Culture in Taiwan

Explore the fascinating Taiwan culture

There are two main spheres of culture in Taiwan. The first is that displayed by Taiwanese aborigines and is perhaps the truest form of Taiwanese culture. Examples of traditional Taiwanese culture can be found in the fine arts, folk traditions and popular culture practiced today. The second is the more modern mainstream culture which derived from various facets of traditional Chinese culture, Japanese Culture and American Culture. Mainstream Taiwanese culture is more varied and prevalent in the country than traditional Taiwanese culture.

The vast majority of the people speak both Mandarin and Taiwanese and Mandarin is the primary language in schools. Those belonging to the Hakka population speak Hakka and all aboriginal minority groups speak both their own tongue in addition to the two official languages of the country. For many years the Taiwanese were repressed by the Kuomintang government and politically separated from mainland China. This has lead to the cuisine, cinema, photography, music and opera of certain areas being different from that of other areas. However, Karaoke and Pachinko are very popular across the country.

Taiwan is also known for its immense density of convenience stores. It has one of the highest "person per store" ratios in Asia and also the highest density of 7-11 stores in the world. As a result, Taiwan's culture has slowly become one of convenience buying. Because of the immense amount of such stores in the country, they also provide certain financial or governmental services. These services may range from collecting parking fees and traffic violation fines to securing credit card payments. The people of Taiwan are generally very rushed and so having such a cluster of 24 hour a day shops makes life easier for them.

Worth noting is the National Palace Museum which houses, among other things, over 650 000 pieces of Chinese art. The various pieces of bronze, jade, porcelain, painting and calligraphy were removed from the Forbidden City in 1949 by the Nationalist Party of the time. The collection is so incredibly big that only about 1 percent of it is on display at any particular time. It is a good example of one of the striking cultures that served to influence Taiwanese culture. Other examples can be found in the old-style architecture hidden between newer, more Americanized buildings in the cities. You will often find both Japanese and Chinese influences in buildings if you look around.

However, the Taiwanese have not just been influenced by other countries. They have also managed to exert their own influence on the West in the form of bubble tea and milk tea. More recently, the oscar winning oriental movie "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" was directed by Ang Lee who is of Taiwanese origin. The cable techniques employed in the film have been seen in many American movies since then.


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