Exhibiting unique spatial and temporal aesthetics, Legend Lin Dance Theatre’s Anthem to the Fading Flowers is a four-part cycle about the changing of the seasons and the vicissitudes of life. (Courtesy of Taiwan Panorama)
Several waves of settlement and shifts of sovereignty over recent centuries have bequeathed Taiwan a diverse cultural heritage. Such a pluralist culture not only makes Taiwan a hotbed for various art forms which coexist, blend with or influence each other, but also renders it very receptive to different thoughts—religious teachings included—and games—such as competitive sports. Today, the country is known as a home to top-notch cinema and popular music talent, has one of the world’s highest densities of religious structures, especially Taoist and Buddhist temples and shrines, and contains a steadily growing population that embraces sports as a pastime and daily regimen.
Dozens of folk crafts and traditional performing arts which can trace their origin to the Chinese mainland are still being practiced in Taiwan. Many can be found in folk festivals, traditional art fairs and thousands of Taoist temples on the island.
Popular folk arts include bamboo crafts, dough sculpture, gold carving, jade sculpture, knotting, lantern making, lacquer work, leather carving, paper cutting, pottery and porcelain making, and woodcarving. Major traditional performing arts include acrobatics, dragon and lion dances, folk opera, music and puppetry.
In the course of adapting to local circumstances, the early Hakka 客家 immigrants and their descendants have developed aspects of Hakka culture in Taiwan that are markedly different from those in mainland China, including the production of oiled paper parasols, traditional wear, folk songs and opera.
The island’s indigenous groups continue to pass expertise in woodcarving, weaving, pottery, basketry, beadwork, ceramics, dance, music and ritual from generation to generation. Their customs and creations are increasingly popular throughout Taiwan.
During Japanese rule (1895-1945), a generation of Taiwanese oil painters sought to express special qualities of the island through impressionistic portrayals of local life and landscapes. These include Chen Cheng-po 陳澄波, Yang San-lang 楊三郎, Liao Chi-chun 廖繼春 and Chen Chih-chi 陳植棋. Afterwards, several notable ink painters came to Taipei 臺北 in the postwar migration. In the 1970s, a new nativist movement was sparked by farmer and fisherman Hung Tung’s 洪通 vibrant paintings infused with imagery from Taiwan’s environment and culture. Political events of the 1980s and 1990s inspired a wave of art as political commentary, but since then, artists have moved toward introspective and philosophical studies of issues.
Temple, folk and indigenous sculpture have long been popular. The tide of Western abstractionism that swept through the art world in the 1960s nurtured the first sculptor from Taiwan to attract worldwide attention: Yuyu Yang 楊英風, most famous for his stainless steel sculptures of traditional Chinese symbols like the phoenix and dragon converted into fluid forms.
The most accomplished contemporary sculptor in Taiwan is Ju Ming 朱銘, who made his name in the 1970s with the Taichi Series 太極系列 of large sculptures crafted from thick, heavy wood rendering the gentle fluid motions of the Chinese martial arts.
Taiwan’s unique geographical location and history have nurtured a rich musical tradition, which can be roughly divided into indigenous music and Han 漢族 music.
The traditional music of the indigenous peoples of Taiwan is chiefly vocal—with musical instruments taking a supporting role—and is closely connected to daily life and rituals. In reflection of their communal lifestyles, tribes have developed many styles of group singing. Chant serves not only as a part of ceremonies but also as a way for these communities to pass on their history and culture. Over the past few centuries, indigenous music has absorbed elements from Japanese and western music and has also blended with Christian music. Today, many gifted indigenous singers nourished by their tribes’ singing traditions have risen to stardom in pop music.
Han music in Taiwan is performed mainly by Holo 河洛 and Hakka peoples, descendants of migrants from southeast China. This musical tradition has a myriad of genres, with the two most distinctive styles being nanguan 南管 and beiguan 北管, literally “southern pipes” and “northern pipes,” respectively. Nanguan, whose core ensemble comprises gentler-sounding instruments such as the zither and bamboo flute, is marked by a soothing and emotive melodic progression. In contrast, beiguan is characterized by the playing of gongs and remains integral to religious processions and traditional drama performances.
