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Date 2021-04-27


War, Assimilation and Class: Shiganhei and the Pursuit of Citizenship


Mo, Su-Wei

Lecturer, China Institnte of Technology


Shiganhei(「The volunteer」,1941is Shu Kin-Pa’s first novel based on the scene of war. And it also became the starting point for Shu to contemplate the question of imperialization. Since then, his relatively short literature career is inevitably entangled with the subject. Shiganhei without precedent narrated itself through the subjective perspective, which on the other hand unfortunately coronated Shu as an archetypical Kominbungaku writer.

Most criticisms perceived Shiganhei is intending to express a unquestionable identification towards Japanese colonial authority without due reflection, so could only be characterized as a sheer product of colonial policy. Such interpretation, however, neglects the public sphere created by the novel with intention as a forum of dialect over the major themes such as citizenship, assimilation and ethnicity.

This article is trying to evidence that the author used Shiganhei to provide an arena for the diminution of identification crisis of the islanders. A dialect is therefore created by the author which allows the characters in the novel representing diversified classes to talk to each other utilizing their common tone. And the narrator is designed as a gazing infrastructure to accommodate all possible alternatives. The forum created through Shiganhei is not the final prospect per se, but the reflection of differentiated ends pursued by the colonial humanity. Since Shiganhei actively allows certain curiosity and personal perspectives over the imperial value.

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Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature