The Historical Meanings of the walkingbook location
Mr. Chiang, born in Yilan, Taiwan, was a doctor and nationalist movement activist in Japanese colonial Taiwan. Founder of the Taiwanese Cultural Association and the Taiwanese People's Party, he was one of the important leaders in Taiwan’s resistance movement against Japanese colonial governance.
In 1916 (5th year in Japanese Taisho period), Mr. Chiang leased three storefronts own by the famous Dadaocheng tea merchant, Hung Ju Jian’s Fa Ki Tea Compnay, with a monthly payment of sixty old Japanese yuans to establish the Da-An Hospital. Then address was No. 64 of De-Sheng Street.
In 1922, Taipei underwent zonal renaming; the address became No.28, section 3 of Taipingding Street. After carefully comparing the façade and archive by the Walkingbook team, then three storefronts are today’s I-Mei Food, Walkingbook and Gwang-Long-Jin betel-nut stall on the 2nd section of Yan-Ping North Road.
In 1921, Taiwan was under Japanese colonial rule. On October 17th, pioneers including Chiang Wei-shui and Lin Xian-Tang established the Taiwanese Cultural Association in Taipei’s Blessed Imedal’s School, with the headquarters in Mr. Chaing’s Da-An Hospital.
The Association published periodicals, founded Taiwan People’s Journal, widely set up newspaper-reading societies, organized frequent cultural speeches, opened bookshops, promoted films and new dramas, and cultivated music and arts. Henceforth it started a most vibrant period of ideological debates, modern enlightenment and cultural movement in Taiwan’s history.
At the time, Mr. Chiang was highly respected as the ‘cultural head.’ However preferring calling himself as ‘Cultural Trumpeter,’ or ‘Association’s Pilot,’ Mr. Chiang is indeed the ‘Father of Taiwan’s New Culture Movement.’
In 1916, Chiang Wei-shui founded the Da-An Hospital on De Sheng Street, today’s Walkingbook on Yan-Ping North Road. The original Da-An Hospital had three storefronts, equivalent to No. 31, 33 and 35 of Yan-Ping North Road. Today they are I-Mei Food, Walkingbook and Gwang-Long-Jin betel-nut stall.
The distribution headquarters of Taiwan People’s Journal, the only free expression mechanism of Taiwanese at the time, located in the ‘Culture Company’ (next to Da-An Hospital) founded by Mr. Chiang, is today’s Walkingbook. The tricycle in the photo was loaded with newly published Taiwan People’s Journal waiting to be distributed.
Historical Significance of Da-An Hospital: Holy Land of Taiwan’s New Culture Movement
Below chronicles historical incidences occurred in the Da-An Hospital, a spatial witness to the historical development of Taipei.
√ 1921~ Taiwanese Cultural Association’s headquarters, Taipei branch, and office of association periodicals, all aiming to improve severe culture malnutrition of Taiwanese and to enlighten the public.
√ 1922~Headquarters of the Taiwan’s Social Problems Research Society.
√ 1922~Headquarters of New Taiwan Alliance, the earliest political society in Taiwan.
√ 1922~Taiwan branch of Taiwan Magazine.
√ 1923~ Distribution headquarters and the editorial office of Taiwan People’s Journal, the only free expression mechanism of Taiwanese and the voice of various social movements in Taiwan. The Journal actively promoted rights of peasants, workers and women; supported students’ movements, cultural movements, and the petition for establishment of Taiwan Council; criticized the colonial government and called for self-governance by Taiwanese. It also played an important role in stimulating new forms of culture and arts, promoting vernacular Chinese and cultivating new Taiwanese literature. On top of all, the Journal further introduced new knowledge and thoughts. The circulation of exceeding ten thousands rivaled that of the Taiwan Nichinichi Shinpo, a news journal published by Japanese.
√ 1923~Taiwan branch of Taiwan Council Advocacy Alliance
√ Distribution headquarters in Taiwan of Taiwan Youths. The first issues advocated for rising-up of youths and cultural advancements. The later issues started to introduce self-governance and situations of other colonies worldwide.
√ 1926~ Culture Bookshop, the first bookshop founded by the islanders in Taipei and an organ to introduce new cultures. In addition to books of contemporary thoughts, it was also the first Chinese bookshop that carried publications imported from China.
√ 1927~Taipei branch of Taiwan People’s Party.
√ 1927~Heaquarters of Taipei Working Youth Association.
After Mr. Chiang passed away, there were efforts in transforming the Da-An Hospital into a medical enterprise, yet to no avail.
In 1921 (10th year in the Japanese Taisho period), Chiang Wei-shui published Bedside Examination in the first issue of the Journal of the Taiwanese Cultural Association. From a doctor’s point of view, he transformed serious political and cultural critics into an intriguing medical examination of Taiwanese nationality.
He concluded that Taiwan as a patient of developmental disabilities in world cultures, suffering from severe cultural malnutrition, was in need of maximum amounts of five medicines.
One of them is the library, which exactly embodies in the 3F Reading Room of walkingbook after almost a century.
Mr. Chiang founded the Culture Bookshop in 1926 on the ground floor of the Hospital to introduce new cultural thoughts on the island and from the world.
On August 8th, 1931, three days after Mr. Chiang passed away, his family and friends decided to hold a ‘Taiwanese People’s Memorial for Late Mr. Chiang Wei-shui.’
