20. The destruction of Mudan Village

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

20. The destruction of Mudan Village

Sources: Left: Photograph by the curator, June 2015. Right: [ts0054] “The Positions of the Mountain Artillery and Mortar Corps on Mt. Manju; Toboko Village,” Taiwan Photographic Monthly 1, no. 2 (December 1914), available at  http://digital.lafayette.edu/collections/eastasia/cpw-shashinkai/ts0054#, accessed December 18, 2015.

On the left is a detail from a panel of Xie Wende’s 2009 mural depicting the final act of the Japanese campaign: the immolation of Mudan Village. According to Gao Jiaxin, the Mudan people had evacuated by the time the troops arrived. However, when the Taiwan Government-General established itself in Pingdong County’s walled city of Hengchun two decades later in 1895, Paiwan leaders were eager to work with the Japanese government. Japan’s first educational installations for Taiwan Indigenous Peoples were erected here in the early twentieth-century, while the Taiwan Government-General appointed Pan Wenjie, a young Paiwan interpreter during the 1874 expedition, to manage affairs in rural Pingdong as an intermediary between the state and local society.[1] Nonetheless, fierce armed resistance in other areas of Paiwan territory continued into the mid-1910s. The 1915 photograph on the left shows a Japanese village-torching operation farther north, in Truku/Taroko territory, at the tail end of Japan’s largest military operation against Taiwan Indigenous Peoples of that decade. The posture of the man in the foreground, with face averting the flames, suggests the high temperatures generated by these operations.


[1] Inō Kanori, ed., Riban shikō dai ikkan (Taipei: Taiwan sōtokufu keisatsu honsho, 1918), 85–87.