In a meeting with an IRA gun smuggler the historian Richard English noted how easily the Republican could explain Irish history: “the Brits – they’re the problem, and will be. They have been since 1169, and will be until such time as they leave”
The Haitian Revolution that began in 1791 and ended thirteen years later with the creation of the first independent state in the Caribbean and Latin America in 1804, is as C.L.R James notes, a truly epic story. It was the metamorphosis of a socially disaggregated and dislocated collection of people, united often only by the continent of their origin, into a revolutionary polity and self-identifying nation.
Taiwan throughout history had been given the status of terra nullius, until the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing dynasty was able to see the strategic value of the island. He eventually brought Taiwan onto the map, and ever since Taiwan has been considered as part of China. However, the First Sino-Japanese War changed the history of Taiwan, sparking a first identity struggle on the island. Suddenly, Taiwan was no longer part of the Han civilization but under the colonial control of the Japanese, where it remained for 50 years.
Living in London now, in an environment where Asian (and in this case East Asian) culture is peripheral, I am hungry to see or hear representations of almost any kind, and am unbothered in my rampant consumption of Japanese cultural products. But growing up in Singapore as an ethnic Chinese, I felt conflicted about the widespread popularity of Japanese films and books.