By Lin Chia Mei,Tainan,Taiwan
Former Exchange Student at Nagasaki Wesleyan University
Lived in Nagasaki April 2012 – February 2013
My name is Lin Chia Mei. I came from Taiwan to study as an exchange student in Nagasaki.
I finished my studies in February, and returned home to Tainan City.
I would like to tell Dejima Network readers about a place in Tainan which has links to Japan. In fact, this structure was built by a Japanese person.
Do you know where I am talking about?
It’s Wushantou Dam. The dam was built by a Japanese man named Hatta Yoichi, and was completed in 1930.
↑The entrance to Wushantou Dam
The reason I want to talk about this place is that recently there has been a lot of talk in the news around the themes of ‘the bonds between Japan and Taiwan’, the donation of cherry trees by the Japan Cherry Blossom Association, and ‘Sakura Diplomacy’.
Since 2003, Japan has donated 1000 Kawazu Sakura trees each year to Taiwan.
When they were first planted, the trees did not take root well, as they were not suited to Taiwan’s climatic conditions, but with hard work and care, the gardeners eventually managed to get the trees to bloom.
The cherry trees at Wushantou Dam are blooming especially beautifully. Even in Taiwan, one can enjoy Japanese cherry trees. Here, we can feel the links between Taiwan and Japan.
↑The trees are in flower from late February to March – in fact, as I write ^_^
There is another reason that I want to introduce this place. One cannot talk about Wushantou Dam without mentioning a certain character: the aforementioned builder of the dam, Hatta Yoichi. A statue of him can be found near the dam.
He is very well known inTaiwan: Most Taiwanese people know his name, and he features in school textbooks.
It would not be an overstatement to say that Hatta, a Japanese engineer who made an enormous contribution to farm irrigation in Taiwan, should be called the Patron of Taiwanese Agriculture. However, despite his popularity in Taiwan, it seems he is quite unknown in Japan.
The above URL links to a website with more pictures and a detailed explanation about the dam and Hatta (in Japanese), so if you have time, please take a look.
Near the end of the page is written the following: “Although many people in Taiwan know the story of Hatta Yoichi, basically the only Japanese people who know about him are those with a connection to Taiwan, or those involved in civil engineering. Although millions of Japanese people visit Taiwan every year, even among those in Taiwan, very few are aware of Hatta, who is so loved and respected by the Taiwanese”.
If I’m honest, I was surprised too – I thought he would be highly regarded in Japanas a historical hero.
So, I would like to take this opportunity to tell Japanese people and people from other countries that there is such a place in Taiwan, and that it was built by a Japanese person.
I hope that by reading this essay, you have been able to learn a little about the history of Wushantou Dam ^_^
Thank you for reading!
↑The scenery at Wushantou Dam, also called Jianan Dazun
↑The statue of Hatta Yoichi
（Wushantou Dam homepage [in Chinese]）
（Yahoo! Taiwan article [in Chinese]）