Footbinding in Taiwan

Actually, footbinding was very much part of life in Taiwan, as it was on the mainland. And despite the Japanese banning it, the custom lingered on into the early 1920s.

Ask people who are over thirty. Quite a few will tell you that their grandmothers or great-grandmothers had bound feet.

Almas is right, I believe. Some of my co-workers say they had grannies with bound feet. One lass I met had a granny (99 years old) with bound feet still living.

Here is some pictoral proof… but I don’t know if the practice was wide spread.

Taiwan definitely had footbinding. There is/was a store in Hsi-men-ding (Ximending) that handmade shoes for the ladies. As of a few years ago, it was still open, not sure about now though, as most of the footbound women have died off and business has all but ceased.

Professor Lin Wei-hung at NTU knows a lot about footbinding. You can try contacting her.

There is a rich (perveted?) doctor that collects shoes from all over (China and Taiwan) and has them on display. I think he lives in Ban-chiao (Banqiao).

And there’s a great book, called Formosan Odyssey, in which the author interviews that perverted collector of little shoes. :wink:

Although footbinding died out in Taiwan in the early 20th century it was common in the preceding centuries. In fact, it was so common in the 1800s that foreigners visiting Taiwan seldom commented on the custom. It would have been simply stating the obvious fact that Chinese women had bound feet. On the contrary, footbinding is usually mentioned when it is not practiced - that is, in describing the Hakkas.

“To a stranger unaquianted with the language there is but little to distinguish the male Hakka boy or man from a Haklo [Taiwanese from Fujian], but with the women the case is different; their unbound feet and their complicated hair dress, somewhat resembling that of the Japanese, at once differentiating them from the Haklo women, who bind their feet and dress their hair with a single coil to the back.”
The Island of Formosa 1903 James Davidson