Between May 28 and June 3, popular Taiwanese comic artist Ruan Guang-min undertook a four-city tour of Germany, visiting Berlin, Cologne, Würzburg, and Erlangen to promote the German edition of his work "Donghuachun Barbershop" ("Donghuachun Friseursalon" in German) and introduce some of his other comics.
"Donghuachun Barbershop" was adapted into a TV series, making it the first Taiwanese-made comic book to be made into a prime-time idol drama. It focuses on a brother and sister whose lives have taken two drastically different directions and who are brought back together when their father leaves them a barbershop to run. Along the way, they go through conflicts and reconciliations in a moving and profound tale.
Ruan's comics are renowned for their humanistic and rich local touches. He often focuses on traditionally Taiwanese small businesses, like Taiwan-style bodegas and hairdressers, as he considers art a way of reaching across the ages, and by bringing to life these things that are gradually fading from sight, he can help the younger generation appreciate Taiwan's development and history while also indulging the shared memories of the older generation.
Ruan's reading tour was headed up by proprietor of Chinabooks Elisabeth Wolf. Along the way, he was paired with local German sinologists for in-depth discussions of topics like the influences on Taiwanese comics, their history, the conception of the family in Taiwanese society, Taiwanese values, familial relationships, interpersonal conflicts in modern Taiwan, and current trends in Taiwanese comics.
After the readings, attendees could buy copies of the books and have them signed by Ruan, who also drew images of the protagonist on each book he signed, a special gift that left everyone gratified.