7. Punitive expedition war trophies from the Hengchun Peninsula

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

7. Punitive expedition war trophies from the Hengchun Peninsula

Source: Courtesy of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica, T0670P0103_15_0018–001 and T0670P0103_14_0012–001. 

These photos were published in the magazine Historical Photographs (Rekishi shashin), in April and May 1915. The photo on the left is captioned in English as “Trophies at the time of Subjugation in the 7th Year of Meiji.” The Japanese-language caption labels the artifacts as follows: “from the viewer’s right: bear claws, spear/pike/javelins, bows, guns, and gun covers, captured in the fighting that took place from May 22nd [Battle of Stone Gate] through June 4th [formal surrender of the villages].” The photo on the right is not captioned with an inventory of goods, but merely recalls the fact of Japanese victory in battle, labeling all of the goods in the picture as “spoils/trophies” of war. Like the imagery from the 1874 photographs in the previous frames, these items suggest that the Paiwan peoples Japan encountered in 1874 were combatants, if not particularly effective ones. Indeed, Paiwanese armed insurrections against the Japanese state lingered until the end of the Meiji period, perpetuating this emphasis in portrayals of Paiwan people.[1] Shōwa-period imagery of Paiwan peoples, however, moved away from martial themes (see frame 6), and depicted Paiwans as pacified, industrious, subjugated peoples (see frame 10).


[1]“The Disorder of the Paiwan Tribes,” Taiwan shashinkai 1, no. 3 (December 10, 1914), n.p., East Asia Image Collection, http://digital.lafayette.edu/collections/eastasia/cpw-shashinkai/ts0090, accessed December 18, 2015.