This paper explores the role played by the transnational connections of left-wing movements and literary activities in formulating modern Taiwanese literature. More than the discourses of politics and economics, the establishment of a modern cultural identity and transnational networks marked the emerging of modern self-consciousness in East Asia.
The proposed paper focuses on left-wing Taiwanese writer Wu Kuen-hwang (1909-1989), whose abiding concern was the injustice imposed on Taiwan under Japanese colonial rule. Because he was involved in the students’ strike at Taichung Normal School, Wu tends to be seen as a young student activist. To be sure, after dropping out of school, he went to Tokyo and became active in Taiwanese cultural movements there. Heretofore, scholarship has thus tended to focus on discovering the Taiwanese student networks in which he participated during the decline of Japan’s left-wing movements in the early 1930s. But Wu’s activities were not limited to student movements. Rather, Wu extended his horizon to revolutionary Chinese left-wing thinking and modern Japanese literature in his efforts to strengthen Taiwanese resistance against Japan’s colonial rule and modernize Taiwanese culture.
Even while anti-colonial movements and left-wing movements were declining, Wu participated in connecting the Chinese left-wing literary group Zuolian’s Tokyo Branch with the Japanese Tsukiji Shōgekijō (small theater), acting as a translator and mediator. Drawing on his lived experience and activities, I will explore how his networking mediated “secret revolts” against coloniality and shaped Taiwanese literature both regionally and globally.