Under the auspices of the Spotlight Taiwan Project (台灣文化光點計畫) ― a collaborative program advocating Taiwan's culture through the perspectives of history, philosophy, popular culture, art, literature, and films ― the Taiwan Cultural Center in Tokyo and the National Museum of Ethnology of Osaka held a two-day symposium regarding ecological and cultural approaches to Taiwan and neighboring islands on July 19 and 20.
During the symposium, participants were introduced to the way how habitants of Taiwan and its neighboring islands, such as the Ryukyu Islands, utilized natural resources. Participants thus gained a deeper insight into these islands' material culture and their coexisting ties with the environment, culture, and ecology.
The symposium also explored how modern museums help disseminate related knowledge with academic perspectives, redefining the role of museums as a community space for the public.
Besides 8 scholars from Canada and Japan, 6 Taiwan experts from related fields were invited to shed light on the ecological process during which habitants chose natural resources, including Yuma Taru (尤瑪‧達陸) and Baunay Watan (弗耐‧瓦旦), founders of the Atayal textile workshop Lihang Studio (野桐工坊); Seediq historian Kumu Tapas (姑目．荅芭絲); anthropologist Lee Yi-tze (李宜澤); mammalogist Pei Jai-chyi (裴家騏); and Siraya heritage preservationist Tuan Hung-kun (段洪坤) of Kabuasua Studio (吉貝耍文化工作室).
Chu Wen-ching (朱文清), director of the Taiwan Cultural Center in Tokyo, revealed that the theme of the "Ecological and Cultural Approaches to Taiwan and Neighboring Islands" symposium aims to echo the recent research efforts into the origin of the first Japanese settlers.
As part of a memorandum of understanding on cultural cooperation between Japan and Taiwan that was signed last year, this event has boosted arts promotion, talent cultivation, and cultural preservation between the two nations, added Chu.
The event also marks the fifth year of participation in the Ministry of Culture's Spotlight Taiwan Project for the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, a valued cultural exchange partner and an important source of research on the indigenous peoples of Taiwan.