Chapter Three: Legacies of Japan’s Colonial Rule

3.3 Cultural Identity

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Taiwanese to keep their own culture and language. They hoped that the Confucian values common to both cultures, coupled with continued Japanese rule, would cause the Taiwanese to gradually develop into true Japanese subjects” (Liao and Wang, 2006: 410).

The effect of Japan’s policies of economic modernization and social-political assimilation on the island had not only considerably aliened Taiwanese from China, but also created a pro-japan mentality, though mobilized among existing Taiwanese. More and more Taiwanese were mobilized into Japanese industrial activities and even into Japanese military operations. As described by Cooper, “Many Taiwanese worked for war-related industries or in other ways abetted the Japanese war effort... many Taiwanese volunteered for military service and fought against China” (Copper 2009, pg. 41). It was evident that a considerable number of Taiwanese population (whether local Taiwanese or Chinese) supported Japanese rule at that time. The connections between Taiwan and China was thus unclear or interrupted.

3.3 Cultural Identity

Taiwanese have withheld a fairly positive reaction and image when regarding the Japanese colonial era; compared to Koreans, Taiwanese speak of modernization and development, as the counterpart speaks of oppression and resistance. These differences mainly take form from the deep historical roots which Japan as a colonial rule implemented in each country. To many researchers, Japanese colonialism represents a cultural dimension left behind as a legacy in Taiwanese evolution of cultural identity.

Scholars like Ching argues that colonialism became a mechanism that “constructs and constricts, structures and deconstructs, the ways contradictory and contestatory colonial identities are imagined and represented” (Ching, 2001:11) in other words national, racial, and cultural identities were unable to exist outside the temporality and spatiality of colonial modernity, but are instead enabled by it.

Despite the fact that Taiwan was under a repressive foreign regime, the society nevertheless went through an impacting cultural transformation. The main transformation seen was the shift of the official language of Taiwan, from the literary Chinese from the Qing to Japanese language. Moreover, even the dominant ideology and media had a

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considerable change. The experience of the turmoil in cultural history caused by frequent shifts in political power and regimes created an impact on the identity of the Taiwanese people. Education was an important constituent of this turmoil, “education and assimilation were key components of Japanese policy in Taiwan: assimilation of the island’s native Taiwanese population was an important goal; education was an instrument for attainment of this goal” (Tsurumi, 1979:617).

Under Japanese rule, there were many Taiwanese intellectuals who opposed the colonial system even so, colonial Taiwan was steadily being incorporated into Japanese assimilation. Assimilation policies were implanted to “popularize Japanese language education” (Shozo, 2006:67). This timeframe marks the first evolution of Taiwanese nationalism. In the outbreak of the Sino- Japanese war (1941-1945), Taiwanese were put into the position of collaborating with the war. The enrollment of public schools, elementary schools for the Taiwanese, and the number of people who became competent in the Japanese language had a dramatic increase, providing a mature reading market.

The increase in a literary society gave the opportunity for native writers to express their wartime experiences and through literary journals which then were used as a way of informing the mass Taiwanese community. Shozo indicates that the relationship between the Japanese colonial rule was not of a ruler and its subjects, “what developed under Japanese colonial rule was not a simple relationship of oppressive subjugator and the resisting subjugated, but rather a struggle by the Taiwanese people to for a Taiwanese identity while intentionally assimilating the Japanese ideology imposed on them” (Shozo, 2006: 63). To mobilize Taiwanese, the colonial government promoted an assimilation campaign that sought to Japanize everyday customs such as weddings, funerals, and festivals as such to draft the natives into the Japanese military.

The Japanese colonial rule continued to use and implement a cultural campaign as the face of their main economic purpose, they believed that this imaginary “imperial subject literature” campaign would be the means to expand military related industries.

Taiwan’s assimilation to Japan’s culture through education resulted in a confusing identity evolution, Taiwanese people were no longer Chinese politically and would be less and less culturally, but they were not Japanese either, whether politically or culturally. Through this Imperial Subject literature campaign Taiwanese who did not

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thought themselves Japanese claimed equality to Japanese mediated through literary journals which circulated in the reading market becoming a form of shared cultural experience through Taiwanese masses. When debating the formation of nationalism, Benedict Anderson preserves that “national citizens are an imagined political community depicted as a mental image” (Anderson, 1991) which the Taiwanese had formed during the war through the means of the Imperial Subject literature. Growing literacy and forced education during the Japanese colonial rule spawned a large number of intellectuals, including professionals, teachers and medical doctors. These intellectuals showed tremendous frustration under the colonial rule as they excelled in various fields in the society but were still treated as secondary-class citizens by the colonizers. Many of them became the pioneers of Taiwanese nationalistic movements.

As the war approached its end, at the Cairo Conference in December 1943 the U.S and the United Kingdom made an agreement with Chiang Kai-shek which established that Taiwan would be characterized as a territory which was stolen by Japan and should be returned to the Republic of China. The Cairo agreement was not taken into effect until 1945 when Japan was finally defeated and the Japanese population who resided in the island was to depart Taiwan. Even though the issue of national identity in Taiwan is post-Japanese colonization, it plays a really important role in the emergence of a national and social identity consciousness in Taiwan. As scholar suggests, Taiwanese after the Japanese colonial rule possess “the triangulation between colonial Taiwan, imperial Japan, and nationalist China [which] formed the terrain where contradictory, conflicting, and complicitous desires and identities were projected, negotiated and vanquished. Although the current debate over Taiwanese independence and reunification with China is a post-Japanese phenomenon, the Japanese colonial period remains a powerful subtext in which the questions of “Taiwanese consciousness” and “Chinese consciousness” are embedded and contested.” (Ching, 2001: 8).

3.4 Summary

For the next fifty years, Japanese rule devastated and transformed the entire socioeconomic and political fabric of Taiwanese society. In Japanese colonial period, we can see that the local people in Taiwan experienced a confrontation between the “Chinese

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identity vs. Japanese identity” which produced a strong impact on the evolving of social and cultural identities in this period. This time period marks the formation of Taiwanese social and cultural identities under the dominant Japanese colonial discourse of assimilation and imperialism from the early 1920s to the end of the Japanese Empire in 1945.This section analyzes the ways in which the Taiwanese struggled, negotiated, and collaborated with Japanese colonialism during the cultural practices of assimilation and their fight towards a unique national identity. It chronicles a historiography of the colonial identity formations of the people of Taiwan, which outlines the shift from a collective and heterogeneous political horizon into a personal and inner struggle of

"becoming Japanese" and what it meant to be Taiwanese.

This period of colonial Taiwan demonstrates the intricate tensions and contradictions essential in the formation and transformation of colonial identities.

Throughout the colonial period, Taiwanese elites imagined and constructed China as a conversational place where various forms of cultural identification and national affiliation were projected. Successfully bridging history and identity studies, this section shows the history of Japanese rule in Taiwan by radically expanding its approach to colonial identity discourses.

During this time frame it is very difficult to distinguish one identity from the other, there are overlapping developments of social, political and cultural identities. After all, the developments in the three dimensions are not able to be separated as a sequential way.

Sometimes social identity is more obvious and sometimes political or cultural identity are more prominent, and vice versa. The Japanese colonial era represents an identity evolution that impacted Taiwanese as a historical difference between Taiwan and China, a positive political and economic experience with colonial rule, and lastly, social modernization. Taiwan became modern during the Japanese colonial period.

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在文檔中 臺灣民眾國家認同的發展:1895年到2000年 - 政大學術集成 (頁 30-34)