During the Qing Dynasty, at the very latest, a group of commercial immigrants appeared whose homes were in Fujian but who conducted business in Taiwan and frequently travelled between the two places. In response to global trade, Xu Zangchun from Jinjiang in Quanzhou, Fujian, first entered the Xingjingxiang firm in Taiwan Fucheng, Taiwan (Tainan) in the 1870s, to serve as apprentice and accountant, but later was promoted to manager in charge of business affairs. In 1903, he became the second director of the Sanjiao merchant association, succeeding Wang Xuenong, Tainan’s giant sugar merchant, in that role. Yet, Xu not only smoked opium and identified as a Chinese merchant, but also formed dual families on both sides of the strait between Quanzhou and Tainan, with himself at the center.
Although Xu was one of the few Chinese merchants who did not return to his hometown after Taiwan was ceded to Japan, he experienced the contradictions and impact of Japanese foreign rule more profoundly than Wang Xuenong, who was born in Taiwan and had Japanese experience. In 1917, Xu moved his family back to his hometown, leaving only his second son to settle in Tainan and maintain his core enterprise. Xu Zangchun’s life history exactly reflects the character and family management strategies of overseas trade merchants during the late Qing Dynasty. Previous historiography has paid greater attention to the activities of the so-called “Taiwanese citizens” in China or Southeast Asia, while devoting much less attention to this group of China-centered commercial immigrants with dual-nationality status, and how they and their families frequently traveled between both places and maintained their family lineage while adapting to the changes and difficulties associated with the transition from Qing to Japanese rule. In his role as the leader of Quanzhou residents in Tainan, Xu Zangchun also attracted Fujianese workers to Taiwan, and tried his best to revive traditional religious activities, thereby revealing yet another aspect of commercial immigrants in Taiwan during the early days of Japanese rule in Taiwan.
This article takes Xu Zangchun, a first generation dual-national in Taiwan, as a case study, to illustrate how Xu evolved from firm manager to director of the Sanjiao merchant association after immigrating to Taiwan in the 1870s, and how he clarified the relationship between firm owner and manager. Secondly, the article explains how Xu formed dual families in Quanzhou and Tainan, and how his self-identity developed from transnationalism to nativism, thereby highlighting the operations and dilemmas of dual-nationality families during changing times. The final section of the work analyzes the contradictions of Xu’s social and political roles under colonial rule.
Many people suggested that the Mei-Tai Group (美臺團) is “the film team of the Taiwanese Cultural Association.” As a matter of fact, in April 1926, the Taiwanese Cultural Associations film team (臺灣文化協會寫真隊) had already started activities. However, it was not until the end of 1927 that Pei-hwo Tsai (蔡培火) decided to establish the Mei-Tai Group. The reason why most people have the impression that the Mei-Tai Group is the film team of the Taiwanese Cultural Association is the influence of previous researchers, who confused the Mei-Tai Group that was later established with the earlier film team of Taiwanese Cultural Association.
In April 1926, the Taiwanese Cultural Association film team began to play films across Taiwan. The main members were Wui-ji Guo, Bing-ding Lu, Tz-yuan Chung, Chiu-wu Lin, Hsin-tuan Chen, and Tien-chi Chou. The team was supported by the Taiwanese Cultural Association activists in various places. At the end of 1927, Pei-hwo Tsai established the Mei-Tai Group in order to create a noble entertainment organization and to develop the recreational life of Taiwanese people. In January of the following year, assisted by the Taiwanese People’s Party, a film tour was launched, and Shao-chuang Chen and Te-fa Wang served as narrators. After 1929, the Mei-Tai Group’s activities were reduced significantly. In 1933, Pei-hwo Tsai attempted to revitalize the Mei-Tai Group. The Mei-Tai Group cooperated with Taiwan New Citizen Newspapers for a film tour, but the ticket revenue was not satisfactory. The main reason was that Taiwan New Citizen Newspapers’ attitude was not positive, and film had become increasingly popular at the time and the era of sound films had begun. It was difficult for the Mei-Tai Group’s educational films to attract the interest of the public.
This study mainly used historical materials, such as Pei-hwo Tsai’s diaries and Taiwan People’s Daily to restore how the Taiwanese national activists during the Japanese colonial period used the Taiwanese Cultural Association film team and the Mei-Tai Group to enlighten the public. In addition to describing the evolution of the process, the participants, and the reasons why it was difficult to continue such activities subsequently, this study also analyzed the connotation, significance and impact of such enlightenment.
