TAIWAN CRAFTS JOURNAL
Sep. 2020 / Vol.78
Through the issue of regional revitalization to find the opportunities of rural areas by craft which connects the land and people. This topic will explore those cases of Taiwan and Japan, to realize the effect in process by government’s driving and empowerment, the corporations’ economical support, and local crafts culture cultivating via local or non-native craftsmen. At walk in Taiwan and Japan’s craft culture, it’s related to promotional strategy policies and involved with localogy, craft development, leisure culture and the experience economy. While culture takes part in economy, it brings the charm of local life, gains a deeply influence on value identity. Also, it broadens the horizon and makes a sustainable lifestyle in the future.
Before Taiwan government officially designated 2019 as Taiwan’s “Regional Revitalization Year”, related programs has been going on in various communities for years, hoping to find the niche for a more sustainable development in terms of local culture, local industry and product, and landscape. This article reviews the rural micro-craft industry training and empowerment programs launched by the government from 2014 to 2020, and summarizes seven types of development paths in which crafts are instrumental for rural regeneration, including humanity & sustainability, public welfare support, historical legacies, environmental symbiosis, regional cooperation, community experience and value-added industry. The aim is to highlight the value of regional revitalization, the bonding of human relationships and the unique charm of crafts. The readers also get to see what Taiwan’s participants have learnt in the Aizu Craftsman Festival held in Mishima Town, Fukushima of Japan last year and how that experience helps Taiwan keep the policy work going.
The prior first thing made clear in Taiwan’s national strategic plan for regional revitalization is to ‘bring corporations back and invest in their hometowns’. To go even further, the very goal is to have the idea and practice of coexisting and prospering with the local communities deeply engraved in the minds of people who run the enterprises. This article features “CMP Village” that has been continuously experimenting with new types of recreational tourism in Miaoli County in recent years and linking local culture with craftsman, while unveiling the mystery of Taiwan Cement Corporation’s “DAKA Open Ecological Recycling Factory” (otherwise known as TCC DAKA) in Hualien County that has become an intermediary between local tribes and tourists, as well as a platform to promote place making and living with local communities and sustainable symbiosis.
Many craft makers who help bring a beautiful life and people together find themselves in the current wave of discovering the value of local culture become an important part in the local creative community because of what they can offer. Through in-depth interviews, we explore how ceramic artist Lee Chun-lan, shell ginger weaving artist Huang Fang-chi and fiber art creator Chen Shu-yen participate in and lead the training programs in the local community, while going out of their ways to support this kind of mutually beneficial relationship.
This article outlines the background of Japan’s Reqional revitalization policies, pays attention to local industries and traditional crafts that are often overlooked in the policy-making process, and discusses how to turn innovative ideas into actions to revitalize the local industry/place of origin in an area where the industry has been hollowed out. Hasami ware, Aritayaki(Arita Wares), Sabae glasses, and Takayama-cho Chasen (bamboo whisk for matcha) are used as examples to illustrate the survival strategies of local industries and traditional crafts, as well as details into each strategic project.