Bunun people mark 100th year since Japan uprising


TAIPEI–Elder tribesmen in Zhuoxi Township in Hualien County led a hunting festival Thursday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Dafen Incident that was the start of a widespread uprising against Imperial Japanese occupying forces in Taiwan.

Zhuoxi Township head Lu Pi-hsien said the rebellion in 1915 was incited by a confiscation of hunting rifles, under orders given by Japanese occupying forces that were seeking to subdue the aboriginal tribes.

Hunting rifles were fundamental to the survival and prosperity of the Bunun people, who lived in mountainous regions at altitudes of around 2,000 meters, Lu said.

The confiscation of the rifles riled the tribes that had long been suffering under the tyranny of the Japanese occupying forces, he said.

The Dafen Incident began with an assault on a local police station by 56 aborigine clansmen, who beheaded 12 Japanese police officers. Bunun leader Dahu Ali is believed to have personally cut down 7 Japanese officers during the incident.

The rebellion, however, was bloodily quelled by Japanese forces.

The Japanese later raised monuments to the 12 police officers, whom they lauded as as martyrs that had perished in the line of duty.

The Bunun people, meanwhile, were branded as savage murderers and were later rounded up, killed and their corpses desecrated in reprisal.

These are chapters in Taiwan’s history that must be uncovered and made known to the public, Lu said.

Bunun singer Biung Sauhluman Tankisia Takisvislainan Tak Banuaz, who performed a traditional song at the hunting festival, said that he was proud to learn of the resilience of his ancestors.