Thursday, November 20, 2008

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

Installments 3 & 4 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. (Installments 1 & 2) Dr. Barclay is the general editor of the wonderful Gerald Warner Taiwan Image Collection which I urge everyone interested in Taiwan to visit.

Chapter Three: Kondō Explains Aborigine Mentality

(Trans. from Taiwan nichinichi shinpō December 25, 1930)

Kondō recuperated [from malaria] at the home of Sazo Chiwakku, son of Paalan's headman. The two translators crept home about the time of the new year, January 1st, 1897. "Damn!" thought Kondō, but what could he do? He was still on the verge of a high fever and could not even stand up. At the time, many local Aborigines were concerned over his illness, so they visited Kondō at Sazo Chiwakku's home day and night. After a few days, however, the visits stopped. Kondō was puzzled by this and asked his wife [Iwan] about it. She replied that, "they were afraid of the 'Japanese people who chime' and so everybody left." Kondō thought it strange to hear that "Japanese people chimed." You see, Aborigines tend to fear things not immediately apparent to the senses, thinking them to be [haunted] by ghosts or spirits. Kondō was still groggy from his illness. He cocked his head in concentration. ‘What was this “something that chimed”?’ he wondered. "This is it!"

It was his "model 18" pocket-watch. Kondō pulled it out from his jacket with a hearty laugh. "That watch certainly chimes!" Kondō immediately called Sazo Chiwakku to show him the watch. However, Sazo Chiwakku was frightened by the "tick-tock" sound when he put the watch to his ear. He yelled and hurled the watch. They pushed the watch outside with a bamboo stick, struck it with a mallet and then pounded it with rocks because it wouldn't stop ticking. Since they had never seen a watch, it was difficult to make them understand. Furthermore, they began to fear Kondō himself, forcing him to return to Puli. Thanks to the watch, Kondō was chased off and carried back to Puli, though he had not yet fully recovered. It was January 3d.

Kondō remained ill through April. In the interim, Kondō heard no word of the Fukahori mission's whereabouts. That same month, one Lieutenant Hoshikawa, from the 3d platoon stationed at Puli, went to Truku country to look for the lost party. Hoshikawa returned, however, without any news. Thereupon, Hoshikawa summoned the Wushe tribes and ordered them to investigate the matter. Hoshikawa harshly reminded them that Fukahori had put his trust in them, and yet they had not fulfilled their responsibility. In the beginning of May [1897], the Wushe tribesmen brought the heads, one each, of [slain] Truku and Toda men to prove that they were not disloyal [to Japan] (literally "not of two minds"). They asked that all suspicion and doubt be allayed. These heads were taken at Shizitou. Each of the tribes targeted by these attacks [Toda and Truku] were customers of Kondō's trading post. Because of this incident, Toda and Truku were now foes, and ceased coming to Puli to barter. [Having lost his connections to the locals], Kondō remained in the dark about the Fukahori party's whereabouts.

To continue our story. On June 19th, a man named Chiri Wadai, of Katsukku village, took the head of a Japanese man, mistaking him for a Taiwanese. The victim was harvesting timber on Shouchengfen [Shouchengda?] mountain for construction on the Puli garrison. This was the first time a Wushe tribesman had beheaded a Japanese national. Greatly alarmed, the Aborigines ran to Kondō to find out how to apologize for the crime. The head of the Pacification-Reclamation Office at the time, Lieutenant Nagano [Yoshitora], responded angrily, ordering the men to bring him Chiri Wadai's head to apologize for the beheading of the Japanese lumberjack. But this was not so easily accomplished--the Aborigines did not bring Chiri Wadai's head to Nagano. Just as these events were transpiring, Japanese policy towards the Aborigines was shifting from "conciliation" to "subjugation." Thus, the Wushe tribes, fearing Japanese punitive expeditions, ceased coming to trade [in Puli], completely ruining business at Kondō's trading post.

Kondō still felt responsible for finding out what had happened to Fukahori and his men. As the sole survivor of the expedition, he could not forget the Captain's instructions. Kondō felt a burning desire to honor Fukahori's last request, to make a crossing [of Taiwan's central mountains]. Fortunately, Kondō had to remove his trading post [from Puli] anyway. Thus, he resolved to use this opportunity to fulfill his plans [to find Fukahori's remains]. To accomplish this, it was best to go into Truku country, into the Aborigine territory. His employee at the trading post, Nagakura Kichiji, happened to be married to a woman from Truku, so Kondō enlisted their support. Another employee, Itō Shūkichi, joined the group as well. Kondō, his two employees, and Nagakura's wife Tappa Kurasu departed Puli on August 20, 1897. Since Kondō's relationship to Wushe had been ruptured, he even kept his departure concealed from his wife, who was a Wushe native. Though Kondō knew the trails around Wushe well, it appeared dangerous to take them. Therefore, Kondō's party of four took the backroads [to avoid detection]; these were also risky.


