‘Civilising’ and ‘Modernising’ the Feet

Their Emancipation, Domestication and Aestheticisation in Colonial Taiwan (1895–1945)

in European Journal of East Asian Studies
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The feet of Taiwanese people, both men and women, went through a variety of experiences during Japanese colonial rule. The bodily practices of the colonised were repeatedly problematised and scrutinised under the Japanese colonial gaze, at the same time as their perception of their own bodies gradually changed with the transformation of society. This study will examine the body experience of the colonised Taiwanese through their feet—bound feet and bare feet—looking at different subjects at different periods of colonisation. It will analyse the process through which the feet of the colonised people were emancipated, domesticated and aestheticised as a result of the cooperation between the colonial authorities and the local elites as well as literary, cultural and iconographic representation.

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References

15

During the 1870s, Japanese prefectures published several orders prohibiting customs considered uncivilised by Westerners living in Japan. Later, each prefecture issued a series of regulations (Ishiki Kaii Jorei) aimed at restraining behaviour that was considered to flout modern standards of hygiene, public security and public morals and decency, among other things. See Haruta Kunio, ‘Ishiki kaii jōrei no kenkyū: Bunmei kaika to shomin seikatsu no sōkoku’ (A study of Ishiki Kaii ordinances: the conflict of civilisation and enlightenment and the lives of the common people), Bulletin of Beppu University Junior College, Vol. 13 (1994), pp. 33–48; Momose Hibiki, Bunmei kaika: ushinawareta fūzoku (Civilisation and Enlightenment: The Lost Customs) (Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan, 2008).

16

Meiji Bunka Kenkyūkai, Meiji bunka zenshū: dai 21-kan, bunmei kaika hen (Complete Works on Meiji Culture: Vol. 21. Civilisation and Enlightenment) (Tokyo: Nihon Hyōronsha, 1993), p. 10.

17

Meiji Bunka Kenkyūkai, Meiji bunka zenshū, pp. 9–10.

20

Rinji Taiwan Kokō Chōsabu, Meiji sanjūhachinen rinji Taiwan kokō chōsa kijutsu hōbun (The Report on the Special Investigation of Taiwanese Households in the 38th Year of the Meiji Era) (Taipei: Rinji Taiwan Kokō Chōsabu, 1908), p. 353.

21

See , Kindai Taiwan joseishi, pp. 26–27, 58–63.

22

Taiwan Sōtokufu Keimukyoku, Taiwan sōtokufu keisatsu enkakushi dainihen ryōtai igo no chian jōkyō (jōkan) (History of the Police of the Government-General of Taiwan. Vol. 2 (1): The Situation of Public Security in Taiwan since the Colonisation) (Taipei: Taiwan Sōtokufu Keimukyoku, 1938), p. 741.

24

Wu, Rizhi shiqi Taiwan de shehui lingdao jieceng, pp. 210–216.

26

, Kindai Taiwan joseishi, pp. 240–242; Howard S. Levy, Chinese Footbinding; The History of a Curious Erotic Custom (New York: Rawls, 1966), p. 100.

27

Taiwan Sōtokufu Keimukyoku, Taiwan sōtokufu keisatsu enkakushi dainihen ryōtai igo no chian jōkyō, p. 746.

28

Taiwan Sōtokufu Keimukyoku, Taiwan sōtokufu keisatsu enkakushi dainihen ryōtai igo no chian jōkyō, p. 746. See also the role of the Lin family in the anti-footbinding movement in Chen, ‘Kaitensoku Undō (1900–1915)’, pp. 21–22.

29

On the queue-cutting movement, see Wu, Rizhi shiqi Taiwan de shehui lingdao jieceng, pp. 209–216, 236–255. The queue-cutting movement proved more efficient than the anti-footbinding movement because bound feet crucially concerned a girl’s future marriage in the traditional society.

32

You Jianming, Rijushiqi Taiwan de nüzi jiaoyu (Female Education in Taiwan under Japanese Rule) (Taipei: Guoli Taiwan shifan daxue lishi yanjiusuo, 1988), pp. 99–101.

34

Wu, Rizhi shiqi Taiwan de shehui lingdao jieceng, pp. 85–86, 115–117; E. Patricia Tsurumi, Japanese Colonial Education in Taiwan, 1895–1945 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), pp. 45–47.

37

See examples given in Kō, Kindai Taiwan joseishi, pp. 70–71.