Keywords：Pei-hwo Tsai, Taiwanese Cultural Association Film Team, Mei-Tai Group
War and Finance: Operation of Taiwan Commercial and Industrial Bank (1937-1945)
This article reports empirical research findings on the Taiwan Commercial and Industrial Bank, one of the largest banks in Taiwan before World War II. First, under the wartime regime, the Taiwan Commercial and Industrial Bank implemented proactive and comprehensive measures for savings, resulting in a six-fold increase of its deposit balance, which became the main source of capital during that period. Of the capital generated, 65% went to clear the debts of the Japanese government and to acquire corporate bonds of military industries, reflecting the financial control policies of the Japanese government for wartime mobilization.
Second, despite tight fiscal measures on dividends, the Taiwan Commercial and Industrial Bank managed to increase its annual dividend rate with the approval of the Japanese government. The approval shows that the authorities would allow such an increase as an incentive to secure shareholders’ commitment to “public finance” and “financial service to the country.” At the same time, in addition to the stock price supported by the shareholders, the Bank also won public trust in its operational capabilities of a quasi-state-owned enterprise, thus ensuring the capital required to finance military supplies for foreign invasion of the Japanese empire.
Finally, compared with the expansive growth of the Bank’s assets, its safety, liquidity, and profitability were all low, and further deteriorated as the war worsened. However, the signs of these financial fragility were hidden because of the financial control policies. Obviously, the Taiwan Commercial and Industrial Bank was forced to transform itself from a profit-making corporation into a quasi-state-owned enterprise with low profits.
Keywords：Wartime Regime, Taiwan Commercial and Industrial Bank, Financial Control, Public Finance, Government Debt Clearing, Savings Campaign
The Flow of Memory: Historical Reading of Wushe Incident Monument
The Wushe incident was a major aboriginal historic event during the Japanese Occupation. In addition to the tragic deaths of the Seediq people caused by the fighting, it also brought conflicts and disputes within the ethnic groups due to the dilemma of the weak peoples in the colonial structure. In this article, the establishment of the monuments and the history of flowing process related to the Wushe incident can see the governance behind the politics of memory which manipulated by the state, and can also observe how tribal people transform this memorial space to show their agency within the structure. In other words, the development and change of the Wushe Incident Monument provides a window for the study of colonial and post-colonial history, showing that the colonial legacy is still entangled in the lives of the people.
Keywords：Wushe Incident, Seediq People, Monuments, The Politics of Memory, Post-colonial History
Retrospect of Economic History Research in Taiwan (2018-2019)
This paper reviews the research on economic history of Taiwan between 2018 and 2019. It begins with a discussion on the context of economic history research by summarizing the development of various sub-topics of the field from 2008 to 2017, followed by a general review of research on economic history of Taiwan between 2018 and 2019, and finally the author’s views on the future development of the field.
Studies conducted between 2018 and 2019 are divided into several sections, with the aim of discussing and summarizing the overall trend of the field. Titles of these sections are: (1) “State, Economic Policy, and Fiscal System,” with subcategories of “Qing Dynasty and Japanese Colonial Rule” and “The Early Post-war Period and the Contemporary Era”; (2) “Regional History,” in which Northern, Central, and Southern Taiwan were discussed respectively; (3) “Industrial History,” dealing with agriculture, industry, commerce, forestry, electricity, and communications; (4) “Diet, Consumption, and Recreation”; and (5) “Environmental and Socio-Economic Changes.” With easy access to research materials on regional history and local industrial history, a lot of scholars have been concentrating on these topics. On the other hand, topics such as diet, recreation, and environment history have drawn increasing attention nowadays. There is also a trend of combining economic history studies with social and culture history studies. Moreover, traditional research topics have been gradually transformed or revised due to the emergence of new historical materials.
As the Taiwan government promotes regional revitalization, the development of local culture and history will become a trend. In addition, thanks to local governments’ ongoing promotion of cultural and historical projects or local studies, as well as several public sectors’ efforts in making rare historical materials accessible to the public, local economic history studies will continue to grow in the coming years.
In summary, although the overall research trend still contains worrisome elements mentioned in previous review articles, research on economic history of Taiwan is expected to move in a positive direction because of continuous improvement of methodology and emergence of new historical materials.
Keywords：Economic History of Taiwan, Regional History, Industrial History, Local Studies, Economic Policy
Book Review of The Cultural History of “Taiwanese Cuisine”: The Embodiment of Nation in Food Consumption by Ju-jen Chen