The Taiwanese 台灣人 Tâi-Oân Lâng

Welcome to the Taiwanese Site! This is a collection of the stories of the past Taiwanese who had contributed to Taiwan in various aspects. We encourage readers' comments. Contact point, email contact at or ** Last Update April 26, 2012 **

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cultural Shocks

                   Cultural Shocks 


In the summer of 2004, the Taiwanese American Association Chicago Chapter invited the Rev. Dr. Daniel Beeby (former Vice President and Professor of the Old Testament at the Tainan Theological Seminary) as the keynote speaker.

In his opening words, easily and amazingly with his perfect Taiwanese, Beeby asked the audience (about 800+ Taiwanese Americans):

“What is the Taiwanese culture?”
“What does it take to maintain a Taiwanese in the mixed culture of the United States?”

Most people, if not all, were professionals there. I would not be surprised that many must have been thinking rapidly the possible answers, but all remained silent. 

“Cast the first stone? Who? Me?”

“Would it be the cuisine we enjoyed when we gathered together? Or could it be the gossips when we pick up the phone?” I thought for a few more moments and kept it to myself too.  

Last September I came back to Chang Jung Christian University (長榮大學) for the longest stay in nearly forty years of absent.  Some students called me “grandpa teacher” (爺爺老師) jokingly yet rightly so because the age gap is about half a century.  But the cultural gaps shock me more than anything else.

I remember when I first came back to Taiwan in 1995, I visited my uncle who was a retired teacher (and a lay preacher) for almost forty years. He took me for a ride on his motorcycle in the country site of Kaohsiung city.  I enjoyed the ride very much until he took a “wrong” turn going against the traffic on a one-way street.  I started asking him to stop.
He responded me with a big laugh saying, “Don’t worry. What are they going to do to me?” he continued, “All cops were my students!”
He never got a ticket. “Just a minor accident,” he told me.

In 2008 I came back with my wife and my mother-in-law (who was in her late 80s) and we were taking a regular ‘zone’ train from San-Hoa() to Tainan one Saturday morning. It was a rather comfort ride until arriving the station. Once stopped at the Tainan station, the young people were waiting anxiously to get on the train without letting us come off first. We almost missed the stop if the traffic cop did not correct the situation with shouting and whistling.

Off first. On next.” It is such a simple logic. Yet it’s so hard to follow!

This time I have been at the cross roads in the city of Tainan long enough to observe more interesting things. The riders on a motorcycle could be riding and using the cell phone at the same time as if they were in their living room watching TV.  And it seems to me that there is no traffic rule against any act whether a car is making a U-turn or left turn, both illegally.  “First turn first serve” and “I dare you!” seem to be the patterns/models where the cutting edge traffic signals are merely for references only (僅供參考).  As far as I can remember in the last 6 months, I never failed to witness the nerves breaking actions at least once in every cross road.

A young man once told me that if he followed all the traffic rules, he’d be late for just about every occasion. 
“I may be stupid, but not that stupid!” he said

Don’t we see the pattern when a certain culture is formed?

1.        First the thought was formed.

2.        Then the words were formed through the thought.

3.        Then the words turned into actions.

4.        And the actions would gradually and surely become habits.

5.        Finally the habits would become part of the culture.

      And then back to square one – forming a new thought…

        Thoughts à Words à Actions à Habits à Culture

Jesus said, "Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."
    - Matthew 7:24-27 (RSV)

With the cutting edge technology, we all now know so much so rapidly.

But knowing is one thing, practicing is another.

Historically speaking, Christian culture is a lot more than knowing. 

It is about practicing the gospel.  

It’s about where we build the house of our faith.

Besides, we may be the only Bible some non-believers are reading. 

One look at us might turn into a farewell response, “Enough read!”

The words of God are not just for our references only. 

Our faith and our very life are depending on them.    


