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Bank of Taiwan head office

Japanese troops landed in Taiwan in May 1895; then in September, Osaka Churitsu Bank opened its Keelung Office. The next year, Taiwan Governor-General Sukenori Kabayama granted Osaka Churitsu Bank permission to open a branch in Taipei. This branch could fairly be described as the first modern bank in Taiwan.
In 1897, the Japanese National Diet passed the "Taiwan Bank Act" and the Bank of Taiwan became the financial and economic hub of Japan's colonization effort in Taiwan. On September 26, 1899, the Bank of Taiwan Kabushiki-gaisha formally commenced operations, and the Japanese government subscribed to JPY 1 million worth of shares in the new bank, which began issuing "Taiwanese yen" in the Taiwan area on behalf of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan. The Bank then steadily expanded its operations, setting up business locations in Japan, mainland China, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, New York, and London. It also became an investment arm for the Japanese government as it sought to implement its policy of expanding into Southeast Asia.
In 1903, Japan constructed the Bank of Taiwan headquarters building, a red brick, Renaissance-style structure with a sloped roof. That original headquarters building was located at the western edge of the property where today's Bank of Taiwan now stands. The original structure was torn down due to termite damage and rebuilt on its current site. The Governor-General's Office (today's Presidential Office Building) was flanked on either side by the High Court and the Bank of Taiwan, symbolic of the fact that Japan's ruling power in Taiwan relied on the two pillars of the judicial and financial systems.
The first building constructed at the site where the Bank of Taiwan stands today was designed by the Japanese architect Yoshitoki Nishimura and built by Okura Doboku Gumi. Nishimura, a famous Japanese architect born in 1866, had previously designed well-known structures such as the head office of Daiichi Bank, Yamani Securities, the head office of the Central Bank of Manchou, the Aichi Prefecture Government Office, the Yokohama Branch of Daiichi Bank, and the Marutamachi Branch of Daiichi Bank.
At the Bank of Taiwan head office later completed in 1939, the walls and colonnade are all made of granite, and the designer made use of many Western-style classical architectural elements, such as four massive columns at the corners, an eight-pillar colonnade standing two-stories high, and stone vasiform balustrades. On the south side, the wooden door at the entranceway is very thick and heavy, and puts an emphasis on rational beauty.
To achieve a sturdy structure, the Bank of Taiwan head office was built with extremely high rebar density. The building was bombed during World War II, and the roof was repaired after the war. The outer walls and colonnade are still made of the original granite.
In the 70-plus years since Taiwan was handed over to the Republic of China and Japan relinquished control over the Bank of Taiwan, the Bank has been under the administrative supervision of the Taiwan Provincial Governor's Office, the Taiwan Provincial Government, and the Ministry of Finance. Until the Central Bank resumed operations in 1961, the Bank of Taiwan acted as Taiwan's de facto national bank. The New Taiwan Dollar issued by the Bank of Taiwan became the official currency of the Republic of China government after it relocated to Taiwan, and has remained the official currency to this day.
The Bank of Taiwan head office, located in Taipei City at No. 120, Section 1, Chongqing South Road, has been named a Taipei City Historic Site. The Bank of Taiwan once served as a view-finding location for the Japanese television series “The Grand Family (Karei-naru Ichizoku),” the storyline of which revolves around the financial sector, effectively demonstrating the magnificent and sumptuous atmosphere of this sector.