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‘Civilising’ and ‘Modernising’ the Feet

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Their Emancipation, Domestication and Aestheticisation in Colonial Taiwan (1895–1945)

image of European Journal of East Asian Studies

The feet of Taiwanese people, both men and women, went through a variety of experiences during Japanese colonial rule. The bodily practices of the colonised were repeatedly problematised and scrutinised under the Japanese colonial gaze, at the same time as their perception of their own bodies gradually changed with the transformation of society. This study will examine the body experience of the colonised Taiwanese through their feet—bound feet and bare feet—looking at different subjects at different periods of colonisation. It will analyse the process through which the feet of the colonised people were emancipated, domesticated and aestheticised as a result of the cooperation between the colonial authorities and the local elites as well as literary, cultural and iconographic representation.

Affiliations: 1: University of Tokyo


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