Friday, September 23, 2011

Introducing a Journey at CJCU 長榮大學之旅


An Invitation to Join a Journey:

  •     A Journey at CJCU  - 長榮大學之旅 

  •      典範           

  •       靈命塑造 - 去蕪存菁 

              ! Welcome Aboard !

Friday, May 21, 2010

Elder Lâu Chú-an 劉主安 校長

Elder/Principal Lâu Chú-an

1905 - 1994

A life reflected on Faith, Hope and Love

While I searched the information on Principal/Elder Lâu Chú-an, I also searched a word that would describe him the best. The word
SERENITY came to my mind. Like all other people on this site, Lâu held a special position in my heart with much admiration.

I probably saw him twice briefly in my early years. Once he was speaking to a lot of young people like me. I honestly don't remember what he was talking about. And it did not matter. Another time I joined seven other high school classmates as a male double-quartet team and sang a couple of songs at the Chang-Jung Girls Middle School (長榮女中) where he was the principal. I paid much more attention to the students (all were young and pretty with their light-blue angel-like uniform) than the teachers, but Principal Lâu still caught my eyes with his unique way. His handsome manner, kindness or something, I do not know. He was just there, smiling with serenity...

Lâu was born in 1905 to a well known family in the city of Tainan, then the cultural center of Taiwan. Lâu was excellent in mathematics with unbelievable memory since he was a boy. He studied at the elementary school in Dr. James Maxwell Memory Church, Tainan (太平境教會附設小學) then moved on to study at Doshisha Elementary School (同志社小學) in Kyoto and then the Aoyama Middle School (青山學院中學) and graduated with honor from the Tokyo Institute of Technology (東京工業大學) majored in Chemical Engineering. Lâu came back to Tainan and taught chemistry and physics in both Chang-Jung Girls Middle School and Chang-Jung Middle School (長榮中學) – both were run by the Presbyterian Church, two of the oldest middle schools in Taiwan.

Like many good teachers, he never stopped learning. Elder Lâu further studied religion and theology at a Presbyterian Seminary in Birmingham (1935-36) and Westminster College, Cambridge University (1948-49.) Besides teaching at the middle schools, Lâu also found time teaching at the Tainan Theological College.

In one of his students’ description, Lâu taught chemistry with creative thinking. While trying to explain the element of water (H2O) he asked his students to simply remember that WATER is two fish heads [H] with a big egg [O].”

His wisdom, sense of humor, the love for teaching and deep care for his students made him one of the greatest educators in the history of Taiwan. As a devoted Christian, Lâu was deeply moved by the dedication of the missionaries sent by the Presbyterian Church of England while he was a teacher. He was soon asked and then took the administrative duty as the principal in Chang-Jung Girls Middle School. In the span of forty-four years, a school had flourished by building the foundation of “Faith, Hope and Love” for thousands of teen aged girls.

While Lâu's academic achievements were outstanding, he is remembered well as how he spent his life - by giving. He was a life long Sunday school teacher, a popular lay preacher and Bible study leader, a never ending loving teacher, writer and father. He had written a few dozen books ranging from nature science text books to Biblical and theological interpretations especially about Trinity and St. Paul.

To some people, Lâu was an educator and a beloved Principal. To others, he was an Elder Emeritus of one of the most historical churches in Taiwan. To all who had come to know him, Lâu was loved, respected and missed. He had set a role model for what a good Christian/teacher should be.

During his memorial service held in Chang-Jung Girls High School on February 5, 1994, Principal/Elder Lâu
Chú-an was remembered with the highest honor by both the school and the church officials.

