Under an Imperial Sun examines literary, linguistic, and cultural representations of Japan's colonial South (nanpô). Building on the most recent scholarship from Japan, Taiwan, and the West, it takes a cross-cultural, multidisciplinary, comparative approach that considers the views of both colonizer and colonized as expressed in travel accounts and popular writing as well as scholarly treatments of the area's cultures and customs.
Readers are introduced to the work of Japanese writers Hayashi Fumiko and Nakajima Atsushi, who spent time in the colonial South, and expatriate Nishikawa Mitsuru, who was raised and educated in Taiwan and tried to capture the essence of Taiwanese culture in his fictional and ethnographic writing. The effects of colonial language policy on the multilingual environment of Taiwan are discussed, as well as the role of language as a tool of imperialism and as a vehicle through which Japan's southern subjects expressed their identity--one that bridged Taiwanese and Japanese views of self.
Struggling with these often conflicting views, Taiwanese authors, including the Nativists Yang Kui and Lü Heruo and Imperial Subject writers Zhou Jinpo and Chen Huoquan, expressed personal and societal differences in their writing. This volume looks closely at their lives and works and considers the reception of this literature--the Japanese language literature of Japan's colonies--both in Japan and in the former colonies. Finally, it asks: What do these works tell us about the specific example of cultural hybridity that arose in Japanese-occupied Taiwan and what relevance does this have to the global phenomenon of cultural hybridity viewed through a postcolonial lens?