Issue 78/3 – 2010

Issue 78/3 - 2010

22/12/2010 aror



Táňa Dluhošová and Ann Heylen
Introduction to the Special Issue ………………………………………. i–x

Visual Arts


Yuko Kikuchi
The Question of “Japaneseness” and the Creation of the“Greater Oriental Design” for Crafts of the Japanese Empire …. 215–242

Since the 19th century, crafts for Japan have been as important for trade and the economy as they have been for national and cultural identity. The discourse of “Japaneseness” has been central to the national and public debate in the craft world. As the Japanese empire expanded into North East China in the 1930s, Japan became interested in the cultures of greater China, including Taiwan. Japan’s continuous obsession with the idea of the “Japaneseness” in craft products was complicated by its effort to redefine itself in terms of its “Orientalness.” This involved the location of its identity within the three-way positioning of Occident-Japan- Orient rather than the simple binary position of Japan versus the Occident. This paper firstly examines how Japanese craft and design experts confronted these multiple and different shades of the Orient and constructed the notion of “Japaneseness” as part of the Orient in the design discourse. Secondly, it will investigate the Japan centric hybrid design concept of “Greater Oriental Design,” articulated by Japan as the leading power and authority of crafts in Asia. Finally, this paper will explore how this design discourse and these concepts were creatively interpreted in actual design terms and in experimentation, as well as the resulting implications for Japanese design history.

Keywords: Craft and design – Japanese Empire – North China/Manchuria – Taiwan

About the Author

Dr. Yuko Kikuchi is reader in the History of Art and Design at TrAIN (the Research Centre for Transnational Art Identity and Nation), the University of the Arts, London. Her works include Mingei Theory and Japanese Modernisation: Cultural Nationalism and ‘Oriental Orientalism’ (London: Routlege Curzon, 2004), Refracted Modernity: Visual Culture and Identity in Colonial Taiwan (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2007), and co-author with Toshio Watanabe, Ruskin in Japan 1890-1940: Nature for Art, Art for Life (Tokyo: Cogito, 1997). She was also  a member of the curatorial group for the Japan section of the “International Arts & Crafts” exhibition held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2005, and was the main contributor of “Japan and the Mingei movement” in Karen Livingstone and Linda Parry eds., International Arts and Crafts (London: V&A Publications, 2005). She is currently working on a book about Russel Wright and American intervention in Asian design during the Cold War, and leading international projects: “Forgotten Japonisme: The Taste for Japanese Art in Britain and the USA, 1920s-1950s” and “Oriental Modernity: Modern Design Development in East Asia, 1920-1990.”

Wen-shuo Liao
Empire and Regional Identity: Ide Kaoru’s Architecture Writings…………………………………….. 243–258

Issues of regionalism and imperialism and their various confrontations significantly defined the mindset of Ide Kaoru (1879–1944) and some of his contemporary Japanese colonial architects. With his long-term service in the colonial government and having spent most of his adult life spent in Taiwan, Ide cultivated particular compassion towards this island, its cultural traditions and natural environment. This paper examines the origins and evolution of Ide’s nascent regionalist perspective and regional identity. His extensive writings on architecture and building projects featured a transient trajectory shaped by personal aesthetic inspiration, practical needs, and imperial motivations within a larger pressing context.

 Keywords: Taiwan – Regionalism and imperialism – Japanese colonial architecture

About the Author

Dr. Wen-shuo Liao received her doctorate in Art History and Theory from the University of Sydney, and is currently assistant researcher at the Academia Historica, Taipei. Her research focuses on the changing visions of art and culture in modern China and Taiwan.



Federica Passi
Irony, Satire and the Spirit of Resistance: A New Reading of Three Taiwanese Short Stories from the Period of the Japanese Occupation ………………………. 259–278

Writers of New Taiwanese literature used a variety of literary devices in the face of the historical conditions they were living in. Willing to expose the injustice of Japanese occupation, the dark aspects of traditional society still conditioning people’s lives, and the economic inequality of a society struggling toward modernity under colonial rule, writers often adopted a realistic mode in their fiction. But even though realism was the dominant mode, depending on the author’s stylistic character and on the different degree of censorship imposed by the colonial government in different times, irony and satire were also used in fiction, as can be seen in the writings of Zhu Dianren, Cai Qiutong, and Wu Zhuoliu, among others. This paper is based on the analysis of three ironic or satiric pieces of fiction (“Ideal Village” by Cai Qiutong, “Autumn Letter” by Zhu Dianren, and “The Doctor’s Mother” by Wu Zhuoliu), and aims to interpret the use of irony and satire in these works. Stress will be placed on the possibility of interpreting these literary modes not only in terms of their resistance to the colonizers, as has been the case so far, but also in relation to the mature literary techniques they demonstrate, which reveal the aesthetic view of their authors. In this way, a new evaluation of this corpus of fiction is presented.

