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8 Envisioning the Reading Public: Profit Motives of a Chinese-Language Tabloid in Wartime Taiwan

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the continual efforts of Fengyue bao editors' to carve out a market niche and maximize their readership. At least three tactics sustaining literati-geisha connections, introducing novel knowledge, and sensationalizing topical subjects were deliberately adopted to make the journal more appealing to readers. The "time-lag" between Shanghai's tabloid culture and Taiwan's Fengyue bao demonstrated how Taiwanese literati reinvented themselves in the wartime context. Through documenting their romances with talented geisha in verse, the Fengyue bao editors and writers were able to turn a "cultural profit" in the form of symbolic capital in the literary field and promote their visions of modernity. The attitude toward rapidly modernizing Taiwanese society mediated through Fengyue bao is an ambivalent one, just like the modern yet traditional role the gentry literati editors such as Xu Kunquan, Wu Mansha, and Jilong Sheng played in Taiwanese society at large in the late 1930s and 1940s.

Keywords: cultural profit; Fengyue bao; Jilong Sheng; literati-geisha connections; Shanghai; tabloid culture; Taiwan; Wu Mansha; Xu Kunquan



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