Written by Adina Zemanek. It can be argued that the above are examples of creativity driven by state-led ideological aspirations, which cannot find a wide readership in Taiwan. However, they are intensively promoted to international audiences and may shape their perception of Taiwanese comics. At the same time, the number of such works and the state-encouraged discussions may ultimately lead to a shift in local audiences’ expectations.
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.
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.
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.
Written by En-chi Chang. The convenience store in Taiwan has been part of daily life in Taiwan. To stay competitive, convenience store retailers remain focused on providing customers with convenient offerings. The current trend echoing the international retail development is the digitalisation of products and customer services. Nevertheless, development such as unmanned stores and metaverse is still in the infant stage. It is exciting to observe whether Taiwanese consumers will well receive services such as 7-Eleven’s X-Store and FamilyMart’s O2 Meta and whether other convenience store retailers will follow this development.
Written by Fanny Caron. Lin and Ismahasan’s academic disciplines and the career path they have chosen to highlight a change in Taiwan Indigenous studies on an international level. These choices enable them to play a part in shifting the discourse on Indigenous Peoples from “objects” of study to active “subjects” of their own (counter-) narrative, supporting their affirmation of Indigeneity and tribal sovereignty.
Written by Genevieve Leung. The Milk Tea Alliance was formed when Mainland Chinese social media users attacked two Thai celebrities to support pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and Taiwan independence activists. Thai social media users deployed humour to combat the attacks, and Taiwan and Hong Kong users joined in, using the shared custom of drinking milk tea, along with various minoritized statuses, as the cohesive forces that “naturally” drew them together.
Written by GuoTing Lin (Kuing). This work uses digital ethnography to consider how Taiwanese indigenous musicians utilise Facebook as their primary official platform for audience communication. I go about this by analysing cover images, profiles, photos, and feeds on Facebook, which is used to depict the details of the texts, photos, and videos. It thus shows the self-presentation and the communication of Taiwanese indigenous musicians concerning cultural and social issues. Moreover, I argue that indigenous musicians perform their identity through online self-presentation in everyday life.
Written by Yiling Pan. What is the Taiwanese identity in today’s Taiwan Cinema? In 2008, Taiwan’s Cinema began to get back on its feet after an extended lull, with several new directors successively releasing critically acclaimed first works, such as Chung Mong-hong’s Parking, Tom Lin Shu-yu’s Winds of September and Gilles Yang’s Orz Boyz!. However, it took Wei Te-sheng’s debut, Cape No. 7, to become a box-office hit and arouse widespread interest in Taiwanese film. .
Written by Daniele Mario Buonomo. The diffusion and practice of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an important issue both in the Chinese and Western worlds. In European and Western countries, TCM, and specifically acupuncture, is increasingly popular. In 1979, for the first time, acupuncture and moxibustion received the attention of the World Health Organization. TCM’s importance has even been stressed in 2010 by UNESCO, who inscribed acupuncture and moxibustion on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Written by Chee-Hann Wu. Puppets are mysterious creatures with lives and narratives different from that of humans. With its poetic and metaphorical nature, puppetry can unfold untold stories, censored or silenced. Flip Flops Theatre’s Lala: The Singing Bear (2019) and I Promised I Wouldn’t Cry (2019) are examples of puppets’ potentiality to access and tell these stories. Both pieces, designed for adults and children, adopt puppetry as a medium to address trauma under the White Terror.
Written by Yi-Yu Lai. As an anthropologist who studies Indigenous movements in the Philippine highlands, my experiences of beauty pageants’ are not rare. The beauty pageant has been culturally entrenched in the Philippines and its diasporic communities for many decades. Because these contests are very popular with Filipinos, some Indigenous youth advocates use them as an instrument for cultural activism, empowering participants and attracting those who were previously indifferent to political issues. Nevertheless, the Filipino beauty pageants of Taiwan are quite different from those I previously experienced.