COLONIAL UTOPIA: Residential and Industrial readjustment

The main Japanese colonial objectives were fabricated to impose structural change for Taiwan’s greater good, but to serve and boost Japan’s domestic economy. The Japanese government chose the”newly built” Taipei walled city as the new colonial capital, away from the southern part of Taiwan, which was still mostly being controlled by local resistance. The true reason why it was chosen, however, was because of its seaport facilities. The Japanese saw Taipei as a “money maker” for mainland Japan. Its seaport facilities would facilitate the export of all the resources, food and raw materials of Taiwan back to mainland Japan.

In order to exert more control and cultural dominance to achieve such economical objectives, the Japanese colonial government aimed to put Japanese in every level of the society in Taipei. In terms of residential locations for the Japanese immigrants, most of the officials, military officers and merchants spread out to neighboring areas from downtown Taipei, near the main administrative districts. Hence, during the early colonial times, the Japanese immigrant communities were more tight-knit and segregated from the Taiwanese inhabitants, especially when the Japanese were not welcomed by the Taiwanese before the Japanese helped them improving their infrastructure. At the start, most of the modernized development projects, including hospitals, police stations, cultural and educational institutes, were established in Japanese communities to mainly benefit Japanese colonial immigrants as a priority. Modern grid pattern of roads and sewer systems were developed in these Japanese communities near the Inner Wall City, but the Taiwanese communities in Manjia and Dadaocheng received very little colonial government investment in infrastructure. It was a very clear attempt in racial and social segregation between the Japanese and the local Taiwanese people.

Industrial establishments were inhabited by Taiwanese scattered across 3 main centers in the Taipei basin with large concentration of population, they are Manjia, the Inner City and Dadaocheng. As mentioned previously, the Inner City was chosen to be the center of the Japanese colonial Capital where the Japanese housed their governmental buildings. It is different story for Manjia and Dadaocheng. In 1914, a new CBD in West Gate area, called Ximending, was established to reinforce the commercial functions of the western areas centered around the old main railway station. As a result, the core commercial areas further shifted from Manjia and Dadaocheng to the CBD and railway station areas, especially when all the goods from rural Taiwan arrive at the railway station built by the Japanese. These goods would then be transferred to Manjia or Dadaocheng ports and later exported to China or Japan.

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