Mon, Feb 11, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Committee lists must-see former KMT properties

By Chen Yu-fu and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Lee Yen-jong of the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee poses outside the former Umeyashiki restaurant in Taipei on Jan. 28.

Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times

The Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee has unveiled a list of destinations for a day trip throughout Taipei featuring properties formerly owned by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Many buildings near Taipei Railway Station and Guanqian Road in Zhongzheng District (中正) were previously owned by the KMT, the committee’s investigations have found.

One of them is the Dr Sun Yat-sen Memorial House (國父史蹟館) inside Dr Sun Yat-sen Park (逸仙公園), which is a three-minute walk from Taipei Railway Station, committee member Lee Yen-jung (李晏榕) said.

The historic Japanese-style building previously housed Umeyashiki, a high-end Japanese restaurant where geishas would entertain guests, she said.

Republic of China founder Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) once dined at Umeyashiki during the Japanese colonial era, she said.

Today, visitors take photographs on the premises dressed in kimonos or costumes, she added.

Following the end of World War II, the Japanese left Taiwan and Umeyashiki was handed over to the then-KMT government, committee member Sun Pin (孫斌) said.

Later, the KMT used the “memorialization of the nation’s founding father” to ask the government to give the plot on which Umeyashiki sat to the party for free through a method called “transfer and appropriation,” he said.

In March 1995, the Taipei City Government bought the land from the KMT at a cost of NT$650 million (US$21.14 million at the current exchange rate) to convert it into a park, Sun said, calling the price “outrageous.”

The committee is seeking payment from the KMT for the sale of the land, he added.

After visiting the former site of Umeyashiki, which is open to the public for free, people can walk along Guanqian Road, which was part of a Japanese colonial-era administrative district called Omotecho, the committee said.

Jianguo Tower (建國大樓) and the building which housed the Guanqian branch of Taiwan Cooperative Bank were previously owned by the KMT, it said.

During the Japanese colonial era, the site where the bank’s Guanqian branch is now located was a hotel named Yorozuya Ryokan and a Chevrolet dealership, it said.

Another property previously owned by the KMT is the current site of the store Ten Ren Tea on Hengyang Road, Sun Pin said.

In 1960, the KMT acquired the property using the “transfer and appropriation” method and a year later it was resold to the KMT-run Yutai Development Co, he said.

The property was sold to Ten Ren Tea in 2003, he added.

The Okura Prestige Taipei in Zhongshan District (中山) and the Wonderful Theatre in the Ximending (西門町) area are other stops for people who want to see the properties previously owned by the KMT, committee spokeswoman Shih Chin-fang (施錦芳) said.

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