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Refashioning Cultural Authenticity: Taiwan

  • Lingchei Letty Chen

Abstract

Making inquiries into cultural identity in Taiwan is a complicated endeavor because the culture is closely tied to many cultures—principally Chinese, but also Japanese and American—to identify just the most significant. Naming these cultural others and defining a Taiwan cultural identity requires consideration and discussion of the historical discontinuity and cultural hybridization that resulted from both external and internal political and cultural machinations. The disconnection from native culture through migration (e.g., the 1949 exodus from China to Taiwan) and the imposition of a foreign culture through the fifty-year Japanese colonial rule have created for the different groups of people in Taiwan a serious and complex problem in defining not only their own but also collective Taiwan cultural identity. It is a double-edged struggle to overcome cultural displacement and authenticate cultural hybridity.

Keywords

Cultural Identity Qing Dynasty Democratic Progressive Party Personal Memory Cultural Hybridity 
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Notes

  1. 10.
    Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang in the concluding chapter of her Modernism and the Nativist Resistance: Contemporary Chinese Fiction from Taiwan (Durham & London: Duke University Press, 1993) briefly describes these writers, among others, as those who have led Taiwan literature into a “new era.” Situating her discussion against the social, cultural, and political changes that took place in the 1980s in Taiwan, Chang establishes the basic outlook of this new generation of Taiwan writers as having more “tolerance of pluralistic coexistence of the incommensurable … appetite for indeterminacy” as well as being “more keenly aware of the self-other dichotomy” (180). David Der-wei Wang in his numerous articles and books also discusses writers whose works carry significant historical importance as well as literary impact on the development of this new phase of Taiwan literature of the eighties. Please see his Zhongsheng xuanhua (Heteroglossia) (Taipei: Yuanliu Publishing, 1988), 269–88; Xiaoshuo zhongguo (Fiction(al) China) (Taipei: Rye Field, 1993), 161–92; Ruhe xiandai, zengyang wenxue (The making of the modern, the making of a literature) (Taipei: Rye Field, 1998), 405–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 18.
    Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude, trans. by Gregory Rabassa (New York: Avon Books, 1971), 12.Google Scholar
  3. 21.
    Kawabata Yasunari, The Old Capital, 1961, trans. by J. Martin Holman (San Francisco: North Point Press, 1987).Google Scholar
  4. 24.
    Conrad Schiokauer, A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations, 2nd ed. (Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers, 1989), 332.Google Scholar
  5. 29.
    Hu Lancheng has recorded this period and his controversial involvement with Wang Jingwei in his book This Life, This World (Jinsheng jinshi) (Taipei: Sansan shudian, 1990). He is best known for being the former husband of Eileen Chang and a collaborator with Japan and Wang’s bogus government in occupied Shanghai during the Sino-Japanese War. Because of this connection with Wang, Hu has been accused by the Nationalist government of being a traitor to China (hanjian).Google Scholar
  6. 31.
    Colonial Taipei as a site of urban modernization by the Japanese seemed to share many similarities with the modernization plans for Tokyo which was going through centralized city planning after the 1923 earthquake. Please see Jinnai Hidenobu, Tokyo: A Spatial Anthropology (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995). I owe this reference to Professor Joseph Allen.Google Scholar
  7. 32.
    Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin, The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures (New York & London: Routledge, 1989), 140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Lingchei Letty Chen 2006

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  • Lingchei Letty Chen

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