National Geographic : 1945 Jan
The National Geographic Magazine Nakajima from Pix Night Club Life, or Cocktail Hour, as Formosa Tribesmen Know It Debutante guests in tribal party dresses stand in background. Tonight, after his people have done a hard day's work, the chief will entertain, serving rice wine from big jars. Japan, in 1895, Formosa was ceded to Japan, but it took her seven years to pacify enough of the island to institute civil control. Japs Try to Squeeze Wealth from Formosa Despite intermittent native uprisings, the Japanese work vigorously to develop and ex ploit Formosa for their own benefit. They have put a lot of money into railways, roads, and power plants. To provide revenues, state monopolies were established for camphor, opium, and salt. Five Japanese sugar com panies now produce 95 percent of the sugar. The Japanese introduced pineapple canning, Formosa's output being exceeded only by that of Hawaii and Malaya; they introduced a new kind of rice which gives an increased yield per acre. Production of coal, gold, copper, natural gas, and petroleum has become of some im portance. Commercial banks have been set up and harbor facilities improved, to en courage trade. Formosa, before the war, had one of the highest per capita foreign trades in the Far East. The bulk of this trade is, of course, * See "Mindanao, on the Road to Tokyo," by Frederick Simpich, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, November, 1944. with Japan. The two principal ports, Keelung in the north and Takao in the south (pages 4, 5), are strongly fortified; and a naval base stands in the Pescadores, which lie in the channel between Formosa and the mainland of China. Formosa's Strategic Value in Any Far Eastern War Just before Pearl Harbor, the island was heavily garrisoned by the Japanese Army, which had its headquarters at Taihoku. After Pearl Harbor numerous war industries were set up and became active. This island is self-sufficient in foodstuffs and has much surplus for export. Any military force holding Formosa, with its surplus agricultural production, might well use much of its vegetables, fruits, and other foodstuffs to feed its own army and to help feed the destitute people in the liberated areas of the Far East. Formosa is also a base of the greatest stra tegic value in any operations against Japan, or the China coast.* Chinese Formosans undoubtedly look for ward to the day of liberation from the heavy yoke of Japan, when they can be reunited with their fellow Chinese of the mainland.