Wednesday, November 7, 2012,
Are there other Asian influences in Taiwan?
Taiwan is primarily associated with China by people around the world, but it is much different from mainland China. Actually, Taiwan was under Japanese rule from 1895 to 1945, so there is a strong Japanese influence here. In addition to that, even South Korea has an influence on the people of today.
First, China. China is the reason Taiwan speaks Chinese. Although China considers Taiwan a part of China, many Taiwanese people dislike and disagree with that. You may have noticed that Taiwan has a separate flag. As for language being different from Mainland China, of course there is a Taiwanese accent that is different from Chinese, but the biggest difference is the use of traditional characters as opposed to the simplified ones used in Mainland China.
Next, because Taiwan was under Japanese rule, you can see a strong Japanese influence in Taiwan. When you go to the supermarket or a 7/11, there are many products from Japan that are in the Japanese language, often without Chinese translations. Many people here know how to read and write Japanese, and typically both English (as it is considered the international language) and Japanese are taught at school. However, there are also many people who study Japanese that can't speak it at all.
The other strong influence in Taiwan is South Korea. Most youth in Taiwan listen to k-pop. That isn't to say every kid does, but you can find people everywhere who listen to it. You can buy k-pop things very easily in Taiwan, and there is always something on TV about k-pop. Aside from the music, there is also a large Korean fashion influence here. Many stores advertise "Korean Fashion!" and "From Korea!" to attract customers, as Korean clothing is considered fashionable, and is often more expensive than the other clothes.