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.
ADEQUATE COVERAGE: New Taipei City, which has more than 9,500 people under home quarantine, said it would add another 450 rooms at its disease prevention hotels The Taipei City Government has added a fourth designated disease prevention hotel, allowing people under 14-day home quarantine to isolate themselves from NT$5,000 per day, it said yesterday. The Taipei Department of Information and Tourism launched the first disease prevention hotel on Feb. 21 to accommodate travelers without a place to stay during mandatory home isolation or quarantine, and for people who want to separate themselves from their family members or roommates during quarantine. The department said that as of yesterday, more than 120 travelers have stayed at one of the city’s three disease prevention hotels, and their 178 rooms are nearly
MISINFORMATION: The 100,000 masks given to ally Paraguay were bought in other Latin American nations, not made in Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Taiwan has not yet reached a point where it can export masks to diplomatic allies amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, dismissing as misinformation online reports that it gave away masks to curry favor with a diplomatic ally. “Taiwan provides med-ical aid to diplomatic allies based upon specific circumstances,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said, adding that the supplements donated by Taiwan were all purchased locally in allied countries, in accordance with their needs. “The time is not yet ripe” for Taiwan to export medical supplies, such as surgical masks, to diplomatic allies, until
An improvised protective device for use when intubating patients designed by Taiwanese doctor Lai Hsien-yung (賴賢勇) is being adopted in the Philippines to help doctors there stay safe amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. “We made this acrylic aerosol box for my sister Dra. Frances Legaspi for Antipolo Doctors Hospital. Credits to Dr Lai Hsien-yung for the concept and design,” Anton Legaspi, whose family owns a business that makes customized designs, said on Facebook on Monday. The hospital is in Antipolo, about 25km east of Manila. Legaspi’s post was accompanied by several photographs of the box and a short demonstration video
All state-run columbariums must strictly regulate how many visitors they host during Tomb Sweeping Day on Saturday next week to curb the spread of COVID-19, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) said yesterday. Hou asked people to use online worshipping services instead. Electronic “tomb sweeping” systems, which display a virtual altar for people to make offerings and say prayers, can reduce crowd sizes at columbariums, Hou said during a site visit to Shulin Life Memorial Hall (樹林生命紀念館), a columbarium in the city’s Shulin Disrict (樹林). Measures for admission control would be strictly implemented in state-run columbariums, Hou said, pointing to the Shulin