International Journal of Taiwan Studies 1.1

The inaugural issue of International Journal of Taiwan Studies is now available! Below, please find the table of contents and see the link for more information:

International Journal of Taiwan Studies
Volume 1, Issue 1, 2018
ISSN: 2468-8797
E-ISSN: 2468-8800


“Editorial,” by Ming-yeh T. Rawnsley, pp.: 1–3

“Introduction: The State of the Field of Taiwan Studies,” by Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao and Dafydd Fell, pp.: 5–10 Continue reading

Ecologizing Taiwan–cfp

Ecologizing Taiwan: Nature, Society, Culture–Call for Papers
Co-edited by David Wang and Andrea Bachner

The International Journal of Taiwan Studies, cosponsored by the European Association of Taiwan Studies and Academia Sinica, is a principal outlet for the dissemination of cutting-edge research on Taiwan. We are currently inviting submissions for a special issue titled Ecologizing Taiwan: Nature, Society, Culture.

This special issue proposes Taiwan as a point of departure to situate ecological thought and think beyond contemporary bio- and eco-politics. Extending the definition of ecology to encompass social relations and human subjectivity as well as environmental concerns, we propose to put all we do, think, and feel about Taiwan in the context of the whole to which we belong: the human, nonhuman, and post-human Sinosphere as well as the earth. Continue reading

Hou Family Fellowship in Taiwan Studies

2018-19 Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies Hou Family Fellowship in Taiwan Studies

The Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University is pleased to announce the 2018-19 competition for the Hou Family Fellowship in Taiwan Studies. The fellowship will be for a period of three to twelve months from August 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019, with residency at Harvard University. One candidate who is a student at, recently graduated from, or teaching/researching at a North American institution and one from a Taiwanese institution will be accepted. Please note that the Fairbank Center is only accepting applications from North America-based scholars. A separate search committee in Taiwan will review local applications.

Applications are welcome from candidates with advanced standing in their Ph.D. programs or recent Ph.D.s (within five years at the start of the fellowship) in a relevant discipline of the humanities or social sciences focusing on Taiwan.

A strong working knowledge of English and Chinese and/or Taiwanese is required. Harvard University doctoral degree candidates and recipients are not eligible for this fellowship.

Total stipend for one year: $25,000, plus $3,000 for research support.

For program and application details, please see:

Application deadline: March 14, 2018

Posted: Nick Drake <>

Taiwan’s lost commercial cinema–cfp

CFP: Taiwan’s Lost Commercial Cinema: Recovered and Restored

Did you know regular filmmaking on Taiwan only started in the 1950s? With a Taiwanese-language film industry? Between then and the 1970s, 1000+ Taiwanese-language features were made. However, the budgets were miniscule, the companies short-lived, and there was no archive. They were quickly forgotten, and only 200+ survive. However, with the establishment of the Chinese Taipei Film Archive in 1979 and the end of martial law in 1987, Taiwanese-language cinema of the 1950s–1970s, once seen as a disposable entertainment, is now being revalued as an art form and window on old Taiwan, and new scholarship is revealing more complex dimensions of the phenomenon.

We are pleased to announce that Journal of Chinese Cinemas has agreed to our proposal to submit a dossier of articles for consideration as a special section or issue of the journal. To be considered for inclusion, please submit your 200-300 word abstract to us ( and by 31 January 2018. If accepted, the deadline for submission of the full draft essay will be 30 April 2018, and we will be submitting the dossier to Journal of Chinese Cinemas during the summer of 2018.

Chris Berry and Ming-Yeh Rawnsley

Professor Chris Berry
Dept. of Film Studies
King’s College London
Strand, London

Taiwanese cinema year in review

Source: Taipei Times (12/28/17)
Year in Review: Taiwanese Cinema
By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

Blue Lan, left, and Chu Ko Liang play a father and son in Hanky Panky. Chu died in May at the age of 70. Photo courtesy of Hualien Media

Suffering through a number of terrible local movies throughout the year makes the good ones truly worth it. Three favorites in particular come to mind — but first, let’s pay tribute to Chu Ko Liang (豬哥亮), the legendary and often crass Taiwanese entertainer who died at 70 years old in May.

Liang’s sixth-straight and unfortunately his final Lunar New Year blockbuster Hanky Panky (大釣哥) continues his over-the-top act with plenty of melodrama and his trademark bathroom humor, although he does rein in the weirdness at times for some surprisngly emotional scenes. The resulting product is an unspectacular yet solid Liang-style comedy with a decent storyline and a surprising amount of chuckles, which was exactly what people are looking for in a holiday blockbuster. Liang should not be remembered as a fool just because of his bumbling on-screen persona. There’s a reason he was been able to stay relevant despite pulling the same old tricks decade after decade. He knew how to tell a story, and most importantly, he knew how to make fun of himself — which is where most other Taiwanese screwball comedies fall short. Continue reading

Hakka made an official language in Taiwan

Source: Taipei Times (12/30/17)
Hakka made an official language
Townships in which half the people are Hakka are to make Hakka the primary language, while some civil servants are to take a language test
By Cheng Hung-ta and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Hakka has been made an official national language after the Legislative Yuan yesterday passed amendments to the Hakka Basic Act (客家基本法).

