Long Forgotten History: Bohumil Pospíšil's Adventure in Formosa in 1929

15. March 2023, 13:15–14:15

Public lecture by I-Hsun (Sandy) Chou, LL.M., JSD. (Fullbright scholar at Faculty of Law, Palacký University Olomouc) about the Czechoslovak explorer and traveller Bohumil Pospíšil and his trip to Taiwan.

96 years ago, Czechoslovak explorer and traveller Bohumil Pospíšil (1902-1974) started his first journey to Asia (1926-1931). His adventure took him to Formosa/Taiwan, an island little known to the people in the interwar Czechoslovakia. Pospíšil came to Formosa at an exciting time for both Czechoslovakia and Taiwan. Czechoslovakia had just gained its independence and quickly developed into a modern, vibrant industrial power in Europe. Taiwan, as a Japanese colony, benefited from liberal and democratic trends in Japan, and enjoyed a period of time often referred to as Taishō Democracy. Pospíšil and his secretary, Josef Hübl, were welcomed warmly by the prominent Taiwanese political activist, Chiang Wei-shui. Chiang invited them to give a public speech regarding their journey and the independence of Czechoslovak, which was a highly sensitive topic. This crowded event ended up being forcibly interrupted by the Japanese police. The rest of their trip was shadowed by Japanese secret police following them everywhere.
In his photo collection, Pospíšil paid special attention to the aboriginal Taiwanese. Among others, he collected pictures of brutal executions of native Taiwanese by the Japanese police. While most people, Japanese or foreign visitors alike, had the impression that the colonial government has successfully governed the aboriginals, Pospíšil might have foreseen that the most tragic conflict between the Japanese colonial government and the ingenious Taiwanese would take place soon after his visit.

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UP Faculty of Arts, Department of Asian Studies, Taiwan Corner


třída Svobody 26, SV 2.56

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