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Taiwan Research Programme
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE


Professor Stephan Feuchtwang

Dr Fang-Long Shih

Youth Love on Taiwanese Television

With Mr Andrea Lioy (St Martin's College of Art and Design)

Series: Seminar on Taiwan in Comparative Perspective 

Date: Thursday 14 February 2008, 6pm-8pm

Venue: Seligman Library (Room A607), old Building, London School of Economics (LSE)

Chair: Professor Stephan Feuchtwang (Taiwan Culture Research Programme)


The Taiwanese TV series Hua Yang Shao Nian Shao Nu (2006) is the live action version of the Japanese manga Hanazakari no Kimitachi e (1997) by Nakajo Hisaya. The Taiwanese series precedes a Japanese TV adaptation by one year. The story sees the heroine, Lu Rui Xi, hiding her real identity and disguising herself as a boy in order to attend the all-boys' school where her love interest, sport champion Zuo Yi Quan, is studying. This generates all sorts of equivocations and farcical situations, based on stereotypical ideas of sex and gender. The premise of the story is not new and has many illustrious precedents. One of them, Shakespeare's The Twelfth Night, was recently filmed as She's The Man (2006), in which Viola dresses up as her brother Sebastian and ends up playing in a boys' soccer team in London.

The purpose of this session is to discuss how a few gender stereotypes are dealt with differently, through varying narratives based on the same idea of disguise. The focus will be on the Taiwanese series.

The following issues will be discussed:

1) Transgender love: Lu Rui Xi's aim is to prove that true love exists. Since the day she saw Zuo Yi Quan on television she knew that her destiny was to be with him. But what is true love? Her false identity at the boys' school allows her to be close to him, but at the same time it causes one of her schoolmates to question his own desire.

2) Masculinities: as one of the students says, it's acceptable for foreigners to be "strange", but Taiwanese men are real men. The protagonist is seen to be weaker than the other students because s/he has spent time abroad.

3) Gender/food associations: during her first visit to the canteen Lu Rui Xi learns that salads are a food for girls; real men eat meat.

About the Speaker

Mr Andrea Lioy (born Italy 1966) is currently Contextual Studies coordinator on the BA (Hons) Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. He is a playwright and scriptwriter, and is also active as script consultant. His research interests include narrative structures, interactive narrative, community stories, folktales and myths, education in the arts, and writing. He is working on a book on the relationships between creative writing and graphic design.