Tuesday, November 25, 2008

SERIAL 4: Kondo Katsusaburo among Taiwan's Atayal/Sedeq peoples, 1896 to 1930

Kondo finds the remains of his dead buddies! Installments 7 & 8 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. 3 & 4. 5 & 6) Dr. Barclay is the general editor of the wonderful Gerald Warner Taiwan Image Collection which I urge everyone interested in Taiwan to visit.


Chapter Seven: The Search for Captain Fukahori’s Head
(Trans. from Taiwan nichinichi shinpō January 15, 1931)

The names of the members of the Central-Mountain Crossing Expedition:

Infantry Captain, Fukahori Yasuichirō
Engineer, Bureau of Civil Affairs (Minseikyoku), doctor of forestry, Hara Otokichi
Infantry, sergeant second-class, Ōtsuka Yasutarō
Infantry, sergeant second-class, Kawami Mankichi
Office clerk, Bureau of Military Affairs (Gunmukyoku), Itakura Kamegorō
Translator, Takano Gennosuke
Employee, Bureau of Civil Affairs (Minseikyoku), Mori Isaburō
Infantry Private, Yubata Toichirō
Staffer (yatoinin), Nishimuta Tomizō
Staffer (yatoinin), Miyamoto Katsuma
Staffer (yatoinin), Tachikawa Daikichi
Staffer (yatoinin), Kiyofuji Kōji
Staffer (yatoinin), Maeda Shinokichi
Staffer (yatoinin), Yamada Harukichi

and Kondō Katsusaburō, which makes fifteen altogether. They completely lost contact after leaving Toda for Truku on December 26,th 1896, but reappeared before Kondō as eight heads on October 10th of the following year.

"There are four more Japanese skulls near Xakut!," said some Aborigines. But if that were the case, then what about the remaining two? They claimed that Captain Fukahori's troupe was not killed by Aborigines. During the time they stayed in Truku, the troupe surveyed the topography to make a map. "The Japanese do strange things; they do work that has no concrete shape to it. This is the work of either gods or demons," said these Aborigines, who were frightened of the Japanese. This [fear] indicates that the Japanese were at least safe when they left Truku country, [because the locals regarded them with such dread]. Next, they climbed Mount Kashuan, in the interior of the mountain range. Unfortunately, the weather turned that night, and it began to snow heavily. This continued for days. Most likely, they were advancing with the goal of reaching Hehuanshan. From there they could follow the Takkiri ravine upstream and emerge at Hualien Harbor. It seems that they froze to death one by one in the accumulating snow, becoming separated, scattered, and lost.

Under these conditions, Captain Fukahori battled the cold and discomfort to find a way out, until he was the last man standing. He appears to have wandered about looking for a road home. He was surrounded by only sublime nature itself; there were mountains of white everywhere he looked. He called out, but none of his men replied. He wanted to proceed, but there was nowhere to go. There, he must have been driven into his last ditch. After some of the snow melted, Aborigines discovered Japanese here and there. They used dogs to locate and secure the eight heads. Those who got lost on the road to Xakut were found by the Xakut villagers, among whom the four other skulls still remained.

"Well then, what happened to the Captain?"

Serious doubts [about this question] circulated among the Aborigines, and they pursued the search for Fukahori. Finally, in Truku country, they discovered a [corpse with a] masterfully ripped-open abdomen a half-kilometer beyond Burayau village, at the bottom of a cascade. Presumably, Fukahori leapt from an overhanging cliff to commit suicide. The Aborigines were alarmed at the sight of such a boldly performed ritual disembowelment, the first they had ever seen. In awe, no Aborigine would even approach the corpse to claim the head. And yet, they could not leave the body this way. Thus, the previously mentioned "guardian of heads" respectfully cleansed the corpse, washed the neck, and tenderly performed the ceremony.

"Then where is the head?" Kondō demanded, despite himself.

"It is in the headman's storage hut."

Kondō figured that there must be other left items in that storehouse, perhaps mementos of the expedition and its captain. He thought that he must absolutely see these items. Moreover, with the fierce determination befitting a sole survivor, Kondō felt a powerful sense of obligation to console the spirits of the fourteen men who died with such fortitude.

"So, I must follow through on their intention of traversing the Central Mountains, even if I must do this alone."

