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  • The Inspiration Behind SOMBRITA
    By Lee Jo-Shin ∥ Translated by Sarah-Jayne Carver
    Dec 17, 2021

    Where did the inspiration for the story come from? Is it based on personal experience?

    The initial inspiration for Sombrita came from a true story about a friend’s child. One summer, they accidentally ended up raising a stag beetle and, as a friend of the father, I was there to see the child confront the reality of death for the first time. The child’s calm and collected response made it feel like they had their own way of dealing with it even though they’d never had this experience before.

    After we talked it over, I felt that the whole thing had been an interesting experience in itself and I found the delicate emotions at play deeply moving. Some scenes appeared in my mind and I hoped that I could develop them into a picture book. To create the story for Sombrita, I linked the incident with some of my own childhood memories of our family home in the mountains where my brother and I would play games together on the steep terraced fields.

     

    Why did you choose to make the protagonist a stag beetle rather than a cat or a dog, or maybe another animal that humans encounter more often in the modern world?

    I envisioned the scenes from the book taking place in the mountains and forests, but most pets today are kept at home which is far from the natural world of plants and external environments that I wanted to portray in the story. I hoped it would feel like leaving the city behind. Thus, I didn’t give much consideration to replacing the stag beetle with another animal. Part of me also hoped that I could encourage children to understand and care about animals other than cats and dogs. However, once the book was published I got some feedback from readers who said that the book reminded them of their own relationships with their dogs or other pets and it made me really happy to hear them share these feelings.

     

    What is the significance of the “dad” character in the story?

    After I started creating picture books, I often heard people mention that most of the adult characters in children’s books were mothers, and a lot of fathers really felt that disparity when they were reading books aloud to their children. I didn’t have a set stance on it when I was writing the story and I believed that whether the parent was a mother or a father wouldn’t have an effect on the development of the plot. Given the vast number of picture books in the world, I thought perhaps it would be good to give fathers a chance to see themselves in a picture book as they read it aloud.

     

     

    Which is your favorite illustration in the book? 

    Personally, I really like the page where the young protagonist is surrounded by various plants, insects and butterflies. It was a deep memory from childhood when I was very young and instantly felt the atmospheric rhythm of nature, the tranquillity felt wonderous to me as a child from the city and I tried to capture this feeling in the illustration.

    When I was playing tag in the mountain field terraces that had been left to lie fallow, I noticed all sorts of creatures and sometimes I came across tadpoles or strange insects in the small pools of water. I remember one time just as I was about to jump over a ridge between the fields, I discovered a fat green caterpillar happily munching away on some leaves about ten centimetres in front of me. I had no choice but to hold onto that fear and it was only after I leapt steadily over the ridge that the feeling started to ferment within me.

     

     

    Read more:
    - Lee Jo-Shin: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/authors_info.php?id=361
    - Sombrita: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/books_info.php?id=374

  • Finding Friendship in Dance
    By Chang Ting-Yu ∥ Translated by Sarah-Jayne Carver
    Dec 17, 2021

    I came up with the story for Fred and Ginger during graduate school when I met my roommate from South America. She was from a country whose cultural background was completely different from Taiwan’s: Colombia. Her love of dance and her uninhibited personality were a huge culture shock for me at the time. We clearly had different ways of life and personal preferences, but we also had a lot of incidents involving cultural differences while we shared a room together but of course a certain amount of disagreement is inevitable. Colombia is the birthplace of salsa and my roommate had always loved dancing since she was small, she introduced me to so many Latin dances and it was a totally new life experience for someone like me who had no background in dance. This was why I chose to use dance as a subject to bring out the friendship between the two characters. 

    The story was initially conceived in English, so when I was naming the characters I researched famous dancers from history and came across two celebrities who had been renowned dance partners during the 1930s and 40s: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. By chance, the English word for an orange cat is “ginger”, so I decided there and then to call the two characters “Fred” and “Ginger”. However, the hardest part was choosing a title for the book, it was a huge challenge for me as a someone who is not a native English speaker. I considered so many dance-related titles but none of them were quite right, until I gave a talk at the end of term and mentioned the concept behind naming “Fred” and “Ginger”. Various teachers and classmates who had grown up in the West immediately picked up on the names and the dance connection, then they went on to suggest that there couldn’t be a more fitting title for the book than Fred and Ginger. I decided on that for the title, and when it came to translating it into Chinese I made the names more local and decided that instead of directly translating the English names, I would use the homophones “fu” (meaning “luck”) for Fred and “jin” (meaning “gold”) for Ginger.

