Traditional Five Clans

Long before I could remember, there are five big clans located in Taiwan with their influences on economics, cultures, and politics across different times. They are Lim Family in Wufong, Banciao, Chen Family in Kaohsiung, Yen Family in Keelung, and Koo Family in Changhua. If you visit Taichung, don’t forget to see the garden of Lim Family who dominated the whole Taiwan once with many victories of the war. At the garden, you could see how rich people lived in the past and the history of Taiwan. Lîm Hiàn-tông was one of the Lim families in Wufong who built school, bank and supported locals from suffering of Japanese and Chinese KMT government by that time. Though he died in Tokyo , his dedication to Taiwanese cannot be wiped out from the history.

The Lim Family Garden in Wufong. Photo credit:
Lîm Hiàn-tông. Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Koo Family was once populace and relocated to Taipei for business by Koo hián-êng. When the Taipei city was sabotaged under the war, he talked with local businessmen and helped Japanese enter Taiwan without sacrificing anyone. Since then, he received many chances and resources for doing business from Japanese in order to return his favor and became rich people. His family now is related to CTBC Financial Holding Co., Ltd. where people can see at each city. One of his descendants joined politics and was famous for supporting Taiwan independence with many news and events. Luckily, he is still alive unlike others who supported independence movement were either ran away or disappeared.

The Chen Family was based in Southern Taiwan in Kaohsiung city long time ago. His name is Tân Tiong-hô spelled by Taiwanese language. He became rich due to sugar business and complied with Japanese policy. Besides, he also owned salt and rice plants and dominated the South as a rich businessman. He was good at trade and one of his sons started the business with Coca Cola and later on they became the agent for Pepsi Co. Three of his descendants joined politics and belonged to Chinese KMT party.

Tân Tiong-hô. Wkipedia

The Yen Family was probably the most tragic and mysterious clans among these. His Taiwanese name is Gân Hûn-liân. He was a businessman for gold and coal, some of his descendants went to Japan and rooted there. There is a TV show named A Suitcase of Memory is based on the true story of Yen Family. The main character is Gân Huī-bîn who was sent to Japan for education and ended up marrying a Japanese woman who was not even knew that he was from a rich family. His whole life was arranged just like other normal rich clans. He tried very hard to become part of Japanese, however, the Japanese empire lost the war and Taiwan became the winner side in a glimpse. From that moment, Gân Huī-bîn felt a lot different. He was happy because Taiwanese were no longer controlled by Japan, but he also lost his life goal to be part of Japanese.

Many of lands from his family were levied by the Chinese KMT government and his family was almost killed and lost. If you can find out this TV program, you can know more about Taiwan history and the Yen Family.

A Suitcase of Memory.

Another Lim Family who was located in Banciao has no relation with the Lim in Wufong, but they were both rich clans. If you want to visit Banciao for deep travel, the Lim Garden is definitely a destination for you. To be more specific, Lîm-pún-goân was just a business name not his real name. One of his descendants is operated the Hua Nan Financial Holdings now, so they still have some influences on finance industry.

There were many rich families that were not on the list, but they did have some certain degrees of social status in Taiwan. It is no doubt that different eras did change us, even the rich families could not get away with it.

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