Historical background

 

In earliest times, tobacco leaves were not dried in tobacco barns; instead, they were dried over the ground under sun. Some indigenous people still make tobacco leaves dried under sunshine till the present day. Yet the yellow-type tobacco (named as Virginia creeper too) demanded a house to make dried and the tobacco barn was constructed for this purpose.

We have made field trips to Changhua Ershui, Yunlin Linnei and Kaohsiung Meinong, and did not find any Hiroshima-style tobacco barns. Therefore we determined to take Osaka-style tobacco buildings as the theme for this Cyberfair project.

Both types of tobacco buildings were introduced from Japan in the Japanese-colonized period. The biggest difference lies with the location of the scuttle (ventilator) as the Osaka-style barn makes a scuttle at the top of the roof, whereas the Hiroshima-style barn makes the scuttle at the slope of the roof. The former ventilates better, while the latter can better retain temperature, although the ventilation is not as good as the former.

 

Osaka-style tobacco building

 

Hiroshima-styletobacco building

(Shot from Tobacco Industry of Taiwan)

 

In the earlier times, tobacco industry was a monopolized business, and the tobacco buildings could only be built with a permit. Ordinarily the area of a tobacco building was 4-6 Ping. The larger the tobacco farm, the larger the tobacco barn. With the advance of technology, all the tobacco barns have been replaced by vacuum driers. Meanwhile, tobacco plantation is a human-force industry, and the plantation area has reduced. For the present, only two households keep working on tobacco plantation in Ershui, whilst more tobacco farmers remain in the industry in Linnei and Meinong.

 

 

(1) Tobacco buildings in Meinong, Kaohsiung:

The tobacco buildings in Meinong are mostly Osaka-style ones, some of which have been changed into cultural centers or warehouses. You may even see large-sized attached tobacco buildings near tobacco farms. Many other local structures have copied the style of tobacco buildings too.

 

           

 

(2) Tobacco buildings in Linnei, Yunlin:

Only Osaka-style tobacco buildings can be found, some of which have changed into community centers (such as the one in Linbeikahao community). Some structures looked abandoned, and communities have thought about overhauling. Large-sized attached tobacco buildings can be found in here too.

 

 

(3) Tobacco buildings in Ershui, Changhua:

Only Osaka-style tobacco buildings can be found, most of which are single bricked buildings. Most of them have been vacated or abandoned for the time being. There remains an earth-brick tobacco building in Tayuan Village, which is in an unoccupied state too.