Bridging Perspectives: Discussions on Japan-Taiwan Relations

Fri May 03 2024 at 09:30 am to 04:30 pm

Flinders University City Campus - Level 3, Room 311 | Adelaide

College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Publisher/HostCollege of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Bridging Perspectives: Discussions on Japan-Taiwan Relations
Symposium on Japan-Taiwan relations
About this Event

Even though Japan and Taiwan share close proximity, issues of democratic politics, defence strategies, and even consumption of popular culture, such as fashion and pop music, the issues involving interactions between Japan and Taiwan have rarely been discussed by Australian scholars.

Funded by the Japanese Studies Association of Australia and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (Melbourne), this symposium aims to create and strengthen a network among those who study about Japan and Taiwan.

Registrations close 9am on Wednesday 1 May 2024.

Further Information and Inquiry:

This symposium is open to academics, students and the public who are interested in Japan and/or Taiwan. There will be no registration fee for attendees but registration is mandatory. Lunch and drinks will not be provided. For further inquiry, please contact the symposium chair, Dr Tets Kimura, [email protected].


The Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work and Taiwan

Dr Gerry Groot (University of Adelaide)

The CCP’s United Front Work Department and all the Party’s organs, pay a disproportionate amount of attention towards united front aimed at Taiwan. Unification with Taiwan is the second most important task of the UFWD and united front work after maintaining internal unity. This work consists of two main sorts, securing allies for the cause of unification on the one hand, and isolating and delegitimising as much as possible, the Taiwanese political system, sovereignty and democracy on the other. This paper outlines the many ways and some of the many groups involved in this work, from China’s so-called political parties to criminal gangs and business people to overseas Chinese. This work extends to Japan and this paper outlines some of the ways that united front work is operating in Japan.

Dr Gerry Groot is Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies in the Department of Asian Studies, University of Adelaide where he teaches Asian studies. Research and many of his writing are about Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, particularly the roles ofthe so-called democratic parties but also other aspects of united front work including religious believers, Overseas Chinese, ethnic minorities and new professional groups like lawyers. He is also a member of the CSAA, ASAA and Events Coordinator for South Australia’s Australian Institute of International Affairs.

From Ginza to Taihoku: Deng Nan-guang’s mid-century photography in Japan and Taiwan

Dr Alex Chih-wei Su (University of Technology, Sydney)

Surveying Taiwanese photographer Deng Nan-guang’s (鄧南光; 1907—1971) many endeavours reveals works that resonate deeply with typical twentieth-century narratives of modernity and everyday life in post-World War II East Asia. His snapshots of young women on the streets of Taipei and those who frequented its various bar rooms, or chiu-shih (酒室), during the 1950s present as prime examples, immense with visual constructs idiosyncratic to the burgeoning metropolis and of a self-reflexive masculine gaze and its gendering and fashioning of the feminine body. Yet it was in his formative years spent in Japan (1924—1935) that Deng first became acquainted with photography, producing a substantial quantity of impressive ‘snap-shots’ from the streets of Ginza and surrounds in the style of Shinkō Shashin (新興写真). This paper compares Deng’s photographs from Japan to those he produced in Taiwan and examines his influence on the formation of nativist aesthetics synonymous with Taiwanese identity.

Dr Alex Su is based at the University of Technology, Sydney, where he completed his doctorate research in fashion and dress studies. He is a second-generation Taiwanese-Australian and maintains academic interests in Taiwanese art and photography histories as well as contemporary fashion and visual cultures in Taiwan. He is currently the Program Convenor of Creative Industries at UTS College.

Taiwan’s Inter-Asian Translators: Translating and Interpreting between Chinese and Japanese in Wartime Asia

Dr Craig A. Smith (University of Melbourne)

After the conclusion of World War II in 1945, many Taiwanese translators and interpreters were arrested for war crimes. Many others were privately or publicly accused of being traitors to the Han people. In recent years, there has been increased interest in these individuals from both unofficial or academic perspectives and official government commemoration. This article examines the life and work of these cross-cultural intermediaries, showing the complications of identity and postwar memory for multilingual Taiwanese.

Craig A. Smith is Senior Lecturer of Translation Studies at the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute. He is a historian of modern China and an avid translator. His publications include Chinese Asianism (Harvard University Asia Center, 2021) and the co-edited Translating the Occupation: The Japanese Invasion of China (UBC, 2021).

Creating Coxinga on the stage and in print: Depictions of Zheng Chenggong (1624-1662) in Edo period (1603-1868) Japan

Rusty Kelty (Art Gallery of South Australia; University of Sydney)

On November 26, 1715, the eminent playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1725) presented The Battles of Coxinga (Kokusen’ya kassen) at the Takamoto-za theatre in Osaka. The Battles of Coxinga was a runaway success and remains one of his most popular plays and continues to be presented on both the jōruri bunraku and kabuki stages. The basis for the play is the life of Zheng Chenggong who was born at the port of Hirado in Japan, the son of a Chinese merchant-pirate and Japanese mother and later became a prominent Ming loyalist who led resistance against Manchu forces and defeated the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in Taiwan establishing his own Kingdom of Tungning (1661-1683). Honoured as a hero in Japan, China, and Taiwan, he has been dramatized in many plays in various theatre forms in Japan (since about 1700), China (since 1906), and Taiwan (since the 1920s). This presentation seeks to explore the cultural and political construction of this historical figure as presented on the stage and in print during the eighteenth century in Japan.

Rusty Kelty is the Curator of Asian Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia, where he has curated and contributed to exhibitions and catalogues, including Pure Form: Japanese sculptural ceramics (2022), Samurai (2019), Ever blossoming: Flowers in the Japanese landscape (2016) and Treasure Ships: Art in the age of spices (2015-2016). He specializes in the art and culture of Japan, with particular emphasis on global trade and the influence of foreign ideas and commodities in painting during the Edo period (1603-1867). He received a BA in Art History from Colorado State University, completed an MA in Art History at the University of Adelaide, with a thesis that examined Vietnamese architectural tiles from the fifteenth to sixteenth centuries found in Indonesia and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney researching the depiction of foreign ships in Japan from c. 1639 to c. 1880.

Japan-Taiwan: An Architectural Legacy

Dr Jennifer Harris (University of Adelaide)

Taiwan has been subject to numerous artistic influences throughout its history: indigenous, Dutch, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese. While it is the dominant Chinese influence that shapes modern day Taiwanese language and culture, the infusion of Japanese aesthetics in Taiwan is particularly noticeable not only in the contemporary popularity of anime, manga and Cosplay but in the historical architectural legacy of the Japanese Colonial period (1895-1945).

During this fifty-year period, public buildings commissioned by Japanese government agencies not only reflected Japanese colonial power, but their architecture encompasses a wide range of styles from Meiji monumental, Taisho Art Deco to Showa Modernism.

This paper will examine the enduring architectural legacy of these Japanese colonial influences by focusing on those buildings still to be found in Tainan on the west coast of Taiwan.

Dr Jennifer Harris is Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide. She is an Art Historian with interests in Japanese art and its influences on international art movements. Shehas lectured and contributed to publications on Japanese decorative arts of the Meiji era, netsuke and inro, calligraphy as well as Asian-inspired fashions such as Chinoiserie and Japonisme. She has also designed and escorted numerous specialist art tours to Japan.

Taiwan Literature in Japanese

Dr Tets Kimura (Flinders University)

The formation of Taiwan literature was heavily influenced by the Japanese language in the era of Japanese colonisation, during which time both the colonising and the colonised critics, opinion leaders, and creative writers wrote in Japanese while expressing notions of Taiwaneseness. By the 1930s, Japanese had become the first language among the younger Taiwanese generation; such writers included Yang Kui, Lu Heruo, and Long Ying-Zong. This paper will review key historical writers who influenced and contributed to building the contemporary Taiwanese literature scene, and then will discuss whether contemporary novels set in Taiwan and written in Japanese, such as those written by Higashiyama Akira, Yoshida Shuichi, Wen Yuju, and Li Kotomi, should be classified as Taiwan literature.

Dr Tets Kimura is an interdisciplinary researcher in art/cultural history, fashion, and Asian studies. He is an academic status holder in the creative arts at Flinders University. His research has received awards, scholarships, and fellowships from nine countries, and this year he is undertaking fellowships at the National Library of Australia and Taiwan’s National Chengchi University. His latest publications include “Memories and Displays of Japan's Early Industrialisation through the Production of Silk” (Routledge Handbook of Trauma in East Asia), and “Repatriated from Home as Enemy Aliens: Forgotten Lived Experiences of Japanese-Australians during WWII” (Journal of Australian Studies).

Li Kotom’s Hitorimai / Du Wu / Solo Dance

Yahia Ma (University of Melbourne)

Drawing on Susan Bassnett’s critique of ‘self-translation,’ whereby the phenomenon is understood according to a binary source-target logic and the related notion of originality, this paper examines three versions of a Li Kotomi novel: the Japanese original Hitorimai (独り舞, 2018), the Chinese self-translation Du Wu (獨舞, 2019), and Arthur Reiji Morris’s English translation Solo Dance (2022). In this paper, the focus is on how Li’s practice of self-translation and translanguaging muddles traditional boundaries between culture and language, and challenges binary notions of translation. Rather than viewing self-translation through source-target/original-translation binaries, Hitorimai and Du Wu should be examined as a translingual, transcultural dialogue between Li (as author and translator) and her readers in a space of ‘translingual address’. Furthermore, through a discussion of queer cross-cultural representations in Morris’s English translation, this paper argues that, together, the Japanese text and the Chinese self-translation constitute the queer original of the novel. (This abstract is based on: Ma, Yahia and Tets Kimura, ‘Self-translation, rewriting, translingual address: Li Kotomi’s Solo Dance’, Journal of Literary Multilingualism 2, 2024, in press.)

Yahia Ma is a final-year Ph.D. candidate at The University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute. He has published in TranscUlturAl: A Journal of Cultural and Translation Studies, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, Melbourne Asia Review, The Mandarin, Taiwan Insight, Translation Studies, and elsewhere. Yahia’s Chinese-English translations can be found in Queer Taiwanese Literature: A reader (2021) and Queer Time: A Notebook of Taiwanese Tongzhi Literature (2021). He is a recipient of the National Library of Australia’s Asia Studies Grant (2023) and a recipient of the Library Fellowship offered by The Australian Centre on China in the World (2023). His co-edited volume Queer Literature in the Sinosphere (with A/Prof Hongwei Bao) is forthcoming with Bloomsbury in 2024.

History of the Relationship Between Contemporary Japanese Literature and Taiwanese Literature

Prof Peichen Wu (National Chengchi University, Taiwan)

Relations between Taiwan and Japan can be traced back for more than a century. After the end of the First Sino-Japanese War, which lasted from 1894 to 1895, relations between Japanese literature and Taiwanese literature grew closer. From 1895 to 1945, Taiwan was under Japanese colonial ruling, and “Taiwan” appeared more frequently in modern Japanese writers’ works, such as Sato Haruo’s Nyogaisen Kidan (1925) and Tamura Yasujiro’s Nichigetsudan Koji (1934). At the same time, works written by Taiwanese writers in Japanese gradually emerged in the colonial period, because Taiwanese writers looked up to the Japanese literary circle of writers such as Yang Kui and Lu He-ruo and dreamed of joining them. In the post-war period, relations between Taiwan and Japan changed due to Japan’s defeat in the Second World War. Taiwanese writers writing in Japanese were forced to give up their writing careers. Except for Kyu Ei-kang and Chin Shun-jin, who settled in Japan and continued writing after the war, the exchanges between Taiwanese and Japanese literary circles stopped.

Taiwan’s democratic movement of the 1980s ended the country’s martial law period, and the historical memory of the pre-war period, which had been disguised for political reasons, gradually became visualized. Since then, Japanese writers who noted the history between Taiwan and Japan started to write about the historical memory between the two countries from the colonial period and the experiences of life in Taiwan in this time, such as Tsushima Yuko’s Amarini Yabanna (2008), Yoshida Shuichi’s Lu (2012), and Nonami Asa’s Mireido Kiko(2015). In addition, Japanese writers who were born in Taiwan and are now part of the Japanese literary circle, such as Higashiyama Akira, the Naoki Prize winner in 2015, Lee Kotomi, the Akutagawa Prize winner in 2022, and On Yuju, have also written stories about people who go back and forth between Taiwan and Japan. Compared to these writers, how have Taiwanese writers reacted to Japan? What does Taiwanese literature mean to Japan?

This talk will focus on the historical trajectory of modern Taiwanese literature and Japanese literature. It will not only introduce representative works on Taiwan by Japanese writers, but also look at the translation situations of Japanese literature in Taiwan and Taiwanese literature in Japan. This talk will also reflect on the characteristics of the works of Higashiyama Akira and Li Kotomi, such as crossing-border issues, the identity issue, and multiple ethnicities.

Peichen Wu is Professor of Japanese Literature and Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies of the Japanese colonial period at the Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature at National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan. She is author of “Gyo Shōtarō: Taiwan shijin to nihon modanizumu shi undō” (Gyo Shōtarō: a Taiwanese poet and the Japanese modernist poetry movement), Ikyō toshite no nihon: ajia ryūgakusei ga mita nihon (Tokyo: Bensei shuppan, 2017), Masugi Shizue yu zhimindi Taiwan (Masugi Shizue and colonial Taiwan; Taipei: Linking Publishing, 2013), and “The Peripheral Body of Empire: Shakespearean Adaptations and Taiwan’s Geopolitics,” in Re-Playing Shakespeare in Asia (Routledge, 2010). She is also the Chinese translator of Tsushima Yūko’s Amarini yaban na (All too barbarian), Maruyama Saiichi’s Uragoe de utae kimigayo (Sing the national anthem in falsetto!) and Karatani Kōjin’s Nihon kindai bungaku no kigen (The origins of Japanese national literature).


Event Venue & Nearby Stays

Flinders University City Campus - Level 3, Room 311, Flinders University City Campus, Adelaide, Australia


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