Monday, December 26, 2016

Cosplay Nazis. Yeah, sure. It's not only that. =UPDATED=

Thanks, China. You're even occupying our air.

UPDATE: Kerim Friedman has some very useful commentary on this incident. Also, re the MC's comments on the Wushe cosplay incident below, a Keen Observer pointed out to me that it might have simply been shouted out in the heat of the moment. I haven't commented more because I don't feel I have a clear understanding of why Nazi kitsch is so popular here.
*****

Everyone is now aware of the totally tasteless and stupid cosplay event in which students from a high school in Hsinchu dressed up as Nazis (report in Chinese). The Jewish Center in Taiwan has issued a statement on it.

The internet is full of sudden expertise in the matter of power fetishes, costume displays, Nazism, ethics, and so on. Old incidents are being brought back to light. I am not going to rehash that here, it's been beaten to death. But my man Drew Kerslake alerted me that this is not the first time the school has been involved in a crypto-fascist cosplay. Ltn reports that on that same day of school celebration another year....:
.....還有另一個班級cosplay霧社事件,司儀還喊出「打倒日本鬼子,光復我中華民族」。
...had another cosplay, of the Wushe Incident, whose Master of Ceremonies shouted "Fight the Japanese Devils, Restore our Chinese people!"
光復, the name of the school, is the KMT code term for the "restoration" of Taiwan, so the mention of it would immediately suggest that to the listeners, and would align and subsume the aboriginal revolt against the Japanese colonial people with the ROC and its imperial expansion. Note how the speaker even turns the aborigines into "Chinese".

There's a problem here.
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24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Even bigger problem is that authoritarian leader like Chiang is still worshiped by many "adults" in Taiwan. How can Taiwanese adults shamelessly blame the kids educated under this mindset ?

TaiwanJunkie said...

apparently the skit and theme were approved ahead of time by the teacher in charge.

Can we say blind leading the blind?

Good grief.

On the other hand, if this can spark a conversation about the residual fascist elements left throughout the island after decades of fascist rule (btw, can we get rid of the heir Hitler salute doing the presidential swear in ceremony?) on second thought, can we just dump this whole ROC cr@p? Sorry for the language but can't think of a better description for the ROC...

an angry taiwanese said...

I don't feel I have a clear understanding of why Nazi kitsch is so popular here.
I do. NAZI Chinese Nationalist Party lifts NZAI up in order to mock Taiwanese who saw their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and children slaughtered, tortured, jailed, or made missing and could not do anything about it. Guangfu High School was founded by a KMT secret agent director, who had one-hundred-percent trust of Chiang Jingguo. (see http://www.hi-on.org.tw/bulletins.jsp?b_ID=160115)

There is much more than just that. A kind of spiritual warfare. Cosplay of NAZI is certainly to mock the Jews, and in turn to poke at the apple of God's eyes. That's a devilish act. Why do Chiang Kaishek's followers particularly like to perform such act in public? What spiritual force is behind driving them? Chiang Kaishek's mummified corpse and statue are enshrined. What entity is cloaked inside those disgusting things?

Anonymous said...

The other cosplay was the same year, same day, same event.

Chris Chiu said...

The even more absurd thing is that families close to the KMT from families who fled to Taiwan with the KMT after the Chinese Civil War hate the Japanese for their atrocities like in the Nanjing massacre, and don't realize that the Nazis stand for atrocities as well.

Which means, they don't realize what they did was similar to parading Imperial Japanese uniforms and glorifying the WW2 Japanese Army - which, if it happened, they'd surely be enraged about. But Nazis is all fun and games.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there would have been such strong reaction if they had chosen to dress up as Stalin or Mao & co. ?

Anonymous said...

All those students needs to go visit Auschwitz concentration camp then they will know what the controversy is about.
It can be done very cheaply with VR technology. History is not only text.

Anonymous said...

What if the kids (and their teachers) were actually aware of the Holocaust and other Nazi atrocities and just went ahead and did it anyway?

The assumption that ignorance can explain Nazi kitsch is doubtful given, you know... the internet and the nature of Nazi atrocities.

I think it's far more likely that this was a bunch of tearaways dressing up as Nazis just so they could get a kick out of the ensuing shit storm. Some teenage boys are just like that.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of only a handful of Jews here and all I can say is they better pick up their tank game if they wanna scare anyone. The young women did the high leather boots thing to perfection though. Whoever did the costumes was on point.

One thing I thought of is in order to print that stuff out it prob had to be done in some school office somewhere...no one thought twice about this?

Johan said...

Hitler is easily recognizable for our history-ignorant youngsters. Other dictators don’t enjoy such recognition and potential “fun” factor. Our teenagers feel they can both loath and laugh at what they see as the cruelty and ridiculousness of Hitler and his Nazis. Finding material to draw this kind of fun upon is easy to come by: Google Images and YouTube. Unlike Stalin or Mao, the Nazi’s left us with hordes of photographs and films.