According to the amendment, townships in which Hakka people make up at least one-third of the population are to be designated key developmental areas for Hakka culture by the Hakka Affairs Council, and Hakka is to be used as one of the main languages for communication.

Such areas should strive to bolster the teaching and speaking of Hakka, as well as the preservation of Hakka culture and related industries, the amendment said. Continue reading

Yu Guangzhong dies at age 90 (1)

Source: Taipei Times (12/15/17)
Poet Yu Kwang-chung, 90, dies in Kaohsiung
FAREWELL: Born in China in 1928, Yu Kwang-chung began writing in 1949. He migrated to Taiwan in 1950 and in the same year published poems, critical essays and translations
By Huang Hsu-lei and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with CNA

Poet Yu Kwang-chung, left, kisses his wife, Fan Wo-tsun, at an event to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in Kaohsiung last year. Photo courtesy of National Sun Yat-sen University

Noted poet and essayist Yu Kwang-chung (余光中) yesterday died from complications from pneumonia at age 90, Kaohsiung Medical University Chung-ho Memorial Hospital said.

Yu was hospitalized last week after a suspected mini-stroke, before being transferred to the intensive care unit because of pneumonia, the hospital said, adding that detailed information has been withheld out of respect for Yu’s family.

Yu had been in poor health since last year, when he was twice hospitalized, first for an intestinal complaint and then a fall. Continue reading

Yu Guangzhong dies at age 90

Source: Sup China (12/14/17)
Chinese poet Yu Guangzhong dies at age 90
By Jia Guo

Poet and writer Yu Guangzhong 余光中 died at the age of 90 on Thursday in Taiwan. He was admitted to a hospital earlier after suffering from a stroke and a lung infection.

Yu was born in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, in 1928, but fled with his family to Taiwan in 1950. Yu wrote many well-loved works of poetry and prose, and was known for his humor and humanism. He was fondly remembered both in Taiwan and on the mainland, particularly for his poem “Nostalgia,” reproduced below, translated by Baidu (or in Chinese here). Here’s a video of Yu Guangzhong reading the poem.


When I was young,
my homesickness was a small stamp,
I was here,
my mother was there.

After growing up,
my homesickness was a narrow ticket,
I was here,
my bride was there.

my homesickness was a little tomb,
I was outside,
my mother was inside.

And now,
my homesickness is a shallow strait,
I am here,
the mainland is there.

On Weibo, many internet users talked about the poem. “May Mr. Yu rest in peace. Wish the tragedy of family separation in history will never happen again,” one commenter wrote. “I first learned this poem when I was little. Now, I still feel touched by it,” another commenter said.

Taiwan moves to erase Chiang legacy

Posted by: Martin Winter <>
Source: South China Morning Post (12/6/17):
Taiwan moves to erase Chiang Kai-shek’s authoritarian legacy with new law
Renaming of streets and schools, removal of related symbols made compulsory under new ‘transitional justice bill’
By Agence-France Presse

Tributes to Taiwan’s former dictator Chiang Kai-shek will be removed across the island after lawmakers voted in favour of the mandatory axing of symbols of its authoritarian past.

The so-called transitional justice bill, which was passed late on Tuesday, means that streets and schools will be renamed and statues taken down.

It also paves the way for a full investigation into Chiang’s “White Terror” – a purge of his political opponents between 1947 and his death in 1975.

As Taiwan struggles with Chiang Kai-shek’s legacy, a look at how China’s rulers treated their predecessors. Continue reading

The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful

Source: Taipei Times (11/30/17)
Movie review: The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful
With nobody really meaning what they say, this film may be initially confusing for some, but the superb acting and chilling plot make it a must see — even if you have to watch it twice
By Han Cheung  /  Staff Reporter

Kara Hui, left, Vicky Chen, center and Patty Wu play the three main characters in The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful. Photo courtesy of

If you are not an expert in reading between the lines or decoding sentences that have layers of meaning, you might have trouble following this movie, which is drowning in cold blood with lies, backstabbing and underhanded dealings.

Further complicating things is the director Yang Ya-che’s (楊雅喆) use of fabricated memories, subtle imagery, metaphors and implied events, leaving much open to interpretation (it’s mostly explained eventually, though). It’s the kind of film you might want to watch twice, as you’ll probably be oohing and ahhing with new revelations the second time around.

Whether you get the film immediately or have to look on the Internet for answers afterward, it can’t be denied that the acting, in general, is off the charts. Fourteen-year-old Vicky Chen (陳文淇) fully deserves her Golden Horse award for best supporting actress — but Patty Wu (吳可熙) feels just as legitimate for consideration. Continue reading

Lee Ming-che sentenced to 5 years for subversion

Source: Sup China (11/28/17)
China jails Taiwanese activist for five years for ‘subversion’
By Lucas Niewenhuis

China has sentenced Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-che 李明哲 to five years in prison for “subverting state power,” the BBC reports.

