22. Sakuma Samata’s memorial in Jiaobanshan

The Relics of Modern Japan's First Foreign War in Colonial and Postcolonial Taiwan, 1874-2015

22. Sakuma Samata’s memorial in Jiaobanshan

Sources: Left: East Asia Image Collection, Lafayette College. Right: Photograph by the curator, December 2014.

Lieutenant Sakuma Samata was the Japanese officer who led the imperial troops at the Stone Gate Battle on May 22, 1874. Like Kabayama Sukenori, Mizuno Jun, and Sagara Nagatsuna, who also participated in the events of 1874, Sakuma returned to Taiwan later in life to work for the Taiwan Government-General. Sakuma was the longest-serving Governor-General of Taiwan (1906–1915). Reflecting his deep involvement with “Aborigine Pacification,” a monument was built to Sakuma on Jiaobanshan, which is inland and up the mountains from Daxi in Taoyuan country. Daxi was called Dakekan (after the branch of the Danshui River) in late Qing times. It was the headquarters of the camphor export industry and an administrative hub for Qing intercourse with Taiwan Indigenous Peoples. Under Japanese rule, Dakekan continued to serve as an interchange zone between Japanese, Indigenous, and Han peoples, until Japanese military forces invaded in large numbers as part of Governor-General Sakuma’s Five-Year Campaign to Pacify the Aborigines. Many of the largest battles of this campaign occurred near Jiaobanshan 角板山, which became a light-rail terminal and military staging area in 1910. The photograph on the left shows the large monument to Sakuma built on Jiaobanshan (in today’s Fuxing municipality) to commemorate his military campaigns against Indigenous Peoples. The consecration ceremony was held on September 19, 1931, [1] a full two decades after Jiaobanshan had ceased to be a flashpoint of Indigenous-Japanese conflict. The photograph on the right, from December 2014, shows the round base of the Sakuma monument with its tower removed. Fuxing Township’s “History Lane” contains photographs and placards that recall these older episodes in the history of Japanese-Indigenous conflict, as does the Atayal Museum nearby. Unlike the complex of recent installations near Sichongxi on Pingdong, however, wars against Japan do not constitute the central theme of monumental commemoration in Fuxing/Jiaobanshan. But as the next image shows, public art in this part of Taiwan sometimes echoes the counternarrative of Indigenous martial prowess and valor that is on display in Xie Wende’s mural in Pingdong.


[1] Ogata Taketoshi, Taiwan dainenpyō (Taipei: Ogata Taketoshi, 1938; reprint, Taipei: Nantian shuju, 2001), 204.