A Japanese railway enthusiast donated 200 copies of his picture book on non-automatic railway systems in East Asia to the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) as a token of his appreciation for Taiwan’s generous donations to the victims of the powerful earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeastern coast of Japan on March 11.
The TRA said Kazumi Ito is a member of the Japan Junior Chamber International and he visited Taiwan when attending the Junior Chamber International World Congress in 1983.
Impressed by the warmth of the Taiwanese and the nation’s rich railway resources, Ito has returned to Taiwan every year to visit friends and take pictures of the nation’s railway systems.
In 2003, Ito purchased a DT650-model locomotive from a bankrupt company in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, that had previously been used by Taiwan Sugar and gave it to the Chiayi County Government without charge.
Ito’s book, titled Non-Automatic Belt in Northeast Asia (東亞細亞非自動地帶), contains photos of the TRA’s branch lines, including the Pingsi Line (平溪線) in New Taipei City (新北市), the Neiwan Line (內灣線) in Hsinchu County and the Jiji Line (集集線) in Changhua and Nantou counties.
Ito said he was particularly fascinated by the railway semaphore flag signaling system, which guides train drivers by changing the angle of inclination of a pivoted arm.
Aside from Taiwan’s railway systems, the book also contains photos of railway systems in Japan and South Korea taken by Ito in the past two decades.
The book was published in March.
Ito, who donated his books at a ceremony yesterday, said his book can be purchased from retail and online bookstores, as well as through the TRA, adding that proceeds from sales of the book would be donated to victims of the March 11 disaster.