  • Lee disappeared in China in March and was not heard from for 172 days. In September, he received a trial and gave a scripted confession to the crimes.
  • Chris Horton writes (paywall) in the New York Times that from Taipei, many viewed the case as “the latest shot fired in China’s psychological war on Taiwan” that has heated up since Tsai Ing-wen 蔡英文 was elected president in 2016.
  • Because Lee’s only apparent crime was spreading information about democracyvia Facebook and his connections in China, it has had a “chilling effect” on human rights organizations in Taiwan, one organizer said.
  • Taiwan’s government has called the ruling “unacceptable,” the Taipei Times reports, with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party adding in a statement that the case “indicates China’s indifference to the universal values of democracy and human rights, and damages its international reputation, while hurting the feeling of Taiwanese.”

Speaking of indifference to human rights, Jiang Tianyong 江天勇, a lawyer convicted of crimes similar to Lee’s, received the backing of a group of United Nations human rights experts last week, the Hong Kong Free Press says. In their statement, they noted that “Jiang’s trial clearly fell short of international standards” and argued that his “only crime was to exercise his rights to free speech and to defend human rights.”

Wu Feng’s downfall

Source: Taipei Times (9/10/17)
Taiwan in Time: The drastic downfall of Wu Feng
Revered for almost a century, the man who sacrificed himself to stop the Aboriginal practice of headhunting was removed from history textbooks in 1989, and slowly fading into obscurity
By Han Cheung  /  Staff Reporter

A painting of Wu Feng arriving on a white horse wearing red, per the legend, hangs on the walls of the Wu Feng Temple in Chiayi. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

For almost a century, Wu Feng (吳鳳) was known as a selfless, compassionate hero. Under both Japanese and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) rule, every child read in school about how Wu sacrificed himself to stop Aborigines from their “savage and backward headhunting practices.”

Here’s the gist of the story: Wu spent much time with the Tsou Aborigines in what is today Chiayi County, teaching them how to farm and make crafts. After trying to delay their headhunting ritual to no avail, Wu told them to decapitate a man in red clothes who would pass by the next day. They did so, only to find that the man was Wu himself. Shocked and deeply saddened, the Aborigines vowed to give up the practice forever. Continue reading

KMT pulls pro-unification plank from platform

Source: SCMP (8/21/17)
KMT pulls pro-unification plank from party platform
Taiwan’s opposition party withdraws backing for peace treaty talks with the mainland
By Lawrence Chung

New KMT leader Wu Den-yih faces an uphill battle ahead of next year’s local government elections. Photo: CNA

Taiwan’s opposition Kuomintang has pulled a pro-unification plank from the party’s platform, a move analysts say is certain to rile Beijing.

In a vote reportedly orchestrated by new KMT leader Wu Den-yih on Sunday, the party’s national congress approved removal of calls for a peace treaty with the mainland before eventual reunification, an idea introduced by Wu’s predecessor Hung Hsiu-chu. Continue reading

Le Moulin

Posted by Bert Scruggs <>
Source: Japan Times (8/9/17)
‘Le Moulin’ gives a voice to Taiwanese poets who wrote under Japan’s colonial rule
by Kaori Shoji

Documenting a different time: Filmmaker Huang Ya-li uses archival footage and interviews in his film ‘Le Moulin’ to tell the story of a group of Taiwanese poets who lived under Japanese rule in the lead-up to World War II.

The word “nisshiki” (Japanese style) can often be seen on storefront signs in Taiwan to indicate chic, high-end products. It’s a little similar to what we in Japan associate with luxury items from France, though “nisshiki” is a holdover from the days when Taiwan was under Japanese rule (1895-1945).

Documentary filmmaker Huang Ya-li tells me that Taiwan is currently in the throes of a “Japan nostalgia boom” that recalls the colonial days with a degree of fondness he doesn’t quite understand. Continue reading

Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Fest 2017

The 9th Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival 2017
October 6 – 10, 2017 in Taipei, Taiwan
TIEFF 2017 Lineup Announced!
2017 Lineup

TIEFFWe are pleased to announce the official selections for the 2017 Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival (TIEFF). TIEFF is Asia’s oldest and longest running international ethnographic film festival. Competition was especially tight this year, with over one thousand five hundred films (from one hundred and eleven countries) submitted to the festival.

The final list consists of just forty two films, the maximum number we could comfortably schedule with sufficient time left over for discussion. The selected films are incredibly diverse. Not only do they come from twenty different countries, but they deal with a wide range of issues, and represent a wide range of cinematic styles.

The main topic this year was “Beyond the Human” which explores the interconnections between humans, animals, technology, the environment, and the spirit-world. In addition to films on these topics, we also have films that explore death and dying, mental illness, social justice, travel, refugees, and indigenous cultures. Many of these films have never before been screened in Taiwan.

The full list of films is below. We hope you can join us this October 6th-10th in Taipei. Be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter, or via our mailing list to get the latest updates about the festival.

Continue reading