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Yu, Pei-yun (Text) / Zhou, Jian-xin (Ill.)

Tsai Kun-lin – Die gestohlenen Jahre

A Graphic Novel from Taiwan – Volume 2

Translated by Johannes Fiederling
© 2023 Baobab Books
180 pages, softcover, 17,5 x 23,5 cm
CHF 28.00 / € [D] 26,00 / € [A] 26,80
ISBN 978-3-907277-19-5
Ages 14 and up


Almost a hundred years have passed since Tsai Kun-lin's birth. In long conversations, he told the author and the illustrator about his life: about his childhood, the political events during the Second World War, his years in captivity, his later work as a journalist and comic publisher, and his commitment to democracy and human rights. Neither the 90-year life nor the complex political events fit into a single book – so it has become four. After we got to know Kun-lin's family in volume 1 and accompanied him through his childhood and teenage years, in the second volume we experience what it means to fall into the clutches of Chiang Kai-shek's system of injustice.
Shortly before his twentieth birthday, Kun-lin is taken away for interrogation. Under pressure, he makes a forced confession. In the eyes of the regime, he has been reading the wrong books – the reading circle at his school is classified as an «illegal organisation». He is sentenced to ten years' imprisonment and transferred to the notorious penal colony on Lü Dao (Green Island). The prison conditions are inhumane, the forced labour hard, but Kun-lin is most hurt by the separation from his family. When he was released in 1960, he immediately set off to visit his sister Chiong-tzu. All these years, he had been denied contact with his family. In the third volume, we learn how Tsai Kun-lin starts a new life after this «stolen» decade.

TSAI Kun-lin

The graphic novel «Tsai Kun-lin» comprises four volumes and almost a century of Taiwanese history. The first volume tells of Kun-lin's childhood and youth, the second volume of his long years in prison. In the third and fourth volumes, we follow the rocky road back to freedom and the successful struggle for democracy and self-determination. Tsai Kun-lin became the editor and publisher of a popular comic magazine, advocated for Taiwan's indigenous population and campaigned for democracy and human rights in Taiwan until his death at the age of 92. The years of «White Terror» under Chiang Kai-shek's military government lasted until 1992.

The author

YU Pei-yun (*1967) studied foreign languages and literature at the National Taiwan University in Taipei and did her doctorate at Ochanomizu University in Japan.
Today, she teaches at the Institute of Children's Literature at Taitung National University and is involved in children's and youth literature in a variety of ways as a critic, translator and curator. In 2016, she met TSAI Kun-lin for the first time, and in conversation with him, the idea of documenting his life was formed.

The illustrator

ZHOU Jian-xin (*1973) was born in southern Taiwan. He studied printmaking at the National School of Art in Taipei, and worked as a printmaker and teacher before setting up his own business as an illustrator. In 2014, he received the Taiwan Golden Butterfly Award for Book Design for his first picture book, and other major awards for his text interpretations followed. With Tsai Kun-lin, he has designed a graphic novel for the first time.

Original edition: «Laizi Qingshui de haizi – Lü Dao shi nian» © 2020 Slowork Publishing, Taiwan

More volumes

Awards

→ Shortlisted for the Max und Moritz-Preis 2024, see their videoportrait