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“On The Highways: Taiwan”

Ryotaro Shiba is one of the most beloved Japanese writers in Japan. One of his most representative novels is a history novel entitled “Clouds Above The Hill”, which depicts the modernization of Japan. It is often chosen as the must-read book for the new graduates. Shiba was born in Osaka in 1923 and studied Mongolian at Osaka University of Foreign Studies. After graduating from university, he worked for a Japanese newspaper company as a journalist for 12 years, after which he became a professional writer. He is best known for his insightful historical and cultural essays as well as novels about historical events. He was on close terms with Donald Keene, one of the most noted translators.

The book I read this time is his essay on Taiwan. This series has been very popular among Japanese readers. I was impressed by his research prowess on the history and culture of Taiwan and his lucid writing. This book provided me with an insight into its volatile history (Japan’s colonial era especially), its diversity and its people. From now on, I will strive to learn more about Taiwan in terms of history and culture. Most importantly, I will discover the current, evolving Taiwan with my own eyes. The first step is to learn Taiwanese Mandarin. 4 more days to go before the quarantine finishes.


無事に台湾に到着。司馬遼太郎の『街道をゆく40 台湾紀行』を読了した。日本を発つ前に読んだあるジャーナリストの台湾に関する書籍に感銘を受けたのだが、その本の中でこの台湾紀行が紹介されていた。司馬遼太郎の著作は学生の時に『坂の上の雲』を読んだのと、ドナルド・キーンとの対談が強く印象に残っている。まずこの有名な『街道をゆく』シリーズを読んで感じたことは、新聞記者時代に鍛えられたのであろう圧倒的な取材力、リサーチ力、そして何より司馬遼太郎の人の心を開かせる魅力、人となりである。台湾の歴史を知りたい方、日本と台湾の関係をより俯瞰して見たい方、そして台湾の宿命的な「悲哀」について理解を深めたい方に是非お勧めの一冊である。2点述べたい。




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