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Taoist Priests and Exorcists: Under the Japanese rule with its "Imperial Population Assimilation Campaign," Taoist priests were converted to Buddhism




道教 司公 乩童 佛教 皇民化運動

Parallel abstracts

During the Japanese colonial rule, the governing authorities set up a ”Traditional Mores Study Committee” in its early years because religion was close to souls of the masses. Especially after outbreak of ”The His Lai Temple Incident,” they started an island-wide campaign to collect information on Taiwan¢s religious movements. Taoism (a popular religion among the masses) is a traditional Chinese religion incorporating the canons and rituals of Confucianism and Buddhism. The Japanese colonial religion researchers found that the self-dependent Northern ”Truth Sect” did not exist in Taiwan. There was only the Southern superstitious ”Taoist Secret Talismanic Sect,” namely red-headed on black-headed Taoist priests specializing in drawing spells, invoking expelling ghosts, and subduing evil spirits. The collaboration of red-and-black-headed Taoist priests and exorcists resulted in ¢medical¢ or physical treatment for the masses. The Japanese colonial authorities often maimed themselves in bleeding bodies to demonstrate they were god-inspired. In 1973, after the outbreak of Japanese invasion of China, the Japanese ”Imperial Population Assimilation Campaign” intensified its momentum because the Japanese authorities considered it vitally important to safeguard their permanent colonial rule by enforcing the religious imperial population reformation policy. Therefore, the long-term connection between Taoism and Buddhism enabled Taoists to set up the goal towards ”Imperial Buddhism” through the process of assimilation and reformation. This paper, based on the reports of the Japanese Taiwan authorities¢ official newspaper Taiwan Daily New Newspaper, traces the historical process of the ”Imperial Buddhism Conversion Movement.”


不著撰人,〈本島宗教研究會〉,《臺灣日日新報》(1909 年10 月10 日),7 版。
臺陽,〈綠竹青蕉‧道教的迷信〉,《臺灣日日新報》(1911 年4 月11 日),6版。(原日文,筆者譯,以下同)。
不著撰人,〈蟬琴蛙鼓〉,《臺灣日日新報》(1915 年8 月30 日),4 版。
[日]稻垣其外,〈臺灣館(三)〉,《臺灣日日新報》(1903 年6 月11 日),1 版。