Photographs and Information about Taiwan's Culture, Nature and People by Rich Matheson

The Jiaobanian Incident 焦吧年事件

A post in progress……….

This lovely man has nothing to do with the Tapani Incident. I met him while I was looking for a ? temple, which are often associated with martyrs and in this area I was curious if it had associations with the incident. He was in a Buddhist temple across the street and I tried to ask him about the temple across the road. All I could really understand of his Taiwanese was him saying, “many many people died”. He gave me a book that he wrote and I hope to visit him again and give him this picture. I don’t think the temple had anything to do with the rebellion.

I became interested in Jiaobanian, pronounced Tapani in Taiwanese (which I will henceforth use because it is more common and easier to type), when I was searching for information about Bai Long An. I asked Eric what he knew about the incident and he lent me a book (KATZ, Paul R. 2005 When Valleys Turned Blood Red: the Ta-pa-ni incident in colonial Taiwan) that he found in ??? in America. This has to be the definitive English book about the uprising, a truly exhaustive and impartial research effort.


A pagoda dedicated to the martyr’s in a graveyard in Nanhua.


Basically the  Incident was a Taiwanese uprising against the Japanese colonial authorities that sent shock-waves through the colonial ranks all the way to the motherland because of the brutality of the initial uprising, subsequent crushing of, and the final meting of punishment (everybody that could be hung was hung).

A monument erected in memory of the tapani martyr’s in a graveyard in Nanhua

Recruiting and the sowing of seeds of dissent began in Tainan, especially the Xilai An, and most of the fighting/slaughtering occurred in what is now Yujin, Nanhua and Jiashian of Tainan and Kaohsiung Counties. The biggest slaughter took place in Yujin. Perhaps 2-3000 (although Katz feels these numbers are somewhat exaggerated) rebels stormed the city nearly overcoming 50 police officers with another 190 police enforcements before one thousand infantrymen and artillerymen came onto the scene. Obviously they turned the tide of the battle but it seems it was the villagers who suffered the most. Houses were burned and perhaps thousands of villagers were massacred, but if seems we may never know the exact numbers of people killed in the massacre. Yujin was then called Tapani.

and a close- up of the inscription

I commute weekly through this area. It is a rugged and  beautiful area.

He was writing a character and explaining what it meant, but I didn’t get it
This is a temple in Guidan, Yujin dedicated to Yu Ching-Fang. The caretaker is posing for me.

and an inscription on a rock that reads, “Place marker for rebellion against the Japanese.”

A bit of humor in Yujin. This sign reads “freshly slaughtered pure local chickens.” The blue characters are the name of the slaughterhouse, “Jiaobanian.”


4 responses

  1. Taokara

    To my knowledge, many place names in Taiwan have their origins in aboriginal languages. Tapani is just one of the examples. People at that time, tried to record the pronunciation of those names with Sinographs, which were then enunciated in Taiwanese. In this vein, Tapani would be more close to its original pronunciation than Jiaobanian, which is said in Mandarin.

    Another example for reference, 羅東 Luodong in Yilan, originally means monkey. It is just impossible for people to get the original meaning from the Sinographs that were just used phonetically.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    • Taokara,
      Thanks. And yes, you are absolutely correct. In fact, Taiwan comes from a Siryan language 西拉雅語言(Wikipedia).
      I’ll expand on Tapani at some time.

      March 17, 2010 at 9:35 am

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