Publishing about Asia in Academic Journals and Book Series (Roundtable)


) Sumei Wang, National Chengchi University



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1) Sumei Wang, National Chengchi University
Mass Media and the Modern Girl in 1930s Colonial Taiwan

Women’s roles in family and societies changed significantly after the First World War. Since the 1920s, debates over ‘new women’ and ‘modern girls’ had often drawn huge attention on Japan’s print media. In the 1930s, the changes in women’s social status became more apparent in Japanese colonies. Situated at the newspaper series ‘Inviolable Destiny,’ written by Lin Hui Kun, and other materials, this paper aims to explore how women were represented by mass media in the 1930s Taipei. In addition, the paper also intends to investigate how media technologies were used in these women’s everyday lives and the possible consequences of these interactions. Taiwanese women in the inter-war period faced conflicts between new values and old traditions, which largely influenced their choices of marriages and careers. Lin’s series story was firstly appeared in Taiwan Sinminpo (台湾新民報) in 1933 and later published as a novel. In the story, a young man Li studied in Kyoto University refused an arranged marriage and determinedly pursued his own free love. Female characters, Shiuhui, Fongyin, Sizuko, were depicted as ‘Modern Girl,’ ‘Good Wife, Wise Mother,’ and ‘New Woman’ correspondingly in the story. By probing into the narrations, I aim to discover the complicated relationships among gender, consumption and modernity; in particular, the moral conflicts and ambivalent desires toward material cultures in the1930s colonial Taiwan.



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