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

* To read the article by Dr. Lâu Tek-iong on his father Elder Lâu:,CAn/reminiscence/Lau,Tiong/E.htm

* Some Related Websites:,CAn/biog/service.htm,CAn/recollections/1926-1974.htm /

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rev. Dr. Loh Sian-chhun 駱先春 牧師

Rev. Loh Sian-chhun, D.D. 駱先春 牧師

- A humble pastor
- A composer dedicated to church music
- One of the pioneers in the ministries to the Taiwanese aborigines
- Part of the 20th Century Miracle in Taiwan

If you are a Christian from Taiwan, chances are you may have sung one of Rev. Loh’s hymns (his first one: O Hear Us Our Most Holy Heavenly Father 至聖的天父,求你俯落聽 ) or heard about the stories of his two well known sons: î-jîn 維仁, an international known Biblical scholar, and î-tō 維道, a gifted church and folk musician. And in her article, the evangelical church musician Ms. Cheng (鄭敏熙) called Rev. Loh, “…a living history of the church music in Taiwan.”

You might have also heard the so called “Miracle of the 20th Century in Taiwan (二十世紀的神蹟)" within the world wide church circle. A handful of pastors had changed the way of life among the majority of the Taiwanese aborigines. The key figure was of course the Rev. Dr. James I. Dickson (孫雅各牧師 1900-1967) who, besides running the Taiwan Theological College, had established four presbyteries and 385 churches among the Taiwanese aborigines mostly in the eastern part of Taiwan, with the help of his former students like Rev. Loh Sian-Chhung, Rev. O’ Bûn-tî (胡文池牧師) among others.

With his outstanding musical talents (a fine singer, composer and musician who was interested in ethnic music of the tribal people) along with a solid theological education, Loh could have had a comfortable life teaching at the Tam Kang Middle School (淡江中學) or elsewhere. Instead, he chose to help the Taiwanese aborigines for most of his ministries.

Rev. Loh and family lived near poverty level during the years of World War II (the Loh’s family often survived with one-meal-a-day then.) Many years later, Dr. Loh î-jîn, Loh's third son, recalled the war time experience saying, "I could never forget the feeling of hunger..."

Like an old time missionary, Loh sensed God’s calling to serve the aborigines as early as 1928 while still a seminary student. In 1947, he gave up all his jobs and went to the East coast to serve the tribal people under the sponsorship of Rev. Dickson.

Loh's ministries, besides his involvement in church music, were areas that many ministers somehow tried to avoid: up in the mountains where basic comfortable life was considered a luxury. The work was long and hard as most of the aborigines communities were tightly closed to the outside world then. He traveled by a bicycle or on foot, up and down among the mountains and hills, helping everybody that he had encountered, either practically (such as free from tobacco and alcohol) or spiritually. Loh was very much disciplined in his religious life while warm and kind toward others.

Loh spent over 32 years in the Hymnal Committee of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, and was the editor of the 1936 hymnal. The Taiwanese hymnbooks have been since transformed from the collections of the all westernized hymns to a combination of the “East meet West” ones. The transformation of the hymnals is going strong, mainly through the work of Rev. Dr. Loh î-tō.

î-tō, Rev. Loh’s fourth son, might have inherited a lot of the music talents from his father. By researching folk music in many parts of Africa and Asia, î-tō has worked hard to find genuine voices of the Taiwanese and Asian neighbors in his various collections of hymns. Today î-tō is still actively working and teaching and leading seminars all over the world to promote the idea of melting the folk music and the Christian faith through the hymnals - well after his retirement as professor and the president of the Tainan Theological College/Seminary.
While denied renewal of his passport by the KMT authority, î-tō was unable to attend the memorial service of Rev. Loh early in 1984. î-tō instead sent back his composition of an anthem entitled, “I know that my Redeemer lives” in loving memory and celebration of his father’s new life in Christ. It is a wonderful combination of the beauty of the chorus of the Taiwanese mountains, rivers, trees, people, and the unshaken faith of the everlasting life.

For those who have come across Rev. Loh's hymns or path, would either respect him or love him, perhaps both. Loh’s hymns, both music and words, had demonstrated the beauty in the form of simplicity, gentleness, and the depth of his devotion to God. It would certainly be a miracle of the 21st century if only a few more Taiwanese Christians today are like Rev. Dr. Loh Sian-Chhun, not particularly with his musical legend but in his footsteps as a suffering servant.

