Written by Nikal Kabalan’an (Margaret Yun-Pu Tu). Taiwan’s Indigenous artefacts were taken, bought, brought, or even got stolen and ended up miles away from the Indigenous communities where they were made by the hands of Indigenous ancestors. Some of these Taiwan Indigenous collections were already kept in a foreign museum overseas for almost a hundred years. Some of these museums are devoted to reflecting the devastating colonial history and decolonising the space by, for example, rewriting the narratives, displaying their collections in more inclusive ways, and collaborating with the cultural communities from which these cultural holdings originated. The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, Washington States, United States, where I am currently leading the review and engagement plan for the Indigenous Taiwan holdings with my colleagues, is one example of decolonising the museums.
A Possible Blind Spot on Decolonisation in Taiwan’s Museums
Written by Pin-Hua Chou. When it comes to the Universal Exposition held in Paris in 1931, there are many criticisms of imperialism and colonialism appearing in all kinds of articles, both academic and non-academic. But, interestingly, speaking of the Taiwan exposition in commemoration of the first forty years of colonial rule in 1935, all the information in Mandarin that we can find at first glance seems to have a tendency to praise the Japanese government of the time by describing how valuable and grandiose achievements were made in this specific exposition under the rule of the Japanese empire and to belittle the ROC government at the same time.
Japanese Colonial/Occupational Histories in the National Museums: A Comparison Between Taiwan and Singapore
Written by Pin-Yi Li. In the postcolonial Asian context, national museums reflect the countries’ colonial histories and their transformation, offering the country’s incumbent political elites the opportunity to reinvent or adjust the initial museum discourses framed by the colonisers. For example, respectively built by the Japanese and British colonial governments, both the National Taiwan Museum and the National Museum of Singapore are the oldest public museums in each country.
History was Reconfigured at the Time of Discovery: The Life and Afterlife of Chiang Wei-Shui
Written by Fang-Long Shih. The life and afterlife of Chiang Wei-Shui (蔣渭水 1891–1931) have echoed what the film Rashomon has denoted: “History was not found at the time of its occurrence, but was reconfigured at the time of discovery” (dir. Akira Kurosawa 1950). In 1921, Chiang Wei-Shui founded Taiwan Cultural Association (TCA, 台灣文化協會), the first culture-based organisation in Taiwan’s history. The TCA was established “to promote Taiwan to a position of freedom, equality and civilisation”. The TCA also had a political aim to “adopt a stance of national self-determination, enacting the enlightenment of the Islanders, and seeking legal extension of civil rights”.
Taiwanese Mountains and Plains Indigenous Peoples: Facing Different Trials, Yet the Same Fate
Written by Chen I-Chen. Is Indigeneity a self-evident category? Or is “Indigenous” defined differently by the policies and politics of each nation-state? On June 28, 2022, a constitutional review of the Supreme Court’s debate on the Indigenous Status of the “Plains” peoples (the “Pingpu,” 平埔族群) shed light on the discussion surrounding Taiwan’s national recognition of Indigenous status. The “Plains” peoples, headed by the Siraya, had fought for more than three decades to have their Indigenous status recognised under the category of the “lowland” Indigenous peoples (平地原住民)”. As a crucial result of the long struggle for the Plains peoples’ legal status, the final judgement will be declared no later than this late November.
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.
Shinzo Abe: A True Friend of Taiwan? “Post-”colonial Critique on Taiwan’s National Identity Forming
Written by Ti-han Chang. 11:30 am on the 08th of July in Japan, unexpected news of Shinzo Abe 安倍晉三 being shot during his public speech travelled quickly on the international news media. However, the very fact of this happening has profoundly shaken societies in the East Asian region. For Japan, it appears there is a need to reflect deeper on the homogeneous nature of its internal political structure; for other countries in the region, on their indissociable geopolitical dynamics with their close neighbour over the last few decades.
Fighting from the Grassroots: Indigenous Health Justice is All About Life
Written by Yunaw Sili and Besu Piyas. The story began in 2006. That year, the Council of Indigenous Peoples in Taiwan issued a guideline stating that if Indigenous students need preferential treatment for college admission, they must pass the national Indigenous language certification test. As a result, many parents were worried that their children’s access to higher education would become more difficult. Because of this issue, we started our grassroots organising work in Hanxi Village, Datong Township of Yilan County. That was the first time we engaged and coordinated with the community people on local concerns. On April 19th, 2006, we demonstrated in front of the Council of Indigenous Peoples, fighting for our youth’s college rights.
Colonial Racial Science and Taiwan: How Indigenous Peoples Became Anatomy Data Points. Part II
Written by Ko-yu Chiang, We received a reply confirming that the Mudan remains were indeed still stored in their collection. So, at this point, the puzzle was finally complete. This is the full story of the journey taken by these unfortunate victims. They came from a battle in Pingtung, to an anatomy lab in Yokohama, to the University of Edinburgh, where they were left in storage.
Colonial Racial Science and Taiwan: How Indigenous Peoples Became Anatomy Data Points. Part I
Written by Ko-yu Chiang, Under the beating sun in Taiwan’s most southern tip, Mudan Township, an indigenous Paiwanese district with a current population of 5,000, opened a public committee in May 2020. Despite being in a small township in Taiwan’s far south, this committee was an international affair. In attendance was the council of Indigenous Affairs, Bureau of Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture, the Pintung County government. The committee also extended to the other side of the world: Edinburgh University in the United Kingdom and the spirits of sixteen Paiwanese Mudan soldiers who have only recently returned home after 146 years abroad.
Joshua Wen-Kwei Liao (1905 – 1952): A Founding Theorist of Taiwanese Independence
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.
The Risky Business of Importing Pigs: The Story Of Taiwan’s First Insurance Company
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.