Wednesday, January 14, 2009

SERIAL 18: Kondo Katsusaburo among Taiwan's Atayal/Sedeq peoples, 1896 to 1930

Storm clouds gather in Japan's relationship with the Taiwan aborigines! 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.


Chapter Twenty-five: : Kondō Betrays Bassau Bōran
(Trans. from Taiwan nichinichi shinpō February 6, 1931)

After the guardline to Tatsutaka had been extended as far as Sanjiaopu, the Wushe Aborigines returned to their homes. From here on in, the Police battalions would subdue and punish (tōbatsu) the Truku and Teuda tribes. On February 23d, 1909, the main force opened artillery barrages against Teuda; they continued to fire for three days through the 25th. At first, the Aborigines were frightened into absolute silence. However, on the 25th, someone from Teuda called out, "Mr. Kondō, Mr. Kondō!" Kondō believed they were calling for him because they were in trouble and needed help. Although he was warned of the danger, and stopped [by his fellow Japanese], he decided to go [and answer the call]. Kondō was certain that the Aborigines would not do anything unreasonable because he had rescued one of their young men earlier, instead of killing him. Therefore, he obtained permission and headed for Teuda on his own.

On the way to [Teuda] village was the Zhuoshui ravine. As Kondō arrived, many Aborigines appeared in front of the ravine to meet him. One of them, acting as if he could no longer wait, threw himself into Kondō's arms. It was the young man whom Kondō had saved! He quickly put Kondō on his back and forded the stream. His family welcomed Kondō on the other side of the ravine. One by one they cried and thanked him for saving the young man's life, embracing him and then showing obeisance, as if in worship. Kondō was startled at their purity of their sentiments.

Soon thereafter some headmen arrived. "If you keep firing the cannons everyday, we cannot go out into our fields, and everyone will come to trouble. Please come up with a way to get us off the hook," they implored. Then Kondō began to explain, carefully and patiently, that a long time ago they had mistreated Captain Fukahori and his men. They made light of government orders and they still would not stop headhunting. For these reasons, Kondō relayed, the Governor General was upset with them. Therefore, Kondō continued, it had been decided that the Teuda and Truku would be chastised and punished. He told the headmen to consult with the Truku to do something to assuage the Government. Otherwise, Kondō warned, the firing could not be halted.

At this time, an Aborigine youth also came from Truku to summon Kondō. They decided to go back together for a conference, so Kondō extended the day's journey all the way to Truku. And the Truku headman was none other than Bassau Bōran! He was the man who had pledged to treat Kondō as a son! By February of 1909, ten years had passed since they parted back in March of 1899. Perhaps because of his anxiety over affairs in Wushe, Bassau Bōran warmly and nostalgically greeted Kondō. Upon seeing the aged man's face, darkened and wrinkled over concern for his village, Kondō, despite himself, secretly felt pity and tenderness. However, this was a private matter! Kondō had to somehow put an end to their rebelliousness and peacefully get them to follow the government's orders.

In such a manner, Kondō had to work both sides of the fence. On the 25th through 27th of February, Kondō lodged in Truku and repeatedly expounded upon the evil of headhunting. Henceforth, the government would emphatically not permit headhunting. Infractions would bring swift reprisals. [To assure compliance,] artillery would be permanently stationed in Sanjiaopu. Kondō threatened and intimidated, and by turns coaxed and humored, to insist upon the justness of [the government's position]. Then he said, "In the end, you will have to provide evidence and assurance to us that no more heads will be hunted." With that, Kondō shut his mouth.

"And what sort of evidence would that be?"

"The very tools for hunting heads—you will have to surrender your guns."

"This unreasonable [demand] is perplexing. We cannot give up our guns."

"If that is the case, then there is nothing I can do as a negotiator. I think I'll be going!"

"How about if we surrender half our guns in the village?"

"But is that really an assurance against headhunting? Anyhow, they already know how may guns you have."

"Then, how many guns do we have?"

"Three-hundred twenty-seven."

"What! You learned this when you came here before, didn't you?"

"Yes, that is right. Since I hate to lie, I told them everything."

"It is disturbing that you would spill the beans like that. Mr. Kondō, you are a very bad person!"

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