38

See , Kindai Taiwan joseishi, pp. 61–62, 70–71.

39

Wu, Rizhi shiqi Taiwan de shehui lingdao jieceng, p. 226.

43

Rinji Taiwan Kokō Chōsabu, Taishō Yonnen Dainikai Rinji Taiwan Kokō Chōsa Kijutsu Hōbun (The Report on the Second Special Investigation of Taiwanese Households in the Fourth Year of the Taisho Era) (Taihoku: Rinji Taiwan Kokō Chōsabu, 1918), p. 392.

44

Rinji Taiwan Kokō Chōsabu, Taishō Yonnen Dainikai Rinji Taiwan Kokō Chōsa Kijutsu Hōbun, p. 393.

47

, Kindai Taiwan joseishi, pp. 71–72.

48

Tsurumi, Japanese Colonial Education in Taiwan, pp. 221–224.

54

Satō Giryō, Gendai ryōki sentan zukan (Pictorial of the Modern, Curiosity-Hunting, and Avant-Garde) (Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 1931), p. 208.

64

Lian Heng, Taiwan Tongshi (General History of Taiwan), (Tainan: Lian Heng, 1920), p. 570. The author Lian Heng began to write the General History of Taiwan in 1908 and the book was first published in 1920.

65

Nishioka Hideo, Taiwan no fūzoku (Customs in Taiwan) (Tokyo: Yūzankaku, 1973), p. 10.

77

In July 1920, the Government-General applied a system of local autonomy in the name of adapting to the transformation of Taiwanese society. This policy was widely criticised by Taiwanese elites because the positions open to Taiwanese people didn’t possess any real executive power and the selection process was unjust. See Wu, Rizhi shiqi Taiwan de shehui lingdao jieceng, pp. 184–207.

81

Nishioka, Taiwan no fūzoku, p. 10.

82

Washinosu, Taiwan hokō kōminka-tokuhon, p. 224.

83

Washinosu, Taiwan hokō kōminka-tokuhon, p. 219.

84

See Wu, Rizhi shiqi Taiwan de shehui lingdao jieceng, pp. 229–232; Wu Chi-Hao, ‘Yangfeng, Hefeng, Taiwanfeng: duoyuan Zarou de Taiwan Hanren Fuzhuang Wenhua (1624–1945)’ (Western, Japanese and Taiwanese style: the multicultural hybridity of Han clothing in Taiwan (1624–1945)), PhD dissertation, NCNU, Nantou City, Taiwan (2012), pp. 82–89. In China, it was the promotion of the movement of ‘cutting hair queue and changing clothing’ (duanfa yifu), which appeared in the end of the Qing dynasty, that became a national mobilisation during the revolution.

90

Shimoyama, Hokō Jōshiki Tokuhon, p. 68.

Figures

  • Figure 1

    ‘The emancipation of women’ (josei no kaihō): this illustration represents the daily afternoon scene of young staff members from a hospital in Taipei playing tennis in a nearby parkIllustration from Taiwan nichinichi shinpō (22 May 1926)

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  • Figure 2

    ‘Women’s running feet’ (josei no kakeashi)Illustration from Taiwan nichinichi shinpō (1 January 1930)

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  • Figure 3

    Pictures from Satō, Gendai ryōki sentan zukan(Pictures of the Modern, Curiosity-Hunting and Avant-Garde) (Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 1931)

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  • Figure 4

    Picture from Fūkō Taiwan(Landscape of Taiwan) (Taipei: Taiwan Sōtokufu Kōtsūkyoku Tetsudōbu, 1939)

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  • Figure 5

    Picture from a tourist guidebook; Nishikawa Eiichi, Taiwan fūkei(Landscape of Taiwan) (Taipei: Tōaryokōsha, 1941)

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  • Figure 6

    Illustration from Taiwan nichinichi shinpō(3 May 1925)

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  • Figure 7

    Pictures from Washinosu, Taiwan hokō kōminka-tokuhon(no pagination)

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  • Figure 8

    Taiwan nichinichi shinpō(8 September, 1932)

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  • Figure 9

    This picture represents two aboriginal girls being taken to the school by their elder sisters, as explained the original caption. Picture from Yamamoto Chie and Sugiyama Shizuo (eds) Nanpō no kyoten. Taiwan: shashin hōdō(The Deep South. Taiwan: Photo Coverage) (Tokyo: Tōkyō Asahi shinbunsha, 1944), p. 53

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