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This essay discusses what I define as the psyche politics employed in the discourse of identity and of subjectivity in Taiwan during the Japanese colonial period (1895–1945), and how the use of such politics of psyche recurred in postcolonial Taiwan, especially in the discourse of the nativized Taiwanese subject of the recent decades under the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government (1990s to 2008). I use psyche politics to refer to the discursive operations of molding, shaping, fashioning, policing, and governing of the interior essence of life.
Through analyzing the discursive event triggered by Yoshinori Kobayashi’s graphic history On Taiwan, (Shin G manism Sengen Supesharu —Taiwan Ron) which appeared in 2001, and the discourse of self-effacement and self-abjection present in many literary texts, cultural policies, and public opinions during the Japanese colonial period, I point out that the discursive self-abjection, or the will to cleanse the uncleanliness of one’s heart, maneuvered and coerced through cultural regime, is indispensable for the formation of a non-I subject. More significantly, the discourse of the gong, the reverse side of the self-abjection, sets the frame of the spiritual totality to be shared by the individuals as parts of the whole. The two symbiotic states, self-abjection and the participation within the gong, constructed a particular mode of discourse of the psyche in East Asia during the Pacific War and paved the way for the frame of consciousness of the modern nation-state as well as the ground for subjectivation. Through such a discursive mode of psyche politics, a certain sense of community is engineered. We observe that the function of abjection operates in double directions: the internal effacement and the external exclusion. The locus of the gong, defined variously according to different contexts, which is often erected in the name of love in order to uphold the sense of community, paradoxically also serves the cause for cruelty and abjection against difference, both outside and inside the community.