Written by Sandrine Marchand. In Taiwan, 1945 marks the end of the Japanese colonisation. For many Taiwanese intellectuals and writers, it also means the abandonment of the Japanese language for Mandarin. But a language cannot be erased as quickly as architecture or other material goods. The language of childhood – the language of education – stubbornly persists. After this initial silent period, in the 1970’s – thanks to the Nativist movement – there has been a revaluation of pre-war Taiwanese writers gathered under the appellation of “a translingual generation” as they emerged from the shadows.
Written by Kuan-Wei Wu 吳冠緯. Like his East-Asian contemporary intellectuals, Joshua was a product of both Western and Eastern traditions during those divided times. His reflection on statehood enfolds different trends of twentieth-century thought. This makes him a complex but intriguing thinker. When previous studies emphasise his political and nationalistic engagement, it should be noted that his way of thinking and philosophical methodology is also worthwhile to research.
Written By Lilian Tsay. The Japanese empire’s importance placed on the Taiwanese sugar industry can be seen in the design of the 1935 “40 years of colonial rule” exhibition, which had a whole section dedicated to the sugar industry and provided free sugar water to visitors. The sugar industry was a crucial part of the colonial economy; it also heavily impacted Japan’s dietary customs. Japan did not produce its own white sugar. Before the Meiji era, deserts in Japan were made using either dark sugar from Okinawa, wasanbon from Shikoku, or from white sugar imported from Southern China. Just as described in “Southward Expansion to Taiwan,” only with Taiwan’s help could Japan’s confectionery industry successfully develop alongside the expanding Japanese empire.
Written by Ko Lien. The demand for pig and pork products increased, but businessmen had begun to import pigs from across the strait since supplies have dwindled. As refrigeration technology was still in its infancy at this point, live pigs were imported. However, many overdue would die on the journey to disease or ship wreckage. In response to this, Taiwan’s first-ever insurance company was founded for protecting against pig loss.
Written by Chinghui Liao. Hunting traditions are common across many indigenous communities in Taiwan, and maintaining food security has been an important cultural practice for thousands of years. Recently, however, certain endangered animal species have faced greater risk due to commercial hunting. These cases often involve indigenous communities, and this has made the issue difficult to resolve. In order to protect a functioning and biodiverse ecosystem, the “wildlife conservation law” regulates hunting behaviour and limits legal practise to only specific indigenous ceremonies.
Written by Hsu Hung Bin.The history of doctor outflow in Taiwan tells us that doctors of all eras are continually reflecting on what it means to be in the medical profession and what the “good life” of a doctor is. The unique history of Taiwan’s medical system is an essential resource as we come to reflect on the issues of today. This history reminds about the diverse sets of values (not all of which have been good) that have existed within the system. It also provides clues of what a new system might look like.
Written by Hsu Hung Bin. The phrase “五大皆空” (all the key fields are lacking) has become common, referring to the lack of doctors in internal medicine, surgery, gynaecology, paediatrics and emergency care. There has also been discussion of the net outflow of doctors from Taiwan. All of this brought doubts to the once hopeful students as they began their medical education. I often hear students asking questions like “is the medical system here really going to collapse?” “Do we have to leave Taiwan and start a new life abroad?” “Did I make the right choice for my career”?
Written by Jerome F. Keating. Lee Teng-hui, the first president of Taiwan to be elected by the people, passed away on July 30, 2020. He was a statesman among statesmen and perhaps the greatest statesman Taiwan, aka the Republic of China (ROC), has ever known. Presidents and leaders are often judged not by the totality of their lives but by how, at a critical and crucial time, they did the right thing.
Written by Denis Li, translated by Corey Lee Bell. Lee Teng-hui, Taiwan’s first democratically elected president, played a key role in the country’s journey from authoritarianism to democracy. In 12 years as president, he made six amendments to the constitution, earning him an indelible place in the history of Taiwan. The News Lens has compiled 10 of Lee’s quotes from lectures and interviews, which reflect his perspective on Taiwanese politics and cross-strait relations, as well as the expectations he harbored for himself as a political figure.
Written By Yueh-Cheng Tien. Establishing relations is a central feature in the research of humanities and social sciences. It also lies at the heart of most historical analysis—these relations concern how different individuals and institutions connect and influence one another. However, researchers often struggle to prove specific relationships due to the multitude of relations that exist concurrently, and the actual effect of these relationships can be hard to prove. This has led many historians to turn to digital and mathematical methods to model relations visually and statistically.
Written by Gerald R. Gems. Given the politics of state-building in Asia over the last half-century, and the continuing contentious debate over Taiwanese sovereignty, sport has played (and continues to play) a significant role in the creation and perpetuation of a national identity. Japan occupied Taiwan from 1895 to 1945 as compensation after its victory over China in the war of 1895. Baseball, an American sport, had taken hold in Japan by that time, and the Japanese introduced the game to Taiwan. In time, it became the most popular spectator sport in Taiwan.
Written by Julian Chih-Wei yang. Chen Kuo-Cheng (陳國城) – better known by his nom de plume Wuhe (舞鶴, literally ‘Dancing Crane’) – is a Taiwanese novelist renowned for his experimental, modernist style. His magnus opus, ‘The Life That Remains’ (餘生/Yusheng – officially translated as the ‘Remains of Life’), comprises only one single paragraph that is over two hundred pages long.