For many youngsters, disappointed and utterly bored by their parents’ virtually relentless attention to all things Green or Blue, the fascination with Nazi imagery is born from a quite deliberate ignorance of history. Openly showing Nazi symbolism in Taiwan - officially rejected by the world and at times by its own people - is a show of strength, albeit a completely misplaced one.

It’s not about the swastika or the Jewish people. It’s about identifying with other groups of highly disenchanted young people. These kids are trying to find something to represent their otherwise silent rebellion. They know impersonating Hitler is wrong, but they still decided “hell, doing this looks cool”. It is meant to offend people, the same people that are now criticizing them: parents, educators, Taiwan’s government, and the world.

These kids should not have imitated Nazi symbolism. But they did, and this being part of a much larger teenage dissent, others will do so again. Because we hardly give them anything else to rebel against.

Anonymous said...

When my American undergraduate biology professor was working through the night on some proposal, he would often don a white Japanese headband with the characters "神風" emblazoned on it (神風=Kamikaze). As a person of Taiwanese descent (indeed even my grandparents were educated in Japan before returning to Taiwan at the end of WW2) who could actually read and understand what those characters meant, I thought it was a little ignorant of WW2 history because Kamikaze pilots performed actions that were quite cruel not only to American sailors but also to the Kamikaze pilots and their own families. Don't think all Kamikaze pilots were happy and wiling to commit suicide. A large portion were forced into committing suicide (literally dragged towards and pushed into the cockpit of the plane) and those that didn't complete their mission and returned to Japan were stigmatized for the rest of their lives. And yet in today's global society, there's a sort of "romance" or "honor" that is attached to Kamikaze when in fact it was a ritualized cruelty of a fascist society forced upon its own members. Certainly, Taiwanese should learn more about the European theater in WW2. But I've seen examples where the ignorance goes both ways.

Anonymous said...

The New York Daily News stringer in Taiwan has reported on this now too, implying it was a public parade on the streets of Hsinchu, when those of us live in Hsinchu know that it was a private school-grounds-only cosplay event at a private high school which also included 12 other cosplay themes in additon to the Nazi uniform thing with the kid doing the Nazi salute raising his left arm by mistake. He will be shot soon by SS troops for this infraction of Nazi rules! LOL. And the SS tank was an ugly, non-moving student DIY piece of schiese! There is nothing to get excited about. This happens with Prince Harry in UK too and also in Japan and Thailand and India and Hong Kong over the years. It's manga asia kitsch with romantic miliary overstones, not a bit of antisemitism or anti-Germany in it at all. Best of laugh it off. This was one tiny high school doing their normal thing. This was Taiwan. I used to live there. Lovely place.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/27/world/asia/taiwan-nazi-hitler-parade.html?emc=edit_tnt_20161227

Anonymous said...

Change subject - Taiwan's 2.5 pollution index of very bad weather from China. Is it possible to sue in the word court because of heath risk associated with bad air from China, or must you have standing(Taiwan is not a member of the UN)?

Anonymous said...

Michael, you are on CNN:

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/27/asia/taiwan-nazi-school-asia/index.html

I wish Taiwan media can do more in-depth article like this CNN article.

Anonymous said...

It's ironic that many commenters naturally assume because a student attends a school named after the phrase "restoration" must align their political views to the KMT automatically. Most young people these days are pro DPP, whether their parents were KMT or not. 90% of Taiwanese young people I meet want to be recognized as a citizen of an independent Taiwan, or to be acknowledged as equals with China.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, some countries are offended by Jewish symbols. Who's to say which taboos Taiwan should import?

B.BarNavi said...

Jewish symbols aren't associated with mass genocide and world conquest, you idiot.

Anonymous said...

"Best of laugh it off. This was one tiny high school doing their normal thing".

Well, if a high school's "normal" thing are tributes to state sponsored mass murder and ethnic cleansing then maybe yeah there's an issue there.

Anonymous said...

CNN print edition: "[American expat in Taiwan and blogger] Michael Turton told CNN [by email] that in the 20 years he'd lived and taught English on the island he'd often seen a few locals putting Nazi decals and paraphernalia on their motor scootersor or local companies using Nazi symbols unthinkingly in adverts.

"(But) it's not like we don't do that in our own Western culture -- how many people have Che Guevara t-shirts or Mao Zedong hats?" he said.

Turton said he often asks his junior college students why it is okay to wear Hitler outfits but not Mao ones. "The kids explained to me that Hitler and the Nszis failed and therefore were worth mocking. That's why it's okay," he said.

Anonymous said...