Chapter Four: Commerce in Puli Disrupted
(Trans. from Taiwan nichinichi shinpō January 4, 1931)

From January through April of 1897, Kondō was completely bed-ridden. During this period, he dreamed about Captain Fukahori and his men every day. Even though fate had brought them together for less than a week here on earth, they had once pledged their lives to their nation. He felt miserable as the surviving member. [To recall] Captain Fukahori's vow! [To remember] that night in the Aborigine village, receiving the captain's ministrations! Kondō missed and longed for them fervently. He said,

This is a strange story, but [here it is]. Desperately hoping to get well, I treated myself by purchasing 75 grams of a powder extracted from boiled human bones for 4 yen. Perhaps it was due to [this concoction], but in any event, I had recuperated completely by the end of April.

At that time, the Plains Aborigines (rikuban) also practiced head-taking. This was different from the way Mountain Aborigines (kōzanban) took heads; Plains Aborigines took heads only for profit. When they took a Mountain Aborigine head, eighteen liters of palay were distributed to each household among the four Plains Aborigine villages of Puli, as a gratuity. The price on the foreign market for a human skeleton, with innards, penis, and kneecaps, was about 80 yen. Thus, this was a very profitable business. As April rolled around, Captain Fukahori's whereabouts were still unknown, even at the Puli battalion (大隊), which caused concern. Therefore, Lieutenant Hoshikawa left Wushe for Truku country to investigate, but returned without finding anything out. He concluded that there was no other way but to have the Aborigines investigate, so he summoned them and gave them a scolding:

Captain Fukahori's expedition relied on you; they sent you into the mountains [to scout], but since then, there has been no news whatsoever. What in the hell happened? Ignorance is no excuse here. You, too, are responsible [for the disappearance], so go and bring back information on their whereabouts!

It is a terrible fact that we do not understand Aborigine mentality very well. As a result of this trifling negotiation, various portentous, though unintended, chains of events were set into motion. One day in early May, the Wushe men brought two heads to the Puli Battalion. The heads belonged to Truku and Toda tribesmen.

"It seems that you have doubted us on the matter of Captain Fukahori's expedition. We, however, are not in the least disloyal. As evidence of this, we have brought you two heads from Truku and Toda. So please forgive us and do not attack us."

Here, the Aborigines revealed their true sincerity, their innermost hearts. The Toda and Truku men were attacked on the way back home from the trading post. Their heads were taken at Shizitou. The worst possible case scenario had occurred. Wushe made enemies of both Truku and Toda, both whom also stopped coming to the trading post. Consequently, [the Japanese] were now cut off from information [about the Fukahori mission's fate]. Then, on June 19th, an incident occurred which marked the first Wushe-area loss of a Japanese head. Prior to this incident, the Wushe tribes had not harmed Japanese at all. A Wushe man named Chiri Wadai, of Katsukku village, took the head of a Japanese man, mistaking him for a Taiwanese. The victim was harvesting timber on Shouchengfen mountain [Shouchengda?] for construction on the Puli garrison. Greatly alarmed, the Aborigines ran to Kondō to find out how to apologize for the crime. The head of the Pacification-Reclamation Office at the time, Lieutenant Nagano, responded angrily, ordering the men to bring him Chiri Wadai's head to atone for the crime.

The Wushe men [now] feared the anger of the Japanese, though they did not punish the wrongdoer. They also stopped coming to the trading post. Kondō was the one most troubled [by these events]. Since nobody from Toda, Truku, or Wushe came to trade anymore, there was no point in operating a trading post. What is more, Kondō also suffered because his lines of communication to know the whereabouts of Fukahori's party had been cut off.

"It seemed like a good time to shut down the trading post. More than this, I decided to go into the Aborigine country, to Truku, and investigate myself."

Now, all three of the tribes [Wushe, Toda, and Truku] presented sinister aspects. So how would Kondō enter their territory and go amongst them?


Anonymous said...

Great stuff! Keep it coming!

Jason said...

Amazing stuff, bravo!
Dr. Barclay is doing an invaluable service by making this material available to the public.
Please keep it coming!

NONE said...

This is fantastic! It really helps shed light on the dynamism of cross ethnic relations in Taiwan.

Too many times we tend to apply a simple black and white analysis to Taiwan's ethnic and cultural histories, but in truth, the negotiations between groups and peoples has been very nuanced and complex.

This research helps color in the details of Taiwan's particularity and helps rescue history from the nationalized tropes that have come to stand in for understanding.

I hope Dr. Barclay's work can encourage other researchers to focus on Taiwan as a unique and fruitful subject for future academic work and better appreciate how Taiwan's particular historical trajectory can help us better understand the complex relationships between groups of people.