In this manner, the connection between himself and Captain Fukahori's troupe, with whom he spent less than ten days, began to dominate the rest of Kondō's life. What adversity he would confront henceforth!

Chapter Eight: Kondō Completes his Work in Toda Country
(Trans. from Taiwan nichinichi shinpō January 15, 1931)

Kondō continued to lodge, take meals and work in the home of Truku headman Bassau Bōran. When the chance came, he looked in the storage hut. As anticipated, various things turned up—like the skull of Captain Fukahori, stashed for safe-keeping! It was as if the skull had received divine protection there, and that Kondō had been destined [to find it]. There was a forlorn amulet of Fudōson, a Buddhist guardian deity, from Narita temple. Kondō knew not to whom it belonged. Now that he was compelled to finish crossing the Central Mountains, he wanted this amulet to at least protect himself. So Kondō made a point of asking the headman for the Fudōson. In addition, the following five items were left behind: forty-nine business cards printed "Takano Gennosuke, translator," a pair of glasses, one change of shirt and long johns, a pair of shoes, and a set of clothes.

Returning to our story. After [Kondō located Fukahori's remains], 1897 passed and 1898 began. Beginning in May, the Aborigines commenced their hunting season. Kondō joined them each time they went out. His purpose was to explore routes across the mountains. Until he returned to Puli, he looked at the roads around Hehuanshan, Chilaizhushan, and the Neng'gaoshan area while out on the hunt. As far as Kondō could see, it was impossible to reach Hualien Harbor via the Takkiri ravine. This was a very precipitous mountain trail; Kondō discerned that it could not be traversed at that time. So, he decided it would be best to ascend Wanda ravine, emerge at Neng'gaoshan, and then descend Mugua ravine.

Back in those days, Kondō heard a rumor from the Aborigines that a Chinese man from Quanzhou prefecture named Li A'long had been panning for gold dust. The Quanzhou man said that, even though Taiwan was a colony of Japan, it would be returned to China one day. Therefore, he boldly declared that he would not share the fruits of his labor with the Japanese, but keep the profits from his gold panning for himself. Kondō heard this, and it powerfully recalled his similar feelings toward his own nation. Hearing of a like-minded man, Kondō wanted to meet him. Through Aborigine intermediaries, who introduced him as "Kondō the Barbarian," a tete-a-tete was arranged. The location was a valley between Hehuanshan and Chilaizhushan! And there met two odd characters, one Chinese and the other Japanese, brought together by common feelings of national attachment. Was this not dramatic? It was a scene right out of the ancient Japanese military sagas.

Kondō's stay in Truku lasted one year and eight months, from August 1897 until March 1899, a long stretch. On his return to Puli, he traveled with his two employees, the Aborigine wife [Tappa Kurasu], and twenty-one Aborigine braves, supplied by the headman [Bassao Bōran] as a guard retinue. From Tatsutaka, they returned via Hiyama, emerging from the mountains behind Puli. It was March 20th. Of course, since Iwan Robau and Kondō's other acquaintances thought he had died, the depth of their joy at his return "back to life" can scarcely be imagined. During his nearly two-year absence, the [colonial] administrative organization of Puli had changed completely. The Pacification-Reclamation Office (bukonsho), [formerly in charge of all government dealings with Taiwan Aborigines,] became the District Commissioner's Office (benmusho). The District Commissioner's Office was divided into three sections: finance, police, and Aborigine pacification. Mr. Inada [Tsunayoshi] was head of the Puli District Commissioner's Office, while one Sakamoto Noboru, the current manager the Taiwan Daily News, was put in charge of the third section, Aborigine Affairs.

The Wushe tribes were especially happy about Kondō's return. They had experienced hardships due to the trade embargo against them brought about by the beheading of the Japanese lumberjack. Therefore, they asked Kondō to use his good offices to effect a reconciliation. The Japanese assembled all of the headmen and again sternly ordered them to bring back the head of the perpetrator. The Wushe men seemed to think, this time, that everybody's collective hardship was not worth protecting the life of this one man. They duly beheaded Chiri Wadai, the perpetrator. However, they appeared to be greatly irritated and sent Kondō a notice to come fetch the head personally.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Found this on the Warner collection site (supporting material link) - A 1935 Japanese color woodcut of the Hualien Harbor and East Coast of Taiwan. pdf