Mix of Japanese-Indigenous Languages Survives in Taiwan

Raohe Street Night Market in Taipei – Taiwan.

In the town of Hanhsi in the northeastern mountains here, where many of the Atayal indigenous people reside, a language resembling Japanese — “Yilan Creole” — can be heard being spoken.

According to remaining records in Yilan County, the Japanese language school in Hanhsi was established in January 1914. However, right before that, this area was completely uninhabited. Beginning in 1903, the Japanese government forcefully moved the indigenous peoples from the mountains and closer to flatter areas so they would be easier to govern. The people of Hanhsi were part of this policy, with the Atayal and linguistically different Seediq people moving from villages deep in the mountains to live there.

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