This is the English version of the Lih Bau newspaper article
"Killing Paiwan: the Dark Truth about Mitsubishi, CMC, and the Shung Ye Museum"
The Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines and the Shung Ye Foundation have appointed themselves along with the China Motor Company(CMC) as protectors and supporters of Taiwan’s Aboriginal peoples. Behind these public relations activities however lies a much darker history that must be told so that Taiwan’s aboriginal peoples and their supporters understand the truth that exploitation is inevitable outcome of any cooperation with this bloody monster, the many companies of the Mitsubishi keiretsu which forms the world’s largest financial and industrial grouping and their partners.
The case against the Mitsubishi group is extensive. They have been called the most destructive corporate grouping in the world due to their industrial, oil, mining, nuclear, and other activities. (see Corporate Planet) They have been named one of the World’s 10 Worst corporations in 1992 and 1996 by Multinational Monitor, an organisation that researches corporate activities. It’s crimes include illegal logging, transfer pricing, tax evasion, violations of pollution standards, anti-trust activity, and violation of native land claims . In short it is a corporate criminal.
Attacking Paiwan the Key to Success.
1999 is the 125th anniversary of the first Mitsubishi participation in attacks on the Paiwan so let us first focus on their role in the first Japanese aggression against Taiwan’s Aborginal peoples. Mitsubishi was founded in 1870 by Yataro Iwasaki of the Tosa clan as a way to get around the new Japanese government prohibitions against clan participation in the economy.
Today Mitsubishi celebrates the events of 1874-75 in their corporate webpage
histories. [For example, check the Mitsubishi Public Affairs Webpage at:
http://www.mitsubishi.or.jp/e/h/his.html] According to a Mitsubishi Semiconductor
of America Inc. Webpage:
"The company's turning point came with an unexpected event in 1874. The Japanese government needed to ship munitions to Taiwan, but the shipping company it generally used declined the job. Motivated by patriotic fervor, Iwasaki stepped into the breach and volunteered the services of his ships. In return, the government rewarded him with a fleet of 30 new ships. This boon was to form the basis of Mitsubishi's formidable presence in the shipping industry."
They have selectively distorted and shaped their history. There is no mention of helping kill Paiwan. Nor that this reward was for their role in this, the first Japanese overseas military operation in over 200 years. Neither is the fact that US government intervention stopped the "shipping company…generally used", the American owned Pacific Mail Steamship Company from participating.
This was the first overseas military operations in a chain of aggression that would culminate in the Second World War. Their use of the words "patriotic fervor" is interesting, for the Mitsubishi zaibatsu was to be an important supporter and beneficiary of Japanese nationalist militarism. During the Japanese Occupation Mitsubishi’s NYK shipping transported soldiers that helped attack and repress Taiwan Aboriginal people and Han Taiwanese while NYK benefited from highly profitable government contracts for doing so.
It’s participation in these expeditions "established a link between Mitsubishi Shosha and the Japanese military complex that would gain tremendous strength in subsequent years, and it resulted in a government decision to provide protection to the company that virtually ensured its future success." This according to Brian Burke-Gaffney of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. For Japanese external military aggression and Mitsubishi’s role in it were to be continuous for 50 years beginning in 1895 against Taiwan and Taiwan’s Aboriginal peoples, then in Korea beginning in 1910 and against China in 1931and so on. Not ending until their surrender in 1945.
During WWII Mitsubishi planes such as the Zero fighter and Betty bomber killed countless thousands of people while many prisoners of war died working as slave labour in Mitsubishi factories. Mitsubishi as a major weapons and munitions producer grew huge and rich based on Japanese militarism which killed millions.
Mitsubishi and the Taiwan First Nations today:
The Shung Ye Trading Company is a Taiwanese company that was founded in 1947. It is Taiwan sole distributor for Mitsubishi trucks and other heavy vehicles and sells a wide range of Mitsubishi products with annual sales over US$10 billion. In 1991 it founded the Shung Ye Foundation (SYF), a non-profit organization that then set about to amass a large collection of Taiwan Aboriginal artifacts. It opened the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines in 1994. The SYF has established relationships locally with most of the major Taiwanese universities and internationally with the University of Leiden in Holland, Oxford University in England, Tokyo University, and University of California at Berkeley. For example in 1993 it gave US$300,000 to Berkeley for research on Taiwan First Nations. (Central News Agency) and provided financial support to the others foreign universities.
