Wednesday, December 10, 2008

SERIAL8: Kondo Katsusaburo among Taiwan's Atayal/Sedeq peoples, 1896 to 1930

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 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 Fourteen: Kondō Sets Out to Complete Fukahori’s Mission

(Trans. from Taiwan nichinichi shinpō January 24, 1931)

That evening, they returned to Wuquancheng, today known as Hetian, and stayed over night. The next day they ascended the coastal mountain chain and faced the distant central mountain spine. When Kondō recognized the peaks and valleys around Nenggao, he concealed his thoughts. After ascertaining the road for his central mountain crossing, he then rejoined the troupe. They also went to Beinan, Huoshaoduo and Hongtouyu and returned to Taibei on 2 February 1907. As the group broke up, General Sakuma told Kondō that he should cross the central mountain range as soon as possible. Kondō earnestly desired to complete the mission, so he gave an account of his investigations along the east coast during a visit to Mr. Nose, the Nantou sub-prefect, on his way back. Kondō went directly to Wushe to gather the headmen to set a date for crossing the mountains. Since August on the lunar calendar had little rain and fair weather generally, it was decided to depart then. Kondō thereupon reported to General Sakuma and impatiently waited from February through September. It had been twelve years since Captain Fukahori had attempted to make the crossing in 1896. How steadfast and unwilling to forget was Kondō and his dream!

At last, September 1907 had arrived. Kondō was ordered to appear before General Sakuma and went up to Taibei on the second of the month. He was exultant to receive an official order to cross the mountains on September 5th. Now he was prepared to throw away his life to repay General Sakuma's trust and Fukahori's spirit. On the 7th, Kondō went to bid farewell to his father, whom Kondō had [earlier] sent for from their hometown [of Tokushima] to spend his old age in Taizhong.

I have not adequately fulfilled the duties of an eldest son, and now, I may commit the unforgivable [offense] of not returning alive. At last, the time has come for me to cross the central mountains at the risk of death. Please forgive my impiety and send me off on my departure.

Bowing before his father, he could think of no words but these. On the other hand, what could his father, who knew his son's heart so well, say on the occasion of Kondō's wish finally being granted? He could only pray for Kondō's success. Kondō's father urged him not to return alive should the mission fail. Taking leave of this father, Kondō appeared at the Nantou sub-prefect, which had jurisdiction over Puli. Mr. Nose gave Kondō an amulet from the [inner] shrine of Amaterasu [at Ise]; the Police section chief gave Kondō a flag. Kondō immediately put the amulet inside of his jacket. In large characters he wrote, "The Central Mountain Crossing Expedition of Captain Fukahori and his Fourteen Men" on the flag. Now we was prepared, with all his heart, to carry out the Captain's last request.

Kondō arrived in Hōgō village of Wushe at the behest of the Puli sub-prefect Mr. Nagakura on September 10th. Nagakura summoned Aui Nukan, headman of Hōgō, and Mona Ludao, headman of Mahebo, and instructed them, "Under the orders of General Sakuma, Kondō will explore a way to Hualien harbor. You will guide him as you have promised." Nagakura returned to Puli. By now, Kondō had said last good-byes to his father, younger brother, the prefect and the sub-prefect; his contact with Japan was now severed. There was nothing left to do but go onward and forward into the Aborigine territory. Kondō would rely on the amulet from Narita Temple (found in the shed in Truku), his amulet from the Ise Shrine of Amaterasu, and the flag! Kondō wanted to know if they would depart that day, or on the next; he searched their expressions for clues as the days went by. After ten days had passed, they still showed no indication of readiness to depart. By degrees, Kondō learned that [the Wushe men] were afraid of the Aborigines of Hualien. At that time, the Qijiaochuan tribes' and the Mugua tribes' reputations and ability to intimidate had reached far and wide, all the way to Wushe. Thus, they were uneasy about going to Hualien.

They decided to bring along a banpu [Aborigine woman] named Rapai Watan, a Mugua native who had married into [Wushe]. But since she had recently given birth and was nursing a baby, they thought they should wait until the baby grew past breast-feeding age to depart. This notion typified the Aborigines' relaxed and unhurried approach to things. Hearing of this, Kondō was very troubled. Whatever one might say about the easy-going nature of the Aborigines, waiting for a baby to grow-up was indeed a form of nonchalance that could not be measured, and Kondō was beyond disgust. There was no turning back, but there was no way to go forward! He was confused and could not figure out how to proceed.

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