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From "Forgetting the Differences" to "Competing with Each Other": The Formation of Hakka Identity in Keelung City from the Early Qing to the Present

Li-hua CHEN (National Tsing Hua University)
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Investigating how the identity of the Hakka group in Keelung City formed from the early Qing Dynasty to the present, this article aims to explore the evolution mechanism of Taiwan’s social ethnic consciousness, and how historical resources have been repeatedly reconstructed in social and academic contexts.

The history of the Hakka-speaking community in Keelung can be traced back to at least the mid-Qing dynasty. A survey on the origins of Han Chinese in Taiwan conducted under the Japanese governance showed that Keelung was once the area concentrated with the most Hakka-speaking people from Tingzhou Prefecture, Fujian Province. However, the ethnic consciousness of this group at that time was not evident and was mostly covered under their Lineage Associations and their worship of deities. Their Hakkaness therefore became a collective subconscious. After WWII, Hakka-speaking groups across Taiwan became associated with the newly arrived " Cantonese" group, with whom they formed the Guangdong Natives Association together.

During the 1970s, the rapid urban development of Keelung led to fierce competition for property rights within the Guangdong Natives Association, and the neighboring Taipei City had gradually developed into a global Hakka center. Influenced by these two factors, the new Hakka group in Keelung started to separate itself from the umbrella of "Guangdong" and formed an independent community, the " Hakka Natives Association". In the contemporary academic narratives, Keelung is seen as having a large Hakka community. This should be contributed to the efforts made by local elites and academic groups, who led to form a small-scale Hakka community in the post-war period and combined it with the large-scale Hakka-speaking populations who have lived there for a hundred years.

Journal of History and Anthropology