 Keywords: Taiwanese fiction – Irony and satire – Fengci – Japanese occupation

About the Author

Dr. Federica Passi is a researcher in the Department of East Asian Studies, Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, where she teaches Chinese Language, Translation, and Chinese Literature on both undergraduate and graduate courses. Her research activities focus on translation and modern and contemporary Taiwanese literature, on which she has published several articles and a book, Letteratura Taiwanese: un profile storico (Venice: Cafoscarina, 2007).


Carsten Storm
Traces of Reality: Alternative Realisms in Taiwan during the 1960s and 1970s …. 279–302

In Taiwanese literature, as in many other national literatures, realism is a term which has been used to serve many aims. Aesthetic and narrative aspects contribute to realism as much as political, ideological and/or social convictions. In Taiwan, it has been used as a label by almost all literary groups and schools since the first wave of native literature (xiangtu wenxue) in the 1920s in order to describe and legitimize their respective literary and – frequently – political claims. Over time, the very meaning of the term “realism” had been subject to multiple changes, thus turning “realism” into an almost empty signifier that needed to be further framed. Realism increasingly tended to be accompanied by an explanatory adjunct, specifying what kind of realism was indicated. The article re-evaluates epistemological issues connected to the use of realism among Taiwan’s modernists and nativists in the 1960s and 1970s. It argues that the struggle between both groups is primarily in relation to the appropriate adjunct to be attached to realism. Both movements illustrate how realism has grown into a meta-term of modernity, while its aesthetics, subject matter, and ethical impact have became increasingly vague.

 Keywords: Taiwan – Realism – Modernism – Nativism – Literary theory

About the Author

Dr. Carsten Storm is associate professor at the Faculty for East Asian Studies, the Ruhr-University, Bochum and the Centre for East Asian Studies, Dresden University of Technology. His interests include literature and film, literary theory, issues of identity, authenticity, historicity and their respective temporary and regional transitions. He is co-editor of The Margins of Becoming. Identity and Culture in Taiwan. (2007) and author of Von Tätern ind Opfern. Rechtsmentalität in chinesischen Kriminalerzählungen zwischen 1600 ind 1900. [Of culprits and victims. Mentalities of law in Chinese crime stories, 1600–1900] (2004) and Imagination der Geschichte. Authentizität, Historizität, Widerstand ind Identität in chinesischen historischen Romanen [Imagining history. Authenticity, historicity, resistance, and identity in Chinese historical novels] (2010).


Jana Benešová
Whosestory is it? – Postmodernism, History and “Historiographic Metafiction” in the Context of Taiwanese Literature ……………. 303–319

The commonly encountered account of the postmodern (including postmodernist cultural practices) is the one based on (or very similar to) Fredric Jameson’s view of postmodernism as representing the logic of late capitalism and being defined by the issues of surface  pastiche and paranoia. This also includes Jameson’s criticism of postmodernism’s supposed ahistoricity (or belief that when it uses history, it does so in a naïve and sentimentally nostalgic way). Such is also the prevalent definition of the postmodern in Taiwan, most recently adopted, for example, in Liu Liangya’s new publication, Postmodernism and Postcolonialism: Taiwanese Fiction since 1987. Offering an alternative view, this article deploys Linda Hutcheon’s project of “problematics” of postmodernism to argue that as opposed to the more or less dualistic view of postmodern vs. postcolonial tendencies in contemporary Taiwanese fiction (especially as regards postmodernism’s relation to history) it is also possible to describe the constant revisiting of the past in numerous novels by different authors in post-martial-law Taiwan in terms of Hutcheon’s “postmodern historiographic metafiction.” This thesis is further demonstrated by means of an analysis of a short story by Lai Xiangyin.

