Issue 81/3 – 2013

Issue 81/3 - 2013

22/12/2013 aror



Ann Heylen and Táňa Dluhošová
Introduction to the Special Issue on Taiwan Studies: Popular Culture and Literature ………………………………………….. 385–389



Kai Sheng
The Different Faces of Nezha in Modern Taiwanese Culture .. 391–410

This article seeks to explore the different symbolic meanings of Nezha in Taiwan and their multiple implications in the socio-cultural context. Nezha, or the Third Prince (Santaizi 三太子 ), is a traditional protector deity in Taiwanese folk religion. According to folklore, Nezha was a rebellious trouble-bound child who eventually severed ties with his family. As a divine being, Nezha is regarded as the prototype of the rebellious youth, the “rebel without a cause,” so to speak. The contemporary novelist Xi Song adapted the Nezha legend to a psychological fiction, titled Nezha in the Investiture of the Gods  (1971), depicting the deity as a lonely hero. Perhaps it is Nezha’s exceptional temperament, as described in mythology, that propelled him to be worshipped as a patron god by gamblers during the eighties and nineties, when the Mark Six Lottery in Taiwan was widespread but illegal. After the lifting of martial law, Nezha’s courage in relation to rebellion continued to inspire artists such as Tsai Mingliang and Hou Chunming. Tsai’s Rebels of the Neon God  (1992) implies the adoption of Nezha as a metaphor to symbolize decadent teenagers in modern metropolitan Taipei. Hou’s Anecdotes about Spirits and Immortals  (1993) presents a strange Nezha, depicted as a rebellious infant in an avant-garde style. However, since the performance of Techno Nezha at the opening ceremonies of the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung, these earlier images of Nezha have been transformed into an amusing childlike figure, which has since become an icon of Taiwanese popular culture.

Keywords:  Nezha – Taiwanese Culture – Tsai Mingliang – Hou Chunming

About the Author

Dr. Kai Sheng is Associate Professor, Department of Taiwan Languages and Communication, National United University, Taiwan. His research mainly focuses on Taiwanese Art and Literature, Visual Culture and Inter-art Studies, and Cultural Studies. He has recently published the monograph A Sunday in Life: a Centennial Retrospective Exhibition of Chang Yi-Hsiung (Taichung, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, 2013) and a number of articles on contemporary art.


Ann Heylen
Reading History and Political Illustration in Taiwan Popular Culture ………………………………………………… 411–435

This study is considered an exercise in new cultural history, one in which the representational nature of written history is offered through the prism of several literary genres and narratives that carry ideological implications. The article argues that cultures develop a collective imagination, explicable as narrative forms. This will be illustrated by zooming in on three specific culturally defined visual representations: manga  drawing, picture book and textbook illustrations. The first example introduces a manga  used for educational and didactic purposes that singles out the representation of one aspect of intellectual history from the Japanese colonial period (1895–1945). The second example draws on contemporary situations and depicts a socio-political satire through the icon of textbook visuals. The third visual is taken as a representative example of Taiwan local manga  that taps into the craftily cultivated tradition of socio-political satire. As suggested by Roland Barthes’ rhetoric of image, each case study pays special attention to the orthography in the linguistic and symbolic messages that accompany the comic art. Itamar Even-Zohar’s interpretation of culture planning allows us to link these three case studies under a common denominator: a strong generational undercurrent in their production, which is embedded in the material structure of the publishing world and in the socio-political institutions of the authors. Against the background of this generational demarcation perception in popular culture, this article seeks to evaluate some of the observations that have brought about the inclusion of Taiwan manga  in scholarly research activities associated with East Asian comic art.

Keywords:  Taiwan history – manga  – satire – culture theory – ideology

About the Author

Dr. Ann Heylen, PhD in Chinese Studies, K. U. Leuven, Belgium, is associate professor in the Department of Taiwan Culture, Languages and Literature, and Director of the International Taiwan Studies Center (ITSC) at National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), Taipei. Her areas of research expertise are the history of 17th century Dutch Formosa, the Japanese colonial era, and Taiwan postcolonial historiography. She is one of the founding board members of the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS, She is associate editor of the International Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies (IJAPS) (USM, Penang, Malaysia) and one of the editors-in-chief of the East Asian Journal of Popular Culture (EAJPC) (Intellect, UK). Her most recent publications include Becoming Taiwan: From Colonialism to Democracy (Harrassowitz 2010, co-edited with Scott Sommers) and Japanese Models, Chinese Culture and the Dilemma of Taiwanese Language Reform (Harrassowitz 2012). Her forthcoming publications focus on the 17th-century Dutch Formosa manuscript writings.


