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Date 2021-04-23


Conflicting “Locality”: The Representation of Colonial Taiwan in Go Kisei’s “Buta”


Wu, Yi-Shin

Graduate Student, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba


In July 1933, Taiwanese students living in Tokyo started the publication Formosa, in an attempt to create “true Taiwanese literature”. This magazine, featuring mostly creations in Japanese, is thought to have been important in providing direction for Taiwanese literary activity. Taiwanese students had to avoid depicting colonial “reality” and tone down political aspects in order to have their work published and read widely. They had no choice but writing apolitical tales in the colonizer’s language, if they aspired for “universal” readership in Imperial Japan.

Inside Taiwan, the works in Formosa which gained the most attention were Go Ki-sei’s “Buta” (Pigs), which depicted colonial “reality” of Taiwan. “Buta”, a story about the misery life of a pig-farming family, was discussed on the Taiwan Shinminpou newspaper for several weeks as it connected to the arguments about “Taiwanese local literature ”.

What this research focuses on is the way in which the novel translates Taiwanese things into “Japanese”, using Kyushu or Tohoku dialects in conversations between Taiwanese characters. This paper will examine what meaning was behind the acceptance inside Taiwan of “Buta”, which brings forward “local color” regarding Taiwan opposed to Imperial Japan.

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Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature