SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English

LIU Yichen Difficulty of Dialogue; the Movie “OUR YOUTH in TAIWAN”


2020 was the year of big change under the COVID-19. Fate meant for me to join as subtitles translation team of the movie “Our Youth in Taiwan” which was written from book by Film Director FU Yue. I watched the movie and read the book repeatedly to confirm my translation in my inconvenient daily life amid COVID-19. In order to explain to Japanese audiences, I checked its historical background and terminology despite being written in my mother tongue. I realized strongly that there are different viewpoints of Taiwanese recent social situation and its changes which Director FU, editors and myself belonged to the same generation and experienced together.



The documentary movie “Our Youth in Taiwan” starts with monologue by Director Fu which look back the “Sunflower Student Movement” (2014). And the emotions and conflicts of Mr. CHEN Waytien, the leading role of the Movement and TSAI Boye, Chinese student from Taiwan has written about movement. At the final scene Director Fu himself confessed and exposed his contradiction and ineffectuality in front of Mr. Chen and Mr. Tsai.



When Japanese people would see posters and the title of the movie, they may misunderstand that the movie is a success story of the social movement in Taiwan. But the story would disappoint them. Heroine in the movie becomes an iconic character and is drawn as despaired as it is. Director Fu himself felt “wavering” strongly being bewildered or betrayed by those two heroes. His bewilderment was presented into a documentary film.



“Social movement” is not the one which sets an expectation on a hero. We came to know the meaning of “social movement” through this documentary film and we understand things by our actions which throw ourselves out. Movement is not the one with which we ask its promotion. Reflection and action which follow the movement cause to a real change. However, it is not simple to make changes.



Taking a chance when I was a member of the translation team, I read his writings. And I thought variously. I was touched by his repeated saying: “If we like to move forward, we have to start from our consciousness that we were damaged. In Taiwan, a lot of people were damaged, excluded and delineated by themselves because of the present political situation and historical background. We faced a congenital problem for our position, we had a feeling for what you said were distorted and could not reach mutual understanding with a person close to you.”  



Taiwan has experienced the martial law for the period of 38 years, which is the longest in the world under Japanese rule age, National Liberation(祖国光復) and the age of authoritarian regime under the Nationalist Party. During this period, “White Terror” were rampant. The Government arrested and executed people, who criticized the current situation of affairs, by reason of anti-communism. At the same time, we experienced diplomatic loneliness after 1970s. Democratization movement in Taiwan built its foundation from the social movement against the anti-establishment. In 1986, we had substantial election under the newly formed anti-establishment party. We took the first step to our democratization.



Adding to democratization, the movement for labor, environmental preservation and women  

heightened. However, whenever we had elections, both parties, the Blue Camp (Taiwan Nationalist Party) and the Green Camp (Democratic Progressive Party), repeated controversy for Taiwan ideology. A subject of Taiwan identity was taken up and emphasized very often and it became a reason of quarrelling among friends or family. Taiwanese who came from different hometown were hurt and damaged repeatedly. Confusion and difficulty of interaction became more difficult.



When we talk about ideology, we are labelled for being it sometimes. Such labelling is not limited in Taiwan. People who live in foreign countries experience it very often. It may be a good chance to solve a question of twined emotion or perspective if you pursue reasons why you think so? why you understand so? what is your background of your such thinking? and what kind of factor affects you?  



In the process of translation work, we got a recommendation letter from IT Minister of Taiwan Andrew Tang. There was a word 公共事務“ (in English “Public Affairs”) which annoyed translation team. We could not find suitable translation in Japanese. It means non-government people or organizations participate in politics and involved in administration. But we could not find suitable conception in Japanese. It gave Japanese staff members impact. We struggled to confirm the meaning and find suitable translation. We acknowledged first the difference of structure of social system in Japan and Taiwan.    



We mastered that it is not so easy to realize, acknowledge, understand and convey the difference to each other before we try to find points in common. In the circumstance of translation of caption, reading books by Director Fu and participation to translation team, such experience was the best present to myself.   




SGRA Kawaraban 669 in Japanese (Original)



LIU Yichen /2020 Raccoon, Tokyo Institute of Language,



Translated by Kazuo Kawamura

English checked by Sabina Koirala