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Jonathan P. Benda
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George Kerr: Teacher, sailor, poor man, ... spy?*
The claim that George H. Kerr was spying for the U.S. during his first period in Taiwan (1937-1940) has resurfaced, this time in a 2017 publication by respected historian Chen Tsui-lien (陳翠蓮), 《重構二二八:戰後美中體制、中國統治模式與臺灣》 ( Reconstructing 228: The Postwar US-Ch...

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Another book in the former native speaker's library
I started a post last month on the Taiwan Independence Movement, the assassination attempt on Chiang Ching-kuo, and George Kerr's reaction to it, but had to put it aside while we did some family traveling and I had to prepare for my summer class. Now I've s...

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Update on the post-publication fate of <i>Formosa Betrayed</i>
About seven years ago I wrote about some of the theories going around regarding what happened to George H. Kerr's Formosa Betrayed  after it was published in 1966 (copyright 1965). To summarize, the book was reprinted by Da Capo Press in 1976 in a more expe...

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Work on a new assignment for my summer interdisciplinary writing class
As I might have mentioned, I'm teaching a summer course in interdisciplinary writing, beginning in June. I've taught this course before, with what I'd consider to be mixed success. The course was inaugurated in the fall of 2014, and as I mentioned back then...

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George H. Kerr, <i>Ryukyu: Kingdom and Province Before 1945</i> on
In their introduction to Islands of Protest: Japanese Literature from Okinawa , editors Davinder L. Bhowmik and Steve Rabson argue that in the 1950s and 60s, Okinawans' preference for Japanese control over U.S. occupation "grew extremely popular, with great...

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In which my translingual aphasia leads me to explore the origins of the term 五金行
Earlier this evening (or yesterday evening, depending on when I finish this), I was talking with someone who mentioned a store on the corner of a main street in a nearby town. I thought I knew which store it was, but instead of saying the word "hardware," I...

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Another addition to the former native speaker's library
Chang, Sung-sheng Yvonne, Michelle Yeh, and Ming-ju Fan, eds. The Columbia Sourcebook of Literary Taiwan . NY: Columbia UP, 2014. It's important to note up front that this is not  an anthology of Taiwanese literature; it's more like an anthology of Taiwanes...

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Author of <i>The Jing Affair</i> identified
A few years ago, I read a 1965 spy novel about Taiwan entitled The Jing Affair , after reading a scholarly article about it written by Chih-ming Wang . In The Jing Affair , a Taiwanese American pilot named Johnny Hsiao, along with what the book jacket descr...

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New writing project
It seems that I have added a new writing project to my list of things to do during the summer. I am going to be purposely vague about it at this point, but I can say it involves some people that I've worked pleasantly with before, a subject that I enjoy wri...

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Another new book in the former native speaker's library
This is a two-volume boxed set, published privately in 1966 by Felix Tardio while he was in Taiwan. The first volume, Mr. Tardio Sees Taiwan: A Critical Look at the Physical Environment of Taiwan , consists of essays, poems, and some drawings about Taiwan's...
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