10. The tourist’s Stone Gate of the 1930s

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

10. The tourist’s Stone Gate of the 1930s

Sources: Left: East Asia Image Collection [ip1232] [Sekimon, Hengchun Peninsula], available at http://digital.lafayette.edu/collections/eastasia/imperial-postcards/ip1232, accessed on December 18, 2015. Right: National Central Library, Taiwan, Taiwan Memory #002414035, available at http://memory.ncl.edu.tw/tm_cgi/hypage.cgi?HYPAGE=index_e.hpg, accessed on December 18, 2015. Image courtesy of the Taiwan National Central Library 國家図書館. 

The color postcard of Stone Gate provides a jarring contrast to earlier imagery. This lithograph was published in the 1930s. It shows a road cut into the side of the cliffs and concrete or stone retaining walls between the rocky hillsides and the road itself. These walls would become the site for Xie Wende’s 2009 mural. The postcard on the right is from a hot springs spa near Stone Gate, in Sichongxi. Enterprising Japanese have built spas for other Japanese in Sichongxi since 1897, but they were subject to business cycles, attacks from Paiwan peoples, and other vicissitudes.[1] By the 1930s, however, the Sichongxi spas were mentioned in travel guides, found on maps, and easily accessible by road.[2] To this day, visitors to Stone Gate will find a spa complex located on the approach to the ancient battlefield. The Paiwan people depicted in the postcard are called the “Stone Gate Savages” 石門蕃人 in Japanese. This term must have been meant for tourists who associated Mudan Village and other neighboring Paiwan settlements with the ancient battlefield. In contrast to the Paiwan sitters in the 1874 photographs from this region (see frame 6), these Paiwanese present little menace to the viewer. One of the sitters is clearly averting her eyes from the camera and appears to be under some amount of strain.


[1] Sugiyama, Taiwan meisho kyūseki-shi, 266–267.

[2] Taiwan Sōtokufu Kōtsūkyoku tetsudō-bu, Taiwan tetsudō ryokō annai Shōwa kyū-nen han (Taipei: Taiwan Sōtokufu Kōtsūkyoku tetsudō-bu, 1934). Reprinted in Korekushon: Modan toshi bunka dai 84 ken: Taiwan no modanizumu, ed., Mizutani Maki, (Tokyo: Yumani shobō, 2012), 211–257.