Modern Holo 河洛語 popular music dates back to the early 20th century, when it chiefly consisted of adapted Japanese pop songs. After encountering censorship in the 1970s, Holo music underwent a revival in the 1980s with the rise of acclaimed singers such as Jody Chiang 江蕙. Since then, it has branched out into diverse styles like rock, folk, rap, hip pop and techno.
In the 1970s, a series of diplomatic crises triggered a strong sense of national identity within the Mandarin-language music community. A movement that came to be known as “campus folk songs” 校園民歌 was initiated by college students calling for more of “our own songs” over songs from the West. With the participation of the intelligentsia, the movement influenced the culture and market into the 1990s and laid the groundwork for the Mandarin pop music industry.
Pop idol Teresa Teng 鄧麗君 was one of Taiwan’s greatest ambassadors. Able to sing in Mandarin, Holo, Japanese, Cantonese and English, she topped charts throughout East Asia and enchanted untold numbers of listeners on the mainland in the 1980s even though her songs were officially banned there for several years.
Taiwan continues to be the world’s most prolific producer of Mandopop, with local icons like A-mei 張惠妹, Jay Chou 周杰倫, Jam Hsiao 蕭敬騰, Mayday 五月天, Jolin Tsai 蔡依林 and Wang Lee-hom 王力宏 dominating charts and selling out performance venues throughout the Chinese-speaking world.
The late 1980s saw growing interest in local cultural identities and subsequently the emergence of Taiwan’s independent music scene, whose two biggest events are Ho-Hai-Yan Gongliao Rock Festival 貢寮國際海洋音樂祭 in northeastern Taiwan and Spring Scream 春天吶喊 in the south (see Appendix II).
The island also has a vibrant and growing professional dance community, with dozens of troupes performing in Taipei alone. Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan 雲門舞集, founded and led by Lin Hwai-min 林懷民, is renowned the world over for a series of performances that blend the aesthetics of Chinese calligraphy and martial arts with elements of Western ballet and modern dance.
The axis of Taiwanese opera is Yilan County 宜蘭縣, where over a century ago musical theater merged with folk songs, Fujian-style folk music and nanguan music to create a new style that has been a mainstay of cultural life both on stage and on television. Like Peking opera 京劇, Taiwanese opera has standard singing and stylized body movements, but it is performed entirely in the Holo language.
Taiwan also has renowned Peking opera and Kun opera 崑曲 troupes. Peking opera, featuring a minimalist stage setting, is a harmonious blend of musical and vocal performance, face painting, acrobatics and Chinese martial arts. Compared with Peking opera, Kun opera consists of more delicate and complex music, and players articulate more poetic language.
Before television arrived in Taiwan in the early 1960s, performances of glove puppetry 布袋戲 were called for on nearly every festive occasion.
This puppet show is traditionally performed in an ornamental wooden stage frame amid the clamor of gongs and drums. The entire plot is presented by the puppeteer, who manipulates palm-sized puppets into performing complex actions such as playing instruments and fighting with weapons. Each puppet’s character or personality can be gleaned from its facial paintings. The musical accompaniment is an amalgamation of beiguan and nanguan music, Peking and Taiwanese opera, as well as Hakka tea-picking songs.
Jinguang 金光 puppetry, which employs transformable three-dimensional sets, lighting effects, popular music, special video effects, an intriguing repertoire and literary dialogue sprinkled with humor and slang, has evolved into a style unique to Taiwan that appeals to both refined and popular tastes and across generations.
In February 2015, the debut of a three-dimensional film, The ARTI: The Adventure Begins 奇人密碼, took glove puppetry to a new era. Blending fantasy and state-of-the-art cinematography and animation, the film features a whole new set of puppet characters created with delicate details and vividness as well as bilingual dialogue that more authentically reflects Taiwan’s contemporary society.
A brand new glove puppet drama series that aired in both Taiwan and Japan in mid-2016, Thunderbolt Fantasy 東離劍遊紀 was a Taiwan-Japan collaborative production overseen by Taiwan-based Pili International Multimedia 霹靂國際多媒體.