Ming-Yeh T. Rawnsley
Taiwanese-Language Cinema: State versus Market, National versus Transnational ……………………………………………. 437–458

Taiwanese-language cinema of the 1950s and the 1960s had a neglected history until the process of democratization in Taiwan invoked a renewed interest in local traditions and cultural legacies. However it is difficult to research the subject as many films and original materials have been lost forever. This paper aims to tease out a forgotten film history that is yet to be widely covered in English literature by studying the Huaxing Film Studio (1949–63), the first privately-run Taiwanese film production company, as well as a prominent filmmaker, Xin Qi (1924–2010). The two central questions the author tackles are: How did Taiwanese language filmmakers negotiate the pressure from the state and the market under martial law? What can we learn about the paradigm of national versus transnational from Taiwan’s early film industry?

Keywords:  Taiwan cinema – Taiwanese-language film industry – state – market – national – transnational – Asian film history

About the Author

Dr. Ming-Yeh T. Rawnsley is a Research Associate of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK. Her most recent publication is Global Chinese Cinema: The Culture and Politics of Hero (edited with Gary Rawnsley). She is currently writing a monograph, Culture and Democratization in Taiwan: Cinema, Theatre and Social Change (Routledge, forthcoming).


Oliver Streiter and Yoann Goudin
The Tanghao on Taiwan’s Tombstones: The Statal Recuperation of Tactics for the Creation of a National Space …………………….. 459–494

As observed by Michel de Certeau in his L’invention du quotidian , ideological questions between state and social agents are fought over on the ground of popular practice. Recent research in anthropology has shown how in this battle, the state recuperates popular practices, arranges them in new value systems and re-injects the modified practices into daily life to serve its political agenda. This article will focus on a funeral practice, the inscription of tango 堂號  on tombstones in Taiwan and Penghu. Tanghao  is a set of place-names that two thousand years ago identified regions on the lower reaches of the Yellow River as the place of origin of Chinese surnames. Since the Song, the state has traded the association of tango  and surnames through the reading primer The Hundred Family Names  (Baijiaxing 百家姓 ). Also, in and outside China, ancestral halls of Han Chinese were for centuries supposed to be adorned with the calligraphy of a tango . In contrast, the use of a tanghao on tombstones became a popular practice only in Penghu and Taiwan. This happened during the Japanese colonial period, between 1895 and 1945. On Penghu, the tango  replaced expressions of loyalty to the Qing Dynasty. On Taiwan, the tango  replaced the jiguan 籍貫 , the place in Fujian and Guangdong, where a family would have been registered before migrating to Taiwan. During the Chinese Cultural Renaissance Movement, launched in 1966 by Chiang Kai-shek, the provincial government of the ROC recuperated tanghao, rearranged them into new lists and distributed the lists widely. At the same time, new types of dependent funerary professionals were established with the regulation and reforms of mortuary practices, and these officials actively promoted the tanghao . Using an archive of 45,000 digitized tombstones, plus digitized official documents, we attempt to follow the stratal recuperation and re-injection of the tanghao , using as a trace, a non-traditional character-variant of the most common tanghao  “Yingchuan” 潁川 .

Keywords:  Taiwan – Penghu – tanghao – Yingchuan – tombstones – Baijiaxing – Japanese colonization – ROC government – recuperation of practices – strategy – tactics

About the Authors

Yoann Goudin has studied Chinese, Didactics, Sociolinguistics and Anthropology in Paris, Tainan and Taipei. He is currently completing his PhD in Didactics at INALCO in Paris where he also teaches sonograms for learners of Korean. In his current research, he focuses on the variation of the language practices during electoral campaigns in Taiwan, learning and teaching variation among sinogramic languages, as well as the funeral practices since the launching of the Thakbong project and its methodological transposition in the ANR project FRANCHIR, CNRS, France.

