Lara Yuyu Yang


Woodblock book printing was for many centuries the dominant printing technology in East Asia but it was replaced by mechanised presses during the early 20th century. Surprisingly, in 1973, at the request of the Shanghai municipal government, the Cloudy Studio, a local publishing house, published a fine woodblock edition of The Communist Manifesto in classical Chinese style. Apart from the historical decline of xylography, this was also politically remarkable given that the CCP publicly derided elite xylographic book publishing. In this paper, by investigating the production process of The Manifesto, I will argue that archaism in elite literati book culture continued in woodblock book publishing during the Mao era of 1949-1976. I will analyse how the publishers sought archaistic perfection through design concepts, literati printing materials, ceremonialised production processes and a master-pupil system in the Communist publishing industry through the woodblock printing practice.

William C. Hedberg


This essay examines late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century interest in Shi Nai’an, the putative author of the traditional Chinese novel, The Water Margin. Despite the paucity of reliable evidence attesting to Shi Nai’an’s composition of The Water Margin, Japanese writers of the Meiji period were keenly interested in Shi on the basis of his alleged stature as a pioneering author of Oriental or East Asian (Tōyō) fiction. This characterization of Shi Nai’an was a byproduct of the recently established academic discipline of literary history in Japan, and the concomitant desire by Meiji-period historians to locate a literary text that could compete with Western works in terms of narrative and structural complexity. When late Qing-period Chinese authors became aware of Japanese writing on Shi Nai’an, they built on this budding biographical tradition by emphasizing Shi’s identification with an incipient Chinese nationalism, evidenced by his alleged resistance to the Mongol regime during the Yuan dynasty. The case study of Shi Nai’an thus illustrates the nexus between the construction of authorial personae and the pursuit of various ideological goals, as well as demonstrates the centrality of transregional literary contact in the formation of emergent concepts of authorship and canonization in modern East Asia.

Robert E. Hegel


Through six centuries of commercial activity, cultural identification, wartime pillage, and scholarly scrutiny, the Sanguo zhi pinghua 三國志平話 (Plain Tale on The Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms), a work of popular historical fiction, survived to be reprinted for scholarly study around 1930. But this title and others from an original 1320s series continue to exist only because of a shared dedication to the study of books and through the collaboration of generations of Chinese, Japanese, and probably Korean merchants, teachers, editors, scholars, and bibliographers. This essay traces the tortuous path followed by this thin book through time, wars, and personal passions to reveal the generosity of scholars in making this title and its historical significance known today. As with cultural matters at other times and places, this path was regularly overshadowed by political and commercial interests.

Hon-min Yau

The aim of this paper is to assess the change in the cyberpower dynamics between Taiwan, the US, and China. Given Taiwan’s decision to establish the Information, Communications and Electronic Warfare Command to counter China’s cyberthreat in 2017, there is very little scholarly work regarding the context of Taiwan’s cybersecurity challenge. Not only are cyberweapons and capabilities not viewable and quantifiable in the direct sense as numbers of submarines or aircraft, but also the problem of attribution in cyberspace creates an epistemological limitation in explaining the origin of cyberattacks. Hence, this paper engages with Taiwan’s conception of cyberspace and submits a general review of cyberpower. It concludes that the shift in the cyberpower dynamics between Taiwan, the US, and China has contributed to Taiwan’s fear and changed Taiwan’s threat perception.

Kharis Templeman

Democracy in Taiwan today appears consolidated and of high quality. Much writing on Taiwan’s democratisation explains this outcome by pointing to aspects of its modernisation, but an underappreciated cause is its well-institutionalised party system, which in comparison to most other Third Wave democracies is a model of competitiveness, consistency, and stability. The sources of party system institutionalisation (psi) in Taiwan can be traced back to two factors: the legacies of the martial-law-era kmt regime, and the emergence of the China question as a fundamental, polarising divide in Taiwanese politics. High psi has ensured a credible alternative to incumbents in each election, enhanced the responsiveness of governments to citizen demands, and encouraged the greater provision of public goods and development of broad, programmatic policies rather than narrowly targeted, clientelist ones. Thus, Taiwan’s democracy is consolidated because of, rather than despite, the legacies of the pre-democratic era and the China factor.