Not surprisingly the Shung Ye Museum provided artifacts for Mitsubishi Motor Vehicles advertisements that were carried on the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit System and in Taiwanese magazines in 1998. There were three ads I saw including one using a Yami Nation canoe. This is ironic since Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (as a subcontractor, others including Hitachi and Toshiba, to General Electric) is providing turbines for the 4th Taipower nuclear powerplant while the Yami’s home of Lanyu Island has the major Taipower nuclear waste storage facility.
Another insult was Mitsubishi’s Kirin Beer also made use of the Yami Nation in an advertising campaign in 1997 and 1998 which included Yami people in a TV ad and in posters distributed to beer houses and pubs. This is doubly ironic given the terrible toll alcohol has taken on the Taiwan Aboriginal people and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ role in building nuclear plants. Furthermore it reinforces negative Taiwanese majority stereotypes about Taiwan Aboriginal people drinking habits.
A local Mitsubishi partner is the China Motor Company (CMC), which Mitsubishi
holds a 19 percent stake in. In 1997 an ad for the China Motor Company assembled
Mitsubishi Freeca MPV featured Taiwan Aboriginal dancers cutting to sea of
clouds mountain shots. When the Freeca MPV appears a warrior cries out and
then they start dancing. Pretty stereotypical typical stuff, the singing
and dancing natives in the wild mountains. [see http://www.China-motor.com.tw/avi/ad26.rm]
Another ad for a CMC made van used Atayal First Nation singing and a storyline of an Atayal man returning to a childhood home in the mountains. It is so conflicting with history as to be ridiculous for the Atayal fought hard against the Japanese for over 30 years. [see http://www.China-motor.com.tw/avi/ad19.rm] Another ad was produced in 1999 for the CMC New Canter line of trucks and featured a Taiwan Aboriginal warrior bounding through the jungle then at the end using a cellular phone to contact his friend in a truck. Now defeated, Taiwan Aboriginal cultures traditions become props and tools for the advertising industry.
Some of these advertisements sell the idea of escape from the crowded urban areas to the mountain wilds in Mitsubishi vehicles using common aboriginal stereotypes. So they help encourage and contribute to the urban flood that ascend on the mountain First Nation on holidays and place further pressure on the First Nations. (In January 1999 local Atayal Nation people protested against these hordes by blocking the road to the Aowanda Forest Area) CMC has sponsored various activities for aboriginal youth including Internet courses, cultural classes all of which received newspaper and TV coverage. A June 19, 1999 PTS Aboriginal Affairs Magazine report about a CMC sponsored cultural class at the Shung Ye Museum featured CMC corporate logos on several occasions during the 5 to 8 minute piece in effect it served as an advertisement.
Mitsubishi’s International Crimes
Thus the Aboriginal cultures of Taiwan serve as sources of novelty for Mitsubishi Motors and CMC advertising and public relations while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries participates in building unpopular nuclear power plants and other Mitsubishi companies participate in destruction and exploitation of indigenous lands in many other countries. The Huckleberry open-pit Mine in British Columbia Canada is on the lands of the Chesaletta Carrier First Nation. Access roads, production pollution, all threaten this people. In the words of Chesaletta Carrier elder George Louis, keeper of the traditional territories at Huckleberry Mountain: "These companies will destroy the land left to us by our ancestors. They will take away our food and medicine plants. What do I want them to do? Stop. Just stop."
Mitsubishi owns over half of the Alberta Pacific company in Alberta Canada seriously impacts the Northern Cree, Dene, and Lubicon Nations with it pollution and clear cutting of forests. In Malaysia the Dyak and Punan Peoples’ homelands were devastated in the 1980s and 1990s by Mitsubishi logging operations.
As well at Gresik, East Java, Indonesia, it has a 75 percent share in a smelting operation in partnership with the notorious Freeport-McMoRan corporation to process Freeport ore from Freeport-McMoRan’s infamous highly environmentally destructive and murderous mining operations in Irian Jaya, Indonesia. Local aboriginal resistance to these mining operation has resulted in the government security forces committing serious human rights violations including murder, torture, and rape. Forced resettlement of local Aboriginal peoples to malaria infested lowland areas has killed many more. Eyewitness accounts state that Freeport-McMoRan vehicles were used and personnel participated on several occasions in these atrocities but murderous partners are not a problem for Mitsubishi. The spilled blood of the Amungme, Dani, Moni, Komoro, Ekari and Nduga peoples doesn’t bother Mitsubishi either.
