"Bitter Love" between Taiwan and Japan? How Native Taiwanese Elders Perceive China and Japan in the Early Twentieth Century

"Bitter Love" between Taiwan and Japan? How Native Taiwanese Elders Perceive China and Japan in the Early Twentieth Century

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 - 5:00pm
Venue: 
Nissan Lecture Theatre, St Antony's College
Speaker(s): 
Feng-yi Chu (Oxford)
Convenor: 
Feng-yi Chu

Abstract: This presentation addresses a wistful, nostalgia-like sentiment towards Japan that seems to exist in contemporary Taiwanese society, particularly amongst some native Taiwanese elders who experienced Japanese rule in Taiwan before 1945. Some commentators describe this sentiment as ‘bitter love between Taiwan and Japan’ (臺日苦戀) and believe it to be a crucial determinant of these native Taiwanese elders’ identities and political orientations (for instance, their Taiwanese or even Japanese identity, their opposition to the KMT, et cetera). However, the identities and political views of this generation in fact show great diversity and heterogeneity, and cannot be generalised or condensed into a single type. With several interview cases, the presentation illustrates how Taiwanese people of this generation perceived Japan and China in different ways during the era of transition in the early twentieth century, and how these perceptions and feelings may have changed through time.

About the speaker: Feng-yi Chu is a DPhil candidate in Oriental Studies, University of Oxford. Born and raised through late 1980s and 1990s, the most agitated era of economic growth, political reform, and nationalist development in Taiwan, he has developed his research interests focusing on identities, political ideologies, nationalist discourses, and cultural studies. He gained the master degrees in journalism at National Cheng-chi University and in sociology at University of Warwick. In his DPhil project, Duelling Identities: Dimensions of Dual Identity in Contemporary Taiwan, he interviewed 104 participants with distinct backgrounds, exploring various emotional and social discourses that forge and shape their Chinese and Taiwanese identities. He is one of the founding members of Oxford Taiwan Salon, University of Oxford and was a reviewer for the Journal of Asian Politics and History.