Jinguashi (Chinkuashih; Chinese: 金瓜石; pinyin: Jīnguāshí; Wade–Giles: Chin1-kua1-shih2; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Kim-koe-chio̍h) is a town in Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan, notable for its historic gold and copper mines. It was also known as Kinkaseki in Japanese and was under Taihoku Prefecture during Japanese rule.
From 1942 to 1945, the town was host to Kinkaseki Prisoner of War Camp (Chinese: 金瓜石戰俘營; Japanese: 金瓜石／きんかせき捕虜監視所). Of the 430 Allied POW deaths across all fourteen Japanese POW camps on Taiwan, the majority occurred at Kinkaseki.
Under Japanese rule
Kinkaseki was an important mining town for the Japanese Empire during Japan's rule over Taiwan. United States Navy analysis during World War II stated that the Kinkaseki gold mines were among Imperial Japan's largest sources of gold, based on figures from 1937. The mines also produced substantial amounts of copper—7,350 tons in 1936, more than anywhere else in Taiwan—and some silver. The mines were operated by Taiwan Kōgyō K.K. (Taiwan Mining Company, 台湾鉱業株式会社) and covered approximately 5.5 million tsubo (18.18 km2).
The Kinkaseki prisoner of war camp (Kinkaseki #1) was opened on November 14, 1942. The initial POWs arrived from Singapore after its capture by Japan. Over 1,100 Allied (mostly British) POWs would be held in the camp, forced to work in the mines. The camp mines were closed in March 1945, as transport of copper to the Japanese home islands become infeasible due to Allied naval power. The POWs were relocated to Kukutsu POW Camp in Hsintien (Xindian District) by late June of 1945.
Following the Allied defeat of Imperial Japan, charges were brought against nine employees of Nippon Mining Company (the parent company of Taiwan Kōgyō) for cruelty and mistreatment of POWs at Kinkaseki. On May 28, 1947, eight of the nine were found guilty by the British War Crime Court Number Five in Hong Kong. The Court held the company, not the Japanese Army, formally responsible for POW mistreatment.
A memorial park for the POW camp was opened in 1997.
Although the minerals have since been depleted, the town still attracts many visitors to its Gold Ecological Park, which opened in October 2004. Jinguashi was named a potential World Heritage site in 2002.
- Prentice, David (30 October 2015). "The Forgotten POWs of the Pacific: The Story of Taiwan's Camps". Thinking Taiwan. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
- United States Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (1944). Civil Affairs Handbook: Taiwan (Formosa) - Taihoku Province. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Navy. p. 173.
- Hurst, Michael. "KINKASEKI CAMP #1". Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society. Retrieved 2021-01-07.
- Ramasatry, Anita (April 2002). "Corporate Complicity: From Nuremberg to Rangoon - An Examination of Forced Labor Cases and Their Impact on the Liability of Multinational Corporations". Berkeley Journal of International Law. 20 (1): 113.
- Ramasatry 2002, p. 114.
- "POWs remembered at Kinkaseki event". Taipei Times. 2010-11-16. Retrieved 2020-12-28.
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