The Little Theater Movement 小劇場運動 of the 1960s heralded the proliferation of small, independent theaters in the 1970s, when directors began experimenting with staging techniques and imaginative interpretations of local and Western plays. Today, some of the most popular local theaters include the Performance Workshop 表演工作坊, which features full-length plays based on crosstalk, a form of rapid-fire, comedic banter between performers; the Tainaner Ensemble 台南人劇團, which embraces Holo-language scripts and adaptations as well as a participatory style that incorporates the audience into the show; and the Golden Bough Theatre 金枝演社, which strives to merge Taiwan’s grassroots culture with modern theater and has also been lauded for performances redolent with classical style and rituality.
Taiwan’s first homegrown musical was performed in 1987 by the Godot Theatre Co. 果陀劇場, which has presented several musicals since. In recent years, All Music Theatre 音樂時代劇場 has been producing original Holo-language musicals with Taiwanese roots; Taipei Philharmonic Theater 愛樂劇工廠 has presented an array of popular large-scale performances; and the VMTheatre Co. 耀演 has focused on genuine portrayals of human experiences.
Holo-language films based on traditional folk opera or modern melodramas found commercial success among domestic audiences in the 1960s. Around that same time, the Central Motion Picture Corp. 中央電影公司 began producing Mandarin-language films which were often pastoral and advocated civic virtue and morality. As Mandarin films came to prominence, Holo pictures dwindled in number.
The 1970s was the golden age for domestic films as their popularity spread throughout Southeast Asia. Romances based on Chiung Yao’s 瓊瑤 novels found great success, and patriotic movies were popular as the country dealt with a series of diplomatic frustrations. At its peak, the film industry put out 200 to 300 films per year.
New Wave Cinema
In the 1980s, some filmmakers began to seek creative outlets beyond the mainstream film establishment. Their creations—later dubbed New Wave Cinema 臺灣新浪潮電影—were noteworthy for blending innovative filming techniques with down-to-earth and sympathetic portrayals of Taiwanese life as well as trenchant social commentary. The movement produced two world-class auteurs, Hou Hsiao-hsien 侯孝賢 and Edward Yang 楊德昌. In the early 1990s, a “Second New Wave” of films centered on contemporary life emerged. Key figures in this movement included Ang Lee 李安 and Tsai Ming-liang 蔡明亮.
21st Century Films
Local film production dwindled to about 20 movies per year in the late 1990s, but a number of surprise hits by young directors that explored formerly taboo topics such as sexual awakening reenergized the industry in the early 2000s. In 2008, the heartwarming comedic romance Cape No. 7 海角七號 set a new box office record for a domestically produced film, ushering in an era of revival. Subsequent hits include Monga 艋舺, You Are the Apple of My Eye 那些年，我們一起追的女孩, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale 賽德克‧巴萊, Night Market Hero 雞排英雄, LOVE 愛, Black & White Episode 1: The Dawn of Assault 痞子英雄首部曲：全面開戰, Din Tao: Leader of the Parade 陣頭, David Loman 大尾鱸鰻, Zone Pro Site 總舖師, and KANO.
Taiwan’s multicultural society, complex history, beautiful environment, unique aboriginal cultures and political freedom make it fertile ground for documentary filmmaking. In the mid-1980s, the country’s increasingly free political atmosphere gave rise to independent documentaries that not only lent voice to the disadvantaged and dissidents but also recorded defining moments in the history of the burgeoning democracy. Since 2000, Taiwanese documentarians have incorporated more storytelling into their observation of social and environmental issues as well as grassroots figures, such as in Go Grandriders 不老騎士 and Beyond Beauty—Taiwan from Above 看見台灣.
Taiwan New Literature
Prior to the advent of written languages, early inhabitants in Taiwan passed on stories, mythologies and legends verbally. By the early 20th century, Taiwan’s literary scene was dominated by classical Chinese literature, with a few works inspired by resistance to Japanese rule. After Western enlightenment ideas and experimental writing were introduced, however, the Taiwan New Literature Movement 臺灣新文學運動, which bore parallels to the May Fourth Movement 五四運動 in mainland China, arose in the 1920s. The movement led to a debate in the early 1930s, when some argued that the vernacular Chinese championed by the May Fourth Movement was not a familiar language to the people of Taiwan, most of whom spoke Holo or Hakka, and that Taiwan’s writers should use their native languages (mainly referring to Holo) to write about their homeland. A key proponent of these ideas was Lai Ho 賴和, whose novels—written mainly in a mixture of Chinese and Holo—highlighted the excesses of the Japanese government and are now considered classics.
