Managing Marriage: Advice Columns and Interethnic Intimacy in Colonial Taiwan

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    This article examines interethnic marriage (naitai kyōkon) in colonial Taiwan in the early 1930s, which was a key site of contestation over the imagined imperial future. Its reading of political discourse on interethnic marriage alongside marital advice columns in colonial Taiwan’s largest daily newspaper, Taiwan nichinichi shinpō, reveals the contradictory ways in which interethnic marriage emerged in the popular imaginary as a site where the future of the empire could be consolidated – or undermined. Despite official endorsements of interethnic marriage, the pages of Taiwan nichinichi shinpō reveal widespread opposition to interethnic relationships. Such opposition – often rooted in racial prejudice – was simultaneously criticised as an obstacle to the state objective of ‘harmonious integration’ (naitai yūwa) and excused by marital advice columns due to concerns about sexual propriety. Amid widespread anxiety about upholding conservative sexual morality, advice columns were reluctant to unequivocally encourage enthusiastic young people to enter into interethnic marriages. Instead, they implied that colonial intimacy should be treated with caution. What emerges from these incongruous attitudes is an image of a colonial society still deeply ambivalent over how best to manage colonial intimacy and the future direction of the empire.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)227-245
    JournalAsian Studies Review
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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