epaper

What Happened at Wushe

Following the Footsteps of "Seediq Bale" in Ren'ai Township


Seen on a map, Ren'ai Township in central Taiwan's Nantou County looks deceivingly small and compact. But, as someone who has traveled here extensively, I assure you an in-depth exploration of its history, indigenous culture, and mountain forests requires several days at minimum. This township is famed for its spectacular displays of cherry blossoms in early spring and brilliant red maple leaves in fall, and is home to members of the indigenous Atayal, Sediq, and Bunun tribes.
By Cheryl Robbins

A discussion of Ren'ai Township's history must include references to the Wushe Incident. Numerous movies have been made about this event. The newest and most anticipated is "Seediq Bale" (www.seediqbalethemovie.com), the first epic film about Taiwan's indigenous history, written and directed by Wei Te-sheng. Wei shot to fame in 2008 with the release of "Cape No. 7," which became the third-highest grossing film in Taiwan history.
"Seediq Bale" is set to be released in two parts, "The Rising Sun Flag" and "The Rainbow Bridge," on September 9 and 30 this year, respectively. The former refers to the military flag of Japan and the latter to a belief among the Sediq that after death one can be reunited with the tribe's ancestral spirits by crossing a rainbow bridge. These are keys to the message of the movie – Wei depicts the Sediq and the Japanese fighting each other over their fundamental beliefs, but forgetting that no matter whether they believe in the rising sun or in the rainbow bridge, they both share a belief in the same sky.
As this is an important story for Taiwan's indigenous people, Wei cast actors from the Sediq, Atayal, and Truku tribes, both professional and non-professional, in the numerous indigenous roles. Much of the dialogue in this movie is in the Sediq language, with subtitles in Chinese and English. Wei is convinced that "Seediq Bale" will have international appeal, as struggles for freedom have taken place in many places over many periods of history, and the film thus highlights a universal concept.
"Seediq Bale" was filmed in several locations, including the mountainous areas of northern and eastern Taiwan. The movie set used to film scenes of Wushe in 1930 is located in New Taipei City's Linkou District. Following the shooting, the New Taipei City government has been carrying out renovations and will open it to the public this September.
The Sediq and the Japanese fought each other over their beliefs, though both shared a belief in the same sky

 

A good starting point in your exploration of this historical event and Ren'ai Township is the Mona Rudao Memorial Park, located in Wushe along Provincial Highway No. 14, near the Ren'ai Township Administrative Office. Towards the end of the fighting with the Japanese, Mona Rudao committed suicide while hiding in a cave, refusing to be taken prisoner. Many years later he was laid to rest in this memorial park, the entrance of which is marked by an elegant white gateway.
Continue along No. 14 to the Lushan Hot Springs. Take the road that leads uphill, past the hot-spring resorts, and follow the signs to the Old Mahepo Battlefield. It is claimed that this is where the fighting continued with the Japanese once the Sediq warriors retreated from Wushe. However, locals say that the actual battlefield is several kilometers away in the adjacent forest and is nearly impossible to reach even on foot. Today, the Lushan area is a place to soak up the tranquil mountain scenery and to soak in relaxing hot-spring waters.
Between Wushe and the Lushan Hot Springs, you will pass the Sediq village of Chunyang, which is also blessed with natural hot springs and inspiring mountain scenery, as well as the bright-red Yunlong Bridge. Sculptures of Sediq warriors in traditional clothing decorate both ends. Standing inconspicuously next to this landmark are the remains of one end of an older version of the bridge. Mona Rudao destroyed this bridge to keep the Japanese from entering what is today the Lushan Community and punishing its residents for their participation in the resistance.
The best way to get around Ren'ai Township is using your own vehicle. The Nantou Bus Transportation Co. offers bus services to many, but not all, parts of Ren'ai Township, and services are not frequent. Having your own transportation allows you to take in a larger number of sights, as some are located off of Provincial Highway No. 14 and some off of Provincial Highway 21. For example, along Nantou County Road No. 80, via Provincial Highway No. 21, is the Qingliu Community of Huzhu Village. This is the site for the closing scenes of the Wushe Incident. The more than 200 survivors, members of Mona Rudao's family and his supporters, were brought here by the Japanese, where the confluence of the Meiyuan and Beigang rivers forms an islet – in other words, a natural prison.

