Pin-han Wang, Ph.D. student ,Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature, National Taiwan University
Go Southward to Taiwan is a promotional documentary produced by the Governor-General’s Office in the 1940s to celebrate forty years of Japanese rule over the island.
This clip’s footage features Tainan, the oldest city in Taiwan and the island’s former capital. In 1661, Chinese warlord Koxinga expelled the Dutch and took over the Dutch colonial enterprise in Taiwan. The Dutch Fort Provintia, in what is today Tainan City, was renamed “Chikan Tower” and used as the headquarters for Koxinga’s campaign against the Qing dynasty. In 1684, Qing troops landed in Taiwan, and for the first time the island was incorporated into China.
Tainan was the political and economic center of Taiwan until 1875, when Liu Mingchuan, the first Qing governor of the newly established province of Taiwan, relocated the capital from Tainan to Taipei. The saying, “First Tainan, second Lugang and third Monga” perfectly sums up the importance of the southern city during the Qing period. In 1911, urban planning projects demolished many of Tainan’s old streets and temples. But even today the city still hosts several impressive Qing-era structures that date back some 400 years.
Koxinga is an important figure in the history of Taiwan. He has long enjoyed national-hero status and has been worshipped as a deity. His willingness to swear allegiance to the Ming court and cut off ties with his father, his domination of the seas, and his mixed background – he was the son of a Chinese father and a Japanese mother – made him a political totem that various regimes have been keen to exploit.
A 1914 biography of Koxinga by Japanese writer Takatori Gakuyo makes much of the Japanese identity of Koxinga’s mother, Lady Tagawa. The writer also highlights Koxinga’s image as a loyal supporter of the Ming court and his decision not to follow his father in surrendering to Qing forces, interpreting these actions as being rooted in the “Japanese spirit.” This portrayal undermined the legitimacy of the Qing rule and strengthened that of Japanese colonial rule. Go Southward to Taiwan: Tainan reports that a Han Chinese temple dedicated to Koxinga was converted into a Shinto shrine, the only example of such a transformation during the Japanese colonial period and a testament to Koxinga’s enduring propaganda value.
|Related Literary Themes：||Taiwan Literature under Japanese Colonial Rule|