[tz] About Time Zone in Asia/Taipei During World War 2

Yu-Cheng Chuang ducksteven at gmail.com
Thu Jul 11 16:38:47 UTC 2013


I'm Yu-Cheng Chuang, a Taiwanese, and also a programmer.

I just studied some knowledge about the time zone, and found that there is a commonly-used database maintained by IANA, which is widely used in our UNIX-like OS as well as software systems. I'm a Rails developer, and the TZInfo library derived from the Time Zone Database helped me a lot when building a time-zone-aware feature. It's really very useful. Thank you for making it.

When studying these knowledge, as a Taiwanese, I found that during the Japanese era (1895-1945), time zone in Taiwan was mostly UTC+8 (Western Standard Time). However, during the World War II, as a part of Japan, the Japanese emperor ordered that the whole country should adopt the Central Standard Time (UTC+9), including Taiwan as well as overseas territories occupied later during the war (e.g. Hong Kong, Singapore).

In the Time Zone database, I found that such fact is recorded on the time zones of its occupied cities: 

* Hong Kong
* Singapore
* Rangoon in Myanmar
* Dili in East Timor
* Jakarta, Pontianak and Makassar in Indonesia
* Kuala Lumpur and Kuching in Malaysia
* Manila in Philippines 

However, here Taipei in Taiwan is missing, which during the World War II was still a territory of Japan, and switched to UTC+9 since Oct 1, 1937.

In addition, I see that in the section of Japan, Hideyuki Suzuki mentioned Western Standard Time, which was declared in 1895, in the Meiji 19 year ordinance No. 167. I think its declaration might be due to the annexation of Taiwan. Here is a brief history from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_invasion_of_Taiwan_(1895)):

* On April 17, 1895, the Qing Dynasty of China ceded Taiwan and Penghu Islands to Japan.
* On May 27, 1895, the Japanese army landed Taiwan, the invasion began.
* On Nov 18, 1895, the Taiwan General (from Japan) reported "the whole island is capitulated" to the Japan central government.

Then, On Dec 28, 1895, the Meiji Emperor announced Ordinance No. 167 of Meiji Year 28 "The clause about standard time", mentioned that Taiwan and Penghu Islands, as well as Yaeyama and Miyako Islands (both in Okinawa) adopt the Western Standard Time which is based on 120E. The adoption began from Jan 1, 1896. (The original text can be found on Wikisource (http://ja.wikisource.org/wiki/%E6%A8%99%E6%BA%96%E6%99%82%E3%83%8B%E9%97%9C%E3%82%B9%E3%83%AB%E4%BB%B6_(%E5%85%AC%E5%B8%83%E6%99%82)). However I don't know Japanese language very well; the only way I understand it is through Kanji and Google Translate.) This could be the first adoption of time zone in Taiwan, because during the Qing Dynasty, it seems that there was no time zone declared officially.

Later, in the beginning of World War II, on Sep 25, 1937, the Showa Emperor announced Ordinance No. 529 of Showa Year 12 "The clause of revision in the ordinance No. 167 of Meiji year 28 about standard time", in which abolished the adoption of Western Standard Time in western islands (listed above), which means the whole Japan territory, including later occupations, adopt Japan Central Time (UTC+9). The adoption began on Oct 1, 1937. (The original text can be found on Wikisource (http://ja.wikisource.org/wiki/%E6%98%8E%E6%B2%BB%E4%BA%8C%E5%8D%81%E5%85%AB%E5%B9%B4%E5%8B%85%E4%BB%A4%E7%AC%AC%E7%99%BE%E5%85%AD%E5%8D%81%E4%B8%83%E8%99%9F%E6%A8%99%E6%BA%96%E6%99%82%E3%83%8B%E9%97%9C%E3%82%B9%E3%83%AB%E4%BB%B6%E4%B8%AD%E6%94%B9%E6%AD%A3%E3%83%8E%E4%BB%B6).)

That is, the time zone of Taipei switched to UTC+9 on Oct 1, 1937.

Of course, after the surrender of Japan, time zone of Taiwan switched back to UTC+8. However I can't find enough evidence to tell when the switch happened. The only thing I know is that the official surrender ceremony is on Oct 25, 1945. From then, Taiwan and Penghu islands are territories of the Republic of China, until now.

Again, I only know a little bit Japanese, and as a native Chinese speaker, the only words I can read are nouns written in Kanji (Chinese chars). Therefore, I may misunderstand the Japanese ordinances, but I believe I read them mostly correctly because in that time, most Japanese people write Chinese-like Japanese. I think it would be better to have someone who know Japanese read them directly. Please correct me if I misunderstood anything.

I hope that the history above helps you improve the Time Zone database.

Yu-Cheng Chuang


References from Wikisource:

* Ordinance No. 167 of Meiji Year 28: http://ja.wikisource.org/wiki/%E6%A8%99%E6%BA%96%E6%99%82%E3%83%8B%E9%97%9C%E3%82%B9%E3%83%AB%E4%BB%B6_(%E5%85%AC%E5%B8%83%E6%99%82)
* Ordinance No. 529 of Showa Year 12: http://ja.wikisource.org/wiki/%E6%98%8E%E6%B2%BB%E4%BA%8C%E5%8D%81%E5%85%AB%E5%B9%B4%E5%8B%85%E4%BB%A4%E7%AC%AC%E7%99%BE%E5%85%AD%E5%8D%81%E4%B8%83%E8%99%9F%E6%A8%99%E6%BA%96%E6%99%82%E3%83%8B%E9%97%9C%E3%82%B9%E3%83%AB%E4%BB%B6%E4%B8%AD%E6%94%B9%E6%AD%A3%E3%83%8E%E4%BB%B6

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