Sunday, December 07, 2008

SERIAL7: Kondo Katsusaburo among Taiwan's Atayal/Sedeq peoples, 1896 to 1930

From this point on I am reducing the size of each 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 Thirteen: Governor-general Sakuma Hires Kondō
(Trans. from Taiwan nichinichi shinpō January 23, 1931)

Kondō met Ōtsu [again] on 20 August 1906. He was soon after called up to the Government-General in Taibei on September 5th. He gave a detailed deposition about the situation in Wushe before Governor-General Sakuma [Samata] and other high-ranking officials. There, Kondō put forth his Aborigine sight-seeing scheme. He also mentioned his desire to fulfill Captain Fukahori's mission to reach Hualien Harbor by traversing the central mountain chain. Around this time, the Government General also had been planning to implement an Aborigine sight-seeing plan. They intended to gather Aborigines from all over Taiwan and gather them together in Taibei for a big festival at the Taiwan jinja [shrine] on 28 October 1906. The Government-General requested that Kondō lead the Wushe Aborigines [to Taibei]. Since the Qijiaochuan tribes would also be in Taibei that day, it was suggested that Kondō consult with them about the crossing. Kondō gratefully accepted and returned to Wushe. The Aborigines, however, did not readily consent to the sight-seeing scheme because they had never done it before. To be sure, to a certain extent they wanted to go; but there was also much anxiety, and in the end they would not accept. Thus, it required great effort to persuade and recruit thirty people [to make the journey to Taibei].

Mona Ludao, the leader of the recent Wushe uprising [the first one, not the one in the 1930s -- MT], joined the sight-seeing troupe. He was a youth of 30, two years Kondō's junior at the time. Even considering that there were headmen among them, none of the people in the group knew anything of the world beyond Puli. Therefore, one can imagine the shock and alarm they must have experienced being on a train for the first time. Perhaps they screamed and were forced by the speed to keep their eyes shut, the locomotive fast enough to make them dizzy. How mysterious that trees which appeared to dance along the tracks would suddenly disappear; or the wide expanse of the plains, which reappeared magically to turn around! In the pitch-black tunnels, were they seized by extreme dread, calling out the names of their friends?

The Aborigines, who came from all over the island, saw many unusual sights during their week-long stay in Taibei. There were no days for rest. Of special interest was Jilong, from where one could see the sea, and steamships! When they tried to carry the cannon balls at the shore battlements, the supernatural size and weight astonished them. On November 3, they witnessed a military review parade at the drilling grounds. The Aborigines were overawed and rendered completely silent, unable to utter a single word. At the time, fifteen Qijiaochuan villagers from Hualien were also in Taibei. Kondō had them meet with the Wushe men to discuss a mountain crossing. The Qijiaochuan men agreed to help Kondō as soon as he emerged in Hualien after the crossing. General Sakuma instructed Mona Ludao, chief of Mahebo in Wushe, and Aui Nukan, chief of Hōgō, to help Kondō succeed in his mission to cross the mountains and reach Hualien. Hence, Kondō now had very good support for his mission. Upon returning to Puli, Kondō concentrated on preparations for the crossing, feeling that he must not waste this opportunity. Though he did visit Nenggao four times in 1906, his accompanying Aborigines would not go further. Either the sound of the rooster was inauspicious, or the shape of clouds [was not right], or other such superstitions prevented progress. Therefore, he returned every time. While these disagreements and differences continued on, 1906 ended and 1907 began. General Sakuma summoned Kondō to Taibei and invited him on an inspection trip to Hualien to survey conditions along the east coast. Since this is what Kondō had wanted from the start, he immediately went to Taibei. It was January 13, 1907.

The troupe consisted of forty people, including General Sakuma. They arrived at Hualien Harbor on January 16th. On the 17th, 18th, and 19th, Sakuma performed his inspection. Kondō, however, borrowed two-hundred Qijiaochuan and Mugua tribesmen and separated off from Sakuma's party to explore higher up in Chiyakan ravine with Inspector Kaku Kurata. At the time, there were many barren fields, even in today's Hualien city center. As far as Japanese buildings went, there was nothing but the sub-prefectural installations and a few houses. In those days, the area around Chiyakan ravine was very dangerous. They ascended higher and higher, for about 12 miles to a place called Muragaha. Suddenly the path was cut off. Steep rocks emerged and they could neither ascend nor descend. Kondō imagined that the way from Wushe must meet this stream, but the rocks closed off this route like a gate; they were unable to proceed farther. They were presented with a very high mountain with no footholds and very sharp rocks—there was nothing to do but return. Kondō despaired once he realized this, but the spirit of Captain Fukahori was with him! He recalled this and did not lose hope entirely. Since he had come all this way, he secretly buried some canned provisions and a small quantity of saké in the right side of a cave as a landmark and memorial. Why did he do such a thing? When did he think he would return?

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