Mitsubishi is participating in the construction of the Yadana oil pipeline in Burma which displace over 20 villages and destroy areas of rainforest. This also helps support the repressive military government in it’s war on various indigenous peoples of Burma. This involvement lead to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries losing a US$137 million construction contract with the San Francisco International Airport in 1997 because of a ban by the San Francisco city government on Mitsubishi contracts due to Mitsubishi’s involvement in Burma.
Tokyo Mitsubishi bank is also involved in financing the Three Gorges
Damn project in China that will displace over a million people and endanger
very rare species such as the Chinese River Dolphin which numbers less than
one hundred. In Baja Mexico a Mitsubishi salt plant will endanger an important
grey whale calving area which has sparked international condemnation. This
project has lead to the boycott of Mitsubishi Corporation by fifteen "green"
mutual funds as a well as a consumer boycott.
Dutch Protesters drop log on Mitsubishi car.
Furthermore Mitsubishi companies continue to import and export wood products from the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Bolivia, Indonesia, Brazil, Chile, Siberia and the United States much of these lands being home to aboriginal peoples. These are but a few of the activities of the Mitsubishi monster whose tentacles kill and destroy on a truly global scale.
Helping Taiwan’s Aboriginal Peoples?
Mitsubishi’s has a long tradition of pillaging Aboriginal peoples
but Mitsubishi is promoted by the CMC and Shung Ye Trading company and together they have appointed themselves as supporters of Taiwan’s First Nations’. They are doing this for public relations and advertising purposes as shown by the way they use TFN. For they are promoting marketable aspects of Aboriginal culture not Aboriginal rights such as land rights, etc. These are forms of commodification of Taiwan Aboriginal cultures. This commercialises and desecrates Aboriginal traditions.
So it is ironic that today, Mitsubishi, through it’s local partner CMC , even sponsors news programs about Taiwan Aboriginal people by helping fund the Taiwan Public Television Services weekly one hour Formosan Aboriginal Magazine every Saturday. There are some people who are genuinely dedicated to Taiwan Aboriginal working for the Shung Ye Museum, CMC, and PTS. Even this newspaper, Li Bau, was recently featured on a piece on PTS Taiwan Aboriginal News regarding it beginning a column on aboriginal affairs. But every Saturday night at the end of the Taiwan Aboriginal News program a CMC logo appears, an advertisement. It should read Taiwan Aboriginal News Magazine sponsored by Mitsubishi who helped kill and subjugate Taiwan Aboriginal peoples and is destroying others now.
Taiwan Aboriginal ancestral traditions and artifacts and even their present are used for advertising and public relations by corporate entities that assisted in and benefited from killing of their ancestors and those of many other FN the world over. This exploitation and destruction has not stopped but continues. Those associated with this criminal monster must ask themselves seriously and deeply what good are they really doing when they accept Mitsubishi’s help through the Shung Ye Museum and CMC for this money is stained with the blood of Taiwan Aboriginal peoples and those of many others around the world. When does this co-operation become betrayal of other Aboriginal peoples? Is it a betrayal of Taiwan aboriginal peoples Ancestors?
What Taiwan Aboriginal peoples and their supporters such as PTS should do is to cut all relationships, including financial ones, with Mitsubishi related and connected entities such as the Shung Ye Museum, Mitsubishi Motors, China Motor Corporation, and Shung Ye Trading company. Boycotting their products and protesting their abuse and exploitation of Taiwan Aboriginal heritage and other Aboriginal peoples around the world would draw local and international attention to the bloody crimes of the Mitsubishi monster. Also exposing, to all that can hear, Mitsubishi’s criminal past and present can help fight this monster for now that you know the truth what else can you do? The choice is yours.
"Another way is to acquiesce and to give in, to resign yourself to the
oppression... But that too isn’t the way because non-cooperation with evil
is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good" - Martin Luther
Written by Mark Munsterhjelm. The author lives and works in Taipei, Taiwan.
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