TAIWAN – 15 March 2021 – Taiwan and Japan have long enjoyed close relations historically, culturally, and economically. Of Taiwan’s early Hakka emigrants, many had opted for Japan and taken root there, with the largest concentrations in Tokyo and Osaka. In April 2018, YANG, CHANG-ZHEN, incumbent minister of the Hakka Affairs Council (HAC), led a delegation to attend gatherings of Hakka communities in the two cities.
Also on the itinerary was a call on HATA Toshiyuki, then vice governor of Fukushima Prefecture, to show solicitude for the people of Fukushima afflicted by the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. The visitors also extended an invitation for their hosts to seek consolation by taking trips to Hakka townships along Provincial Highway 3 in Taiwan.
The invitation was soon met with a group of junior high school students from Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture coming to Provincial Highway 3 in December of the same year. In the course of four days, these young Japanese visitors had a close encounter with Hakka culture across Taoyuan, Hsinchu, and Miaoli, whose hospitality and delicacies left them an indelible impression.
At the HAC’s invitation, renowned Japanese illustrator Amigos Koike came to Taiwan and served as a resident artist in several Hakka townships along Provincial Highway 3 during August-September 2019. His two-month stay led to a good number of sketches of Hakka scenery, delicacies, and sensibilities.
The HAC is now in the process of putting together the Japanese illustrator’s wonderfully conceived works that will be supplemented by texts fitting for his Hakka experience. Due to be published at the end of this year, it will be available in both Taiwan and Japan and hit the shelves of brick-and-mortar as well as online bookstores.
Through its upcoming compilation of Amigos Koike’s works—one that is set to derive from the perspective of a Japanese artist—the HAC expects to interest a greater number of Japanese about getting to know Hakka culture better themselves. Hopefully in the post-pandemic era they can begin travelling to Taiwan and visiting the Hakka townships along Provincial Highway 3.