This article examines the historical development of Taiwanese identity from its origins in the era of Japanese colonialism, through postwar authoritarian rule, to its emergence as the driving force behind the island’s democratization. After the Communist takeover of mainland China, Taiwanese identity was an insurgent element challenging the island-based dictatorship of the Nationalists. But in the wake of a successful democratic transition, the indigenous identity became more inclusive and synonymous with the islanders’ decision to embrace democratic and pluralistic values, confronting irredentist threats from the People’s Republic of China to take back the self-governing island by force.

You do not currently have access to this content.