Today, the Qingliu Community is connected to the outside world by a bridge, and for a time a tourism boon was enjoyed due to an inflow of government subsidies. The Wushe Incident Aftermath Museum, weaving workshops, and a traditional Sediq watchtower were constructed. However, the subsidies have since dried up and only one homestay and one workshop remain. The museum, which can still be visited with advance reservation (contact the Qingliu Community Development Association), includes a large number of historical photographs from the period of the Wushe Incident and descriptions of what conditions were like for the survivors. Tours in Chinese are led by the community residents themselves. On the day that Travel in Taiwan visited, one of our guides was a granddaughter of Mona Rudao. In addition, the women of the village have formed a group to provide demonstrations of Sediq traditional weaving techniques, also with advance reservation.
If your thirst for historical knowledge has been quenched and you would like to experience more of the natural beauty of this township, continue along Nantou County Road No. 80 to the end, about a 10-minute drive from the Qingliu Community. This will bring you to the Huisun Forest Recreation Area, where you can hike forest trails, take a nap in a hammock suspended between towering trees, and splash around in the crystal-clear waters of a stepped waterfall.
There is much more to explore of Ren'ai Township's history, culture, and natural beauty than can be explained in a few pages of a magazine. As only a few areas of the township have been developed for tourism, this is the perfect place for those seeking to get off the beaten path and discover the stories and sights that make Taiwan so unique.

The Lushan area is today a place to soak up the tranquil mountain scenery and to soak in the relaxing hot-spring waters

REN'AI TOWNSHIP ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE (仁愛鄉公所)
Tel: (049) 280-3973
Website: www.renai.gov.tw
QINGLIU COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION
(清流社區發展協會)
Tel: (049) 294-1923, 294-1085 or 294-1058
HUISUN FOREST RECREATION AREA (惠蓀林場)
Tel: (049) 294-2001~3
Website: http://huisun.nchu.edu.tw
NANTOU BUS TRANSPORTATION COMPANY (南投客運)
Tel: (049) 298-4031 (Puli Bus Station)
Website: www.ntbus.com.tw
ENGLISH & CHINESE
Atayal Tribe 泰雅族
Beigang River 北港溪
Bunun Tribe 布農族
Chunyang 春陽
Huisun Forest Recreation Area 惠蓀林場
Huzhu Village 互助村
Linkou District 林口區
Lushan Hot Springs 廬山溫泉
Mahepo Community 馬赫坡社
Meiyuan River 眉原溪
Mona Rudao 莫那魯道
Mona Rudao Memorial Park 莫那魯道紀念公園
Old Mahepo Battlefield 馬赫坡古戰場
Qingliu Community 清流社區
Ren'ai Township 仁愛鄉
Sediq Tribe 賽德克族
Seediq Bale 賽德克·巴萊
The Rainbow Bridge 彩虹橋
The Rising Sun Flag 太陽旗
Truku Tribe 太魯閣族
Wei Te-sheng 魏德聖
Wushe 霧社
Wushe Incident 霧社事件
Wushe Incident Aftermath Museum 餘生紀念文物館
Yunlong Bridge 雲龍橋

