Between tales of primeval spirits who walked alongside Taiwan’s indigenous Austronesians and those of ancient Chinese gods revered on the island, Taiwan has no shortage of fantastic folklore.
This project endeavours to document and translate Taiwan’s folk heritage and share it with the world. We present the wonders of Taiwan’s traditional imagination through quality storytelling in a concise, educative and entertaining bite-sized format.
- To raise the world’s awareness of Taiwan’s unique blend of cultures.
- To cultivate an appreciation for Taiwanese folk traditions.
- To promote pride and self-knowledge in Taiwanese communities both at home and abroad.
The stories published on Island Folklore are original translations and synthesized works created specifically for this website. These works are created based on a wide selection of sources, both written and oral, e.g. books, journals, newspaper articles and interviews.
Due to the hearsay and word-of-mouth nature of all folklore, each time these stories are told, they undergo changes. Often, no version of any tale is considered standard or authoritative. As such, no story on this website is published with the aim of presenting or creating a standard version. The stories on Island Folklore are merely one telling—a snapshot—of these ancient tales. An interested reader will easily discover, from different sources, many varieties of the stories presented here.
Island Folklore hopes to follow in the footsteps of some of the world’s finest and most inspiring folklorists, writers, scholars and storytellers.
Famous western folklorists who are great models for us include the Brothers Grimm, who recorded traditional German fairytales, and Andrew Lang, the Scottish collector of folktales. Historical novelists like Sir Walter Scott, the creator of Ivanhoe, and great classicists like Edith Hamilton, the author of Mythology, are also great sources of inspiration.
These influences, combined with Taiwan’s own incredibly rich folk traditions and works by amazingly talented Taiwanese folklorists, writers and researchers—such as Pasuya Poinocü, Monica Chang, Lin Daosheng, Jin Ronghua and Hu Wanchuan, form a powerful driving force behind our own work here on Island Folklore!