Trade and travel were strictly regulated by the government during the Ryūkyū Kingdom period. There is no record of substantial exchanges between Taiwan and the Yaeyama Islands.
Yaeyama began to forge a link with Taiwan immediately after the inauguration of Japanese rule in Taiwan. The exchanges were initiated by the opening of sea transportation between the two regions. As soon as Taiwan was ceded to Japan in 1895, the Osaka Merchant Ship Company opened a shipping line between Osaka and Taiwan. Its steamships not only carried visitors to Taiwan, but also carried various commodities between Yaeyama's Ishigaki and Taiwan's port of Keelung.
The industrial and commercial development of Yaeyama was closely associated with the establishment of a sea transportation network with colonial Taiwan. In other words, the opening of the imperial seaway attracted Japanese business persons and entrepreneurs, which promoted the commercialization and industrialization of the Yaeyama Islands.
Yaeyama's local newspapers show how Yaeyama's commercial business developed in close association with the Japanese colonization of Taiwan.