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The Birth of Youth Exhibition at the New Cultural Center

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The Taiwan New Cultural Movement Memorial Hall used to be
the Taipei North Police Station.
DOCA Photo
Rewritten by Ariston Ramos
The Taiwan New Cultural Movement Memorial Hall, also known as the New Cultural Center, has organized the exhibition The Birth of Youth: Japanese Occupation Period Portraits of the Young that will last until May 16, 2021.
The exhibition seeks to promote the most important social group in Taiwan’s new cultural movement --- the youth. The Birth of Youth uses rich historical material and interesting interactive installations to showcase the education and cultivation of Taiwan’s youth over the past century. The content and styles of that education change through time and express the development of Taiwan’s cultural movement.
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The Birth of Youth poster at the entrance to the exhibition. DOCA Photo

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Items that reflect youth styles of different periods.  
DOCA Photo

The exhibition gives some answers to the question how did young people respond to challenges posed by difficult times in Taiwan’s history? Four historical and cultural lectures and three exhibition guided tours will help give the answers.

On October 17, 1921, Chiang Wei-shui (蔣渭水), a physician and political activist, and other Taiwanese intellectuals founded the Taiwanese Cultural Association (TCA), also known as Cultural Association. Taiwan was then under Japanese rule. TCA founding members had the conviction that the Taiwanese were being treated unjustly by their colonial rulers.
They used newspapers, cultural activities and speeches, as well as drama performances to awaken Taiwanese to the injustices. Those activities were the starting point for Taiwan’s new cultural movement.
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Japanese Occupation Period educational material.  DOCA Photo

October 17, 2021 will be the centennial of TCA’s establishment. The Birth of Youth exhibition commemorates that anniversary. Documents, photographs, and installations depict the evolution of the ways of Taiwan’s youth from the Qing Dynasty to the Japanese Occupation, and to our time. Visitors can see the demure deportments of the young during the Qing Dynasty, the youthful fervor of those who clamored for justice during the Japanese era, and today’s Hip Hop or Preppy styles.

There are four main exhibition themes. The first “Youth, come on stage!” depicts early 20th century youth who started to enjoy opportunities for further education and self-realization after the birth of the republic. The second “Forebears: Evergreen” focuses on the political activism of those who established the Taiwanese Cultural Association. Their youthful idealism continues to call out to the youth of any era. The third “Be good! Mature Self-mastery” illustrates the Japanese colonial government's control of the youth in Taiwan. The Taiwan New Cultural Movement Memorial Hall used to be the Taipei North Police Station established during the Japanese era to monitor the movements of the youthful political activists. The fourth, “Unbreakable Youth” explores how as the Second World War intensified, the Japanese invaders tightened their control over the youth, and recruited young men to fight for Japan in the war.
The exhibition’s anecdotal exhibits will give visitors a glimpse of how the Taiwanese youth of different generations pursued their ideals and thus promoted Taiwan society over the past century.