The most visually pleasing modern structure in the heart of old Xinhua, Yang Kuei Literature Memorial Museum (楊逵文學紀念館) celebrates the life and work of an author who was born and raised less than 500m away. At that time, Xinhua was known as Tavocan (大目降), a toponym of aboriginal derivation.
Yang Kuei (楊逵, 1906-1985), who was educated in Japan and did not learn to speak Mandarin until he was almost 60, also spent 12 years as a political prisoner of the KMT. The bitter quip he made after his release is often quoted: "I got paid the highest royalties in the world. I wrote just a few hundred words [the length of the article that got him into trouble] but I could eat free rice for more than ten years."
His most famous work, The Newspaper Man (送報夫), about a young Taiwanese student struggling to make money as a newspaper delivery boy, was first written and published in Japanese. In the 1960s, Yang rewrote it in Chinese.
Among the items displayed in the hall are Yang's letters, school reports and personal effects. In later life he seldom appeared without a woolen cap on his head, and some of these caps are preserved in the museum. There's almost no English inside, but the old photos are intriguing nonetheless.
The small building behind the museum is dedicated to another of Xinhua's sons, movie star Ou Wei (歐威, 1936-1973). Ou starred in more than 100 films before his premature death.
The attractive green building a little further north at no. 500 was built in 1934. Originally a local government outpost and police station, in 2000 it was dragged 300m to a vacant plot so an underground parking lot could be built on the site. When the parking lot was completed the following year, the building was moved back to its original location and fully restored. It now houses a restaurant.
Those driving themselves should follow the signs on Highway 20 from central Tainan to Xinhua, and look for the intersection of Zhongzheng and Zhongshan roads. Turn right and you'll see the museum on your left after 250m. Parking a car nearby isn't easy, but you'll have no problems if you're on two wheels. Those using public transportation should take one of the frequent Tainan-Xinhua buses (NT$37 one-way). By bus or car, the journey takes around half an hour.