history · Japan

Poisonous Pufferfish and the Treaty that Ceded Taiwan to Japan

A few months ago, I had a chance to visit the town of Shimonoseki. People familiar with Taiwanese history will recognize it as site of the Treaty of Shimonoseki (馬關條約) from 1895, in which Qing China ceded Taiwan to Japan. I'd always only known the Taiwan side of this story. It turns out there is… Continue reading Poisonous Pufferfish and the Treaty that Ceded Taiwan to Japan

history · Taiwan

The Japanese Roots of Taiwanese Rice 🍚 (And Its 30 Years of R&D)

Earlier this month, I stumbled upon a farm in the middle of Taipei: It was surprisingly... pastoral: Believe it or not, this farm is on the National Taiwan University (NTU) campus! I was heading to the student center for an appointment that day and the path Google Maps told me to take was under construction,… Continue reading The Japanese Roots of Taiwanese Rice 🍚 (And Its 30 Years of R&D)

history · Taiwan

Camphor: From Totoro to Taiwan

Does anyone else remember the name of the giant tree that Totoro likes to sleep in? For some reason, this detail has stuck with me to this day-- "camphor". And that's probably the last time I encountered this word in English. In Chinese however, you'll encounter the word for camphor 樟腦 in everyday life. It pops… Continue reading Camphor: From Totoro to Taiwan

history

Identification with China: When it Made Sense in Taiwan

Identification with China is largely passé in Taiwan, where increasingly a majority of people now identify as only Taiwanese. Even young supporters of the Chinese Nationalist Party, which has traditionally favored unification with China, are"troubled by the party’s insistence that Taiwan is part of China." To the increasing majority of Taiwanese, Chinese nationalism--or identification with the ethnic… Continue reading Identification with China: When it Made Sense in Taiwan

history · Korea

GUNSAN 군산: An Ambivalent Home to Many “Vestiges of Imperialism”

"Vestiges of Imperialism" (일제 강점기의 잔재) is a very charged term here. It has been grounds for a variety of controversial actions, from the 2014 banning of a song with the Japanese word for "shiny" in it to the demolition in 1995 of the former Japanese General Government Building (조선총독부 청사), at the time home… Continue reading GUNSAN 군산: An Ambivalent Home to Many “Vestiges of Imperialism”