Son of Formosa – Book 1

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The true story of Tsai Kun-lin, born in Qingshui, Taichung, in 1930, as he lives through Japanese rule and the arrival of the Kuomintang. Polite and a good student, Tsai found himself sentenced to ten years in jail for “membership of an illegal organization” after attending a high school book club. This graphic novel recounts his tenacity and determination.


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In the 1930s, the Japanese ruled Taiwan. A young boy, Tsai Kun-lin grows up, accompanied by picture books and folk tales. But the merciless flames of World War 2 soon arrive – protests, bombing, and conscription will change his life forever.

After the war, the young book lover learns a new language and hopes to finally live a life of peace, never expecting his attendance at a high school book club will land him in jail. Transported to the penal colony for political prisoners on Green Island, he loses ten years of his youth to torture, terror, hard labor, and brainwashing.

This series of graphic novels draw on the actual events of Tsai’s life. At Taichung First Senior High School he was a trainee soldier and a good student; years later he was sentenced to ten years in prison for attending a high school book club. On release, he worked in publishing and advertising and founded Prince, a children’s magazine which kept Taiwan’s cartooning tradition alive during martial law. He raised funds to allow a rural little league team to compete in Taipei and, on retirement, became a human rights activist.

Tsai’s life is Taiwan’s recent history writ small. There is darkness, but always a light; hardship, but the strength to endure. A simple yet graceful style faithfully recreates the historical scenes, accurately using the Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese languages to bring those times to life. The warmth and vitality of the storytelling demonstrate that while we cannot control events, we can, as Tsai did, persevere through them.


You Pei-Yun
writes children’s poems, loves poems, and loves to read poems aloud. Graduated from the Department of Foreign Languages ​​and Literature of National Taiwan University and received a Ph.D. in Humanities from the Ochanomizu University of Japan. He is currently teaching at the Children’s Literature Research Institute of Taitung University, dedicated to children’s literature. Cultural research and teaching, and engaged in children’s literature-related curation, publication planning, creation, translation, and criticism.

Zhou Jianxin
graduated from the Institute of Plastic Arts, National Taipei University of the Arts, and is currently studying in the doctoral program of the Institute of Children’s Literature, National Taitung University. Wander between image creation, art education, and children’s literature.
In 2016, he won the first prize for picture book creation in the Xinyi Children’s Literature Award with “Little White”.

Weight 520 g
Dimensions 24 × 17 × 2 cm