Professor Masashi Adachi’s Life and Study
Professor Masashi Adachi was the designer of the building.
Professor Masashi Adachi was the designer of the building that stood at No. 6, Lane 7, Qingtian Street. Most of the information available on professor Adachi is about science of agricultural chemistry in Japanese. It made translating his work extremely difficult. The following is a brief synopsis on Professor Adachi’s life and his studies basing on excerpts from the Internet and the report prepared by an architectural office that had been entrusted by National Taiwan to conduct a study on Professor Adachi and the residential house he designed.
Professor Masashi Adachi was born in Hokkaido, Japan. He was born on November 13th, 1897 (Japanese Meiji Year 30), the eldest son to Mr. Wataro Adachi of Sapporo City. Mr. Masashi Adachi graduated from the Imperial Hokkaido University, majoring in agricultural chemistry in 1921 (Japanese Taisho Year 10). In the same year he took up position as Research Assistance in the Imperial Hokkaido University. He was promoted to Assistant Professor in March of the next year (1922). He was married in1926 (Japanese Taisho Year 15). On May 3rd of the same year Mr. Adachi was assigned Professor to the Taiwan Governor’s Office High School on Agriculture and Forestry. On the 5th day of the same month Mr. Adachi was sent to study in Germany, the United States and Britain for two years as the overseas research scientist stationed in the Taiwan Governor’s Office. Of this period, he spent one and a half years working on microorganisms in the soil in University of Leipzig as his core of research and traveled and studied in the United States and Britain.
On July 27th, 1928 (Japanese Showa Year 3) Mr. Adachi was instated as assistant professor and special professor in the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. In March 23rd of the following year he was promoted to full Professor in the Imperial Tohoku University. He held the Lecturer’s Chair in the Faculty of Science and Agriculture, lectured on applied microorganisms in soils, and was engaged in studies on microorganisms in soils. The main focus of his study was identifying and differencing of beneficial and harmful bacteria besides pathogenic bacteria and fungi in soils. Further study focused on the application of beneficial bacteria in agriculture. To further demonstrate his work, Professor Adachi used beneficial bacteria as fertilizers, a rare idea on an item often used in Taiwanese agricultural growth.
According to Professor Adachi’s eldest son Adachi Moto.Professor Adachi maintained a cooperative relationship with the Taiwan Sugar Company, and engaged in studies of microorganisms in soils in sugar planting fields. The study was quite successful in terms of results. At the time, Taiwan Sugar Company used sulphonamide fertilizer in large quantities, and as a consequent the productivity of sugar cane dwindled year after year, resulting in many shut-downs of sugar mills. Having identified the problem, Taiwan Sugar Company began study on compost. Professor Adachi won the trust of the sugar manufacturing companies with his solid research results and experience, and was fully entrusted to assist the companies in correcting the situation. Among these companies, the Yanshui Harbor Sugar Manufacturing Company and the Taiwan Sugar Manufacturing Company provided 3000 hectares of land for conducting compost studies and experiments. A fruitful result was eventually achieved, (Based on correspondence from Mr. Adachi Moto.)
Unfortunately, the research was interrupted by the Pacific War, and his research documents were tragically lost in warfare. In 1942 (Japanese Showa Year17) Professor Adachi served as Technician of the Taiwan Governor’s Office. In 1944 (Japanese Showa Year19) Professor Adachi took a trip on official business to the Department of Agriculture and Forestry in Tokyo, and failed to return to Taiwan when the Japanese was defeated and surrendered.
Mr. Adachi Moto remembered that his father was very serious about his research work. His father once got into a car accident, but he returned to his research lab immediately and worked without bothering to wait until he was sufficiently fit to work again. Upon his return to Japan, Professor Adachi enjoyed attending opera performance, or watching movies in Asakusa. Mr. Ma Guoguan recalled there was a set of complete works by Japanese author Natsume Soseki, but he was not sure whether the set was left behind by Professor Adachi or not. The architectural design of the house and the plants in the yard are manifestations that the owner was a well-read gentleman with exquisite taste.
During the preparatory period of the founding of the Imperial Taihoku University, there were intense activities in inviting and recruiting faculty members in the capacities of assistant and associate professors to fill teaching posts. During this fervent search for the right staffs, the preparatory committee found themselves facing a strange, embarrassing situation: there were no accommodating or residential facilities for the academic members and staffs. On September 15th, 1927 (Japanese Showa Year 2) a proposal “University Credit Union for residential houses” was submitted to the Governor’s Office, applying for the government’s approval to have a credit union organized. The proposal was given a nod of approval on December 9th. This was a cooperative organization for planning and construction of staff houses for university staffs, with university professors as cooperative members. Head of the cooperative organization was professor Shidehara Tan (幤原坦), who later became President of the university. The total working capital was 70,000 yen, of which 35,000 came from share money from participating professors. Another 150,000 was to be acquired through applying for loans. At this time, the university was not yet in operation.On March 10th, 1928 (Japanese Showa Year 3) the Imperial Taihoku University was ready to start operating, however, with the exception of the CEO, residential houses for most professors remained a problem to be solved. Confronted with this “housing draught” President Shidehara made do by accommodating himself in a railroad hotel room. Although the Credit Union was approved, the teaching faculty staffs could do nothing but accommodate through renting or borrowing houses in Taipei before actual effective operation of the coop went into work.
The university then started construction of official houses for university staffs in the area where the present day Wenzhou Street is. These houses were known as “Official University Residences”. By now, the skyline and scenery around Longanpo began to take shape and drastically changed the local scenes.In 1929 (Japanese Showa Year 4), professor SatouTasuku of the Taipei Commercial High School proposed to organize a “Utilization of residential house cooperation credit union for Commercial High School”, and started purchasing and subdividing the land into lots and parcels along the east and west sides of the present day Qingtian Street. A 9-meter wide road, now Qingtian Street, served as boundary: east of this road was the land for use in “University Credit Union for residential houses”; to the west there was land for “Utilization of residential house cooperation credit union for Commercial High School”. All parcels of land required for house construction came from subdividing Lot 482, which was subdivided into 37 parcels. In terms of land cadastral characteristics land for roads and lanes came from Lots No. 482-2 and 482-1 (owned by the Commercial High School) and formed what is now Lane 183, Heping East Road. The 9-meter wide road was from Lot 482-5 (owned by the Commercial High School Credit Union), and Lot 482-4 (belonging to the University Credit Union. Lot 482-16 was now Lane 11, Qingtian Street, Lot 428-25 was Lane 9, Qingtian Street and Lot 428-34, Lane 7 of Qingtian Street.
Within the coverage of the “University Credit Union for residential houses” building lots were divided along a north-south extending axis. Besides the roads and lanes there were 30 parcels of land. Among them, the tract of land that bordered the 90-meter wide thoroughfare in the project area, the Guting-Sanzhangli Road, the present day Heping East Road area, was designated as commercial market section, and was divided into 10 lots. Two commercial sites in the center of the project site were subdivided into 8 plots of 206.5 ping each in surface area. Professor Masashi Adachi’s house was located on Lot No. 462-32.
The Imperial Taihoku University professors who participated this construction project secured a loan from the Tokyo Kangyou Bank for ”Guaranteed responsibility credit union for university residential usage”, and also hired an architect to design, manage and supervise the house construction project. From 1930 (Japanese Showa Year 5) onward, the site became busy with house building activities. All 30 of the professors’ houses were finally constructed and completed. The vast landscape of rice paddy-fields are gone and replaced by splendid first-class residential houses, which blends smoothly with the Official Residential Houses of the university to the south.
Aerial photo of the Showa-cho US Army in 1945