What was it like to live on Taiwan over 120 years ago? Follow Ino Kanori, a late Japanese anthropologist who kept extensive field notes, through this National Museum of Taiwan History exhibition to relive the extraordinary vitality of distinct cultures that co-existed upon this island in the early 1900s.
When Taiwan was ceded to Japan following the First Sino-Japanese War, Ino made the study of this new territory of the Japanese Empire his lifelong vocation. During his decade-long field work across the island, he published a great number of scholarly texts that continue to influence contemporary understanding of the cultures, inter-group relations, and history of old Taiwan.
Writing down observations by hand, traveling on foot, and observing society with his own eyes, Ino documented the languages he heard, studied their customs, and collected specimens. He then researched the origin stories and migration history of various ethnic groups, and established records of the history and development of many indigenous communities.
This exhibition shall present the details and importance of his findings through six themes in the sequence of prior, during, and after Ino's decade-long stay in Taiwan.
"Returning to the Field: Ino Kanori in Taiwan" will begin by introducing the transformative variables wrought by global political and economic change. The intricate social and inter-group relations of 19th-century Taiwan were impacted by Japan's takeover in 1895, as well as the modern political institutions and scientific knowledge that accompanied its rule.
The next section will present Ino's classification of the island's indigenous groups, which included an encyclopedic research structure encompassing physical, psychological, social and historic studies.
Another section will be devoted to the literature collected by Ino in regards to the history of Taiwan and the folkloric customs of the Han society. He also interviewed people and documented a wide range of folk traditions, amassing the earliest systematic research on the island's folk religions.
The last section will examine Ino (1867 – 1925) himself, from appraising and critiquing his field work process to showcasing diverse cultural performances that commemorate the pioneer who created the first foundation of knowledge about Taiwan.
‘Returning to the Field: Ino Kanori in Taiwan’