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

) Pei-ching Hsin, National Chengchi University

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2) Pei-ching Hsin, National Chengchi University
Enlightenment or Entertainment Through the Eyes: Exhibitions and Department Stores in Taiwanese Literature during the Japanese Colonial Period

This paper focuses on how the establishment of commercial centers and department stores changed the natural landscape of Yancheng district, imported new concept of consumption, and therefore shaped the modern lifestyle of Taiwanese under Japanese control. Yancheng is part of the current Kaohsiung city in Taiwan. For centuries, following the rulers’ policies, the geographic landscape and industrial patterns in Yancheng changed over time. In the Qing dynasty, it was a coastal wetland where people made their living from the salt fields and fishponds. During the Japanese colonial period, the Taiwan Governor-General started a reclamation project to build a harbor, and nearly all salt fields disappeared in 1914 (the third year of the Taisho Era). Urban planning transformed the reclaimed land into checkerboard-like districts filled with a large number of new buildings. Based on the land use zoning regulations, Yancheng was categorized as “commercial district,” and the first commercial center and department store in Kaohsiung State were established in Yancheng during that time. Ginza (echoing the name of Ginza in Tokyo), the street style consecutive commercial center, was established in 1937 (the twelfth year of the Showa Era), and the Yoshii department store was established by Chohei Yoshii in 1941 (the sixteenth year of the Showa Era). Shopping for imported goods in Ginza, and taking the elevator (so-called flow cage) in Yoshii Depart became the most modern leisure activities at that time. Space allocation and glass windows in the department store were different from the traditional grocery stores and vendors in Taiwan. Use strategies of categorization and demonstration to sell the products became a new marketing concept. Seemingly, the new culture of consumption emerged in Yancheng in the 1930s, but did the modern lifestyles imported from Japan completely changed the traditional lives of Taiwanese people? Apart from collecting records of the commercial centers, department stores, and street landscape, tracking everyday life practices of the Yancheng residents would help us to retell the history of people’s lives during the colonial period in Taiwan.

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