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The Tsou (Tsou: Cou; Chinese: ; pinyin: Zōu; Wade–Giles: Tsou) are an indigenous people of central southern Taiwan. They are an Austronesian ethnic group. They are spread across two administrative entities of the Republic of China — Nantou County and Chiayi County.

Tsou people
Tsou youth of Taiwan (pre-1945).jpg
Tsou youth, pre-1945
Total population
6641 (January 2018)
Regions with significant populations
Tsou, Mandarin
Animism, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Kanakanavu, Saaroa, Taiwanese Aborigines

They are sometimes confused with the Thao people of Sun Moon Lake. In the year 2018 the Tsou numbered 6,641. This was approximately 1.19% of Taiwan's total Indigenous population, making them the seventh-largest indigenous group.[1]


The Tsou are traditionally based in the Alishan area. Their rich oral histories describe migrations of each ancient clans' ancestors into the area between Yushan and the Chianan Plain. Originally, each clan had its own settlement, with the first multi-clan town, Tfuya, forming approximately 1600 CE.[2]

The earliest written record of the Tsou dates from the Dutch occupation, which describes the multi-clan settlement Tfuya as having approximately 300 people in 1647. Ethnologists have attempted to reconstruct the development of Tfuya, proposing that each stage of clan migration could be equivalent to three or four generations of family.[2] Another Formosan group of Bunun origin called the Takopulan reportedly lived in the same area, but were absorbed by the Tsou. Their largest settlement had 450 people in 1647. During the Japanese colonial period, four Tsou groups were recorded: Tfuya, Tapangᵾ, Imucu and Luhtu.[2]

Famous TsousEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "2018年1月台閩縣市原住民族人口數". Council of Indigenous Peoples. 2018-02-07. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  2. ^ a b c Hung, Ling-yu; Ho, Chuan-ko (2007), "New light on Taiwan highland prehistory", Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association, 26: 21–31, doi:10.7152/bippa.v26i0.11990