Monument to honor Taiwanese farmers unveiled at Ishigaki

Monument to honor Taiwanese farmers unveiled at Ishigaki

On August 10, the unveiling ceremony of the monument to honor Taiwanese farmers was held at Nagura in Ishigaki.

August 11, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

On August 10, an unveiling ceremony of a monument to honor Taiwanese farmers was held in the southern parking area of Nagura Dam on Ishigaki. These farmers introduced the pineapple industry and water buffalo culture to Yaeyama in the prewar period and contributed greatly to agricultural development on the island. About 100 people attended the ceremony, including local residents who worked to establish the monument and descendants of the Taiwanese farmers. In the past, there has been friction between Taiwanese immigrants and locals, but now these people have created a new page in Yaeyama history.

In 1935, the Daido-Takushoku Pineapple Company in central Taiwan recruited 330 people of about 60 households, and these workers and their families migrated to Nagura and Takeda areas in Ishigaki. They used water buffaloes to develop previously untamed land, but local people who had plowed their land manually felt threatened and this created conflict between the two groups. As a result,
Taiwanese farmers suffered a great deal of discrimination from the local people.
However, the agricultural know-how that the Taiwanese immigrants brought with them was innovative and made an enormous contribution to agriculture in Yaeyama. For this reason, last March, people from various communities established a group to erect a monument to recognize the contribution of the Taiwanese immigrants.

Tsuyoshi Iha, the president of the group, said, “We built the monument to recognize the achievements of Taiwanese farmers in a lasting way. I really appreciate what they did.” He went on to say that he hoped to maintain the current level of friendly relations, which had changed from the antagonism that existed just half a century ago.

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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