Academic journal article Journal of Historical Research in Music Education

Nationalism in School Texts in Taiwan

Academic journal article Journal of Historical Research in Music Education

Nationalism in School Texts in Taiwan

Article excerpt


After fifty-one years as a Japanese protectorate, at the end of the second World War Taiwan was returned to China in August 1945 as part of the Cairo Declaration. (1) During the time of the Japanese protectorate, education was efficiently developed in Taiwan, whereby "the educational authorities redoubled their efforts to foster the Japanese national spirit and assimilate the Formosans [Taiwanese] to Japan." (2) After 1945 however, Chinese educational authorities tried to reform the colonial Japanese government's education system in Taiwan. This involved adapting the educational system to that used in China to provide the same educational opportunities to the people of Taiwan. (3)

During 1946, the second director of the Education Bureau for Taiwan, Fan Shou-Kang, demanded that education be based on Chinese culture and that the Japanese language must be forbidden beginning in September. (4) This was a significant transformation, as the Japanese language had been compulsory in Taiwan since 1895. With reference to education, Fan indicated an intent:

   To destroy imperial colonialist education by the Japanese, to
   develop nationalist education as used in the Republic of China and
   to achieve the following principles: use of the Chinese language,
   equal opportunity in education, and the promotion of consciousness
   of motherland and the concept of the "Three Principles of the
   People" (5) in the peoples' mind in Taiwan. (6)

Opinions differ as to the educational significance of this period. C. T. Chen stated that when the government of mainland China took over Taiwan, one of the most important tasks was implementing reforms to pre-existing educational strategies. This occurred because the Taiwanese suffered from a complete lack of Chinese culture and language during the period of the Japanese protectorate. There was equal emphasis on fulfilling an "equal opportunity in education: [because] during the Japanese protectorate, the Taiwanese could only study until secondary school level, [and] were not allowed to study some subjects such as literature and history." (7) L. Y. Yeh believed that this period was the turning point of Taiwanese contemporary school education and that: "to explore secondary school education in this period was not only to understand educational and social phenomenon but also to recognize social change in the future." (8)

The music scholar C. H. Hsu, describing his feeling on the first assembly following the end of the Japanese protectorate period, stated: "I will never forget when I stood on the ground at the school assembly in the high school, and I saw the flag rising up the flag-pole as we sang the "National Flag" by Huang-Tsu for the first time. Since then, the "National Flag" has been sung everyday around Taiwan. This is very significant because the music in Taiwan has returned to the music of the Chinese nation." (9) In 1949, the government of Chiang Kai-Shek was established in Taiwan. An abundance of musicians and music educators from mainland China flocked to Taiwan and collaborated with the local musicians to initiate a new era in Taiwanese music. (10)

Hsu reviewed teaching structures from this period and argued that the transfer from Japanese to Chinese textbooks involved a significant change in cultural content, although both provided a similar level of knowledge of the basic standards. For example, the songs used in the textbooks had differences of style and culture between the Chinese and Japanese versions. Hsu considered that, with the return "to the motherland," Taiwan would be encouraged by Chinese contemporary music culture and develop national Taiwanese music. (11) S. Y. Ou criticized "the edition of the textbooks" stating that it was "based on the advantage and purposes of the governor." He articulated that "both the Japanese protectorate and Republic of China did the same when they took over." (12) Nevertheless, music continued to be used as a vehicle for change, in both the style and lyrics of the selected songs. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.