Brief Biography of Rev. Loh Sian-Chhun:

· Born in Tam-Sui, Dec 15, 1905
· Graduated from Taiwan Theological College, 1931
· Advanced study at the Central Theological Seminary, Kobe, Japan 1931-1933
· Minister to Sin-Tek (新竹) Church, 1933
· Teaching at Tam-Kang Middle School (淡江中學) 1934
· Editor of the Presbyterian Church Hymnal Committee, 1935-1967
· Pastor of Sam-Kiap (三峽) church, 1937-1945
· Jailed (for 66 days) with Elder Tân (陳文贊) for their Christian faith, Dec 8, 1941
· Teaching at Tam-Kang Middle School, 1945-1947
· Full time itinerant pastor to various Taiwanese aborigines 1947-1967
· The hymnbook of Ami (阿美族語聖詩) published, 1958
· Honorable retired, 1967
· Awarded Doctor of Divinity Degree by the Taiwan Theological Seminary, 1982
· Passed away, Feb 28, 1984

Related websites/Sources:

-- Special thanks to Rev. Dr. Loh î-tō whose extensive editing has made this article possible.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dr. D Liang; Dr. and Mrs. P Y Liang 梁道; 梁炳元; 梁許春菊

Dr. Dow Liang; Dr. and Mrs. P Y Liang
1888-1954 ...... 1913-1982 ... 1918-1997

A Family of Caring...with Medicine, Courage and Faith

Throughout the most part of the 20th century, the first choice for the Taiwanese young people had been the medical field. The second choice would be the engineering and science. The Liang's family demonstrates the choices of the elites. More than 70% of the extended Liang's family members are medical doctors and the rest are PhDs in science and engineering. For the most that I've come to know, not only they are smart, they are with big hearts. They cared people with love and much faith.

Dr. Dow Liang (梁道 醫師)
graduated from Taiwan Governor’s Medical School (臺灣總督府醫學校 - later became National Taiwan University Medical School where his younger brother also graduated) and worked at the Taipei Red Cross Hospital before opened up his own clinic in ShinHua (新化) Tainan. His life was much more than a doctor. First appointed by the Japanese government, then elected by the majority, Dr. Liang became a beloved local leader during the Japanese ruling period (1895-1945) and beyond. As a physician he took care of his patients and expanded to his fellow citizens in the surrounding communities. Here are some of his stories*:

1. In 1915 the Chiao-Ba-Nien incident (焦吧年事件, aka西來庵事件), considered to be the major armed revolutionary act by the Taiwanese against the Japanese rulers, came with many tragedies in south-central Taiwan. Dr. Liang demonstrated his leadership and power of PR that eventually saved many Taiwanese lives in ShinHua area alone.

2. Shortly after the World War II (1945) a strong earthquake hit the area (with the epicenter only two miles away), Dean Liang (a younger son of Dr. Liang) remembered that there were over fifty victims placed in the clinic of Dr. Liang, and the scene of the blood mixed with the crushed bones and broken legs and arms did not encourage Dean to become a doctor. Dean later turned himself into a scientist.

3. 1947 the infamous 228 incident occurred across Taiwan, Dr. Liang again worked with the locals and the authorities to save hundreds of lives of both the Taiwanese and the Chinese mainlanders. He provided his own home as a sanctuary for all who were seeking protection from the blind violence.

4. In 2008, to celebrate Dr. Liang’s 120 years birthday, the Historical Society of Singhua exhibited Dr. Liang’s documents as well as his memorials in an exhibition hall to officially commemorate his extraordinary services to his hometown.

Dr. P Y Liang (梁炳元 醫師) was the eldest son of Dr. Dow Liang. He had often been called Elder Liang and a saint by many friends. Graduated from Fengtian Manchuria (奉天now Shenyang) Medical School and served few years in the nearby city, Dr. Liang brought his family back to his hometown ShinHua to practice medicine.

-- Influenced by his elder sister, P Y Liang was baptized to be Christian at the age of 17 and never looked back.

-- Served the church as early as in his medical student years till his final days including the leadership in medical ministries within the Presbytery of Tainan.

-- His involvement in local church across the board was seen as an essential and crucial part of the ministry. He was also in charge with the local chapter of the Taiwanese Medical Association among other charities.

-- He volunteered to staff Shin-Law Clinic (the first Westernized medical facility in Taiwan 新樓診所-新樓醫院的前身) one afternoon a week during his peak of practice.

-- He equipped his clinic with up-to-date medical books and a Bible which he read while taking his breaks. He was very much loved and respected by his patients and the neighbors as well as the members of the churches throughout the Tainan County. He used to sleep in a bedroom above the door of his office until very late age, so if any patient knocked at the door during the night, he would not miss it.

-- Not a well known public speaker, occasionally Dr. Liang would make a speech for the Gideon society meetings. His simple words were so touching that brought listeners to tears. Dr. Liang would credit the success to his friends who never ceased to support him with prayers.

-- Dr. Liang’s favorite scripture: “
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NRSV) Simple and straight, yes. Easy, not really.

Mrs. C C Hsu Liang (梁許春菊 長老) was one of the most famous female educators and activists in the history of modern Taiwan. Hsu was born in Peng-Hu County, a cluster of small islands west of Taiwan. Her parents were among the first generation Christians in Taiwan. She involved in the education then the politics, community affairs, sports and the churches in Taiwan for more than 40 years, and remained as an active church elder, just like her husband, till the end of her life.

I knew Elder Hsu Liang through the church activities in Tainan Presbytery and also through his son, George Liang, since our junior high school years. She earned a nickname of “One-Dollar-Representative 一元議員”by offering a very special “mail service.” When she was too busy to handle the requests right there and then, she would ask them to send her a letter which would cost only NT$1.00 stamp and the answers/results would be on their way. Mrs. Hsu Liang became a member of KMT after she was elected as a member of Provincial Assembly in her early political career simply because she figured out that she could serve people better in this status. Her critical decisions had been more faith related than of the political ones. It’d take a few volumes of book to detail her life story, but here I just mention the two not-so-public-known tales which indeed had big impact to the church of Taiwan ** :

-- In 1970: the reversal of the ban on the Taiwanese Romanization Bibles – While the Chinese government wanted to ban the Taiwanese Romanized version of the Bible used mostly by the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan for nearly a century, Mrs. Hsu Liang went to see Madame Chiang Kai-Shek (宋美齡) to discuss the issue. Elder Hsu Liang brought Romanized Taiwanese bible and read John 3:16 to Mrs. Chiang in Taiwanese on her request. Mrs. Chiang nodded her head while listening, and was very much surprised and touched by the beautiful sound of the Taiwanese. They prayed together afterward to ask for the intervention of the Lord. That event had saved the Romanized Taiwanese Bibles.

-- In 1972-73: the long standing tradition of the Tainan Theological College and Seminary (TTCS) has been staying out of the touch of the regimes, whether Japanese or Chinese. During the World War II TTCS was forced to close for sometime by the Japanese government due to the well connections between the school and the British, Canadian and American Missions. Shortly after the Chinese Nationalists took over in 1945, there was an on and off conflict between the authority and TTCS. One of the issues was the tax exempt status. Since TTCS was not an officially registered educational institution and not operated as a church, the authority wanted to tax the property and the land of TTCS. To make a long story short, it was, gratefully, that Mrs. Hsu Liang’s assistance to help maintain the tax exempt status for TTCS – the oldest institution on higher education in the history of Taiwan.

In respond to the text "Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God" (Matthew 22:21), Elder Hsu Liang paid her taxes to the authority, and she dedicated her life to the kingdom of God.

