The Transformation of Taiwan-Japan Relations from a Historical Perspective

Written by Li-Hsuan Cheng. On July 8th 2022, Abe Shinzo, the longest serving prime minister in postwar Japan, was assassinated while campaigning for an LDP candidate in the coming election for  Upper House. While this tragic incident shocked countries worldwide, few societies like Taiwan showed such strong and wide remorse. Even in Japan, where Mr Abe had enjoyed unprecedentedly high and long support, like most leaders of democratic countries, he could not escape scandals and policy failures that eventually damaged his public support. However, despite some criticisms of Abe’s attitude toward war responsibilities in Taiwan, the mainstream society largely held a very favourable view toward him. One obvious reason is the significant progress in the Japan-Taiwan relation during his terms as prime minister.

To Return or Not to Return? A Dilemma of a Taiwanese Scholarship Recipient

Written by Kalesekes Kaciljaan (Yu-Chi Huang). In 2019, I was awarded a Taiwanese scholarship of government sponsorship for overseas study from the Ministry of Education of Taiwan to support my pursuit of doctoral study in public health at the University of Hawai’i. The reason I did so was that the financial status of neither myself nor my family could provide me with the funds for studying overseas. Unfortunately, many other Indigenous scholars from Taiwan, like myself, also went through the same path I did, owing to our people’s averagely lower financial status. I am grateful that I could have the scholarship to support my dream to study abroad and be a researcher devoted to Indigenous health. Unfortunately, however, certain scholarship regulations are outdated and greatly hinder the path of students whose research interests relate to Taiwan. As a result, we are forced to choose between our ideals and our promised benefits. Therefore, I would like to elaborate on my own experience to provide a deeper insight into the problems we recipients face when returning to Taiwan to conduct our research.

Taiwan Indigenous Students Study Overseas—A Choice Between Food and Tuition Fees

Written by Nikal Kabala’an (Margaret Yun-Pu Tu) . The Ministry of Education (MoE) is the highest authority of the Republic of China (ROC) government in implementing educational policies in Taiwan, which includes governmental-led Indigenous education. This article focuses on the “Scholarships for Indigenous People to Study Overseas” (Hereinafter “the Scholarships”). Since the Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Education, multicultural, and equal opportunities are some of the current key concepts for MoE to plan the related policies, I suggest the authorities could consider more about the Scholarships following the starting point in supporting Indigenous students to study aboard.

Chemsex, digital writing, and changes in sexual practice in 21st century Taiwan 

Written by Poyao Huang. Almost parallel to the development of Taiwan’s LGBTQ+ history is a chapter on gay men’s lived experiences with drugs—a taboo chapter that many tend to ignore. In Taiwan, it is reported that young drug users are the most vulnerable population affected by HIV/AIDS and drug abuse as we see increasing numbers of young people getting involved with drugs and HIV. Drug use among bisexual and gay men is often understood in the illegal vs recreational debate. In other circumstances, the issue of drug use is associated with health concerns (HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases), thus becoming a moral threat to social well-being.

Where did the Greatest Art Piece Come From? From Taiwan’s Music Industry to Jay Chou’s Latest Album 

Written by Dr Chen-Yu Lin. his strategy to project Chineseness as a globalising project was best exemplified by Jay Chou’s appearance on the Nasdaq screen at Time Square in January 2019. He was voted the most influential Chinese singer on Kugou (酷狗), the Chinese streaming service owned by Tencent ( 騰訊). However, other than his name, the text shown on the Nasdaq screen alongside a photo of Chou is all in Chinese. Such a projection of a globalising Chineseness caters to the hopes of the well-educated and well-travelled Chinese newly rising classes.

The Many Faces of the Hokkien-language Internet

Written by Sam Robbins. This linguistic transnationalism has never died. In the digital era, online content distinctly aimed at promoting Taiwanese Hokkien within Taiwan abounds, but there is also a wide range of content created by communities interested in Hokkien generally. Hokkien-speaking populations across national borders also found each other and formed groups on social media. They share, remix, and collate content in these spaces rather than promote particular types of language use. For example, “Min Peoples, Min Languages” (閩人閩語), a Facebook group with almost 20,000 members from Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and China, is dedicated to “sharing everything relating to Southern Min (folk) culture, (folk) songs, and Southern Min languages.”

From Isolated Nation to Island Nation: Searching for Taiwan’s Place in the Wider World 

Written by Fiona Lin and Sam Robbins. Crucially, this isn’t just about establishing a new Taiwanese identity but rather a process of constant reflection for all upon this island on how to have an open and thoughtful form of national identity. I am happy that “Searching for Taiwan Flavour” can be part of this process by using food, drink, nature and business in the foreground. 

The Changing role of Laotian Coffee in Taiwan 

Written by Chen Szu-An, Translated by Sam Robbins. According to data from the Lao Coffee Association, Taiwan was one of the earliest to enter the Laotian market and invest in coffee production after the government allowed foreign investment in the year 2000. There was even a period where some in Taiwan dreamed of becoming a major player in the development of Laotian coffee. In contrast with the Laotian beans that were first imported to Taiwan as cheap goods, as Taiwanese consumers became more accepting of the idea of “specialty coffee”, Taiwanese business people started to repackage Laotian beans.

TAKING A LEAF OUT OF TAIWAN (AND VIETNAM): HOW “TAIWANESE” IS TAIWANESE BUBBLE TEA? 

Written by Kuan-Ren Yun (雲冠仁), translated by Sam Robbins. As Bubble tea has taken over the world and increasingly become a symbol of Taiwan, this unique Taiwanese flavour has only been possible by importing large qualities of tea leaves, including the Vietnamese tea leaves that so many Taiwanese have grown sceptical of. Taiwanese people have felt pride in the success of bubble tea sales, but they also continue to reject foreign tea leaves and see them as only authentic when only Taiwanese tea leaves are used.

Taking a leaf out of Taiwan (and Vietnam): How “Taiwanese” is Taiwanese bubble tea? 

Written by Kuan-Ren Yun (雲冠仁), translated by Sam Robbins. When I was in Vietnam from 2016 to 2018, there was a time of immense market transformation underway that raised a very interesting question: The now-famous “Taiwanese bubble tea” had become reliant on Vietnamese tea leaves in Taiwan, and it was only after the transition to Vietnamese tea leaves was made could Taiwanese bubble tea be produced at such a scale to become a global phenomenon.

Taiwan Studies and Sinology: A Curriculum Perspective

Written by Henning Klöter. The contributions by Perkuhn and Chien, Wang and Achen and again Chien mention some successful examples of Taiwan studies centres and associations in the US, the UK and mainland Europe. The core of Wang’s and Achen’s argument is that all of them can and should do without sinology. So far, so good. But if we look at the sustainability of Taiwan studies, we need to look beyond centres and associations and ask how the field can attract new cohorts of students and what they expect to learn. In other words, we need to discuss how the study of Taiwan should be integrated into existing curricula or whether Taiwan needs a curriculum in its own right.

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