Mainland Émigré Literature
Following the end of Japanese rule in 1945, émigré writers from mainland China came to dominate the literary scene amid the political repression of local intellectuals and the enshrinement of Mandarin as the official language. This period saw a proliferation of anti-communist works as well as realistic fiction about life in the mainland.
The development of modernist poetry in the mid-1950s was followed by a rejection of conventional literary techniques in the 1960s, when modernist writers began calling for artistic autonomy and incorporated Western existentialism, stream-of-consciousness, surrealism and antinovel elements into their writings. Such modernist works often focused on philosophical introspection and the plight of traditional human relations in modern society, as in Wang Wen-xing’s 王文興 Family Catastrophe 家變, which highlights stresses affecting families in contemporary Taiwan.
The late 1960s and early 1970s also saw the emergence of a nativist movement as a number of intellectuals, criticizing what they saw as modernist writers’ tendency toward blind admiration and slavish imitation of Western cultural models, advocated the penning of literature more true to Taiwan’s social roots. Representative works include Wang Zhen-he’s 王禎和 An Oxcart for a Dowry 嫁妝一牛車, in which poverty forces a peasant to share his wife with a merchant, and Huang Chun-ming’s 黃春明 His Son’s Big Doll 兒子的大玩偶, portraying an uneducated man’s struggles to support his family as a walking billboard in costume during Taiwan’s early industrial days.
In the 1980s and 1990s, increased income, freedom and multiculturalism, along with the commercialization of literature, engendered a shift in focus for the next generation of writers. The proliferation of information technology in the 2000s has led to a burgeoning of new literary vehicles. Everything from online forums and blogs to e-mails and e-publications has diversified the means by which literary works are circulated. Interactive writing and the use of animation, multimedia and hyperlinks continue to expand the boundaries of literary creativity. Tsai Jih-heng 蔡智恆 as well as Giddens Ko 九把刀, who wrote You Are the Apple of My Eye and directed the screen adaptation, are examples of young fiction writers who first gained a following online.
Latest Cultural Initiatives
In 2012, the Ministry of Culture (MOC) was created by combining culture-related government divisions and agencies to better focus efforts to promote the sector. The MOC aims to foster six main cultural areas: arts and literature, creative industries, heritage preservation, community empowerment, exchanges, and cloud-based inventory and services.
In 2013, the MOC launched the Art Bank 藝術銀行 program to procure works by Taiwanese artists and lease them to foundations, private corporations, state enterprises, schools and government agencies for exhibition at designated sites. Currently managed by the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts 國立臺灣美術館, the program had purchased 1,289 art pieces as of April 2016.
Under the MOC, the National Performing Arts Center 國家表演藝術中心 was inaugurated in April 2014 to integrate resources of the National Symphony Orchestra and three of the country’s top-notch performing arts facilities—the National Theater and Concert Hall 國家兩廳院 in Taipei, the National Taichung Theater 臺中國家歌劇院 set to be inaugurated in late 2016 and the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts 衛武營國家藝術文化中心 to be completed in 2017—which will be able to seat a total of 13,000 patrons at their 11 performance halls once the latter two establishments are unveiled.
In 2014, the MOC worked with the private sector to launch a three-year program to revive Taiwan’s poetry. The initiative has transformed a pair of historic buildings in Taipei City into a venue for manuscript exhibition as well as a poetry salon. It has also cultivated emerging poets, promoted overseas exchange, and organized festivals to add new zest to the field.
The world-renowned National Palace Museum (NPM) 國立故宮博物院 opened its southern branch in Chiayi County 嘉義縣 in December 2015 to make its treasures more accessible to southern Taiwan. The facility collects, researches, preserves and exhibits artifacts and relics from across Asia, displaying selections from the NPM’s rich collection as well as international loan exhibitions.