* Many stories were provided by Dean Liang PhD, the younger son of Dr. Dow Liang, and George Liang MD, the oldest son of Dr. P Y Liang
** The stories were verified with Rev. S J Liu (劉瑞仁牧師,) a long time pastor and friend of Dr. and Mrs. P Y Liang

Some Related Websites:¬ice_id=191

Friday, October 02, 2009

Dr. A-Sin Tsai 蔡阿信 醫師

Dr. A-Sin Tsai


The First Taiwanese Female Doctor - with her Family

A-Sin Tsai never gave up fighting. Her first fight was against being adopted at the age of five shortly after her father died. She kept on walking back home by herself more than once. The adoption was cancelled and Tsai got to stay home for good. She also fought during the grade school where 99% were boys, all the way to the medical school in Tokyo with her brilliant and hard working life philosophy. Later she fought in the United States for further study in advanced medicine, and in Canada where she was once jailed for her 'illegal’ license to practice medicine.

Her grandfather (mother’s side) was among the first group of Taiwanese baptized by Rev. George L Mackay ( and Tsai’s family had always been closely associated with the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. She entered the Tam-Sui Presbyterian School as the youngest student ever. And later she went to Tokyo Girls Medical School (東京女子醫專) as the only non Japanese student. While there were 127 entered, only 78 graduated and Tsai was among the top 25.

In 1921, Tsai came back to Taiwan as the first female doctor. Even the clothes she wore turned into an instant fashion as she became the hot news herself. Although her background was obstetrician-gynecologist, her first job at the Taipei Hospital (台北醫院, National Taiwan University Medical School Hospital) was an ophthalmologist. Tsai married to Mr. H Y Peng (彭華英) in 1924. A year later they moved to Taichung and Tsai turned herself to a successful phycisian. Tsai built a big clinic called Ching-Sing Clinic (清信醫院) in 1926. Soon Tsai was not satisfied with limited service that she performed, so she worked very hard with the locals and opened up Ching-Sing Midwife School (清信產婆學校) – the very first in Taiwan. It was said that nearly half of the new babies in the city of Taichung were the results of the Midwife School trainees and Dr. Tsai herself. She had earned a nick name “The Mother of Taichung.”

In 1937, Japan began its military aggressions toward many parts of Asia which also affected Taiwan (under Japanese control then) deeply. Since nobody wanted to enter the midwife school and ended up serving in one of the Japanese battle fields for whatever the reason, Tsai was forced to close her school and clinic. During that time, two issues also brought her attention:

· Mr. Peng was a political activist which caused unwanted visitations from the Japanese police. (Eventually Peng went to China to pursue his political interests. He stayed in political circles without much success. 1968 Mr. Peng passed away in Taiwan.)

· Dr. Tsai’s close relationship with the church and the missionaries also caused some suspicions in the eyes of the Japanese rulers. (For example, Tainan Theological College was forced to close for some years during the World War II.)

Through some arrangements and the help of Mrs. Foster (an American friend), Dr. Tsai went to USA in September of 1940. She took a train from San Francisco to the east coast and for the next several months she spent time at Harvard Medical School, Toronto and ended up in the Vancouver area when Pearl Harbor incident occurred. During that time Dr. Tsai could not obtain her passport to go back to Taiwan, so she went back to New York City. She still had hard time going back to Taiwan even with her passport because the war in Pacific and the strikes in San Francisco Bay area. So she spent time at the Columbia University Medical School and received professional training as an anesthesiologist. She then received more training in Johns Hopkins University Medical School and Hospitals in Baltimore area and moved on to Minnesota Mayo Clinic and then San Francisco.

Tsai arrived home in 1946 at last. So much had been changed in six years of war and political conflicts. The infamous 228 incident occurred the next year. Many intellectuals and local leaders were either disappeared or killed in one of the most chaotic/tragic periods in Taiwan history.

