Roots and Routes in the Malay World and Beyond: Dialogues Between Singapore and Taiwan

Written by Doris Yang. In 2021, five artists/researchers from Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan gathered to present their project, The Malay World Project: Roots & Routes, in an online event held by Taipei Performing Arts Center. This event was inspired by a research project asking, ‘Where do the Malays originate?’ Not only did the project study the diaspora of Malay peoples around the Asia-Pacific, but it also created a space for dialogue between Taiwan’s Indigenous people and Malay in Singapore and Malaysia on the issues of identity and belonging. This article compares the advocacy experiences of Malay people in Singapore and Indigenous people in Taiwan. I argue that there is space to foster additional connections and collaborations between the civil societies among these two groups.

Why Should Taiwan’s Civil Society Raise Its Focus on Southeast Asia and Forge Concrete Collaborations?

Written by Liang Liang. Like most once-colonised countries, Taiwan has experienced a chequered history. However, the unique part of Taiwan, which may not be so similar to the rest of the world, is that the historical remnant has resulted in its awkward (but de facto independent) status, hence making Taiwan a coveted land to China. As a result, Taiwan has been identified as the “canary in the monetary coal mine” globally when China’s sharp power grows unprecedentedly. While Taiwan gradually receives interest from all over the world, including Southeast Asia, “the world” used to signify only China and the United States to the Taiwanese government and society. Located at the crossroads of Northeast and Southeast Asia and frequently using the slogan “The Heart of Asia” in its global tourism advertisements, it had, however, rarely shared the same interests and consciousness with its southern neighbours.

The Abe Factor and the ‘Special’ bond between Taiwan and Japan

Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. Abe has widely been regarded as ‘the Prime Minister who is most supportive of Taiwan’. Not only had he been an advocate for legitimatising Taiwan’s status on the international ground on many occasions, but he also made the renowned statement during a video conference with the Taiwan Institute for National Policy Studies in 2021 that ‘if something happens to Taiwan, it means something happens to Japan’. Hence, although the news of Abe’s assassination sent shockwaves worldwide, the political implications of his untimely death on the future trajectory of Taiwan-Japan warrant further investigation.

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.

Post War Flux: Analysing the Fluctuation of Relationships Between Taiwan-Japan in the Post-war Period

Written by Wei-Hsiu Huang. In addition, more complicated multilateral relations are involved in this issue. They are the relations between Japan and the People’s Republic of China, cross-Strait relations, and the Japan-US Alliance. As for the Japan-US Alliance, Japan is obligated to abide by the Japan-US Security Treaty, and the US insisted on a peaceful resolution of cross-Strait relations. To make it clear in the discussion, I will divide the developing process into three periods: the first period from the post-war period to the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Japan and China, the second from the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Japan and China to the democratisation of Taiwan, and the third one from the 1990s to the present. This essay will proceed with an overview and analysis of the complex relationship between Japan and Taiwan in the post-war period.

A new research agenda for late Qing and Japanese colonial Taiwan’s history: Perspectives from East Asian history and World History

Written by Wen-Kai Lin. With the development of Taiwan’s democratisation in the late 1980s, Taiwan historians have been able to transcend the Chinese nationalist historiography of the past Kuomintang government and carry out historical research with Taiwan’s multi-ethnic groups as the equal subjects of historical interpretation. However, many researchers only focus on Taiwan itself, which inevitably ignores Taiwan’s relationship with East Asian history and world history and narrows the broader temporal and spatial significance of Taiwan research. This article attempts to take the exchange of East Asian knowledge of Taiwan’s modern governance from the late Qing Dynasty to the Japanese colonial period as a new research agenda to reveal that the research on Taiwan history is often not only Taiwan history but also a complex manifestation of wider East Asian history and world history.

Shinzō Abe and Taiwan-Japan Relations

Written by Ko-Hang Liao. On 8 July 2022, former Japanese Prime Minister (PM) Shinzō Abe (安倍晋三) was killed by an assassin’s homemade gun during his midspeech of campaign held in Nara to support a Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) candidate for upper house election two days later. As a result, this longest-serving Japanese PM (in office (2012-2020) after a brief first tenure (2006-2007), surpassed the record held by his great uncle Eisaku Satō (佐藤栄作) from 1964 to 1972) is recognised by the public as the most Taiwan-friendly premier, a transformational leader, and the founder of Indo-Pacific strategy. By introducing Abe’s distinct roles, this article looks at Taiwan-Japan relations during and after Abe’s administration, the impact he brought to Japan’s postwar pacifism by rebuilding Japan’s role in global power-politics, his legacy in the post-Abe era, and future relations between two countries.

Taiwan, Japan, and a Turning Point of Cold War Legacies in East Asia

Written by Kuan-Jen Chen. On 8 July 2022, two gunshots not only ended Japan’s former prime minister Abe Shinzo’s life but also convulsed international politics in East Asia. The debates on Kishida Fumio’s diplomatic policy and the power reshuffling within the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) have had the share of the international spotlight for their inextricable connections with Taiwan and the East Asian region. The amicable relationship between Japan and Taiwan is well-renowned. If you stroll in any city in Japan, it is not hard to find a slogan banner of “Thank you, Taiwan!” to express Japan’s appreciation for Taiwan’s help after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Ten years later, when Taiwan underwent the grave hours of the pandemic, Japan, pushed by Abe Shinzo, generously provided vaccines for Taiwan, saving numerous lives. These instances mark that these two countries seemingly have an unbreakable official relationship. However, the fact is that historically and politically speaking, Japan has been maintaining a distant but close relationship with Taiwan.

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.”

The Economic Impact of COVID-19 Outbreaks in Migrant Workers’ (MW) Dormitories in Singapore and Taiwan 

Written by Jackson Teh. In crux, we should note the link between the general public’s health, both physically and mentally, with that of the migrant workers: only when local community cases are stable, and their sentiments positive, are migrant workerss allowed to move around and go to work; only when migrant workerss move around and go to work, can they feel better and hopeful about themselves and the future. Therefore, the mental well-being of both groups in a country must not be seen as isolated variables. 

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.

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