asiascape vistas

Techno-Culture, New Politics, and Philosophy in East Asia

Asiascape Vistas is a forum for discussion about the many and various dimensions of cyberculture found in or originating from East Asia. Its focus is on the interplay between these media and questions of politics & philosophy. Contributions are from the academic collective responsible for the core project, but other contributions will also be considered by that collective.
If you wish to contribute to Asiacape Vistas, please send an email using the form on the contact page.

Learning Taiwan

About a month ago I attended the East Asia Popular Culture Association conference in Taipei, Taiwan, which was actually my first ever academic conference. While I don't intend to go into particulars about what the EAPCA itself was like, I do want to say that I finally understand what my colleagues and supervisors mean when they say that conferences are a good place to get in contact with people working in the same areas. Long story short, the EAPCA was fun and informative.

What I really want to talk about is my own ignorance. Thanks to staying in Taipei and being around a great number of scholars who work on Taiwanese culture, I realized just how little I knew about Taiwan.

Prior to my trip, I had no idea the extent to which Taiwan's history was tied to Japan. I did not know that Taiwan was at one point a Japanese colony. I did not know that there was a generation of Taiwanese who were more literate in Japanese than Chinese (which caused enormous problems when China banned use of the Japanese language after Japan seceded). I knew that anime and manga were popular in Taiwan, but I was not aware that the dynamics of Japanese popular culture in Taiwan was so utterly complex.

It's a little difficult to wrap my head around. While the United States has its own history with Japan, and the popularity of anime and manga in the US has resulted in people speculating about the influence of the former onto the latter, it is nowhere near the same as the relationships in history and culture that exist between Taiwan and Japan.

As it's not my specialty though, I'll refrain for now from positing any hypotheses of my own. In the mean time, I'll be glad to read what other scholars have to say.