After further observations, Dr. Tsai decided to give up her clinic and medical career in Taiwan and moved on. Tsai and Mr. Peng divorced after a long time separation – they had two children. Later Tsai and Rev. Gibson, a British Canadian friend, got married before departing to England in 1953. They decided to move to Canada few years later. Again she entered the Columbia University Medical School for her study in Public Health. Gibson passed away in 1967. Tsai lived alone again.

Dr. Tsai came back to Taiwan for the last time in 1979. She was moved by all those old ladies who lived alone in a near poverty level. The next year she and her friends started the “Chi-Seng Service Foundation” (至誠服務基金會) as a center for the poor, lonely widows and senior citizens who could come and seek help. This service foundation still functions now, reflecting the love and the life of Dr. Tsai.
In 1990 Dr. Tsai passed away in Canada.

It must have mattered much for Dr. Tsai to be the first in many areas when the society was dominated by men. It seems to matter even more that she strived to be the first and the best, not just to take the advantage for herself, but to give back to the needed and the less fortunate.

-- The novel “Lang Tau-Sa” (浪淘沙 by 東方白) has been a dramatized life story of Dr. Tsai.

Related Web Sites:

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Mr. Yoichi Hatta 八田與一 技師

1886 - 1942

The Father of WuSanTou Reservoir and ChiaNan Irrigation Systems (烏山頭水庫及嘉南大圳 之父)

And a love story beyond race, nationality and life

Sotoyo and Yoichi Hatta

The Dam at work

I received a phone call from my friend in Chicago few months ago. He said that in this blog site I have let go a big fish, probably the biggest one so far. After some research, I concluded that my friend was correct. It was a very big one indeed.

There was no excuse on my part even though I was among many Taiwanese who were not totally aware of the story. Five years after the tragic death of Mr. Yoichi Hatta, Chiang Kai-Shek’s regime came to Taiwan and began to suppress much of the local culture and history, especially Taiwanese and Japanese. Thus the story of Yoichi Hatta was virtually buried until early 1980’s.

Like most Taiwanese, I heard of the O-Soaⁿ-Thâu Reservoir and Chia-Nan (Ka-Lâm) Tōa-Chùn (烏山頭水庫及嘉南大圳.) But I did not attempt to find out further or what actually had happened. As recent as May of 2009, pushed by the universities and some local non-for-profit organizations in both Taiwan and Japan, the endorsement campaign to bring the O-Soaⁿ-Thâu (Wushantou) Reservoir System into the World Heritage (烏山頭水庫水利系統登錄世界遺產) has begun.

For us, it’s never too late to find out more, and certainly now is the time to remember some of the most important “Taiwanese” that I have missed.
Mr. Hatta was a Japanese civil engineer, born in Kanazawa on Feb. 21, 1886. He received his schooling at Tokyo University. After his graduation in 1910, Hatta decided to seek a carrier in distant Taiwan, taking up a post within the Civil Engineering Department under the Viceroy Office of the Taiwan Prefecture.

Hatta eagerly tackled his work, traveling vigorously throughout Taiwan to appraise the land. Planning of the waterworks for Taipei city became his first major assignment, to be followed by an irrigation/drainage project in Taoyuan County. Implemented in 1916, the project established Hatta's reputation as a capable civil engineer. In anticipation of his expertise, Director-General Yamagata of the Civil Engineering Department then assigned Hatta to lead an irrigation project planned for Wusantou in Tainan County, a barren territory where even the tough sugarcanes refused to grow.
The ambitious enterprise was a brainchild of the young civil engineer himself, and was conceived with the objectives of water resource development and flood control within the Chia-Nan Plains -- a region previously troubled by droughts, floods and salt injury.

