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‘Lady the Lionhead’ takes center stage at 3rd Taiwan-Japan Writers Exchange Lecture

  • Date:2023-09-06
‘Lady the Lionhead’ takes center stage at 3rd Taiwan-Japan Writers Exchange Lecture

The Taiwan Cultural Center in Japan organized three Taiwan-Japan Writers Exchange Lectures this year. Following successful lectures on “Roaming Taiwan (臺灣漫遊錄)” by Yang Ruoci (楊双子) and “Ghost Town (鬼地方)” by Kevin Chen (陳思宏), on Aug. 19, Taiwanese physician and writer Chen Yao-chang (陳耀昌) presented his work “Lady the Lionhead (獅頭花).” The event also featured a dialogue with Professor Sakujiro Shimomura, professor emeritus from Tenri University and the Japanese translator of the book, who will share insights into the historical background and context of the story.

The discussion has attracted many audience members interested in Taiwanese history and literature. Chen began by explaining why he started writing historical novels at the age of 60. His expertise lies in hematology, bone marrow transplantation, and stem cell research. One day, he learned from his family elders that the first “Female Ancestor” of the Chen family was a Dutch lady and the wife of Zheng Chenggong (鄭成功)’s general, Chen Ze (陳澤). This discovery sparked his motivation to trace Taiwan’s history through his own family’s history.

Chen also shared the process of historical research for “Lady the Lionhead,” while translator Shimomura specifically analyzed the meaning behind the book cover design and introduced the fictional characters and historical perspectives in Chen’s novel. Through the novel, they aim to guide Japanese readers into the lost history of Taiwan.

“Lady the Lionhead” is Chen Yao-chang’s second masterpiece in the Taiwan Flower series, following “Puppet Flower: A Novel of 1867 Formosa (傀儡花).” Before its publication, it had already received the Taiwan Historical Fiction Award from the New Taiwan Peace Foundation. The novel attempts to reconstruct the story of the war between the indigenous people of Pingtung and the Qing Dynasty’s Huai Army in 1875, against the backdrop of the Qing Dynasty’s policy of “pacifying the frontier,” as well as a profound inter-ethnic love story.