Travel in Taiwan
GuluGulu
Indigenous Cuisine in the Heart of a Big City
By Cheryl Robbins
Selection of GuluGulu's meat dishes
Located a block away from the entrance to one of Taichung City's major attractions, the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, GuluGulu Music Restaurant exudes – inside and outside – the spirit of simplicity and hospitality found in Taiwan's indigenous villages.
GuluGulu was opened by Jang Kn Jang (Chinese name: Qiu Jin-ming), who is from the Paiwan Tribe. He notes that, traditionally, indigenous cuisine incorporated few spices and the natural flavors were allowed to come through. Before refrigeration became common, meat, such as that of the wild boar, and grains, such as millet, were heavily fermented. These were complemented with what could be gathered fresh, such as wild greens. Although modified to appeal to the modern palate, the cuisine served at the restaurant is inspired by the food Qiu grew up eating in his village in Taitung County in southeastern Taiwan.
The most popular selections at the restaurant are the meat dishes. Examples are the stone-grilled pork and spring chicken. Another favorite is "warrior tofu," a tofu fried until crispy outside and mixed with salty egg. For vegetarians, a very tasty vegetable and millet casserole is also available.
The menu includes set meals that come with ah vaias an appetizer. Ah vaiis a mix of millet and meat wrapped and steamed in leaves, and is a modification of a traditional Paiwan dish. This is followed by soup and a choice of entree. Set meals range in price from NT$380 to NT$520. Qiu is also open to requests to put together a special menu for small groups; the advantage to this method is that it is possible to sample a wider variety of dishes.
On most nights there are live music performances, and it is often Qiu himself who takes the stage. He likes to interact with his audience, asking for requests and even inviting people to sing with him. At GuluGulu, people come for the food but stay for the fun.
Indigenous art outside the restaurant
At GuluGulu, people come for the food but stay for the fun
Warm ambience inside the restaurant
GULU GULU MUSIC RESTAURANT
(咕嚕咕嚕音樂餐廳)
Add: 2, Lane 13, Wuquan West 4th St.,
Taichung City (台中市五權西四街13巷2號)
Tel: (04) 2378-3128
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Travel in Taiwan
All-in-One
Vacation Spot
Camping, Hot Springs, Panoramic
Views, and Indigenous Culture
By Cheryl Robbins
A glass-bottom platform offers splendid views of the resort and the surrounding mountains
To say that the Atayal Resort in Nantou County's Ren'ai Township "has it all" would not be an overstatement. You would be hard pressed to run out of things to do during your stay here. One of its many attractions is its natural spring water, available in outdoor hot and cold pools complete with sauna area.
Accommodation options are numerous, and include two campgrounds featuring barbecue facilities. Bring your own food or ask the resort staff to prepare the necessary ingredients for you (this should be done in advance). The Atayal Palace is where you will want to stay for VIP treatment, with hot-spring suites that allow you to bathe in the soothing local waters in the privacy of your room. Guests can also stay in cozy wooden cottages.
Food is available in two restaurants, a snack bar, and a small convenience store. At night, view an indigenous-dance performance by a local troupe. There are also several gardens and eco-tours focused on the unique local plant life.
The resort's name comes from one of Taiwan's largest tribes, the Atayal, and all around the resort are explanatory panels with descriptions of various aspects of Atayal culture. Overlooking this more-than-50-hectare resort is a giant statue of Mona Rudao, the Sediq leader of a rebellion against Japanese occupying forces in 1930, called the WusheIncident. The Sediq were once thought to be part of the Atayal, but were officially recognized as a separate tribe in 2008. A steep path leads up to the statue; those not up to the climb can take the resort's mini train. The reward for reaching the top is a glass-bottom platform from which a splendid view of the resort below and the surrounding mountains and indigenous villages can be enjoyed. Adjacent to this platform is a series of tunnels with dioramas that explain events happening before, during, and after the Wushe Incident.
A great-value day pass costing NT$250 can be used to access all of the resort's attractions, excluding accommodation and dining.
Overlooking this more-than- 50-hectare resort is a giant statue of Mona Rudao
Guestroom inside wooden cottage
ATAYAL RESORT (泰雅渡假村)
Add: 45, Qingfeng Road, Huzhu Village,
Ren'ai Township, Nantou County
(南投縣仁愛鄉互助村清風路45號)
Tel: (049) 246-1311
Website: www.atayal.com.tw (Chinese)
Photos/ Maggie Song
ENGLISH & CHINESE
Atayal Tribe 泰雅族
Mona Rudao莫那魯道
Ren'ai Township 仁愛鄉
Sediq Tribe 賽德克族
Wushe Incident 霧社事件
P8-17- FEATURE-final 數三.indd 14 2011/8/26 4:02:48 PM

 

 

Woven Beauty
Ren'ai Township's National Treasure
By Cheryl Robbins
In Sediq tribal tradition, women with facial tattoos were those who had proven their skill at weaving. These tattoos involved one or several vertical lines on the forehead and patterns across both cheeks and around the mouth, and were a symbol of entry into adulthood and eligibility for marriage. Although facial tattooing is no longer practiced, the women of the Sediq tribe are still considered outstanding weavers.
Bagan-Narwee (Chinese name: Chang-Hu Ai-Mei), also known affectionately as Mama Chang, began learning how to weave at the age of eight. Now, at 80, she is, even without facial tattoos, considered a national treasure as one of the most experienced and talented Sediq weavers.
Among the best "mementoes" of a trip to Ren'ai Township are memories of time spent with Mama Chang at her workshop in Chunyang Village, along Prov. Hwy No. 14 near the picturesque Chunyang Catholic Church. Mama Chang is very willing to share her knowledge, explaining the materials used in traditional weaving and how they were processed and dyed. International visitors will also find the visit valuable, as she speaks some English.
If you let her know in advance, she can set up the antique horizontal backstrap loom left to her by her mother and provide a short demonstration of traditional weaving techniques. She keeps other antiques in her workshop as well, such as the woven cloth used to transport her on her mother's back when she was an infant. Although used and washed many times, the cloth's colors appear almost as bright as when new. Mama Chang designs patterns based on traditional Sediq colors and motifs, such as facial-tattoo patterns, and incorporates them into modern and functional products such as handbags, backpacks, clothing, coin purses, and cellphone holders. There are also display cases that hold larger pieces that can be used as table runners or tablecloths, each handmade and a one-of-a-kind work of art.
Mama Chang demonstrating traditional weaving techniques
Mama Chang is one of the most experienced and talented Sediq weavers