     

     

    Also, the dance studio that appears in the story is called “Dansa” which combines the English word “dance” with “casa”, the Spanish word for home. The general idea is: as long as you like to dance, this is your home! 

    Lastly, what I really want to say is that in a lot of cases the end result isn’t the most important thing. What matters most is how we feel during the process and I hope that during these difficult times we can all cherish one another because there’s really nothing more important than each other’s company.  

     

     

    Read more:
    - Chang Ting-Yu: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/authors_info.php?id=360
    - Fred and Ginger: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/books_info.php?id=373

  • When Life and Art Intertwine
    By Chang Shu-Chiung ∥ Translated by Sarah-Jayne Carver
    Dec 17, 2021

    It is clear from Liu Ching-Yen’s previous works that he has a specific fondness for character-driven narratives, which he says derives from his background in journalism. Interviewing people and finding out their stories was a daily exercise for Liu as a reporter and he developed a particular passion for human-interest stories.

     

    A Boy as the Black Swan

    Liu based the story of I Am the Black Swan on three people he had encountered. The first was a teenaged boy he met in church who was dancing one of the lead roles in his high school’s production of Swan Lake. Next was a young girl who Liu met while hosting his children’s TV show My Reading Bakery. She studied ballet and her passion for dance was immediately evident in every moment of her life. Lastly, during his university days Liu had interviewed the famous Taiwanese dancer and choreographer Lin Hwai-min, as well as Lin’s roommate at the time who’d said: “If you see someone leaping instead of walking down the street, that’s Lin Hwai-min.”

    Thus, Liu tied the figure of Lin Hwai-min together with the story of the boy who danced the Black Swan and the little girl who loved to dance so much she skipped across the street, to create a narrative about gender roles, pursuing your dreams and how art merges with life.

     

    Connecting with the Stirring Topic of Gender

    When she first read I Am the Black Swan, illustrator Chang Pei-Yu said she was immediately drawn to the part on gender roles. She remembered her own childhood experience of being forced to use a pink schoolbag even though she really liked the color blue. Later, when she studied early German literature at university, she realized that the field was solely occupied by male writers. In I Am the Black Swan, she was particularly interested in Amin’s character and was extremely curious about how gender roles would be handled in a children’s book.

     

     

    Naturally Curly Hair and a Red Dance Costume

    When Chang contemplated how to lay the groundwork for Amin as a character, she kept debating whether to emphasize his artistic nature and make him stand out from the crowd, or to depict him as an ordinary child. She also felt that Amin’s slight rebelliousness and stubborn perseverance were typical childhood traits. In the end, she decided to do a combination of the two: she gave Amin naturally conspicuous curly hair but a very simple dance costume to show the side of him that is just an ordinary child.

    However, when it came to the color of his clothes, Chang decided to use bright red to represent Amin’s inner-life and to show his strength. This red appears constantly throughout the illustrations and is crucial to the book. Finally, Chang decided to use a combination of colored pencils and collage which she hoped would convey the effortless feeling of agility that comes with dancing.

     

    Chang and Liu’s Key Hopes for the Reader

    Chang says she hopes readers will enjoy the simple pleasure of the illustrations and that children will get a sense of the more relaxed, happy side of art. She hopes that the dynamic artwork will let children experience the movement and rhythm of dance and gain a sense of its beauty.

    Liu hopes that children can understand: “No matter what your parents demand that you learn, the most important thing is that you know whether or not you like it, because you are going to need passion if you want to master it. You can do anything you want regardless of gender, but you must embrace it and pursue it with a burning passion.”

     

     

    Read more:
    - Liu Ching-Yen: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/authors_info.php?id=30
    - Chang Pei-Yu: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/authors_info.php?id=359
    - I Am the Black Swan: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/books_info.php?id=372

  • The Birth of A MILLION KISSES
    By Chen Shu-Ting & Deer Jan ∥ Translated by Sarah-Jayne Carver
    Dec 17, 2021

    Love from Parents (Author)

    From the day after my son was born, I discovered one key thing: The happy days we have now will always fly by but it’s such a busy time that we don’t get to feel much of it, until one day we look back and discover that there is no way for us to do it all again.

