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Cultural Aspects of Taiwanese Life Writings Under Japanese Occupation

Abstract: It is necessary to review and analyze the overall Taiwanese life writings during the period of Japanese occupation to understand thoroughly the history of development and culture for Taiwanese life writings and examine the source of Taiwan’s contemporary cultural complexities. Under the influence of Japanese and western modern life writings, Taiwanese life writings in this period has undergone the modern transformation with the emergence of life writing texts of Late-Qing statesmen, reformers and revolutionaries and Taiwan local elites. In the meantime, this period also witnessed the exuberance of traditional autobiographical texts such as diaries, travel writings, and letters. These life writing texts function as a component of Japanese cultural colonization and functions as a domestication tool on the one hand. On the other hand, the Taiwanese modern self-consciousness and the awakening national consciousness wound its way into these texts to enlighten both wisdom and culture.  In this way, these texts function as a means of countering  cultural colonization and embody Taiwan people’s complex patriotism and identification in the context of the colonial cultural trauma.

KeywordsJapanese occupation, Taiwanese life writings, modern transformation, cultural colonization, identity

Author: Yuan Qi is Associate Professor of Literature in School of Liberal Arts at Yangzhou University and Adjunct Research Fellow of SJTU Center for Life Writing. He specializes in Western literary criticism and life writing studies. This paper is part of the work in the Major Project sponsored by China National Social Sciences Fund: “Compilation and Research of Overseas Life writing on Modern Chinese People.” Email: yuanqi69@163.com