MAMA CHANG'S WORKSHOP (張媽媽工作室)
Add: 27, Yongle Lane, Chunyang Village, Ren'ai Township, Nantou County
(南投縣仁愛鄉春陽村永樂巷27號)
Tel: (049) 280-2323; (0919) 805-917
A wide variety of hand-woven items in bright colors is available at Mama Chang's Workshop

 

Lacquerware

Lion’s Head Mountain and Beipu

Exploring the Valley of the Glowing Sky

Fruit of the Angels

Its Cake Culture

The Amazing Bamboo

Yilan’s Kumquats

Lovely Nanzhuang

The Sea of Flowers in Xinshe Festival

Healthful Eating and Delicious Flavors

The Black King Kong of Yuanchang

From Art Brush to Beauty Brush

A Strange Fruit

The Sound of Drums

Zuoying Wannian Folklore Festival

The Hot Springs of Beitou

Simakusi (Smangus)

Meinong

Water Frolics

Overnighting on the Northeast Coast

Giant Buddha, Old Temples, and Glass Art

Mt. Beidawu

The Most Joyous Thing in the World is Music

Taiwan Fun on the Tropic of Cancer

FUN WITH CHINESE - Men in the Fields during Rain

NK 101 Tea @ Style

Taitung Backpack Bus Trip

The Life of Pi

Taipei’s East District Where the Art of Shopping Is Serious Business

Spring Onion Country Yilan's Sanxing Township Offers Ideal Conditions for Cultivating Scallions

Sandy Beaches, Rocky Coastline, Quiet Country A Whirlwind Tour Round Hengchun Peninsula

What Happened at Wushe

Confucius Day

Keeping It in the Family: I Wan Jan Puppet Theater

Taiwan Has a Unique Culture

Welcoming the Year of the Rabbit and the ROC's 100 Years

All the Flowers You Can Dream Of

Music from the Marshland

Pristine Scenes

Fierce Faces

Following the Tide

A Wonderful World Out There

Off to the Beach and the Rocks

Taiwan’s Easy Rider Goes Into the Wild

HAKKA TUNG BLOSSOM FESTIVAL

Taipei Int'l Flora Expo

HIDDEN HOT SPRINGS & LANDFORMS

JOURNEY into the PAST

YOUNG, GIFTED, AND DEAF

Taiwan's Ultra Man Going Beyond Extreme

Rice by Any Other Name

Taiwan is Beautiful!

TAIPEI EYE

Slate Houses and Mud Rivers

From Fir Formosa

Touring Kaohsiung by KMART

TOURING TAIWAN

Taoyuan HSR Station

Taking Taiwan's Slow Train

Bus Trip to Central Taiwan

Establishing a Beautiful Taiwan

High Mountain Ecology

Exploring High Mountain HighsTaiwan at Her Peaks

Cultural Tourism in Taiwan:What's in It for You?

Getting to Know Taiwan's Indigenous Cultures

Leaving Stress Behind

Taiwan! "Feel Good" Country

Exploring Taiwan's Rural Side

Aboriginal Tribes & Festivals

The Famous Lantern Festival in Taiwan

Night Markets in Taiwan

Great Arts, Culinary Exhibitions and Events in Taiwan's National Palace Museum and Other Places

Mountains in Taiwan

Water Fun in Taiwan

Taiwanese Arts, Arts Festivals and Interesting Artifacts

"Taiwan's Ghost Festival and Other Religious Events"

Dragon Boat Festival

City: The Tallest Building Taipei 101 & Kaohsiung's Love River

National Scenic Area (IV)-Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area, Penghu National Scenic Area, Matsu National Scenic Area

National Scenic Area (III)-East Rift Valley National Scenic Area, East Coast National Scenic Area, Maolin National Scenic Area

National Scenic Area (II)-Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area, Alishan National Scenic Area, Southwest Coast National Scenic Area

National Scenic Area (I)-North Coast & Guanyinshan National Scenic Area, Northeast Coast National Scenic Area, Tri-Mountain National Scenic Area

Offshore Islands- Penghu、Kinmen National Park、Matzu、Green Island(Lyudao)、Orchid Island(Lanyu)

Eastern Taiwan- Taroko National Park、East Rift Valley、Rueisuei & Hongye、Jhihben

Southern Taiwan- Alishan、Tainan、Kaohsiung、Dapeng Bay & Little Liouciou、Kenting National Park

Central Taiwan- Miaoli、Taichung、Changhua、Nantou、Yushan National Park

Northern Taiwan -Taipei City、Yangmingshan & Beitou、Danshuei、Wulai、Jioufen & Jinguashih、Yilan、Taoyuan & Hsinchu