|Kanagawa Exhibition: A tree’s memory of its roots|
The necessity of facing the world
The first stop on National Taiwan Museum of Literature’s journey into the world, “The charm of the National Museum of Taiwan Literature –A multi-colored world of literature”, opened in Kanagawa Museum of Modern Literature” in 2008.This is not the first time a Taiwan museum has staged an exhibition overseas, however, it is the first time an exhibition has embarked from Taiwan’s sunny south since Taiwan Literature was given its proper name and after over a decade of hard work. When Taiwan had the space to host world literature, the time for Taiwan literature to be exported had arrived. The Museum of Taiwan Literature will continue to display Taiwan literature and let Taiwan literature brighten up the world.
A tree’s memory of its roots
National Taiwan Museum of Literature, officially opened on October 17, 2003, is an important Taiwan literature research body. It has themed exhibitions, modern exhibition space equipment, a reading room and an art and culture hall. From the planning period, the so-called National Center for Research and Preservation of Cultural Properties period, it has carried out research into Taiwan literature and also carried out related audio visual plans. For the multi-dimensional development of Taiwan literature research and to share the literature collection and research resources, the museum has short, medium and long term plans that aim to produce broader and deeper Taiwan literature research results. To display the richness and variety of Taiwan literature research and the collection are the foundation. Display and education are its public service intended to provide the public with diverse cultural contents and stimulate cultural development. This is the museum’s basic spirit and ultimate objective.
After the passage of many years and surviving war and social upheaval, the artifacts of many important writers, including manuscripts need to be preserved, however, it is also hoped that the public can also enjoy a literary feast. Thus, a collection digital archives plan was formulated to preserve the originals while making them available to the public, for research or other uses. One of the objectives of the museum’s establishment was to systematically collect the works of Taiwanese authors and information about their literary activities scattered all over Taiwan. Before the museum was established many private collectors, foundations, libraries or memorial halls were engaged in this work, for example the Lai Ho Memorial Museum, Lin Yu-tang Residence and Chung Li-ho Memorial Museum. In the face of competition from modern entertainment forms, if the literary collections of these bodies are integrated on a single platform so they can be shared, Taiwan literature collection exchange can be increased. This museum has prepared an inter-museum collection resource sharing plan that, by 2010, will connect the digital platforms of the collections in various literature and culture halls in Taiwan with this museum as the portal for visiting the Taiwan Literature & Culture Digital Museum.
Steadfast cultivation and expression
The museum is working to increase the literature reading public by in-depth literature promotion activities and forming and art and cultural network with schools, the community and enterprises, holding various literature related seminars and books reading activities. The museum stimulates interest in reading, writing and culture through its lively displays and education and promotional activities and uses international literature exhibitions to promote cultural exchange and raise the profile of Taiwan literature. The well-equipped and spacious buildings, complete organization and service create a multi dimensional art and cultural performance space and nurture local literary talent. The museum continues to add to its literature related historical documents and artifacts, integrate research bodies in Taiwan and overseas and promote Taiwan literature research topics, with the aim of building an important center for Taiwan literature related historical documents and research results and increasing the effectiveness of the collection in education, promotion and research. The museum also engages in exchange with other museums for the promotion and sharing of Taiwan literature, allowing all Taiwan literature related pieces in the collection to be searched, managed and applied.
The breakthrough made in printing technology in 1453 by Gutenberg in Germany allowed books to be printed in large quantities, releasing knowledge from the monasteries and colleges into society and allowing ordinary people to directly or indirectly gain knowledge, creating the conditions for the Renaissance and the reformation. The digitization and integration of Taiwan literature collections can, perhaps, use the borderless Internet to send Taiwan literature to every corner of Taiwan and the world, allowing anyone who wants to see first hand material and research the source of literary creativity, enjoy the meaning and beauty of Taiwan literature or encourage people in Taiwan to write literature and promote the vibrant development of literature in Taiwan.
Revealing the dazzling literature in the layers of history
“The charm of the National Museum of Taiwan Literature –A multi-colored world of literature”, organized jointly by Kanagawa Museum of Modern Literature and National Museum of Taiwan Literature, is the first time that a people-to-people method has be used to introduce National Museum of Taiwan Literature. The building that houses the museum is the old Taiwan Prefecture Hall, built in 1912 and designed by Moriyama Matsunosuke. It was the highest government body in Tainan during Taiwan time as a colony of Japan. Over 100 years old, it is one of the most important historic buildings in Taiwan. Through the efforts of a number of literature and history experts and scholars, precious works of literature and historical material have been used to give this 4300 ping buildings a new lease of life. Six months in planning, the “The charm of the National Museum of Taiwan Literature –A multi-colored world of literature” exhibition held in Kanagawa Museum of Modern Literature introduced the splendid world of Taiwan literature to literature fans in Japan. Works and artifacts from Taiwan’s first literature museum allowed visitors to experience the richness of Taiwan literature, its history and its connection to Japan.
The exhibition’s first theme was “An encounter with Tainan prefecture hall”. The building that houses the national museum of Taiwan Literature was formerly Tainan Prefecture Hall. The Western style building was built in 1916. It was a model government building of the time. After opening in 2003, visitor numbers have increased to 200,000 a year. In 2008, led by new curator Cheng Bang-chen the target all museum staff are working hard towards achieving the target of 300,000 visits in a year.
After 400 years of social and political change, preserving the work of authors and their artifacts isn’t easy. The national Museum of Taiwan Literature, a museum combining government and private resources and having research, collecting, promotion and education functions, is the product of the effort of many people over a long period of time. The third theme “Getting to know “National Museum of Taiwan Literature” connected the various elements in this exhibition and introduced the history and present situation of the museum.
When we first visited Kanagawa Museum of Modern Literature we were very impressed and encouraged by the collection and the clever exhibition design and the effort made to promote Japanese literature. This special exhibition is a beginning. It opened a new page for cooperation between literature museums in Taiwan and Japan. We did our utmost to give the people of Japan an understanding of Taiwan literature. We also ask that visitors to the Kanagawa exhibition take a trip to Taiwan and visit the National Museum of Taiwan Literature in Tainan, in the south of Taiwan. We are sure you will be as moved as we were when we first went to Kanagawa Museum of Modern Literature.
Text and images are provided by National Museum of Taiwan Literature