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Sebastian Hsien-hao Liao - Romance of the Three Kins

Negotiating the Japanese Imaginary in Taiwan Cinema

The box office of Cape No. 7 (2008) hit a record high at a time when indigenously made films were scarce and not well received. But it has also engendered controversies over its unreflective valorization of the Japanese colonial legacy. Often enough, this apparently uncritical attitude is attributed to the colonial experience pertaining exclusively to the bensheng Taiwanese (i.e. descendants of pre-1949 Chinese immigrants). But films by directors of waisheng background which also idealize Japan (say, Edward Yang’s A One and a Two and Hsiao-hsien Hou’s Millennium Mambo) prove otherwise. Through an analysis of these apparently Japanophilic movies, this lecture purports to excavate a hidden impulse which underlies the idealization of Japan and is derived both from the long and entangled Sino-Japanese relations and from the history of modernization in East Asia at large.

SEBASTIAN HSIEN-HAO LIAO is Professor for English and comparative literature at the Department of Foreign languages and literatures at National Taiwan University, and Executive Director of the Language Training and Testing Center (Taiwan). He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University and was post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University, visiting professor at University of Washington, Seattle, visiting fellow at Princeton University, Chicago University, University of Western Sydney, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Nanjing University and University of Melbourne. His main research fields include comparative poetics, literary and cultural theories (with a focus on Lacanian psychoanalytical theories, Deleuze, complexity theory, postcolonial and transnational theories), Anglo-American fiction, modern Taiwanese literature and culture, red-ology (Hongloumeng studies), and cultural policy formation.

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Vienna Center for Taiwan Studies

Department of East Asian Studies
University of Vienna
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Lastupdate: 21.03.2015 - 00:36