A Taiwanese Literature Reader

by Nikky Lin


Taiwan was a Japanese colony until the end of the Second World War in 1945—making for fifty-one years of Japanese rule over Taiwan. This period was a struggle for the Taiwanese people, whose lives were inevitably shaped by the changes and challenges brought about in the transition from a traditional to a modern society, one that was caught between the pull of colonization and modernization.

Literature serves as a reflection of an era. This book thus focuses on the literature written by Taiwanese authors during the era of Japanese colonial rule over Taiwan. Two of the short stories were written in Chinese, while the other four were written in Japanese—a testament to Taiwan’s complex history.

According to Taiwanese writer and historian Ye Shitao, the development of Taiwanese literature during Japanese occupation can be divided into three stages: the “nascent period” (1920–1925), followed by the “mature period” (1926–1937), and finally the “war period” (1937–1945). The six stories in this collection are representative works from the mature period and the war period. Each story depicts different hardships and predicaments faced by Taiwan as a colony under Japanese rule, offering insight into how this part of Taiwan’s history continues to impact contemporary Taiwanese society.

A Taiwanese Literature Reader is a most important resource for those interested in world literature and Taiwan studies.

This book is part of the Literature from Taiwan Series, in collaboration with the National Museum of Taiwan Literature and National Taiwan Normal University.


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