反抗與歸順 － 臺灣原住民的歷史容顏
The History of Keelung Harbor
Final surrender of Bunung tribal leader Laho Ahmei
(Courtesy of Yuan-liou Publishing Co., Ltd.)
Over the half century of the Japanese colonial era, Taiwan Aborigines residing in mountain regions, especially the Taiya and Bunung tribespeople, undertook many heart-rending actions in resistance against Japanese rule, making the Japanese to view them as thorn in their sides and determine to remove them. A few of the better-known heroes who set a series of ripples into motion in this stream of history included Bunung tribesmen Raho Ari and Lamado Hsinghsing, and Mona Ludao of the Taiya tribe. For this week’s Window on Taiwan, the Taiwan News has invited Chan Su-chuan, Assistant Research Fellow of Academia Sinica Institute of Taiwan History (Preparatory Office) to recount this tragic epic from its inception to it denouement and discuss its historical significance.
Over the two centuries during which the Ch’ing Empire was in possession of Taiwan, it was never able to extend its control into the region of eastern Taiwan constituting present-day Hualien and Taitung counties, let alone into Taiwan’s central mountain regions. Hence, Aborigines east of Taiwan’s central mountain spine were able to preserve their traditional society and culture and maintain the independent, autonomous statuses of their tribes. After the the Ch’ing government’s ceding of territorial sovereignty to Japan, however, the encroachment of Japanese soldiers and police into these regions, with their superior modern weaponry, telegraph networks, security cordons and police outposts, brought about a major transformation of circumstances.
The Bunung resistance movement began in response to implementation of the weapons confiscation policy in eastern and southern Taiwan in Year 3 of the Taisho Imperial Era (1914). In order to bring the fearsome armed might of the Aborigines under effective control, the Viceroy’s Office undertook a program of forced confiscation of hunting rifles which the tribesmen depended upon for hunting. The Japanese police’s uncompromising execution of that policy prompted the Bunung people to kill policemen and take their guns, leading to a series of conflicts and suppression, pacification and extermination actions.
Raho Ari was chief of the Bunung settlement of Tafen in the region of present-day Hsinyi Prefecture of Nantou County. He was enraged by the Japanese police’s stratagem of tricking the able-bodied men in the Lakula Creek region to tour an airport in Hualien so that the police could search their villages while in weakened state and seize their hunting rifles. Consequently, in Taisho Year 4 (1915), he and his younger brother Ariman Shiken led 56 tribesmen in an attack on the police outpost at Tafen, killing all of the policemen there. In this action Laho Ahmei is said to have personally dispatched 7 policemen with his blade. Afterward, his clan went into hiding at Tamaho in the upper reaches of the Laonung Creek, establishing there a base inaccessible to the Japanese police. Tribesmen hastened from great distances in Taitung Ting and Hualien Ting [“ting" being a large administrative district of the time] to join forces with him, eventually comprising a community of 27 clans and 266 people, who launched a 20-year-long war of resistance against the Japanese police.
Another Bunung hero contemporaneous with Laho Ahmei was Ramata Yanyan of the Wulu area of Ebako She [“she" being a smaller district within a “ting"] in the Hsinwulu Creek basin, corresponding with present-day Haijui Prefecture in Taitung County. In the eyes of the Japanese police, he was regarded as “king of the ferocious barbarians" and as a “bold knave, the bane of barbarian managment in Taitung Ting."
Besides being a courageous and fearsome warrior, Ramata Yanyan had a lively intelligence and was skilled in tactics, his hit-and-run movements causing great headaches for the Japanese police. The Taitung Ting Police Chief Asano Yosio even went so far as to compare him with Hozio Soun, a famed Japanese ninja. In Taisho Year 3 (1914), after attacking and killing policemen at the Japanese police station in Hsinwulu, Ramata Yanyan led tribesmen into the deep mountains of the Talun Creek region to hide out in an area called Ichianomai. For well over a decade, no Japanese police were able to penetrate this area. In Showa Year 4 (1929) a land surveying team attached to the Japanese General Staff was still unable to access the region, leaving it blank on their high-mountain survey map, representing the only region in Taitung Ting which had not yet come under Japanese control.