CNN print edition: "[American expat in Taiwan and blogger] Michael Turton told CNN [by email] that in the 20 years he'd lived and taught English on the island he'd often seen a few locals putting Nazi decals and paraphernalia on their motor scootersor or local companies using Nazi symbols unthinkingly in adverts.

"(But) it's not like we don't do that in our own Western culture -- how many people have Che Guevara t-shirts or Mao Zedong hats?" he said.

Turton said he often asks his junior college students why it is okay to wear Hitler outfits but not Mao ones. "The kids explained to me that Hitler and the Nszis failed and therefore were worth mocking. That's why it's okay," he said.

Anonymous said...

Alan Fong, a native of Macau mind you and not a Taiwanese national, is executive deputy editor-in-chief of Taiwan's ineptly named ''The China Post'' [since Taiwan is not China]. He wrote this oped not just in the Post but it went out on the ANN wire which goes out to the all-Asian Asian News Network member newspapers, including those in communist China. This was part of a series of columns on global affairs written by top editors from members of the Asia News Network and published in newspapers across the region. Google the headline "'Nazi parade' not a mere PR scandal" by Alan Fong:



http://www.chinapost.com.tw/commentary/china-post/alan-fong/2016/12/31/488077/p1/Nazi-parade.htm



KEY QUOTES: ''Just as the event was going the way of all gaffe-prompted scandals in Taiwan — with strong reactions, public condemnations, heads rolling and the public moving on to the next buzz topic — some of the school's students released a strongly-worded online response rallying for support for the resigning principal and challenging the government. In the post, the students said that they did not deserve such public humiliation as they had "done nothing wrong" and were simply taking part in a "costume event." They questioned why they were expected to understand taboos about Hitler, as they were Taiwan-born citizens who only loved their country and high-school students whose only concern was to finish school. They concluded by challenging President Tsai Ing-wen for siding with Israel and Germany while punishing her own people.''



''Instead of drumming up support for the principal, the article was criticized even by people who regarded the government's response as heavy-handed, who decried the students' astonishing lack of civic consciousness in a global community, their narrow-mindedness and their blatant nationalism. ''



''While the online post revealed the students' lack of understanding of the significance of holding a mock Nazi parade, it also demonstrated that they were not heartless teenagers who cared nothing about other people's suffering. The students wrote the post out of concern for their principal, who was reportedly beloved at the school and demonstrated care for his students by assuming full responsibility for the scandal. They could have hidden behind the principal, who offered his own head to shield them from public pressure, but they decided to take responsibility, regardless of how ill-advised they were.''

Anonymous said...

Alan Fong, a native of Macau mind you and not a Taiwanese national, is executive deputy editor-in-chief of Taiwan's ineptly named ''The China Post'' [since Taiwan is not China]. He wrote this oped not just in the Post but it went out on the ANN wire which goes out to the all-Asian Asian News Network member newspapers, including those in communist China. This was part of a series of columns on global affairs written by top editors from members of the Asia News Network and published in newspapers across the region. Google the headline "'Nazi parade' not a mere PR scandal" by Alan Fong:



http://www.chinapost.com.tw/commentary/china-post/alan-fong/2016/12/31/488077/p1/Nazi-parade.htm



KEY QUOTES: ''Just as the event was going the way of all gaffe-prompted scandals in Taiwan — with strong reactions, public condemnations, heads rolling and the public moving on to the next buzz topic — some of the school's students released a strongly-worded online response rallying for support for the resigning principal and challenging the government. In the post, the students said that they did not deserve such public humiliation as they had "done nothing wrong" and were simply taking part in a "costume event." They questioned why they were expected to understand taboos about Hitler, as they were Taiwan-born citizens who only loved their country and high-school students whose only concern was to finish school. They concluded by challenging President Tsai Ing-wen for siding with Israel and Germany while punishing her own people.''



''Instead of drumming up support for the principal, the article was criticized even by people who regarded the government's response as heavy-handed, who decried the students' astonishing lack of civic consciousness in a global community, their narrow-mindedness and their blatant nationalism. ''



''While the online post revealed the students' lack of understanding of the significance of holding a mock Nazi parade, it also demonstrated that they were not heartless teenagers who cared nothing about other people's suffering. The students wrote the post out of concern for their principal, who was reportedly beloved at the school and demonstrated care for his students by assuming full responsibility for the scandal. They could have hidden behind the principal, who offered his own head to shield them from public pressure, but they decided to take responsibility, regardless of how ill-advised they were.''

Anonymous said...

These kids should have had the good sense to confine their support for fascist authoritarian regimes to Trump instead.

DmfK said...

A minor point but perhaps bears mentioning, as a longtime Hsinchu resident (whose wife graduated from that HS actually), Kuang Fu HS is located on Kuang Fu Rd, I think that's where it gets its name, not (directly, anyway) from the historical/political implications of the Kuang Fu / 'retrocession' concept.