Launched in 1920, the project consisted of the construction of the Wusantou dam, a lock and 16,000 kilometers of waterway, the Chia-Nan Irrigation River. Yoichi Hatta himself migrated to Chia-Nan to oversee the project. Heavy machinery including 50-ton cranes and a German steam locomotive were mobilized in the construction of the 1,273 meter-long Wusantou Dam, the largest civil engineering project in Asia at the time. The locomotive which labored in the construction is proudly exhibited in a dam-side park. Along with the most advanced machinery of the time, traditional methods were also utilized including herds of water buffalos used to trample the surface into a firm foundation.

The project saw its completion in 1930, boosting the agricultural productivity of the region by an enormous margin. The waterways constructed channeled water to 150,000 hectares of farmland within the Chia-Nan Plains. The fertile spreads of farmland now seen within Tainan County are the direct fruits of this undertaking. The total project expense amounted to nearly one-half of an annual budget for the Taiwanese Viceroyship.
On may 5, 1942, Yoichi Hatta boarded a ship bound for the Philippines on assignment to evaluate the possibility of an irrigation project along with a party of Japanese scientists, economists, and industrial experts participating in the investigation of the newly occupied territory. The vessel, Taiyo-Maru encountered an American submarine -- SS210 Grenadier, and was sank off the Goto Islands on May 8th. Hatta was not among the survivors of the incident. His corpse was later miraculously recovered by a fisher boat operating off the coast of Yamaguchi.
Hatta's wife, Sotoyo received the tragic news in Wusanto, where she found refuge until the end of the war. On September 1, 1945, the very same day she reunited with her son who was evacuated in a different location during the war, Sotoyo drowned herself in a discharge channel which her husband toiled to build. The farewell note she left said, "I am following my beloved". It was two days before Japan signed the instrument of surrender and all Japanese were soon to be dismissed from Taiwan.

A grave overlooking the dam was made for the couple, one year after the death of the wife. It was set up by the beneficiaries of Hatta's grand undertaking -- the farmers of the Chia-nan region. In 1978, a memorial service was performed for Yoichi and Sotoyo, and a cenotaph was erected in Honren-Ji temple in Nagasaki, Japan.
A statue commemorating the commitment of Yoichi Hatta was erected adjacent to the dam on July 8, 1931. It was created with contributions gathered from the workers that engaged in the construction of the Chia-nan Irrigation River out of a sheer sense of respect for the young project leader. It depicted him in a very peculiar posture -- sitting down, fondling his hair with his right hand set on an uplifted knee. This was the style the engineer always took when he was sunk in deep thought. In the height of WWII, the statue mysteriously vanished when the State attempted its confiscation as a measure to purvey depriving metal. After the war, Kuomintang government took control of Taiwan. Showing affinity toward Japan and the Japanese were forbidden, deemed to be treasonous behavior. Buildings and monuments constructed under the rule of the Japanese were toppled down.
After the harsh reign of Chiang Kai-Shek, the statue reappeared in 1981 to the astonishment of the general public. It was carefully hidden in a warehouse within the region, and later within a lodging house of the Chia-nan Irrigation Association by its members despite the danger of material harm and even death. Ever since the restoration of the statue, memorial services are hosted by the Association on 8th of May each year, commemorating the anniversary of Yoichi's death.

The achievements of the civil engineer are not forgotten, passed down across the generations with unchanging feelings of gratitude. In recent years, the ceremony has become an opportunity for exchange among the Japanophiles of Taiwan, and the Japanese feeling affinity towards Taiwan.
On May 8th 2001, "Hatta Memorial Museum" was opened beside the waterway, introducing the vestiges of the Japanese civil engineer.

-- Source

八田與一没後70年で記念の絵はがきセット 台湾

産経新聞 5月7日(月)15時39分配信
八田與一の没後70年に当たる8日、台湾で発売される記念はがき、切手などの郵便セット (産経新聞)

- 70 years after the death of Yoichi Hatta the Post Office of Taiwan has issued a commemorative stamp along with the post card in his honor. (Updated May 11, 2012)

-- More about Yoichi Hatta (in Taiwanese/Chinese)

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