From his base at Ichianomai, Ramata Yanyan would cross the security cordon of Patungkuan and suddenly appear and disappear in neighboring locales, leading tribesmen in attacks on police in Kaohsiung Chou [“chou" being an administrative region intermediate between “ting" and “she"], Hualien Ting, and the Hsinwulu area of Taitung Ting. Because he enjoyed considerable prestige in the region of the Wulu security cordon and could influence the actions of the neighboring Aboriginal communities, the Japanese police were quite concerned about him and were afraid that if they were too aggressive in hunting him down, it might spark a full-scale uprising. For this reason they persisted in applying a policy of moderation, hoping that Ramata Yanyan would voluntarily surrender and submit to Japanese rule.
Mona Lutao with fellow tribespeople
(Courtesy of Yuan-liou Publishing Co., Ltd.)
Mona Rudao was a Taiya tribesman of the Sedeq sub-tribe in the Wushe region of present-day Nantou County. In his youth he was known for his truculent nature. Upon his father’s death, he succeeded him as chief of the Mahebo She tribal region, thus becoming one of the most influential leaders in the larger Wushe region.
In Taisho Year 1 (1911), Mona Rudao paid a visit to Japan. During his journey, he noted the kindly manner in which the police treated the people, thus becoming more sensitized to the brute force and discriminatory treatment meted out by the Taiwan colonial “barbarian management police." In Showa Year 5 (1930) the Japanese planned to erect a school and dormitory in Wushe, with the people of Mahepo She serving as porters of timber. Besides the scanty wages and difficulty of the work which made them feel like slave laborers, they were extremely incensed at the Japanese’ felling trees in their tribal hunting grounds and ancestral lands. Due to this pubic outrage and out of personal desire for revenge for an insult to his eldest son when offering a toast to the Japanese and for his younger sister’s being abandoned by her Japanese husband, on October 27, Mona Rudao led more than 300 tribesmen in a surprise attack upon Japanese in attendance at an athletic meet held at Wushe Public School, killing 134 Japanese — the event referred to in history books as the “Wushe Incident." In the aftermath of the event, the Japanese sent a large contingent of soldiers, police and military aircraft to Wushe to put down the rebellion. Seeing that his people had suffered heavy casualties and had become powerless to resist, Mona Rudao ordered his clan to commit mass suicide, and, in order not to deprive the enemy of his head, he made his way into the deep mountains where he committed suicide with a spear.
The end of Aborigine resistance and consolidation of Japanese rule
These three Aborigine heroes ultimately met with different fates. After the Japanese had fully established a tight security ring in Kuanshan, Laho Ahmei came to realize that he had already lost the advantage. So, in Showa Year 8 (1933), he submitted to Japanese colonial rule, passing his waning years in Pipiwu (present-day Fuhsing Village in Taoyuan Prefecture, Kaohsiung County) and dying at the age of 90.
Recalcitrant Ramata Yanyan repeatedly carried out raids on police outposts and killed Japanese, provoking great official concern as the consequence of the Takuanshan Incident. Finally, after a determined search for him by a contingent of 88 police and 140 road construction workers, he was apprehended in Showa Year 7 (1932) along with his eldest son, fourth son and others and was executed at year’s end.
The skeleton of Mona Rudao, who had fled into the deep mountains and committed suicide, was stumbled upon by a Japanese in Showa Year 8 (1933). Out of revenge, his skeleton was put on public display at an exhibition, following which it was sent to Taipei Imperial University [forerunner of National Taiwan University] as a research specimen. It was not until 1974 that Mona Rudao’s remains were finally returned to for burial and could rest in peace.
When Raho Ari submitted to Japanese rule, the Japanese held a grand ceremony to dramatize the event. After the Takuanshan Incident, the Japanese police deployed strong armed forces and actively carried out “group relocation," forcing Bunung village communities to vacate their former high-mountain habitats and move within security cordons to facilitate control of them. After the Wushe Incident, the Japanese investigated its causes and subsequently adopted a policy toward the Taiya people of selective suppression balanced by benign pacification. From that time forward, extension of Japanese rule over the central mountain regions was consummated, and the relationship between the Aborigines and the Japanese colonial government entered a new phase.
Edited by Tina Lee/ translated by James Decker