June 9, 2012

0242 TAIWAN – The Red House in Taipei

Now almost two months, when I presented a map of Formosa from 1856, I stopped with the island's history in that year. The building from the picture, erected in early 20th century, gives me the opportunity to make another few steps toward the present days. Having been the scene of some fighting during the Sino-French War (1884-1885), which haven't changed the island's statute, Taiwan was ceded  in 1895 to the Empire of Japan by the Qing Dynasty, which was defeated in the First Sino-Japanese War. After the cession, a number of notables from Taiwan decided to resist the transfer, and proclaimed the Republic of Formosa, but in only 5 months Japanese army occupied the island.

The occupants quickly understood that the island's administration wasn't an easy thing, especially that they lacked completely the experience, Taiwan being Japan's first overseas colony. The Japanese rule was instrumental in the industrialization of the island, extending the transportation networks, building an extensive sanitation system and establishing an education system. On the other hand, the brutal manner of governance led to increased of the anti-Japanese feelings, already existing, particularly among aboriginals, which had manifested through guerrilla raids and violent uprisings, atrocious suppressed by the Japanese army.

By 1905 the island had electric power, and in subsequent years Taiwan was considered the second-most developed region of East Asia after Japan. In 1907 a group consisting mainly of Hakka aborigines with the support of the local Saisiyat tribes, killed 57 Japanese officers and their relatives. As retribution, Japanese authorities killed more than 100 Hakka. In 1908 was erected the building from the picture, The Red House, Taiwan's first public market. And so on.

The Red House, a Western-style red-brick octagonal structure in Taipei, considered boldly creative at the time, was designed by Kondo Juro, a western-styled architect in the prefectural civil engineering office. After the Japanese defeat in WWII, large numbers of mainland Chinese immigrants settled in Taiwan, and this was the beginning of a glorious history for The Red House Theater, because the immigrants found comfort in Huyuan Beijing Opera, The Red house talk shown or Golden Drama. In 1960's, the Red House Movie Theater was popular among westernized youngsters, black & white martial arts movies, western films, local costume films, etc. being shown there. In 1997 The Red House was proclaimed a Class III Historical Site.

About the stamps
The first stamp, depicting Yushan (The Jade Mountain), is part of the series Travel in Taiwan, about which I wrote here.

The next belong to a second set of four stamps, featuring long-horned beetles and issued on January 26, 2011 (first was issued on May 21, 2010 - here):
Aeolesthes oenochrous (1.00 TWD) - it’s on the postcard
Doliops similis (3.50 TWD) - it's on other postcard
Thermistis taiwanensis (10.00 TWD)
Dorysthenes pici (32.00 TWD)

The third is one of the two issued by Chunghwa Post on December 1st, 2011, to commemorate the Year of Dragon (which started on January 23, 2012). The vignette of each of the stamps feature a dragon/s colored with purple and green against an orange background with yellow highlights:
• Staring into each other’s eyes: This pair of dragons represent the idea of belonging to each other and symbolizes that all one’s wishes will come true. (NT$3.50) – it’s on the postcard
• Holding its head up high and ready to spring into action: The image of this dragon represents pride and symbolizes joy and good health. (NT$13.00)

The last one, depicting the white tiger, is part of a second set of Lucky Animals, issued in 1993:
• the blue dragon (1.00 TWD)
• the white tiger (2.50 TWD) - it's on this postcard
• the linnet (9.00 TWD)
• the black tortoise (19.00 TWD)

sender: Amy Cheng / amy0906 (postcrossing)
sent from Taipei (Taiwan), on 18.12.2011
photo: Yuyen

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