 Keywords: Taiwan – Postmodernism – Postcolonialism – Contemporary Taiwanese fiction

About the Author

Jana Benešová is a Ph.D. student at the National Chengchi University, Taiwan. She obtained her M.A. in English language and Chinese philology at the Palacky University, Olomouc in 2005. She has published several scholarly articles, as well as some translations from Chinese.



Chiang Min-Chin
Building Locality at Sites of Memory in Taiwan …………………. 321–339

The 1990s signified the beginning of Taiwan’s “era of localism.” Local places in Taiwan and the idea of Taiwan as a place, were to gain unprecedented status in both political narratives and social practice. These place-centered acts gradually converged into the state-led Integrated Community-Making Program, in operation since 1994. Amid the prevailing phenomena, the past of a place was frequently perceived as representing a utopia which was rapidly fading or had been already lost as the result of development. The heritage sites, as “sites of memory,” have thus not only served as “memory tactics” in rebuilding the sense and identity of a place, but are also expected to mediate the construction of a better future in terms of locality production. This paper examines the substantial components of locality in Taiwan within three frameworks: globalization, machizukuri and community-building, which comprise the significance of locality in Taiwan. It concludes with case studies, which examine the social practice of place-making through the development of controversial sites of memory. It attempts to reveal the dialectical relationship between state-propaganda and the local practice of community-building, as well as the dilemma generated from the uses and abuses of global/local discourse.

 Keywords: Heritage – Sites of memory – Community-building – Globalization

About the Author

Chiang Min-Chin 江明親 is a Ph.D. candidate in the Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden University, The Netherlands. She was the Acting Director of the Gold Ecological Park, a municipal museum in Taipei County, Taiwan, from 2003 to 2005. Her research concerns interpretation issues in relation to colonial heritage; memory, heritage and locality building; the representation and management of museums and heritage. Her recent work is “The Hallway of Memory – A Case Study on the Diversified Interpretation of Cultural Heritage in Taiwan,” in Heylen, Ann and Sommers, Scott, eds., Becoming Taiwan: From Colonialism to Democracy (Wiesbaden: The Harrassowitz Publishing Company, 2010).


Susana Sanz Giménez
Chen Chieh-jen’s Artwork and Post-1987 Art in Taiwan: From the Body as a Political Instrument to the Recuperation of the Self………………………………………………………………………… 341–359

Chen Chieh-jen is currently the most renowned contemporary Taiwanese artist, participating in numerous worldwide art biennials and exhibitions. Firstly, this paper will narrate how Chen managed to become an artist, while, at the same time, an analysis of Taiwan’s sociopolitical and cultural history will be presented. The analysis will be from an unusual viewpoint: that of Taiwanese contemporary art, a field of study marginalized by Western Scholars in Taiwanese Studies. The testimonies of its protagonists, Taiwanese artists, will also be included. Secondly, the lifting of a 40 year period of martial law in 1987 symbolizes the kickoff point for the development of contemporary Taiwanese art. Chen Chieh-jen, as many other Taiwanese artists, participated in this process, making use of his body to state his sociopolitical stance. This paper will demonstrate how the body became one of the main focal points in contemporary art in Taiwan. Having been hidden by censorship, the body was turned into an instrument of political condemnation, and even a key element in the local claim of Taiwanese identity. And finally, we will analyze how Chen Chieh-jen developed his own artistic interpretation of the body, beginning with his political performances and moving onto the recovery of his personal identity and story through the medium of his black and white photographic series.

 Keywords: Chen Chieh-jen – Contemporary art in Taiwan – Body – History – Politics

About the Author

Susana Sanz Giménez graduated with a degree in Art History at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) in 2004 and with a degree in East Asian Studies at the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) in 2008. She is a member of the research group “Transculturalism, Crossbreeding, and Globalization in Contemporary Art. East-West,” at the Faculty of Geography and History, UCM. She has published the exhibition catalogue: Chen Chieh-jen. Military Court and Prison (Reina Sofía National Museum of Art, Madrid, 2008). Ms. Sanz Giménez has been a visiting student at I’NALCO in Paris (2006–07) and a visiting researcher at the Department of Art in the National Taipei Education University (2008). She is currently working on her Ph.D. dissertation about Chen Chieh-jen artwork. Meanwhile, she is studying at Peking University.


Our Contributors ………………………………………………………………………. 361–362