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Refracted Modernity: Visual Culture and Identity in Colonial Taiwan (review)

Refracted Modernity: Visual Culture and Identity in Colonial Taiwan (review) Reviews 133 tocourt;today,failedcourtmediation--unlesstheplaintiffwithdrewthecase--is almostalwaysfollowedbycourtarbitrationoradjudication(bythesamejudge), thosebeingpartsofoneandthesamecourtprocess.(p.222) Huangemphasizesagainthatthecourtmediationintoday'sChinafol lows the sameepistemologicalapproachasinearliertimesthat"givespriorityto factsoveruniversalprinciples"(p.225).Theessenceofmediationistoseekvolun tarysettlementofdifferencesthroughcompromise,nottoestablishrightand wrong.Itworksbestincasesnotinvolvingclearcutrightandwrong(orfault) issues. HuangbeginsandendsthebookwithapleaforChineselegalscholarsand practitioners,aswellaslegalscholarsoutsideChina,tolookcloselyatthelegacyof Chineselegalpractices,inthemidstofthecurrentrushtofollowtheWestern formalistlegalmodel.TheruleoflawthatwillbemostworkableinChinamightas welllieinacriticalandcreativecombinationofWesternandChineselegalthink ingandpracticesinresponsetoChina'ssocialrealities. PhilipHuanghasestablishedamilestoneinthestudyofChineseciviljustice. Nofutureresearchintothesubjectforanyhistoricalperiodcanseriouslyproceed withoutfirstconsultingthisbook(orthetrilogyasawhole).Theonlyproblemis withthebook'sorganization,whichresultsinsomerepetition.However,this minorimperfectiondoesnotdetractfromthesubstantiveachievementsofthe book. XiaoqunXu Xiaoqun Xu is an associate professor of history at Christopher Newport University and the author of TrialofModernity:JudicialReforminEarlyTwentiethCentury China,1901­1937 (Stanford University Press, 2008) and ChineseProfessionalsand theRepublicanState:TheRiseofProfessionalAssociationsinShanghai,1912­1937 (Cambridge University Press, 2001). NOTE 1. TheearliervolumesareCivil Justice in China: Representation and Practice in the Qing (Stanford,CA:StanfordUniversityPress,1996)andCode, Custom and Legal Practice in China: The Qing and the Republic Compared(Stanford:StanfordUniversityPress,2001). © 2011 by University of Hawai`i Press YukoKikuchi,editor.Refracted Modernity: Visual Culture and Identity in Colonial Taiwan.Honolulu:UniversityofHawai`iPress,2007.viii,285pp. Hardcover$62.00,isbn9780824830502. 134 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.17,No.1,2010 Abonafidebookonvisualculture,Refracted Modernity: Visual Culture and Identity in Colonial Taiwanbringstoitsreaderarichcollectionofpaintings, illustrations,andphotographsofarchitecture,artifacts,andcrafts.Allarebeauti fullyprintedonheavyweightsemiglosspaper.Thisbookisanexcellentsource bookworthowning.Itsimpressivephysicalandvisualqualityis,however,notthe onlyreasonwhyRefracted Modernityshouldcatchareader'sattention.Thenine essayspresentsolidscholarship,demonstratingacomplexhistoricalprocessfrom anarrayofvisualculturalperspectives.Togethertheyarticulatetheambiguity inherentintheidentitypoliticsofcolonialismforboththecolonizerandthe colonized.EquallysignificantisthatRefracted Modernitydealswithanareaof researchthathasnotbeensufficientlyexplored,namely,theTaiwanesecolonial visualartsdevelopedduringtheJapanesecolonizationoftheisland. Thebookisdividedintothreesections:"ImagesofTaiwanandtheDiscovery ofTaiwaneseLandscape,""ImagesbyandaboutWomen,"and"Constructionof Taiwan'sVernacularLandscape."Thefirstsectioncontainsfouressaysthatinvesti gateJapanesewriters'andartists'representationsoftheTaiwaneselandscapewith acommonpurposeofestablishinganewJapanesenationalidentityvisàvisits expansionisminEastAsia.Section2,withitstwoessays,contraststheJapanese andtheTaiwaneseartists'representationofwomenintheirseparateattemptto reflectmodernity,withtheformerfroma"refracted"Orientalistperspectiveand thelatteracolonialperspective.Thefinalsectioncollectsthreeessaysthatinvesti gatehowTaiwaneseartistssynthesizelocalculturalformsandtheJapanesemod erndesignconceptsinspiredbytheWest.Thissectionalsodemonstratesthe incorporationofTaiwaneseaboriginalartandartifactsbyJapaneseartistsas evidenceoftheempire'ssuccessfulcolonialpolicyinits"enlightenment"ofthe natives. AsJapantesteditsmilitarymightwiththeQingdynastyinthelatenineteenth centuryanddefeateditsformerbigbrotherintheSinoJapaneseWar(1894­1895), TaiwanwascededtoJapanandbecamethisnewEastAsianimperialpower'sfirst colony.TaiwanplayedanimportantroleinJapan'snewlyestablishedidentityasa risingempire.IntraveloguesandpaintingsbytheJapaneseartistsandwriterswho visitedTaiwan,thiscolonyisdepictedasanexoticanddangerousvirginland whoseunspoiledandprimitivenatureprovidesthenecessarycontrastwithJapan, thecenterofEastAsiancivilizationandmodernity.Taiwan,thus,istheJapanese empire'sotherinthesamewaythemysteriousEastfunctionsastheWestern imperialpowers'other--arefractedOrientalistmentalitythatJapanadoptedinits efforttoestablishanewnationalidentity.Suchisthetheoreticalnotionofrefrac tionthatlinksupthenineinvestigationsinthisbook. Japan'srefractedOrientalismtowardTaiwanisbestseeninthebinarysystem thateliteJapanesetravelers,suchasTokutomiSoh,setupinrelatingthemselves tothelocalTaiwanese.Interestingly,amongthelocalpopulation,atwotierracial hierarchyalreadyexisted:theChinesesettlersandtheaborigines.However,to Reviews 135 Tokutomi,thereal,authenticotherisnottheTaiwaneseofChinesedescentorthe hontjin,butratherthenoblesavage,thebanjin,becausetheybestsuggestthe moralsuperiorityoftheJapaneserace.However,tootherJapanesetravelers,such asSatHaruo,theculturaldistancemaintainedbythehontjin waswelcomedby JapanesetravelerswhotendedtoviewTaiwanasa"dangerous"island.AsNaoko Shimazuconcludesinhisessay,whatisrevealedinsomeofthetraveloguesisthe eliteJapanese'srealizationthatitisnotsomuch"civilization"thatgivesJapanits superiorstandingasitistherelativenotionofmodernization,whichputstheJapa neseabovetheHanChineseinTaiwan(p.35). Visualrepresentations,suchaspaintingsofTaiwan'snaturallandscape,also servetoprojectculturaldifference.Japanesepainterstraveledtodangerously mountainousareastocapturetheuntamedbeautyofthiscolony.Theirpainters alsobroughthomeimagesofTaiwan'suniquevegetationandanimals,andthe lifestylesoftheHanChineseandtheaborigines--allofwhichcreatethe"flavorof Taiwan"(p.50).The"flavorofTaiwan,"inpart,helpsgivethecolonytheimageof theexoticSouth.ThedesirefortheSouth,asToshioWatanabeexplainsinthe essay"JapaneseLandscapePaintingandTaiwan,"originatesinNanshinron,the doctrineofthepushfortheSouth.ThisdoctrinedesignatestheSouthasanalter nativetotheEast(viz.theChinesecivilization)andtheWest(viz.theAnglo Europeanmodernity)astheracialandculturaloriginforJapan.Thisimagined SouththusprovidesarationalefortheemergingawarenessofaJapanesenational identity(pp.76­77).Taiwan'stropicallandscapeisdrasticallydifferentfromthatof Japan's,makingthisnewcolonythebeginningofimperialJapan'scollectiveimagi nationofanddesireforthenangoku,thesoutherncountry. Asartandpoliticsareinseparable,soarethesubjectofwomenandpolitics. ThetechniquesemployedbyJapaneseartistsduringimperialJapan,suchasin theirportrayalofwomen,reflectmodernorWesternstylesoftrainingthatare morerealisticandprojectwomeninanalluringandsensuouslight.Thefavorite subjectmatterforwomen'sportraitsistheChinesewomaninManchuriandress (p.122).ThisparticularthemeofcoursehelpstopromoteJapan'soccupationof Manchuria.AnotherpreferredobjectofdepictionisaboriginalwomeninTaiwan, astheyrepresenttheideaofthesoutherncountry(p.125).Aninterestingcontrast totheJapaneseartistapproachtotheportrayalofwomenisthecreationofan imageofwomenbyTaiwanesefemaleartists.TheessaybyMingchuLaiisthe mostextensivestudyofTaiwaneseartistsinthebook.Ittellsanuancedstoryof howtheTaiwanesemanagedtocreateanalternativeway,a"thirdspace"asdefined byHomiBhabha,tocultivatetheirownidentityundercolonialrule.ChenJin,the mostcelebratedfemaleTaiwaneseartistofthecolonialtime,hasproducedworks thatbestrepresentsucheffort. ChenwasthefirstTaiwanesewomanwhoreceivedprofessionaltrainingin Japan.ShebeganhercareerbypaintingiconicJapanesefemaleimages.However, assherepeatedlyreceivedrecognitioninJapan'sofficialexhibitions,sheventured 136 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.17,No.1,2010 topaintTaiwanesewomeninlocalsettingsandinthetraditionalTaiwanesestyle http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png China Review International University of Hawai'I Press

Refracted Modernity: Visual Culture and Identity in Colonial Taiwan (review)

China Review International , Volume 17 (1) – Mar 1, 2010

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Abstract

Reviews 133 tocourt;today,failedcourtmediation--unlesstheplaintiffwithdrewthecase--is almostalwaysfollowedbycourtarbitrationoradjudication(bythesamejudge), thosebeingpartsofoneandthesamecourtprocess.(p.222) Huangemphasizesagainthatthecourtmediationintoday'sChinafol lows the sameepistemologicalapproachasinearliertimesthat"givespriorityto factsoveruniversalprinciples"(p.225).Theessenceofmediationistoseekvolun tarysettlementofdifferencesthroughcompromise,nottoestablishrightand wrong.Itworksbestincasesnotinvolvingclearcutrightandwrong(orfault) issues. HuangbeginsandendsthebookwithapleaforChineselegalscholarsand practitioners,aswellaslegalscholarsoutsideChina,tolookcloselyatthelegacyof Chineselegalpractices,inthemidstofthecurrentrushtofollowtheWestern formalistlegalmodel.TheruleoflawthatwillbemostworkableinChinamightas welllieinacriticalandcreativecombinationofWesternandChineselegalthink ingandpracticesinresponsetoChina'ssocialrealities. PhilipHuanghasestablishedamilestoneinthestudyofChineseciviljustice. Nofutureresearchintothesubjectforanyhistoricalperiodcanseriouslyproceed withoutfirstconsultingthisbook(orthetrilogyasawhole).Theonlyproblemis withthebook'sorganization,whichresultsinsomerepetition.However,this minorimperfectiondoesnotdetractfromthesubstantiveachievementsofthe book. XiaoqunXu Xiaoqun Xu is an associate professor of history at Christopher Newport University and the author of TrialofModernity:JudicialReforminEarlyTwentiethCentury China,1901­1937 (Stanford University Press, 2008) and ChineseProfessionalsand theRepublicanState:TheRiseofProfessionalAssociationsinShanghai,1912­1937 (Cambridge University Press, 2001). NOTE 1. TheearliervolumesareCivil Justice in China: Representation and Practice in the Qing (Stanford,CA:StanfordUniversityPress,1996)andCode, Custom and Legal Practice in China: The Qing and the Republic Compared(Stanford:StanfordUniversityPress,2001). © 2011 by University of Hawai`i Press YukoKikuchi,editor.Refracted Modernity: Visual Culture and Identity in Colonial Taiwan.Honolulu:UniversityofHawai`iPress,2007.viii,285pp. Hardcover$62.00,isbn9780824830502. 134 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.17,No.1,2010 Abonafidebookonvisualculture,Refracted Modernity: Visual Culture and Identity in Colonial Taiwanbringstoitsreaderarichcollectionofpaintings, illustrations,andphotographsofarchitecture,artifacts,andcrafts.Allarebeauti fullyprintedonheavyweightsemiglosspaper.Thisbookisanexcellentsource bookworthowning.Itsimpressivephysicalandvisualqualityis,however,notthe onlyreasonwhyRefracted Modernityshouldcatchareader'sattention.Thenine essayspresentsolidscholarship,demonstratingacomplexhistoricalprocessfrom anarrayofvisualculturalperspectives.Togethertheyarticulatetheambiguity inherentintheidentitypoliticsofcolonialismforboththecolonizerandthe colonized.EquallysignificantisthatRefracted Modernitydealswithanareaof researchthathasnotbeensufficientlyexplored,namely,theTaiwanesecolonial visualartsdevelopedduringtheJapanesecolonizationoftheisland. Thebookisdividedintothreesections:"ImagesofTaiwanandtheDiscovery ofTaiwaneseLandscape,""ImagesbyandaboutWomen,"and"Constructionof Taiwan'sVernacularLandscape."Thefirstsectioncontainsfouressaysthatinvesti gateJapanesewriters'andartists'representationsoftheTaiwaneselandscapewith acommonpurposeofestablishinganewJapanesenationalidentityvisàvisits expansionisminEastAsia.Section2,withitstwoessays,contraststheJapanese andtheTaiwaneseartists'representationofwomenintheirseparateattemptto reflectmodernity,withtheformerfroma"refracted"Orientalistperspectiveand thelatteracolonialperspective.Thefinalsectioncollectsthreeessaysthatinvesti gatehowTaiwaneseartistssynthesizelocalculturalformsandtheJapanesemod erndesignconceptsinspiredbytheWest.Thissectionalsodemonstratesthe incorporationofTaiwaneseaboriginalartandartifactsbyJapaneseartistsas evidenceoftheempire'ssuccessfulcolonialpolicyinits"enlightenment"ofthe natives. AsJapantesteditsmilitarymightwiththeQingdynastyinthelatenineteenth centuryanddefeateditsformerbigbrotherintheSinoJapaneseWar(1894­1895), TaiwanwascededtoJapanandbecamethisnewEastAsianimperialpower'sfirst colony.TaiwanplayedanimportantroleinJapan'snewlyestablishedidentityasa risingempire.IntraveloguesandpaintingsbytheJapaneseartistsandwriterswho visitedTaiwan,thiscolonyisdepictedasanexoticanddangerousvirginland whoseunspoiledandprimitivenatureprovidesthenecessarycontrastwithJapan, thecenterofEastAsiancivilizationandmodernity.Taiwan,thus,istheJapanese empire'sotherinthesamewaythemysteriousEastfunctionsastheWestern imperialpowers'other--arefractedOrientalistmentalitythatJapanadoptedinits efforttoestablishanewnationalidentity.Suchisthetheoreticalnotionofrefrac tionthatlinksupthenineinvestigationsinthisbook. Japan'srefractedOrientalismtowardTaiwanisbestseeninthebinarysystem thateliteJapanesetravelers,suchasTokutomiSoh,setupinrelatingthemselves tothelocalTaiwanese.Interestingly,amongthelocalpopulation,atwotierracial hierarchyalreadyexisted:theChinesesettlersandtheaborigines.However,to Reviews 135 Tokutomi,thereal,authenticotherisnottheTaiwaneseofChinesedescentorthe hontjin,butratherthenoblesavage,thebanjin,becausetheybestsuggestthe moralsuperiorityoftheJapaneserace.However,tootherJapanesetravelers,such asSatHaruo,theculturaldistancemaintainedbythehontjin waswelcomedby JapanesetravelerswhotendedtoviewTaiwanasa"dangerous"island.AsNaoko Shimazuconcludesinhisessay,whatisrevealedinsomeofthetraveloguesisthe eliteJapanese'srealizationthatitisnotsomuch"civilization"thatgivesJapanits superiorstandingasitistherelativenotionofmodernization,whichputstheJapa neseabovetheHanChineseinTaiwan(p.35). Visualrepresentations,suchaspaintingsofTaiwan'snaturallandscape,also servetoprojectculturaldifference.Japanesepainterstraveledtodangerously mountainousareastocapturetheuntamedbeautyofthiscolony.Theirpainters alsobroughthomeimagesofTaiwan'suniquevegetationandanimals,andthe lifestylesoftheHanChineseandtheaborigines--allofwhichcreatethe"flavorof Taiwan"(p.50).The"flavorofTaiwan,"inpart,helpsgivethecolonytheimageof theexoticSouth.ThedesirefortheSouth,asToshioWatanabeexplainsinthe essay"JapaneseLandscapePaintingandTaiwan,"originatesinNanshinron,the doctrineofthepushfortheSouth.ThisdoctrinedesignatestheSouthasanalter nativetotheEast(viz.theChinesecivilization)andtheWest(viz.theAnglo Europeanmodernity)astheracialandculturaloriginforJapan.Thisimagined SouththusprovidesarationalefortheemergingawarenessofaJapanesenational identity(pp.76­77).Taiwan'stropicallandscapeisdrasticallydifferentfromthatof Japan's,makingthisnewcolonythebeginningofimperialJapan'scollectiveimagi nationofanddesireforthenangoku,thesoutherncountry. Asartandpoliticsareinseparable,soarethesubjectofwomenandpolitics. ThetechniquesemployedbyJapaneseartistsduringimperialJapan,suchasin theirportrayalofwomen,reflectmodernorWesternstylesoftrainingthatare morerealisticandprojectwomeninanalluringandsensuouslight.Thefavorite subjectmatterforwomen'sportraitsistheChinesewomaninManchuriandress (p.122).ThisparticularthemeofcoursehelpstopromoteJapan'soccupationof Manchuria.AnotherpreferredobjectofdepictionisaboriginalwomeninTaiwan, astheyrepresenttheideaofthesoutherncountry(p.125).Aninterestingcontrast totheJapaneseartistapproachtotheportrayalofwomenisthecreationofan imageofwomenbyTaiwanesefemaleartists.TheessaybyMingchuLaiisthe mostextensivestudyofTaiwaneseartistsinthebook.Ittellsanuancedstoryof howtheTaiwanesemanagedtocreateanalternativeway,a"thirdspace"asdefined byHomiBhabha,tocultivatetheirownidentityundercolonialrule.ChenJin,the mostcelebratedfemaleTaiwaneseartistofthecolonialtime,hasproducedworks thatbestrepresentsucheffort. ChenwasthefirstTaiwanesewomanwhoreceivedprofessionaltrainingin Japan.ShebeganhercareerbypaintingiconicJapanesefemaleimages.However, assherepeatedlyreceivedrecognitioninJapan'sofficialexhibitions,sheventured 136 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.17,No.1,2010 topaintTaiwanesewomeninlocalsettingsandinthetraditionalTaiwanesestyle

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China Review InternationalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Mar 1, 2010

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