A Paiwan Aborigine who recently won a court decision against Japanese public broadcaster NHK said her lawsuit was not about money, but about fighting for the dignity of her people.
The Tokyo High Court on Thursday ordered NHK to pay ￥1 million (US$9,800) in damages to Kao Hsu Yueh-mei (高許月妹) for defaming her by using the term “human zoo” in a program.
“The Japanese court cleared up the bad image created for our people. We were relieved upon learning of the decision,” said Kao Hsu, whose Paiwan name is Vuvu.
Photo: Chen Yen-ting, Taipei Times
Vuvu lives in Gaoshih Village (高士) in Pingtung County’s Mudan Township (牡丹).
Vuyu said that when NHK came to her village some years ago to make its documentary on the “Japan-Britain Exhibition” held in London in 1910, they produced old photographs from the exposition, which showed Paiwan Aborigines from her village and another nearby village.
Her village held a meeting, during which she was able to identify her father in one photograph. Because her family did not have any pictures of her father, Vuvu said she was overcome by emotion and cried upon seeing her father.
“At the time, I thought the NHK reporting would be positive, but while I was crying, I tried to say the Japanese word for ‘sadness,’ but mistakenly used the word for ‘nostalgia.’ However afterward NHK used it to distort my meaning,” she said.
Chen Ching-fu (陳清福), a retired teacher who went to Japan to sue NHK and represent the Taiwanese plaintiffs, said they had made many attempts to clarify the matter.
“When I was interviewed with an interpreter, I informed NHK several times that the word should be ‘sadness,’” he said.
“When the documentary was shown, they distorted Vuvu’s words to portray her as nostalgic for the time when Paiwan Aborigines were sent to the 1910 exhibition in Britain during the Japanese colonial era,” Chen said.
NHK also repeatedly used the term “human zoo” on the program, which was discriminatory and unacceptable, Chen said.
“Those people who went to the exhibition were in fact the elites of these Paiwan villages. They were held in high regard by our people. It was unthinkable for the program to pervert it as though they were dancing like monkeys,” Chen said.
Hua A-tsai (華阿財), a former head of Mudan Township who wrote up the documents for the lawsuit, said the NHK documentary was a gross distortion.
“When they came to interview us, there was no mention of ‘human zoo,’ but it was there in the broadcast. They also misrepresented a mistaken word in Japanese to use it as evidence,” Hua said.
Then they linked the unrelated matters together, to re-enforce the discrimination. I am very critical of such efforts to attract higher television ratings,” Hua said.
He said that people who went to the 1910 exhibition in Britain were some of the best from those communities, and when they came back, they were able to teach youngsters the English language.
“It was quite an achievement,” he said.
“Other colonies of Japan and Britain were also represented at the event, but the Queen of England only attended the performances by the Gaoshih villagers showing their hunting rituals and marriage ceremony,” Hua said.
Hua added that the year after that, an English botanist came to visit and was received in the village by Vuvu’s father, Chaibai Puiaion, and another village elder, Tivu Vanga Vang.
Hua said that originally the Paiwan only wanted an apology from NHK, but the broadcaster refused.
“The court ordered NHK to pay almost US$10,000 in damages for one individual only, not for the whole Paiwan Aborigine community. We are not totally satisfied with the decision, but we can reluctantly accept it,” he said.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,