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Date 2021-04-27


South and Wilderness: A Case Study of Nakamura Jihei's “Collection of Taiwan Stories”


Chiu, Ya-Fang

Graduate Student, Ph. D Program, Department of Chinese Literature, National Chengchi University


In the afterword of his “Collection of Taiwan Stories”, Nakamura Jihei (1908-1963) wrote down a statement as follows: “My nostalgia, aspiration, and love for Taiwan, are the unalterable career of my life.” The“south”as expressed in his short stories written during the late 1930's and early 1940's is undoubtedly a metaphor of Taiwan which, for him, betrayed a message as high implication of “wilderness” and “barrenness” .Since the “Wu-She Incident” in 1930, a historical event during which the aboriginal Tayal tribe had suffered from an unprecedented genocide under Japanese merciless military attack, Nakamura had begun to try to interpret colonial history with his fiction writings which implicitly supported the “Southward Advance Policy” bolstered by Japanese imperialism.“South”as a concept in his literary writings during this period was actually a representation of “the political unconscious” In his Japan-centrist geopolitical perspectives, it is discernible that the “south” as wilderness was no more a place for mere aspiration, but a place for further cultivation. This subtle move as reflected in his fictions was accompanied by the progress of the Advance Policy in the 1940's. “South” and “wilderness” thus become a pair of mutually referential metaphors which can be seen as a paradigm of imperial texts produced when war was reaching its apex.

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Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature