The Island Folklore Society is “a society for the collection, preservation, translation, promotion and celebration of Taiwanese Tales & Traditions.” The Society publishes and manages Island Folklore—an online repository of Taiwan’s folktales, history, legends, myths and traditions.
What are we—and this project—all about? Here is the mission of The Island Folklore Society and the Island Folklore project:
- To collect and preserve Taiwanese folk traditions for future generations.
- To explore and showcase Taiwan’s diverse and unique blend of cultures.
- To educate and enable Taiwanese communities worldwide to take pride in the shared Taiwanese heritage.
Our objectives are simple: We celebrate history and culture. We celebrate peoples, diversity and customs. We dislike marginalization and aim to highlight the overlooked. There is beauty in every corner of Taiwan—and our passion drives us to share that beauty with the world!
Identity: A Word on Our Name
“The Island Folklore Society”—“the Society” for short—refers to the people behind this project. For more information on the Society, our projects and sponsors, visit islandfolklore.org.
The full title of the project itself—hosted here on islandfolklore.com—is “Island Folklore: Taiwanese Tales & Traditions” and “Island Folklore” or “the Island Folklore project” for short.
Celebration: A Word on Our Approach
The world, especially the online world, can be a polarizing place. That’s why we try to have fun and take a celebratory approach. We strive to maintain an even-handed and balanced tone. We endeavour to be honest, inclusive and respectful.
Our goal is to share the wonders of Taiwan—its people, its stories, its traditions and its beauty—with the world. It is not to antagonize any member of our audience.
Back in the 1500s, Portuguese sailors called Taiwan the Ilha Formosa—the Beautiful Isle. In celebrating and honouring that beauty, we endeavour to uphold grace in our own dialogue and presentation here on Island Folklore, as well.
Global: A Word on Our Scope
The focus of this project is Taiwan—clearly—but the narrative and framing scope that Island Folklore adopts is global. Taiwan’s story has often been viewed in a very Sinocentric light. But what our research and experience have taught us is that Taiwan’s story is intimately intertwined with the story of the whole world.
From Taiwan’s many names to its diverse ethnic groups and numerous native languages, Taiwan’s long history (and prehistory) reflects the deep complexity of this island, its people and folk culture. Austronesian seafarers, European traders, Chinese colonists, North American missionaries, Japanese imperialists and—of course—the Taiwanese themselves have all etched indelible marks on the history and experience of Taiwan. We strive to do justice to that complexity.
The story of Taiwan’s giant neighbour, China—its ancient civilization, its people and its accomplishments, is an indispensable part of Taiwan’s inheritance; but neither is it the only part of Taiwan’s story. In much the same way that Britain’s historical influence is integral to but not the only part of the American, Canadian, New Zealand and Australian experience.
It is our mission to faithfully capture all of that! Taiwan’s story only makes sense when its countless connections, nuances and intricacies—throughout history and with the whole world—are duly considered and taken into account.
Apolitical: A Word on Politics
It is often difficult these days to talk about Taiwan without appearing political. We recognize that Taiwan is highly important to many parties around the globe for a variety of reasons. Many are deeply invested in the interpretation and shaping of Taiwan’s past, present and future.
As a result, we understand that someone, somewhere, will always find what we do, say or share to have an agenda of some kind. We are not, however, interested in or involved in politics per se. This is an apolitical project.
Our goal is to celebrate Taiwan’s diversity, culture and heritage. That spirit of celebration is at the core of our endeavour.