Dr. Oliver Streiter has studied psychology, linguistics, psycholinguistics and computational linguistics in Utrecht, Paris, Palermo and Saarbrücken. Since 2004 he teaches Digital Humanities, Anthropological Linguistics and Corpus Linguistics at the National University of Kaohsiung. In his current research, he attempts to develop Digital Anthropology within the paradigm of Digital Humanities. Since 2007, he and Yoann Goudin have been digitizing, archiving and analyzing Taiwan’s tombs and tombstones in a project called ThakBong.


Lee Pei-Ling
All about 1895: An Ideological Analysis of TV Serials from the Two Sides of the Taiwan Strait ……………………………. 495–514

The Treaty of Shimonoseki ceded Taiwan from China to Japan at the end of the Sino-Japanese war in 1895 and the country was then colonized by Japan until 1945. After the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) won the Chinese civil war in 1949, the Chinese Nationalists (Kuomintang 國民黨 , KMT) retreated to Taiwan, leading to a new period of separation between China and Taiwan. Over the next 60 years, Chinese and Taiwanese people experienced different political regimes and propaganda and, accordingly, developed different political perspectives on history. The ceding of Taiwan to Japan in 1895, an important historical event in China’s modern history, is explained, described, and understood differently in different sources, including the content of television dramas in China and Taiwan. This study applies ideological criticism to examine two television serials, Taiwan 1895  from China and The War of Betrayal 1895  from Taiwan, both of which describe the same historical events of 1895. The aims of the paper are to discover what kinds of ideological messages are delivered and how images of the “Self” versus the “Other” are constructed in the chosen artifacts under the ideologies of China-centred and Taiwancentred paradigms. By analyzing the role of television in diffusing ideologies, this study supports an examination of the impact of ideology and the power of discourses on popular culture, to increase the understanding, and even to seek common ground across the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Keywords : Ideology and media – Ideological criticism – China-Taiwan relations, 1895

About the Author

Dr. Pei-Ling Lee is currently assistant professor in the Department of Speech Communication at Shih Hsin University, Taipei, Taiwan. She received her PhD in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Communication and Culture in 2008 from Bowling Green State University, Ohio, USA. She has been actively presenting papers at academic conferences on international, national, and regional levels. She has also published research articles in different academic journals, books, and conference proceedings. Her research and teaching interests comprise the relationship of rhetoric and cultural studies, identity studies on communities and ethnic groups, propaganda and media, and public speaking.


Lin Pei-yin
Gendering Cross-strait Relations: Romance and Geopolitics in Li Ang’s Seven-Generation Predestined Relationship and Ping Lu’s East and Beyond………………………. 515–538

Studies on women’s literature from Taiwan so far can be divided into two categories. Themsociological one investigates the emergence of certain popular authors as a phenomenon, whereas the thematic one either condemns women writers for describing triviality only or hailing them as feminists. These two approaches cannot fully analyze the works by authors such as Li Ang (b.1952) and Ping Lu (b.1953), who venture into the mostly male dominated realm of politics and history. This paper examines the relationship between romance and Taiwan’s socio-political issues in Li Ang’s Seven-Generation Predestined Relationship and Ping Lu’s East and Beyond . Based on a close textual analysis, it offers a detailed interpretation of the multi-layered narratives in Li Ang’s novel, looking at how Li’s characterization points to a female-centric view and a post-national global identity. It then scrutinizes the interplay between personal desire and Taiwanese history, as well as the use of female details, in Ping Lu’s work. It argues that the narrative form – romance – commonly employed by both writers should not be deemed clichéd or unserious. Rather, it serves as an effective means to subvert the “hardcore” politics, providing engendered insights into Taiwan’s own past and current interactions with China.

