Culture Minister Cheng Li-chiun visited National Chiao Tung University (交通大學) in Hsinchu on Oct. 20 to learn more about the digitization and multimedia applications of Taiwan's original comics.
As a long-term partner of Taiwan's National Digital Archives Program, the university library not only maintains a large collection of publications and manuscripts from local comic artists, but has also created websites introducing veteran Hakka artists such as Yeh Hong-jia (葉宏甲), Liu Hsing-chin (劉興欽), and Chen Ting-kuo (陳定國).
Minister Cheng thanked Chiao Tung University for its preservation and promotional efforts, noting that comics encapsulate the generational memories and intimate details of everyday life in Taiwan. The systematic collection, preservation, and revitalization of Taiwan's comics heritage is among the top priorities of the Ministry of Culture, she added.
The Minister also expressed interest in the university's current efforts in developing a VR action game based on the characters from Yeh's immensely popular "Jhuge Silang (諸葛四郎)” serial comics. The upcoming National Comics Museum (國家漫畫博物館) will look into more ways of engaging readers by harnessing new technology, she said.
The Ministry of Culture will sign a formal accord with the Taichung City Government on Oct. 28 to seal the cooperative deal on transforming a portion of the former Taichung Shui-nan Airport (水湳機場) into Taiwan's first-ever national museum dedicated to comics.
The 254-hectare Shui-nan Airport is currently being repurposed to become a low-carbon "smart hub” dubbed Taichung Gateway (水湳智慧城). The comics museum, which is earmarked for completion by 2020, will be tasked with archiving the nation's comic heritage, networking with its overseas counterparts, facilitating copyright trade, and finding new applications of technology for the comics field.
The upcoming museum is part of the Ministry of Culture's larger, concerted efforts in bolstering Taiwan's animation, comics, and games (ACG) industry.