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Date 2021-04-27


The Study of Wu Cho-Liu’s Hu Chih Ming


Kawahara Isao

Chang, Wen-Hsun (Translator)

Lecturer, SeiKei High School & Nihon University

Assistant Professor, Graduate Institute of Taiwanese Literature, National Chenchi University


Wu Cho-Liu's epic The Orphan of Asia, the titles of the original and of the initial version are Hu Chih Ming. From the perspectives of the content, the structure and the plot in this narrative, both Hu Chih Ming and The Orphan of Asia sharing most similarity on the main issue is that how the protagonist mentally suffered and struggled from the prejudice as a Taiwanese. However, after comparing the two works, the most obvious differences between them can be found as follows. First, the name of the protagonist has been changed from Hu Chih-Ming to Hu Tai-Ming. Second, in chapter two, the part of Yueh-Ying who is Hu Chih-Ming's beloved committed suicide and how her death severely shocked Hu Chih-Ming is removed from The Orphan of Asia and the versions after then. Third, the length between Hu Chih Ming and The Orphan of Asia indicates a big gap. The Orphan of Asia is shortened almost to 58% of Hu Chih Ming, particularly chapter four and chapter five as the core of the narrative was even reduced to less than 50%. For this reason, Hu Chih Ming should not be regarded as the same work as The Orphan of Asia.

As for the historical stage of this work was set in the period of imperial subject movement, the author Wu Cho-Liu not only criticizes the Governor-General government of Taiwan (the volunteer soldier system, the regulation of rice and grain) and the semiofficial imperial subject public service movement (labor mobilization, fire-fighting drills, excavating shelters , the alternating name movement, abolition of temples, abolition of Taiwanese opera, the distribution of rice and precious metal, the compelling donations and savings), but also demonstrates his antiwar sentiment, his question to the Japanese spirit (for example, demolishing the statue of Goto Shinpei). In addition, he also criticizes the bureaucrats and intellectuals, the Taiwanese who just blindly follow the trend of the times and divert the money into their own pockets by abusing the policy and the author himself for just being a bystander.

In Hu Chih Ming, Wu Cho-Liu attacks much more severely rather than in The Orphan of Asia. We can see that Wu Cho-Liu's critical spirits has already exceeded the limits of time and space, not just remaining at the level of Taiwan. Therefore, the self-exploration is another serious issue in Hu Chih Ming.

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Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature