Taiwan launches booklet in Japan to promote Taiwanese literature

Ministry of Culture hopes 'Taiwan Books' will introduce more Japanese readers to contemporary Taiwanese literature

Copies of "Taiwan Books" (CNA photo)

Copies of "Taiwan Books" (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The first issue of “Taiwan Books” has been published in Japan with the aim of introducing contemporary Taiwanese literature to Japanese readers.

The booklet, published by the Ministry of Culture’s office in Japan, introduces 18 Taiwanese-authored books, most of which were published within the last few years. They include “The Stolen Bicycle Book” by Wu Ming-yi (吳明益), “The Summer When General Winter Comes” by Gan Yao-ming (甘耀明), and “Invisible Reef” by Badai (巴代).

The booklet also introduces titles that will be published in Japan soon, such as Jiao Tong’s (焦桐) “Taste of Formosa” and Ko Tsung-ming’s (柯宗明) “Tan Ting-pho’s Password.” The first 6,000 copies of “Taiwan Books” will be available for free at 70 bookstores across Japan as well as at the Taiwan Cultural Center of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office.

Taiwan launches booklet in Japan to promote Taiwanese literature
"Taiwan Books" will be available in chain bookstores in Japan later in November (CNA photo)

Wang Shu-fang (王淑芳), director of the Taiwan Cultural Center, told CNA that while more than 10 literary works by Taiwanese writers are translated and published in Japan every year, the books are usually known only to Japanese academia. By publishing the booklet regularly, the center hopes more and more general readers in Japan will get to know and take an interest in Taiwanese contemporary literature.

With this goal in mind, the center has invited two Japanese scholars to help select titles to be promoted in the booklet. They have picked works that are representative of Taiwanese literature and that will most likely draw the attention of Japanese readers.

“Taiwan Books” is printed and distributed by tai-tai books, a publishing house that focuses on publishing Taiwanese books in Japan. Its representative Huang Pi-chun (黃碧君) said the booklet targets readers ranging from high school students to 40-year-olds.

The cover of the first issue was created by Taiwanese artist Gao Yan (高妍). It was inspired by houses with elaborately patterned iron window bars that are characteristic of old Taiwanese neighborhoods, stated the artist.

Yan previously worked on the cover and illustrations for Haruki Murakami’s essay “Abandoning a Cat: Memories of my Father,” becoming the first Taiwanese artist to work with the Japanese author.