Central Bookstore & Chuang Chui-Sheng
The Taiwanese Cultural Association (TCA) was established in Taipei in 1921. TCA convened an island-wide conference in Taichung in 1925, and in the meeting a decision to establish a cultural services institution was made. In December 1926, Chuang Chui-Sheng, an important member of the TCA, raised funds to set up the Central Bookstore with great support from the Daya Chang brothers, Chang Jui-Che and Chang Huan-Kui, and other renowned gentry including Lin Lieh-Tang, Lin Hsien-Tang, Tsai Pei-Huo and Yang Chao-Chia. Until 1926, they collected 40,000 dollars, which is about the capital fund of Chang Hwa Commercial Bank, and was having its first bookstore founding meeting in Taichung Miyahara, located alongside of the Green River (Luchuan). The following year, Central Bookstore was inaugurated on Jan. 3rd, 1927.
Central Bookstore was first established at No.15, 3 Chome, Taka-Machi (currently the Stella Mututina Social Welfare Foundation at No.103, Shifu Rd., Central Dist., Taichung City). This became an important foothold in Taichung for supporting TCA’s activities. As a stronghold of the Taiwanese Cultural Association, in the beginning Central Bookstore sold Japanese and Chinese books. It also planned to evolve into a “club” type bookstore, including setting up diners, lecture rooms, and entertainment rooms to hold all kinds of seminars, speeches, concerts or even movie-playing events. However, due to various reasons, except for its cultural related business, which had prospered and continued its operation, none of the other ideas were put into execution.
The scholars and gentry who helped to develop the Central Bookstore included Chuang Chui-Sheng, who was the leader at the time, Lin Hsien-Tang, Lin Yu-Chun, Chen Hsu-Ku, Chang Shen-Chieh, and Lai Ho. Central Bookstore at the time was a bookstore that specially sold imported books and magazines in classical Chinese and Japanese. It was also one of the few bookstores in Taiwan that sold classical Chinese language books, Chinese books, and Chinese music records. Meanwhile, the bookstore also sold merchandise like stationery, learning supplies, materials for western-style painting, sports equipment, clothes, records, and western musical instruments. It also published a small quantity of books.
Starting from the 1930s, the Central Bookstore became an important cultural stronghold for Taiwanese scholars and gentry. Various magazines used Central Bookstore as their publication base, such as the “Nan-Yin” Magazine in 1932, “Taiwan Literature” by the Taiwan Literature & Art Association (TLAA) in 1934, and “New Knowledge” and “Cultural Exchange” in the first year after the war. The Central Bookstore not only advocated the will power of the local Taiwanese and the Chinese language, but also propagated current affairs and culture. From here we can see how attentive and anxious the local scholars and gentry were about the political situation at the time. In the 1930s, Chang Hsing-Chien was the head (i.e. Sales Director) of the Central Bookstore. Besides his ability to utilize his swift and fierce writing power to edit various magazines, he also helped to hold exhibitions or find cooperative opportunities for gifted art curators. However, unfortunately, Chang died at a young age. He was assassinated on the Luchuan Dazheng Bridge (today’s Luchuan Bridge on Minquan Rd.) in 1949.
1947 was the year of the February 28 Incident. Chuang Chui-Sheng, Yeh Jung-Chung and other Taiwanese scholars and gentry convened meetings in the Central Bookstore and other places to discuss the political turmoil. On March 1 of the same year, the writer Yang Kui and his friends established a “Public Opinion Investigation Center” in the Central Bookstore and wanted to publish public opinion investigation cards. But upon the suggestion by Chung I-Jen (later captain of the 27 Force), they changed to print leaflets to propagate the “General Citizen Assembly”, which was held the next day in front of the Taichung Theatre with the participation of all the Taichung city citizens. Soon after, the “27 Force” was established by youngsters and school students to take over government forces. The 27 Force became an armed force to resist violence in Taichung during the February 28 Incident.
The current location of the Central Bookstore is at the corner of Shifu Rd. and Taiwan Blvd. The place was the bookstore staff’s dormitory and warehouse during the Japanese Colonial Period. In 1949, the bookstore moved to its current location. Central Bookstore is a three-story building with an eclectic architectural style. The top of the building was adorned with floral and grass sashes. And because it was located on the street corner, the building had a curved design. The inner truss adopted a lattice system which radiated out from the center. Big windows that extended from the ceiling to close to the floor provided sufficient light for the inner space. After moving to its current location, the Central Bookstore started to publish books again, and later on established a “Publications Committee”.
From 1927 to 1998, a period of 71 years, the Central Bookstore always played the role of an important cultural fortress in Taichung. Almost all the scholars that had once lived in the Taichung area had spent time there. For example, Lin Hsien-Tang and Lin Yu-Chun once studied traditional poetry here. Central Bookstore once imported books from Mainland China. The senior writer in Taichung, Yang Kui, and Chang Shen-Chieh were also frequent customers. Poet Chen Chien-Wu often stayed in Central Bookstore when he was young and so was inspired by the literature he read there. Lu Han-Hsiu, who was a post-1970s writer after the war and was originally from Dajia, studied in Taichung First Senior High School. During his time there, he founded “Miu Poetry Club” with other students and was keen on creating new styles of poetry. In his romantic young literary days, Central Bookstore was the place he loved the most, and he spent most of his time there. He often sat on the terrazzo floor in the bookstore enjoying the literary masterpieces, from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, “King Lear”, to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. He read all these in the bookstore for free.
In 1998, facing competition from chain stores, Director Chang Yao Chi convened a board meeting that resolved to close the bookstore. The Central Bookstore officially became a part of Taichung’s history. The building was sold. The old location was used as a dance studio and a helmet store. In March 2015, Shang Shan Human Culture Foundation would like to keep inspiring the culture of thinking which Central Bookstore has devoted and acquired the building and mapped out a way to restore the building to its original appearance. The project is planned to be completed in 2018.
Chuang Chui-Sheng was born in early 1897 during the Japanese Colonial Period. He styled himself as “Sui-Hsing”, “Fu-Jen”, “Tu-Jan Layman”, and “Le-Jan Layman”. He wrote poetry collections like “Tu Jan Yin Tsao”. Chuang was originally from Lugang, Changhua and was a writer, poet, and social activist. He once joined the Taiwanese Cultural Association during the Japanese Colonial Period and established the Central Bookstore. In the Japanese Colonial Period, he once received funding support from Wufeng’s Lin Family to study in Japan. He received a degree from the Political Economy Dept. of the Meiji University. After he returned to Taiwan, he and Yeh Jung-Chung devoted a lot of their time to cultural activities and were very active in literary circles. He also participated in activities held by the Taiwanese Cultural Association.
After WWII, the National Government took over Taiwan. He was appointed by Taiwan’s Provincial Administrative Executive Office to serve as the very first Library Director of the Taiwan Province Taichung Library (today’s Taichung Public Library). Chuang once modestly said, “Director of the Library” was just a “temple host” of a local small “temple”. During his time as Library Director, he carefully planned to convene three activities including cultural seminars, a woman’s study group, and a discussion group, and tried to develop the library’s function so as to encourage the participation of Taichung’s citizens.
When the February 28 Incident happened in 1947, the Mayor of Taichung City, Huang Ke-Li, fled. The citizens of Taichung established the “Council to Cope with the Times” on March 4 of the same year. They elected Chuang Chui-Sheng to host the meeting and to serve as the Chief of the Council. On March 11, the council was dismissed. Before the council’s dismissal, Taichung Library was the assembly for council members. On April 18, Chuang was removed from his post as library director. He was then arrested, interrogated, and detained. Although at last he was free from all his troubles, he became a silent man from that time on. In his later years, he had a close relationship with Professor Hsu Fu-Kuan of the Taichung Tung Hai University and studied Confucianism. Chuang Chui-Sheng died of lung cancer in 1962 and left 85 poems which his sons, Lin Chuang-Sheng and Lin Chin-Sheng, compiled into the poetry collection, “Tu Jan Yin Tsao”.
His son, Lin Chuang-Sheng (who took his mother’s surname), was born into a big family in Wucuo Village, Wufeng, Taichung. He emigrated to the United States where he lived for many years until one day he suddenly found that the elders of the family were gradually disappearing and Taiwan had also transformed from an agricultural into an industrial society. He suddenly missed the old Taiwan which had either already disappeared or was gradually disappearing, and began to think about recording it. Thus, he wrote the book “To Miss the Trees and Miss the Man” to commemorate his father and the Cultural Association during the changing times, as well as all the scholars and gentry of the time.
文化城中城歷史現場 - 中央書局與莊垂勝
- 市府分類： 文化藝術
- 最後異動日期： 2022-07-12
- 發布日期： 2019-04-19
- 發布單位： 臺中市政府文化局
- 點閱次數： 153