What tangible, substantial Japanese influence is there

I was thinking: what discernible Japanese influence is there here in a purely cultural sense? Yes, I know that that the Japanese were here for 50 years and that their footprint can still be glimpsed in a physical sense; roads, highways, buildings, etc. Japan helped bring Taiwan kicking and screaming into the twentieth century, but what practices remain/have been adopted beyond the superficial: a penchant for silly game shows, cutsey cartoon characters and Sushi Express? Any introduction to Taiwan will include an obligatory and usually vague ‘Japanese influence’ line, and locals themselves will proudly tell you they’ve been “influenced by Japan,” but in what way exactly? The importance of the oral tradition here seems to be one (of many) thing(s) that stifle(s)the questioning of such things, so I thought I’d ask.

My hypothesis is (and I only just thought of this): ‘in viryually no regard.’

Anyone care to disprove that?

I once heard the education system here is modeled after Japan’s. Any truth there?

Or is it largley a matter of wishful thinking on behalf of the Taiwanese?

Thanks,

Ed

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I’ll toss out some ideas, but I’m not sure which are valid, since I don’t know the extent to which these are practiced in China too:
Not wearing shoes into the house?
Many homes have a Japanese style room
Many words in Taiwanese were borrowed from Japanese, like saugas (circus), moda (motor), otobai (autobike – motorcycle), pampu (pump).
Some words in Mandarin were similarly borrowed?
Influences from Japanese cuisine?

I never knew where a lot of Taiwan’s strange architectural ideas came from until I travelled to Japan.

Taiwan in some superficial ways, struck me as like a Japan under Chinese management.

Mixing clothes of different colors/fabric types among women. As well as a love for name brands.
Wearing make up everywhere
Using the “V” sign in all photos
Karaoke
Love Hotels
Thankfully I didn’t encounter too many women speaking in a high-pitched tone.

A lot of my neighbors speak Japanese.
Some of the Amahs have a Ninja Club protection racket. Tuff ol’ Obasans jumpin’ from roof to roof in my lane.

I hear a lot of Japanese TV progs also around here. Although I like to watch the Nippon fishing shows myself. Also there’s a pretty interesting home remodeling show on one of the Japo channels.

Words like “obasan” in Taiwanese
Trains running on the left side
Place names like Kaohsiung and Songshan (Takao and Matsuyama)
Hot springs resorts
Taiwanese karaoke pop (heavily influenced by Japanese oldie pop - wish I knew the terminology)

Not so pertinent today, but I once read a great interview with a former KMT soldier who had come over in 1947 to put down the 2-28 riots. He said that getting off the ship in Jilong everything he saw looked Japanese - the houses, the fashion, hairstyles and even the language. After enduring WWII in China, he had no sympathy for the Taiwanese at all, who he saw as basically Japanese. He mentioned firing into crowds with not a skerrick of remorse.

I’d say today one of the better legacies is a penchant for personal hygiene. The cousins across the water and the dirty little scum in HK stink to high heaven, whereas my better memories of Taiwan involve sitting in the slipstream of scooters in summer soaking in the delightful scent of freshly washed womanhood.

HG

Definitely influences in cuisine.

  • obviously, all the Japanese restaurants, both Taiwanese run and Japanese-franchises.

  • Japanese ingredients and items on the menu (like Shan-yao eaten with wasabi)

DB,
shoes off in the house is generally a Chinese custom (I presume transplanted to Korea, Japan, etc. during the Han or Tang or some similar wave of cultural borrowing).

[quote=“Jack Burton”]
shoes off in the house is generally a Chinese custom (I presume transplanted to Korea, Japan, etc. during the Han or Tang or some similar wave of cultural borrowing).[/quote]
Really? In Sichuan no one took their shoes off in the house. Of course, dirt floors don’t exactly lend themselves to the custom; and other types of flooring were in any case so dirty that it would have been laughable to insist on going barefoot. Plus most of the people I knew had no heating in the winter and it was too cold to go without shoes.

[quote=“bababa”][quote=“Jack Burton”]
shoes off in the house is generally a Chinese custom (I presume transplanted to Korea, Japan, etc. during the Han or Tang or some similar wave of cultural borrowing).[/quote]
Really? In Sichuan no one took their shoes off in the house. Of course, dirt floors don’t exactly lend themselves to the custom; and other types of flooring were in any case so dirty that it would have been laughable to insist on going barefoot. Plus most of the people I knew had no heating in the winter and it was too cold to go without shoes.[/quote]

I mean a traditional Chinese custom. the commies swept a lot of stuff away.

-BienDang (Japanese ‘Bento’ lunchbox). The obsession with eating train BienDang’s, it’s also a leftover in Korea weirdly enough, people love their BienDangs on trains over there.

-Obsession with building things with concrete and concreting harbours etc, flood control

-Long working hours, bonus system (again as a poster said, like a Japan system under Taiwanese management. To illustrate this point, while in Japan it’s commont get at least two major bonuses per year, Taiwan we get only one if we are lucky. Japan also has a crazy amount of public holidays, Taiwan has , like, 3?, except for Chinese New Year.

  • Words such as obasan, ojisan, kawaii culture, TV shows, boy bands

Obviously the Japanese influence on Taiwan was only skin deep in many ways though.

Nakashi, maybe?

[ul][li]a Napoleonic legal system[/li]
[li]The incorporation of Taiwan’s mountain-dwelling aborigines into the state, and the recognition of various tribes among them (prior to the Japanese period, the mountains lay outside the control of the Manchu state)[/li]
[li]An export-based economy (then agricultural), development of various local resources[/li]
[li]Decent universities (the Presbyterians gave us Lil’ Cambridge on the Danshui, the Japanese, Taihoko Imperial University) and museums (the one in what is now 2-28 park)[/li]
[li]A dissident intellectual tradition, out of which Taiwan independence sentiment sprang[/li]
[li]Some police departments here still practice karate[/li]
[li]As a result of Japanese influence, the Chinese folk religion has become relatively skewed towards Buddhist symbols (Guanyin vs. Mazu), and a lot of people consider themselves “Buddhist” when they really follow the folk religion. Long Shan Temple (chief deity: Guanyin) was spared while Taipei’s Tianhegong (Mazu temple) was left unrestored.[/li]
[li]Those little “mo money mo money” cat statues that wave their arms, as if to call money[/li][/ul]
(in my best Monty Python voice:) “But other than that, what did the Japanese ever do for us?”

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Many cities, such as Taichung and Kaohsiung are still basically laid out as the Japanese built them.

A fondness for cherry blossom trees. A love of hiking. The Japanese were enthusiatic hikers and Taroko Gorge in particular has been popular since the 30s. Also, the Holy Ridge hike in Sheiba National Park was so designated by the Japanese.

Chris mentioned hot springs. It was actually a German who opened the first hot spring in Beitou but the Japanese established resorts around the island and these are today still among the most popular. That said, hot springing was really dying out in the 90s until a revival later that decade.

Also, Chris, never really thought about the trains running on the left side. That explains why I always guess the wrong platform to stand on in the countryside where there are no other signs around. :laughing:

Others? I don’t know. A love of kinky sex perhaps.

The Presidential office is in the shape of the ri in riben.

High school girls in sailor uniforms? :howyoudoin:

Porn?

This seems par for the course in many east and southeast Asian locales.

Taiwan used to have lots of public holidays, until Chen Shu-bian came and took them away. But then he did make Saturday a day off instead of a half-day workday.

Do the Japanese work on Saturdays?

黑輪 (Tai: o-len) = oden
烏龍麵 (Mand: wulong mian) = udon

Perhaps Japan’s greatest legacy!