In 1901, Madame Okumura Ioko established the “Patriotic Women Association” in Tokyo. Its goal was to take care of and protect wounded soldiers or widows and orphans of those killed in battles. The members were mostly composed of upper class women from the Japanese Imperial Family.


In 1904, the association established branches in Taipei, Taichung and Tainan, in Taiwan. The branches recruited wives of local gentry and famous people as their members, and they were involved in activities for social and public welfare. During the initial stage, they gave healthcare and relief to survivors of the aboriginal rebellion and attempted annihilation. The source of their funds not only came from fundraising, but also received support from government authorities. They also did business in the trading of aboriginal products. In October, 1908, they issued the association’s publication, “Taiwan Patriotic Women”, and contributed in the repealing of foot binding movements in 1910. Later they built the “Women’s Private Vocational School” providing females with adequate vocational education, and teaching them necessary knowledge and skills for daily life.


Besides doing all kinds of activities for public welfare, the Association also formed a photography club. In 1909 they cooperated with Toyojiro Takamatsu, and held a movie premiere in Taipei to raise relief funds. Presented films were of twenty or so varieties, including historical plays, family drama, Samurai, etc. Since the first movie premiere had great success, it was decided that they were to be held annually. A decision was also made to organize a set of photography clubs to meet regularly in Taipei and Tainan. The films presented were mostly from Japan. Besides film presentations, the Association also sent people to aboriginal tribes to film actual scenes of the Japanese subjugating aboriginals. In 1916, in order to not get in the way of local businesses, the Association ended the Activities Moment Department, and donated their collection of 19 films to Taiwan Education Association.


In 1933 it was promoted as the “Patriotic Women Association Taiwan Headquarters”. In 1942 the Patriotic Women Association was merged with the National Defense Women Association, thus called The Great Japan Women Association. After World War II, the Association was taken over by the Republic of China (Taiwan).

Great Events of Tainan Patriotic Women Association


  • 1940 Building construction completed (front building: office of the association, rear building: dormitory).
  • 1946 Kuomintang’s(KMT) party office in Tainan.
  • 1948 KMT party in Tainan rented the building to Information Service of the U.S. Embassy, doing consul affairs and cultural businesses.
  • 1950 The government used the building as “Loan to Red Cross free of charge for unlimited time”; yet the building was still rented for the Information Service of the U.S. Embassy. Library was established.
  • 1979 After Taiwan’s breaking off of diplomatic relations with the U.S., Red Cross lent the building to the Government of Tainan as Tainan Municipal Library Central District Branch, while reserved the rear building as its office and children’s day care center.
  • 1998 Designated by Government of Tainan as Historic Site.
  • 2001 Tainan Municipal Library Central District Branch moved away, after the building was used for “Institute of Tainan Fine Arts Study Association” and “Tainan Municipal Art Center-Library of Fine Arts”.
  • 2008 Closed for maintenance and is opened to public in 2011.

    Source: Survey and Restoration Plan of Tainan Patriotic Women Association, Taiwan Municipal Historic Site