The Pauper's Grave at Margravine Cemetry
The death of Ruji Suruchan
In Chapter Three of Lost Histories I detail how I came across an interview in a Japanese newspaper with the Paiwan group just before they departed London and the Japan-British Exhibition to return to Taiwan after working in the Formosa Village. When asked what the most difficult thing about exposition life was they replied the death of own of their own, Ruji Suruchan. Previous scholarship on the Formosa Village has been mainly based on Japanese and British newspaper accounts of the Paiwan group and had not mentioned his death. I went to the Hammersmith and Fulham City archives (their original location in Hammersmith has since changed) and was able to find the burial records listing Ruji Suruchan's death. I also found out the location of his burial plot- the area designated as the paupers' section, for those who could not afford their own private burial plot at Margravine Cemetery. The cemetery happened to be next door to the archives, so armed with a a map given to me by the archivist, I went to Margravine Cemetery and found the paupers' grave. (Corresponds to Lost Histories, p. 113, footnote 3).
In my research about the Paiwan group, I uncovered information about their time while in the Formosa Village by analyzing the postcards that pictured the individuals and which they signed. I also reveal what the oral stories from other villagers of Kuskus reveal about their time in London as well as the information contained in William Price's diary. William Price was a British botanist who first met the group in London in 1910 and when he was in Taiwan in 1912, he reunited with some of the Paiwan individuals. Price's diary reveals that the Paiwan who went to London had better English than the Japanese police officers in Taiwan, who were governing over the indigenous people.
Burial Records, photographed in 2010 by the author. Note how under the category: "From whom the borough received it says Japan-British Exhibition." Ruji Suruchan's name was changed to Ruggi Swinehard showing the difficulty of the British in understanding his name. Ruji Suruchan is also most likely not his Paiwanese name as chan is a common suffix for children in Japanese indicating a term of affection.
Postcards of the Ainu and Paiwan individuals at the Japan-British Exhibition
Valentines published a six card series in color of the Ainu village, as well as some black and white cards depicting the Ainu village (see below) and of two year old Chuji and sixteen year old Kokin. The only official postcard made of the Formosa Hamlet was by Rotary and did not feature any of the Paiwan individuals. "Postcards of the people in the Formosa village were eventually produced but were printed by a private company or individual unrelated to the major British postcard manufacturers." (Corresponds to Lost Histories, p. 117-119, footnote 9).
Some cards of the six color set by Valentines can easily be found today on ebay. Personal collection.
An Irish girl's recollection of the Formosa Village
For British visitors, the line between the Taiwanese and Japanese at the exposition was blurred. In a letter to researcher George Ithell, Norah Gallagher who as a young girl worked in the Irish village in the exposition, relayed her memory of making friends with the Paiwan chief. (Corresponds with Lost Histories, p.124, footnote, 17).
Norah wrote, "Near the village there was an Iron Jeliside [?] kiosk where I remember two kind ladies. There was also a Formosan village and I made friends with its chief, thus causing some apprehension. My father seems to have trusted these people but I remember that I was forbidden to go near the Japanese...
Yours sincerely, Norah Gallagher 14 February 1986."
Bill Tonkin Collection
Corroborating Norah's recollections in her letter is a postcard featuring Togachi Rumuchi. On the left-hand side of the postcard you can see the sign advertising the Irish village, showing the proximity of the Irish Village to the Formosa Hamlet.
Togachi's signature is found on numerous cards, including in English and written backwards. See Lost Histories, p. 121 figure 3.6 to see a montage of the different signatures that the Paiwan wrote on the cards, including in Japanese kanji, katakana, and English.
Images of the passenger list of the Kaga maru, the ship that took the Ainu, Paiwan and some Japanese to London. From left, the first image lists the Ainu passengers starting with Kaizawa Kenji, who is listed as a farmer. When the port of departure switches to Moji, this is the beginning of the list of the Paiwan passengers, which are listed in the second and third images. Halfway through the third image you can see Japanese personnel who are seated in second class. The manager of the Ainu group Yoshida Hideatsu was in 2nd class while the Ainu and Paiwan individuals were in third class. You can see Ruji Suruchan listed in the 2nd image and the other Paiwan featured on the postcards listed as well. (Corresponds with Lost Histories, p. 126 footnote 25).