Taiwan has been inhabited for millennia by Malayo-Polynesian peoples, whose religious traditions consisted of a combination of animism and ancestor worship. These beliefs live on although many indigenous people have embraced religions introduced from abroad, especially Christianity.
Buddhism, Taoism and Christianity made their appearance in Taiwan in the mid-17th century when Han migrants from southeastern China, Protestant missionaries and Roman Catholic missionaries arrived on the island. Other religions were introduced over the next three and a half centuries as Chinese, Japanese and Westerners came to the island, with a large religious influx following World War II, when a new wave of mainland immigrants arrived in Taiwan along with the relocated Republic of China (ROC) government. The years since democratization went into high gear in the late 1980s have also witnessed a surge in establishment of new denominations.
The people of Taiwan enjoy complete freedom of religion, as affirmed by numerous observers and demonstrated by the nation’s rich spectrum of religious traditions from around the world. Taiwan has one of the world’s highest densities of religious structures, especially Taoist and Buddhist temples and shrines.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, there were 21 categories of major religious groups registered in Taiwan in 2015. These consist of principal world faiths, religious organizations of a specific size, or religions that have been established for over 50 years (see table “Major Religious Denominations Registered in Taiwan”). While religious organizations are not required to register with the government, many do so to enjoy tax-exempt status.
Taoism and Buddhism have the largest numbers of adherents; their temples account for most of the 12,142 places of worship registered with local governments as of the end of 2015. A sizeable minority of Taiwanese adheres to monotheistic religions, particularly Christianity; in 2015, there were 3,280 registered churches. Taiwan’s non-monotheistic denominations and religious traditions are characterized by a high degree of syncretism. Furthermore, ancestor veneration rituals are widely observed.
Ma Zu Veneration
Ma Zu 媽祖 is the deified spirit of Lin Mo-niang 林默娘, a woman said to have lived on Meizhou Island 湄州島 off the coast of Fujian Province 福建省 sometime during the Song 宋 dynasty (960-1279). She is reputed to have employed supernatural powers during and after her embodied lifetime to cure the ill and save people from imminent danger, especially sailors and fishermen at sea. Accordingly, she is also regarded as Goddess of the Sea.
The enormous popularity of Ma Zu in Taiwan is evidenced by the more than 700 temples dedicated to her and the hundreds more Taoist temples in which she has an honored place. Annual processions are held in which her icon is carried on a palanquin to spread her blessings and provide devotees with an opportunity to express repentance for sins and build merit for a more fortunate life for themselves, their families and society at large. The largest of these is the Dajia Ma Zu Pilgrimage 大甲媽祖遶境 (see Appendix II).
Immigrants from the Chinese coastal provinces of Fujian and Guangdong 廣東 brought Buddhism to Taiwan. Buddhist organizations have multiplied rapidly and the scope of their activities has grown tremendously over the past several decades.
The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation 佛教慈濟慈善事業基金會, popularly known as Tzu Chi 慈濟, has been internationally lauded for its ability to swiftly mobilize volunteers and provide relief supplies and funding for disaster relief projects in more than 80 countries. Tzu Chi is active in humanitarian, educational, medical and environmental conservation causes and is supported by a global network of 250,000 volunteers. It is the largest non-governmental organization in the Chinese-speaking world.
Fo Guang Shan Monastery 佛光山, the Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education 法鼓山世界佛教教育園區, Chung Tai Chan Monastery 中台禪寺 and the Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Society 靈鷲山佛教教團 are all international Buddhist communities which were founded in Taiwan.
Teachers of Tibetan Buddhism 藏傳佛教, which emphasizes the practice of meditation and other spiritual disciplines under the direction of a master, were also among those who sought refuge in Taiwan from civil war in mainland China. Among them was Mingyur Rinpoche 明珠仁波切, who built the White Horse Temple 白馬寺 in Yunlin County 雲林縣 in 1997, the same year the Tibet Religious Foundation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama 達賴喇嘛西藏宗教基金會 was established in Taipei.
Religious Taoism 道教 (which is separate and distinct from the philosophical school of Taoism 道家) was invigorated by the arrival of priests from mainland China in the late 1940s. Taoist groups are increasingly involved in humanitarian service and dedicated to transmitting a more sophisticated understanding of Taoism’s philosophical underpinnings and various disciplines aimed at promoting health and enlightenment. Over the past half-century, the number of Taoist temples has increased from about 2,600 to more than 9,400.
The first arrival of a large number of I-Kuan Tao 一貫道 adherents to Taiwan was after World War II, and since then the religion has attracted a large following. It teaches that one and the same Tao, or fundamental truth, underlies all religions, and its followers revere a number of deities and sages, including Lao Tzu 老子, Confucius 孔子, the Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammed and—transcending all of them—the creator-god Ming Ming Shang Di 明明上帝 (literally, God of Clarity). I-Kuan Tao advocates vegetarianism, and many vegetarian restaurants in Taiwan are run by its followers. Adherents also practice various Confucian rituals and hold small group services at family shrines.
The work of Christian missionaries has made an indelible imprint on the island, which has several Protestant and Catholic hospitals and schools, such as Chung Yuan Christian University 中原大學 and Fu Jen Catholic University 輔仁大學. Canadian physician-cum-Presbyterian pastor George L. MacKay set up Taiwan’s first hospital of Western medicine in Tamsui 淡水 in 1879, its first Western-style institution of higher learning, Oxford College 牛津學堂, in 1882 and its first school for women, the Tamsui Girls’ School 淡水女學堂, in 1884. Early Catholic missionaries founded the first Catholic church in Kaohsiung 高雄, the Holy Rosary Church, in the mid-18th century. The Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See to the ROC is located in Taipei, where the present-day Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference 天主教會台灣地區主教團 was established in 1967.
Contemporary heroes include Marjorie Bly 白寶珠, an American who lived in Penghu 澎湖 for 54 years treating and advocating for Hansen’s disease patients, and Janez Janež 范鳳龍, a Slovenian doctor who over the last 38 years of his life performed thousands of surgeries and trained countless nurses in Yilan.
Islam first came to Taiwan about 300 years ago when believers immigrated from Quanzhou 泉州 in mainland China’s Fujian Province, and a number have relocated to the island since World War II concluded. Taiwan’s Muslims have founded several organizations, primary among which is the Chinese Muslim Association 中國回教協會, which among other things oversees halal food certification and plays a supporting role in the nation’s diplomacy with Muslim countries. Its headquarters are located at the Taipei Grand Mosque 臺北清真寺, which was built in 1960 and has been designated a religious heritage site. Taiwan’s Muslim community is also served by the Taipei Cultural Mosque 臺北文化清真寺 and mosques in Taoyuan 桃園, Taichung, Tainan 臺南 and Kaohsiung.
National Sporting Events
The National Games 全國運動會 for Asian Games and Olympic sports and the Citizens Games 全民運動會 for World Games and traditional Asian sports are held in alternating years, with the latest events held respectively in Kaohsiung City in 2015 and Chiayi City 嘉義市 in 2014. The biennial National Disabled Games 全國身心障礙國民運動會 is also a major event, with over 2,000 athletes competing in 15 sports in the 2016 edition in Miaoli County 苗栗縣.
The bicycle trails traversing Taiwan’s diverse and beautiful terrain, many of them new, have earned the island praise as a cyclist’s paradise. Leading guidebook publisher Lonely Planet selected Taiwan as one of the top 10 countries to visit in 2012 and suggested that it is “best seen on two wheels.” An island-wide bicycle trail system was completed in late 2015.
Taiwan’s major cycling events include the Tour de Taiwan 國際自由車環台公路大賽, which is also a Union Cycliste Internationale premium-level event on its Asia Tour, and the Taiwan KOM Challenge 臺灣自行車登山王挑戰, which takes riders up from zero altitude to an elevation of 3,275 meters in just 87 kilometers and was rated one of the world’s top 50 scenic cycling routes by France-based publication Le Cycle.
The Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship 富邦LPGA台灣錦標賽 in New Taipei City 新北市 is an annual event in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), the world’s premier women’s tour. In addition, the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship 仰德TPC錦標賽 and the Mercuries Taiwan Masters Invitational Golf Tournament 台灣名人賽暨三商杯高爾夫球邀請賽 are part of the professional Asian tour.
In July 2015, Taiwan hosted the 12U World Cup (for players aged 12 and under) in Tainan City and finished No. 2 among 12 competing countries. Taiwan hosted the Asian Baseball Championship in Taichung in September and garnered silver; co-hosted the inaugural Premier 12 in November; and collected gold in the Asia Winter Baseball League held in Taichung from late November to December.
Basketball is one of the most popular sports in Taiwan, especially among youths. Each year, the finals of the High School Basketball League 高中籃球聯賽 and University Basketball Association 大專籃球運動聯賽 attract numerous spectators. The William Jones Cup is another popular event, attracting teams from over 50 countries since 1977.
Running has become popular in recent years as road races are scheduled throughout the year in addition to several dozen marathons or ultramarathons and several triathlons across the country. The Taipei Marathon 臺北馬拉松 is one of the biggest of these events, with about 27,000 participants in 2015. The Taroko Gorge Marathon 太魯閣馬拉松 in east Taiwan drew 12,000 runners that year. New Taipei City’s Wan Jin Shi Marathon 萬金石馬拉松, the only event of its kind in Taiwan certified by the International Association of Athletics Federations, had about 12,500 participants in 2016.
Domestic Professional Leagues
In the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) 中華職棒大聯盟, founded in 1989, currently four teams play a season of 120 games with the top two playing the CPBL Seasonal Championship Series. The Lamigo Monkeys 那米哥桃猿 defeated the Chinatrust Brothers 中信兄弟 to win the 2015 CPBL title.
The Super Basketball League 超級籃球聯賽 features seven teams. In 2016, Taiwan Beer 台灣啤酒 clinched the title by beating last year's champion, Pauian 璞園建築. The Women’s Super Basketball League 女子超級籃球聯賽 has four teams, and in 2016, reigning champion Cathay Life 國泰人壽 was again peerless, winning its 10th title in 11 seasons.
Getting the Public Active
According to annual surveys by the Sports Administration 體育署 of the Ministry of Education, the most popular forms of physical activity are walking, jogging, cycling, basketball and hiking, and the proportion of people regularly engaged in physical activity grew from 12.8 percent in 2003 to 33.4 percent in 2015. This trend can be partly attributed to a plan begun in 2010 to fund the construction of 32 multipurpose sports centers across Taiwan.
Arts & Culture
• Hakka Affairs Council: http://www.hakka.gov.tw
• Council of Indigenous Peoples: http://www.apc.gov.tw
• National Theater and Concert Hall: http://npac-ntch.org
• Taiwan Cinema: http://www.taiwancinema.com
• 100 Greatest Chinese-Language Films: http://100.goldenhorse.org.tw/films
• Ministry of Culture: http://www.moc.gov.tw
• National Museum of Taiwan Literature: http://www.nmtl.gov.tw
• Taiwan Academy: http://taiwanacademy.tw
• Taiwan Academy e-Learning Portal for Chinese Education: http://www.huayuworld.org/learningchinese
• Local Cultural Museum: http://superspace.moc.gov.tw
• Fresh Taiwan: https://ccimarketing.org.tw
• Ministry of the Interior: http://www.moi.gov.tw
• Museum of World Religions: http://www.mwr.org.tw
• Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation: http://www.tzuchi.org
• Fo Guang Shan Monastery: http://www.fgs.org.tw
• Dharma Drum Mountain: http://www.ddm.org.tw
• Chung Tai Chan Monastery: http://www.ctworld.org.tw
• Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Society: http://www.093.org.tw
• Tibet Religious Foundation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama: http://www.tibet.org.tw
• Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference: http://www.catholic.org.tw
• The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan: http://www.pct.org.tw
• Sports Administration, Ministry of Education: http://www.sa.gov.tw
• Chinese Professional Baseball League: http://www.cpbl.com.tw
• National Sports Training Center: http://www.nstc.org.tw