Keywords:  Gendering – Cross-strait Relations – romance – geopolitics – Li Ang – Ping Lu

About the Author


Christopher N. Payne
Queer Otherwise: Anti-Sociality in Wuhe’s Gui’er and Ayao … 539–554

Generally, there is elation amongst marginalized communities when their struggle to be heard culminates in the actual acknowledgement of their existence by the mainstream. The exuviation of marginality (supposedly) creates hope that the status quo can and is transforming. However, questions come to mind: what happens to the (queer) subaltern after gaining this new articulatory power? Does acknowledgement by the centre demand compliance to hetero/normative expectations? Can the discourse of be-coming actually be inhibiting? These are the central issues explored in Wuhe’s 舞鶴  contemporary novel Gui’er yu Ayao 鬼兒與阿妖  (Gui’er and Ayao ) (2000). By situating the text in contradistinction to the normativising impulses of Taiwan’s ku’er 酷兒  community – evident right from the start by Wuhe’s choice of gui’er 鬼兒  to transliterate queer – this paper contends that the novel is of strategic importance for its journey into queer negativity and for its be-ing otherwise than what is expected. In short, it is argued that the text calls stringent attention to the means by which Taiwan’s queer community, in its struggle for hetero/normative respect, has perhaps sacrificed its internal heterogeneity and become, contrary to its original intent, a normativising discourse that silences attempts to be sexually otherwise.

Keywords:  Wuhe – Taiwanese contemporary literature – queer theory – anti-sociality

About the Author


Darryl Sterk
The Hunter’s Gift in Ecorealist Indigenous Fiction from Taiwan …………………………………………………………………… 555–580

The hunter’s gift is a common motif in stories by indigenous writers from Taiwan. I interpret the hunter’s gift as symbolic, both of a way of life in which gift exchange predominates and also of a mentality in which the fruits of the forest are regarded as gifts, not as raw materials to be extracted and sold. Yet the hunter’s gift in Taiwanese indigenous stories is always in danger of being sold, so that a story about a hunter’s gift can be read as a meditation on the indigenous encounter with capitalist modernity. The article begins by drawing on Marcel Mauss’s monograph on the gift and Marx’s writings on alienation to develop a model of social transformation from gift society to commodity society. I propose ‘ecorealism’ as a genre of fiction in which an omniscient third person narrator places individual action not just in social but also in ecological context. Then I interpret three stories by Taiwan indigenous writers as works of ecorealism. These three stories, Auvini Kadresengan’s “Home to Return to,” Topas Tamapima’s “The Last Hunter,” and Badai’s “Ginger Road” are, on first reading, nostalgic and tragic. I argue they are also critical of the impact of capitalism on community and ecology and hopeful that the gift economy might complement the commodity economy in interpersonal and ecological interchange. The indigenous hunter has been seen as a threat to wild animal populations, but the cultural tradition he represents might guide our responses to environmental problems, a possibility I consider in an afterword on the sustainability of the bushmeat trade.

Keywords:  gift – hunting – Marcel Mauss– ecoambiguity – ecorealism – Taiwanese indigenous fiction

About the Author


Faye Yuan Kleeman
Body, Identity, and Social Order: Japanese Crime Fiction in Colonial Taiwan ………………………………………………………….. 581–601

This article investigates cultural interactions and influences between Japan and Taiwan in the realm of popular culture during the later half of the colonial period and the immediate postcolonial era (1920s to 1960s). In particular, it focuses on the genre of crime fiction, a genre that enjoyed widespread readership that cut across all spectrum of the colonial society. It examines the history and scope of crime fiction as a transnational genre fiction that first emerged in Anglo-American literary production in the mid-nineteenth century. Its rapid dissemination, first to Japan and then to its colonies, serves as an indicator for one to track the trajectory of a cultural current that emphasizes scientific methods and logical, deductive reasoning. Using close reading of several (post)colonial texts that involved ethnic body, local and cosmopolitan identities, social chaos caused by crime and the restoration of social order and colonial authority.

Keywords:  crime fiction – realism – cross-cultural borrowing – body – order

About the Author


Review Article


Oliver Weingarten
Coming to Terms with the Masters …………………………………….. 603–620


Book Reviews and Notes


Timothy Wai Keung Chan. Considering the End: Mortality in Early Medieval Chinese Poetic Representation (Olga Lomová)…………………………………………………………………………. 621–624


Our Contributors ………………………………………………………………………….. 625–628

Contents of Volume 81 (2013) …………………………………………………………. 629–631