Skip to main content Skip to page footer

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

Tsai Kun-lin – Die gestohlenen Jahre

A Graphic Novel from Taiwan – Volume 3

Translated by Johannes Fiederling
© 2024 Baobab Books
176 pages, softcover, 17,5 x 23,5 cm
CHF 28.00 / € [D] 26,00 / € [A] 26,80
ISBN 978-3-907277-23-2
Ages 14 and up

Tsai Kun-lin spent ten years in prison because, in the eyes of the military regime in Taiwan at the time, he had read the wrong books. After his release in 1960 and the news of the death of his beloved father, the now 30-year-old Kun-lin tried to get his feet back on solid ground in Taipei and earn a living. Anything but easy for a former political prisoner. He soon finds a job in a manga publishing house, but is quickly dismissed again because the publishing house is contacted by the police because of Tsai Kun-lin's »previous history«. When he subsequently enrols to study to become a teacher, he is rejected. At least he is lucky on a personal level: he meets Kimiko again by chance, his childhood sweetheart from Qingshui. The two marry in 1962.
Taiwan is still under strict censorship. As a result, many cartoonists also became unemployed. In order to change this plight, Tsai Kun-lin founded a comic magazine for young people in 1966 and also employed politically persecuted artists, which promptly earned him harassment from the police authorities. Tsai Kun-lin also stood up for Taiwan's indigenous population and made history in the process.
Despite the iron hand of the military government, his life seemed to be taking a turn for the better. But then, in 1969, two devastating typhoons hit Taiwan in quick succession and he had to deal with another heavy blow. In the fourth and final volume of the graphic novel, we find out what path Kun-lin takes at this turning point.

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 – Wangzi Shidai» © 2020 Slowork Publishing, Taiwan

More volumes


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