopu. His work completed, Kondō went back to Wushe around March 15th, where he gave the Aborigines acknowledgement for their service. He returned to Puli in the beginning of April.

At the time Kondō was promised his land, a man named Aono Kinzō wrote the letter for him. Now Kondō asked him to survey the land. They then filed their land claim. The area came to ninety-three acres! Soon after, August 1909 arrived. It was decided that the guardline would be extended to Xakut. At the time, Xakut village occupied all of the area between Beigangxipu to Beihehuanshan. Xakut also possessed a [martial] strength one could not dismiss out-of-hand. Thus, as protection against the Xakut, construction on a line beginning in Maibara [Meiyuan] village was begun. Around the 8th, the First Nakamoto Company arrived at Shibajiyan, the extension of the Maibara line. To extend the Tatsutaka line, the Second Yoda Company was stationed below Sakura-ga-mine. Between these two companies lie Great Xakut village, so they could not easily establish communications. Thus, they were in trouble and asked Kondō for assistance.

Kondō went to Truku and reported on the situation to Bassau Bōran. Kondō rounded up three hundred Aborigines in Truku and Teuda, borrowed twenty guns [from the police station], and went to Xakut to conquer them. First, he directed Bassau Bōran and the Xakut headman meet at Azalea Hill. He declared that, as they had done to Wushe, Teuda, and Truku tribes, the government would pacify the Xakut. The combined forces waited one hour for this information to make its way through the [Xakut] hamlets; then, they commenced the assault. Kondō took the point, as if there were no enemies in front of him, fighting and advancing to his target, Ma'anling. Within a day, Kondō brought the two Japanese police companies into contact, a task hitherto very difficult to accomplish. Only old Bassau Bōran and his eighteen kinsmen followed Kondō at the time. To this day, Kondō still feels grateful. For his service, Kondō was decorated with a commendation of the 8th order, thus salvaging his reputation.

[The next event in our story] comes in 1914, when Kondō was called upon to guide Mr. Noro Yasushi's troupe of 180 on an exploratory expedition from Hehuanshan along the Takkiri ravine. They departed from Sakara-ga-mine, entering Truku country on April 20th. They were heading for Hehuanshan with Bassau Bōran and forty Aborigines when they encountered a big snow storm in the middle of the mountains. The troupe lost between 60 and 70 coolies, who froze to death. Bassau Bōran and his family helped out considerably, taking back the survivors to a hunting shed, located 2000 feet down the mountain. They also collected and retrieved the troupe's valuables. The relationship between Bassau Bōran and Kondō Katsusaburō was curious indeed! He was a loyal father who trusted Kondō at all times, adored him, and stuck to him like a shadow in times of peril and in times of war. Now he is in his eighties. Because he is aging, last year [1930] he sent a message to Kondō requesting a visit. When Kondō sent money as a token of his affection, it was said that Bassau Bōran retorted, "I did not want to see the faces on the money, but only wanted to see the face of Kondō himself."

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