Half past eight in the morning of August 23rd , ‘Taiwanese People’s Memorial for Late Mr. Chiang Wei-shui’ took place in the Yung-Le-Tso Theater on Yungleding Street (today’s Dihua Street). In the center of the venue hung a photo of Mr. Chiang, with banners that wrote ‘Spirit Never Die’, ‘Let His Teachings Guide’, ‘We the People Rising and Fighting’ and ‘Fighter of Liberation.’ There was an elegiac couplet starting with people (Da Zhong):
Emboldened by the greater justice, based in Da-An this life, buried in Da-Chih after death, who would be the first enlightened?
Supported by the people, advancing with public will, overcoming barriers and hindrances, thou are the only awakened.
‘People’ here especially refer to the oppressed, also imply that Mr. Chiang, who were always with people, stands shoulder to shoulder with ordinary women and men. On the memorial day, over five thousands attended the service. Huge amounts of armed police officers in Taipei were allocated in Dadaocheng to prevent any turmoil; the police chief also commanded on site.
The enormous power demonstrated in the memorial shook the Office of Taiwan Governor-General, the highest Japanese power on the island. The Office ordered to ban and seal the first documentary on opposition forces, confiscated and destroyed the Anthology of Chiang Wei-shui that was in printing, and prohibited further publication of the elegy collection.
“Dead Chiang scares off the living Governor-General,’ hence mocked Taiwanese at the time.
On August 29th, issue 379 of the Taiwan Shin Minpao used a whole page under the title of the ‘Unprecedented Memorial in Taiwan’ to report ‘Taiwanese People’s Memorial for Late Mr. Chiang Wei-shui’ on 23rd. At the end of the report, it said that “This people’s memorial was documented by a photography team from the beginning till the end. Soon the photos of this awe-inspiring impressive service will be exhibited around the island.”
walkingbook Design Origin：Mr. Chiang / Da-An Hospital / Cultural Book Store / Taiwanese People's Memorial
In tribute to Mr. Chaing Wei-shui, walkingbook had repeatedly discussed the design with the architect, Mr. Hom Liu, in order to integrate Mr. Chiang’s background into this building.
We envision a tiered seating area built around different levels of geological contours taken from the landscape from Taipei to Yilang. Sitting high or low, we want to create a relaxing atmosphere, in which one can feel like picnicking on the park lawn, or experiencing what the artist tries to convey through the installation artwork as if in a museum. Enjoy the place at one’s wish. The darker belt around the entrance represents Tamsui River.
The ceiling lighting is arranged according to the August star chart, the month of the ‘Taiwanese People’s Memorial for Late Mr. Chiang Wei-shui.’ Particularly, the constellation on top of the bar is Ophiuchus, the symbol of a healer diligently keeping people out of harms of illness. It is indeed Mr. Chiang Wei-shui’s spirit to serve his people and country. Past and present are inimitably connected in, as if pre-destined.
The ceiling of the second floor is a mirrored reflection of the contours on the ground floor, an extended design. The third floor tried another experiment: based on the concept of a hundred ways of reading, a wooden container has been molded into many curious niches for standing, sitting, reclining or sprawling. In whatever mood or under any circumstances, one can always discover a hundred unknown faces through a hundred ways of reading, in more than one niches of this serene yet curious space.
A century ago, Mr. Chiang founded the Taiwan People’s Journal, the only free expression mechanism of Taiwanese at the time. The Journal promoted new forms of culture and arts as well as the use of vernacular. It also provided an important platform for cultivating new Taiwanese literature and introducing new knowledge and thoughts. A century later, by supporting independent publications, walkingbook responds to the cultural calling of our pioneers and embraces the vision to continue the heritage across generations.
‘Rekindle the Vibrant Life of Everything Old’ is our enthusiasm and vision.
By integrating new concepts into an old building, juxtaposing old, almost scrapped items in proper niches, it is intensely beautiful to see everything contrast, collide and intermingle between old and new. Through several months of discussion, negotiation, communication and collaboration between the walkingbook and Wooyo teams, we left behind all existing concepts of commercial designs and intend to create an artistic space. Everything starts from one image in our minds and gradually falls into a right place.
With utmost gratitude and joy, we welcome you to walkingbook.
The entire design and construction process of walkingbook takes seven months.
Oct 2015 walkingbook grand opening video.
walkingbook received the Silver Award, 2016 Vintage House Re-birth Award by Taipei City Government.
walkingbook is located in a four-storied building that had braced four decades of corrosion and neglect. After renovation, the walkingbook team hopes to reach to the world from this historical Dadaocheng site. Adjacent to the Yongle Market and Dihua Street Historical District, walkingbook is in the original building of the Da-An Hospital founded by Mr. Chiang Wei-shui, where was also the distribution headquarters of the Taiwan People’s Journal during the Japanese rule.
After two years of planning and preparation, the team was formed in 2014 and in the next year decided to take root in Dadaocheng, a district rich in Taiwanese history and culture. We started by renovating an old four-storied building, and then bring it back in a composite style of drinking, dinning and reading spaces. It is named ‘Walkingbook.’
Through four decades of corrosion and neglect, after planning and designing by the Walkingbook team, the building has re-emerged as a composite space. In collaboration with more professional groups on the resource-sharing basis, we aim to diversify operation and reach out to the wider world. Recently, in addition to traditional grocery stores, textiles, Chinese medicines and local food stalls, more and more young, alternative and stylish restaurants and cafes have popped up in Dadaocheng. In this land rich in history and culture, between old and new, we hope to bring in innovative ideas and reach out to the world.
Walkingbook officially starts operation in October 2015. We are looking for simple yet passionate youngsters to join our team, to grow with us.
Interested in joining the walkingbook team? Email your CV to WALKINGBOOK.TW@GMAIL.COM.