Diaspora as mind: making sense of the experiences of the Japanese in postwar Taiwan
ABSTRACT This paper began as an inquiry into the plight of ethnic Japanese in postwar Taiwan. As a group, they have been an object of benign neglect. Despite the advent of “multiculturalism” (duoyuan wenhua zhuyi) in Taiwan, which accented the oppression of a majority Taiwanese populace by an “alien” (mainlander Chinese) KMT regime and eventual liberation of opposition parties and indigenous ethnic groups, few have found it relevant to celebrate the cause of oppressed Japanese. The postwar ban on Taiwanese and Japanese culture was part of the same imperative of mono-cultural nationalism that endeavored to erase fifty years of Japanese colonialism in order to restore the legacy of Chinese civilization. At the same time, there is little recognition in the literature of any Japanese “diaspora” in Taiwan. It pales in comparison with the many Japanese orphans abandoned in Manchuria after World War II. The birth of a generation of children from mixed marriages making claims to Japanese “identity” has added significant dimensions to the concept of diaspora and its definition as a social group or discursive construction.
Keywords: Japanese diaspora, postwar Taiwan, multiculturalism, post-colonialism
Allen Chun is a Research Fellow in the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. In addition to two books, Unstructuring Chinese Society: The Fictions of Colonial Practice and the Changing Realities of ‘Land’ in the New Territories of Hong Kong (2000) and Forget Chineseness: On the Geopolitics of Cultural Identification (2017), he edited a double issue in Cultural Studies 14 (3-4) on “(Post)colonialism and Its Discontents” and a special issue in Social Analysis46 (2), entitled “Global Dissonances.” His papers have appeared in Toung Pao, Late Imperial China, History and Anthropology, Dialectical Anthropology, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Historical Sociology, Current Anthropology, Theory Culture & Society, boundary 2, Communal/Plural, Cultural Anthropology, Postcolonial Studies, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Critique of Anthropology, Anthropological Theory, and positions.