    I have watched my child grow taller each day as his body gradually lost its roundness. He is less dependent on me today than he was yesterday, and tomorrow he will be even less dependent still. Where I once enjoyed the sweetness of taking care of him as a newborn baby, in the last few years I have started to worry that I am always one day closer to the time he will eventually let go of my hand.

     

     

    The most common mood I’ve felt since becoming a mother is a mixture of irritability and guilt. I feel tired of doting on my son and I wish he would give me a bit more time to myself, but sometimes I’m elated by how much he clings to me. Now and then, he’ll sense my impatience and conflicting feelings. He will try and please me by asking whether he’s been well-behaved and I will repeatedly reassure him that I love him so much, regardless of whether he’s been good or not. No matter how many times I say it he never seems to be completely convinced, just as I secretly doubt whether I am the center of his world in the same way I was during those pre-school days. In the end it doesn’t really matter, we still love each other very much.

    This is how A Million Kisses came into being. When my son was born, he was so soft with that sweet newborn baby smell and I couldn’t bear to leave him even for a minute. Every time I picked him up I would kiss him. In the years that followed, I would just hold him close and kiss him when he threw afternoon tantrums or couldn’t sleep late at night, when he fell down or was angry at something. Even now, he’s in primary school and I still often hold my arms out wide for a hug and give him a kiss.

    I hope I hold fast to the beautiful memories I have of this time. Every morning, when I see him come out of his bedroom bleary-eyed and just waking up, I immediately get ready to give him a hug and a kiss. I know that an entire day spent together is about to begin and that we’ll never have these days again.

     

    A Happy Time for You and Me (Illustrator)

    When illustrating this story, I struggled with the ending for a long time.

    When exactly is the one millionth kiss?

    Is it when your child gets married? Or when they have children of their own?

    Or is it when they leave and say goodbye?

    I believe that you should always treat “right now” as the final moment to love with all your strength.

    Not a single moment should be missed!

    This is my interpretation of A Million Kisses.

    Thank you for this story that reminded me how I grew up surrounded by love.

    And I hope that this book will make readers feel a little bit of that same warmth.

     

     

    Read more:
    - Chen Shu-Ting: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/authors_info.php?id=357
    - Deer Jan: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/authors_info.php?id=358
    - A Million Kisses: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/books_info.php?id=371

  • I Am Monster Mum
    By Chiang Meng-Yun ∥ Translated by Sarah-Jayne Carver
    Dec 17, 2021

    “I’m dead on my feet, I wish I could stuff you back in my belly!” I’ve shouted this deep down in my core more times than I can count during these years of learning to be a mother. Naturally, before I’m even done shouting I’m back to running around after my kids, but when I see their sleeping faces I understand the sheer boundlessness of love.

    I love my children dearly as all mothers do, even though it often feels futile. I wish I could love them as tenderly as the hare does in Guess How Much I Love You. Unfortunately, more often than not I’m like a mother penguin who’s always screaming and running around manically scooping up her children after scaring them by flying into a rage. It feels extremely therapeutic to read stories like this in picture books about parent-child relationships, they give you space to relax and reflect on your own circumstances. I feel deeply influenced by books like this and they have made me want to accurately portray the conflicting emotions that I’ve perceived in parent-child relationships.

     

     

    Monster Mum is the first picture book I have ever written. It tackles several subjects that have always been tremendously important to me: the possession of love, the sense of security, the way we both need and fear relationships, and how we should place these feelings and respond to them. What is love? How do we love? These age-old questions are still issues I contemplate every day. The entertaining anecdotes that crop up in daily life when you’re interacting with children have provided a never-ending stream of inspiration and creative motivation. People are moved by stories that are rooted in real life and I strongly believe that storytelling allows adults and children to better understand one another and gain a deeper sense of how their lives are closely connected.

    I am a “monster mum” and I’m in the process of learning how to love without being anxious. I think adults often pretend to understand, they pretend to know more than children when in reality adults are just children with more experience. Growing up makes us recognize the harshness of the real world but we also lose our sense of courage in the face of adversity. I believe that when adults are willing to let go of the fact they’ve grown older and taller, they can go back to seeing the world through a child’s eyes and this doesn’t just give them the courage to face the world but also lets them return to a beautiful kind of simplicity. The world really is so big, it’s large enough that we can set ourselves free. We can unleash our courage on the world and know that love may bring unconditional happiness.

    I hope that my fellow monsters like this story and that all the baby monsters can go through the world knowing true freedom and happiness. 

