Organized Panel Session
Ireland became independent from England, after seven hundred years of colonial rule, in 1922. Its success in achieving independence encouraged other colonized people, such as Taiwan and Korea who were under Japanese colonial rule. Irish literature and theatre were known as the most important venues to promote Ireland’s Independence movement. For example, Abey Theatre, founded by Yeats and other Irish playwrights, became a site to advocate Irish nationalism and promote Irish folklore, art, and tradition that would serve to form an ‘Irish identity.’ As these Irish literary trends became known in East Asia, they inspired writers in colonial Taiwan and Korea to create their own literature and seek a distinctive “national identity.”
The journal Forumosa, the milestone of Taiwanese literature, was established in Tokyo in 1933. The journal stressed concepts such as the ‘native art’ or ‘native Taiwanese literature” that were obviously adopted from the idea of ‘native art’ in the Renaissance of Irish literature.
The paper examines the relationship between Irish literature, the concept of Taiwan literature, and the formation of “national identity.” It reveals how the imagination of Irish literature traversed geographical boundaries to encounter Taiwan and to encourage Taiwanese to create their own “Formosa literature” as well.