This essay uses a Žižekian concept of parallax view to examine the connection between the formation of Taiwanese identity and the imposed meanings on suffering caused by Japanese colonial history. Taiwanese politicians from different ideological spectra have “parallactically” imposed meanings on this history of suffering to serve their own interests. This has contributed to keeping alive the division between Taiwanese and mainlanders. These two groups, initially divided on a vague and problematic notion of ethnicity, have lived together for six decades on the same island.

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