     

     

    Read more: 
    - Chiang Meng-Yun: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/authors_info.php?id=194
    - Monster Mum: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/books_info.php?id=370

     

  • Nativist Literature: the Wish to Know Oneself (II)
    By Chu Yuhsun ∥ Translated by Joshua Dyer
    Dec 14, 2021

    Read Previous Part: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/latest_info.php?id=138

     

    In 1977, debates erupted between officially sanctioned writers who supported the Oppose Communism/Remember the Motherland policy and outsider writers who yearned for a nativist Taiwan literature. This Nativist Literature Debate, the single most important debate in the history of Taiwan literature, validated the nativist writers as an important cultural force, and deeply impacted politics and society in ways that foreshadowed the end of martial law a decade later. During the debates, one of the official writers, Chu Hsi-Ning, made an argument which caused an uproar amongst Taiwanese writers because it made evident the degree to which nativist literature was officially suppressed. “What can be said of loyalty to, or the purity of, national culture after this patch of ‘native soil’ was occupied and managed by Japan for half a century?” Chu asked.

     

    The meaning behind this utterance was clear. As far as the government of the time was concerned, Taiwan was a polluted land, a lowly “patch” of “native soil” not worthy of being written about.

     

    It was only after the lifting of martial law in 1987 that this disdain for nativist culture began to slowly recede. This does not mean, however, that nativist writing was immediately embraced. That would have to wait until the first democratic transition of power took place in 2000, handing the reigns of power to the Democratic Progressive Party. With a more native-conscious political party in power, nativist cultural expression gradually emerged in all artistic fields.

     

    In keeping with these political trends, contemporary nativist works in Taiwan have primarily adopted the third definition of nativist literature, with the first and second definitions being of secondary importance. At least some of the concepts of nativist literature can be identified in most literary works of the past 20 years, including Wu Ming-Yi’s (吳明益) The Stolen Bicycle (單車失竊記), Kan Yao-Ming’s (甘耀明) Killing Ghosts (殺鬼), Tung Wei-Ko’s (童偉格) Summer Downpour (西北雨), Yang Shuang-Tzu’s (楊双子) Blossom Season (花開時節), Xiao Xiang Shen’s (瀟湘神) Yokai Dominate Old Taipei (台北城裡妖魔跋扈), Lien Ming-Wei’s (連明偉) Copper Beetle (青蚨子), and Hung Ming-Tao’s (洪明道) Visitors Bearing Gifts (等路). The aesthetics of these novels differ greatly, spanning modernist experimental, social realist, popular historical fiction, and an increasing number of works that seek to recreate the aesthetics of local language use. But despite these differences there can be no doubt that they are all works that address Taiwanese society in the language of Taiwan.

    The Stolen Bicycle 

     

    “Know thyself” is a famous Greek maxim. However, for most of the first century of modern Taiwan literature, Taiwanese were forbidden from knowing themselves. All too often the price of writing in a native voice was banishment from literary circles and political censure. The culmination of these 100 years of modern literature is that finally we can write our own stories openly and with dignity. Over the course of this century, nativist literature, our most powerful means of “knowing ourselves,” went from being an impossibly remote hope to a fully recognized school of literary practice.

     

    The better we understand the immense difficulty of “knowing ourselves” that informs the background of all works of nativist literature, the better we can appreciate the profound depths of emotion that reside within these distinctively Taiwanese books.

     

  • Nativist Literature: the Wish to Know Oneself (I)
    By Chu Yuhsun ∥ Translated by Joshua Dyer
    Dec 14, 2021

    Nativist literature (sometimes translated as “native-soil” literature) is one of the most representative schools of Taiwan literature, and one of the most difficult to categorize. In the 100 years since the birth of modern Taiwan literature in the 1920’s there have been at least three different concepts of what constitutes nativist literature:

     

    1. Literature written in a local Taiwan language. This normally indicates Taiwanese, Hakka, or the language of one of Taiwan’s aboriginal groups. This definition does not include literature written in the languages of the colonizing powers, namely Japanese or Mandarin.

    2. Literature that takes the struggles of the lower classes of society as its subject. This definition carries leftist overtones. Subject matter often focuses on the lives of farmers, fishermen, miners, and urban laborers. Often utilizes the techniques of social realism.

    3. Literature that takes Taiwanese society, environment, and/or customs as its subject. This definition places no limit on language use, nor which classes of society are portrayed, so long as it is local to Taiwan. This is a literature with Taiwanese nationalist overtones, clearly demarcating Taiwan as a separate culture sphere from China.

     

    There is some overlap between these definitions, but each prioritizes different core concerns and values, and forefronts the viewpoints of different authors. The first view emphasizes language. The second emphasizes a critique of class structure. The third emphasizes Taiwanese national identity. Yet, in the final accounting, all of them share the implicit yearning for Taiwanese people to describe their own reality in their own language.

     

    Authors and readers from other countries may have difficulty understanding this yearning. An American or Japanese person might not feel the same kind of yearning to use their own language, or to describe their own society, because these are things that already happen quite naturally for them. Whereas, Taiwan has come under outside rule twice in the last century, and during those times it was unimaginable to do things what would seem perfectly natural in other countries.

     

    From 1895 until 1945, when Taiwan was a colony of the imperial Japan, it was impossible for Taiwanese to write about their own society in their own language. Any literary expression of Taiwanese-ness was viewed as political disloyalty. In 1945, control of Taiwan was passed to the Republic of China. At first, Taiwanese people believed they had been liberated from colonization, and could develop their own literature. They didn’t anticipate that the ruling party, the Kuomintang, would lose the Chinese civil war to the communists and be forced to retreat to Taiwan. As part of their plan to retake the mainland, the Republic of China government initiated a Oppose Communism/Remember the Motherland cultural policy that required authors to primarily write on subjects centered on China and Chinese culture. The government hoped that, through the persuasive power of literature, they could instill in Taiwanese people nationalistic feelings concerning the war effort. If, at this time, Taiwanese writers had “written about their own society in their own language” they would have once again been tagged as disloyal, and criticized for abandoning the goal of a unified China.

     

    Read On: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/latest_info.php?id=139

  • Taiwan’s Yaoguai Literature (II)
    By Hsieh Yi-An ∥ Translated by Joshua Dyer
    Nov 29, 2021

    Read Previous Part: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/latest_info.php?id=136

     

    Within yaoguai lies the hope that the younger generation can find their own way to approach their history and culture. Taiwan’s past, as it appears in yaoguai literature, is not conventional history — it is embellished by illusion. This is because the history passed on by this generation was no longer that of the nativist literature authors of the previous generation. There was no need for social realist representations of our native land. Instead we needed to generate interest in our culture, because we had to compete for the attention of Taiwanese readers who were fans of high-quality entertainment from Japan. These readers were already accustomed to viewing entertainment as something from a foreign source, so there was no particular advantage to being a local product. A book that wasn’t a fantastic read was bound to fail.

     

    Thus, yaoguai literature had to take on two seemingly contradictory objectives: it must simultaneously be aware of the depth of history while also satisfying the demand for entertainment. Yokai Dominate Old Taipei (臺北城裡妖魔跋扈), a series of novels by author Xiao Xiang Shen (瀟湘神) is one outstanding example. Set in a parallel universe version of Taiwan, the series utilizes a struggle between Japanese yokai and Taiwanese folk gods to mirror the dynamics of Taiwan’s colonization by Imperial Japan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This seminal series perfectly illustrates how Taiwanese yaoguai literature was birthed from the womb of Japanese yokai culture.

     

    The power of the historical consciousness inherent in yaoguai literature has made Taiwan of past eras the default backdrop for storytelling. Xiao Xiang Shen’s The Deadly Magic of the Golden Fiend (金魅殺人魔術), set in early 20th century Taiwan, replicates the multi-ethnic society of a commercial port town. Deftly blending the genres of yaoguai and detective stories, the novel can be viewed as a descendant of Japanese mystery writers like Kyogoku Natsuhiko (京極夏彥) and Mitsuda Shinzo (三津田信三).

     

    Yaoguai literature is a curious flower grown in a hothouse of cultural anxiety. When you read these books you will find that Taiwanese writers have a deep understanding of cultural dimensions of illusion, which enables them to address Taiwan’s cultural predicament within the medium of yaoguai, and to push the limits to which serious ideas can be developed within a format that also entertains. For example, Taipei Legend Studio’s series Daemon Tales touches on the relationship between yaoguai and contemporary faith. The series includes Chang An’s (長安) The Snake Lord: Bride of the Scalloped Mirror (蛇郎君:蠔鏡窗的新娘), Tien Yeh-Hsiang’s (天野翔) Water Spirit: Red Eyes Beneath the Bridge (水鬼:橋墩下的紅眼睛), and Xiao Xiang Shen’s Mô-sîn-á: The Mesmerized Giant (魔神仔:被牽走的巨人).[1] Each addresses modern resonances within a historical moment from the past century of Taiwan’s history. Xiao Xiang Shen’s Mô-sîn-á further bridges the gap between Taiwan’s yaoguai and Okinawa’s yokai, excavating deep layers of contemporary Taiwanese identity.

     

    Daemon Tales

     

    Visual media have also embraced yaoguai. There are yaoguai picture books from illustrator Chiaos Tseng (角斯), Guardienne (守娘), a graphic novel about a Qing Dynasty ghost by Nownow (小峱峱), and Tiker’s (提克) The Sister of the Bamboo Stool and Other Tales of the Supernatural (婆娑島妖事錄), which combines five yaoguai stories into a single graphic novel. Both of these are conscious responses to Taiwan’s unique history. Yaoguai may sound like a subject of pure fantasy, but in Taiwanese books, it is never separated from the historical past. For this reason, yaoguai is an ideal medium for interpreting Taiwanese history and culture.

     

    Guardienne

     

    [1] Chang An is the pen name of Hsieh Yi-An, author of this article. –trans.

  • Taiwan’s Yaoguai Literature (I)
    By Hsieh Yi-An ∥ Translated by Joshua Dyer
    Nov 29, 2021

    Yaoguai literature primarily refers to the wave of original writing based on supernatural folk stories that has emerged in Taiwan since 2014. The adaptation of folk legends into fiction, of course, has a long history. Examples from the Japanese colonial period include Kho Peng-teng’s (許丙丁) The Lesser Investiture of the Gods (小封神) and Haruo Sato’s (佐藤春夫) The Legend of the Fan (女誡扇綺譚). More recently there has been Wang Chia-Hsiang’s (王家祥) Mô-sîn-á (魔神仔) and Li Ang’s (李昂) Visible Ghosts (看得見的鬼). It is only in recent years, however, that the trend of repackaging these folk tales has gained steam, with source materials ranging from the scary stories we all heard as children — “The Tiger Aunt”, “Mô-sîn-á,” and stories about water spirits — to more obscure stories from ancient texts such as “The Lantern Monkey,” and “The Sister of the Bamboo Stool.”

     

    These legends have been around for ages, so why has this new trend of supernatural literature suddenly taken hold?

     

    The answer can be traced back to the Sunflower Movement. For young people in Taiwan, the Sunflower Movement was not just a political movement — it was a cultural awakening. The generation that grew up after the end of martial law were shocked to discover how little they knew about their own culture. This generation was also anxious about its own lack of cultural impact. They had not yet had any pronounced impact within the cultural sphere, nor did they have any highly successful representatives within mainstream media. As a result, it was a generation that could not recognize its own image in the available media, which compounded the sense of being disconnected from their own culture.

     

    Traditional tales of the supernatural were a medium that just happened to be suited to resolving both of these problems.

     

    The term yaoguai was translated directly from the Japanese yokai, which refers to a class supernatural entities that include spirits and monsters. Originally Taiwan did not have a literary framework for these kinds of stories. Adopting the Japanese terminology connects the genre to a thread that runs throughout Japanese culture. Yokai is one of the deepest roots of Japanese folk tradition, and remains one of the most vital subjects in fiction and manga. Born in the 80’s and 90’s, the Sunflower Movement generation were obsessed with yokai, having grown up reading Japanese manga. By the 2010’s they had matured and developed their creative talents while remaining hardcore fans of manga. Before their cultural awakening they had been content to consume Japanese yokai stories. But after their cultural awakening, they couldn’t help but ask: does Taiwan have its own yokai?

     

    Indeed, Taiwan does have yokai, or, in the Taiwanese context, yaoguai. The current yaoguai craze got started in the area of textual research. Books like Yaoguai-ism by Taipei Legend Studio and Yaoguai Taiwan by Ho Ching-Yao helped to establish that yaoguai not only existed in Taiwan, but that there were quite a lot of them!

     

    From the moment they were published, these first books of yaoguai research were adopted as reference works by Taiwanese youth. Being familiar with yokai culture in Japan, they knew that after research comes creative work. Demonstrating the existence of yaoguai source material in Taiwan was merely the first step. The critical issue was how to use these sources to create outstanding works of yaoguai fiction, thereby bringing Taiwanese culture and history to the attention of more readers.

     

    Read On: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/latest_info.php?id=137