Discovering Tsou People’s First Experience of Taiwanese Cinema History in the Early Days of Japanese Colonial Period


This study intends to investigate how indigenous people in Taiwan, the Tsou people, approached and experienced the emerging activity of film during the early days of the Japanese colonial period and when films came out and were introduced to Taiwan. This new media displayed the amazing world and stunning spectacles to the Alishan (Ali Mountain) area, where the Tsou people made their living. It disturbed the peaceful mountain and forests of the indigenous peoples and urged the indigenous peoples and the land to move towards modernity and development.
This research will examine such historical materials based on the framework of the two major cultural practices: one was the colonial government’s use of films to enlighten the indigenous people. The images of civilization and evolution were projected in front of the indigenous people immediately, it changed their imagination of the future. The other practice was Alishan, the land where the Tsou people make their living. The beautiful and enchanting forests of Alishan were displayed to the world and spread to Japan through films, which made Alishan become the focus of economic deprivation and tourism. Finally, this study aims to break the past stereotypes of indigenous people’s resistance to foreign new things from Tsou people’s participation in, acceptance, and experience of emerging films at the time. It helps people to re-understand the role and historical status played by films in the era between the colonial aboriginal rule and the economic development in Alishan.

Author Information
Hsien-cheng Liu, Kun Shan University, Taiwan

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2022
Stream: Film History

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon