The purpose of the article is to examine the southern discourse that is revealed in the Taiwanese media in the late Japanese occupation period. Due to the geographic location that bridges Japan and the South Sea, Taiwan had been recognized as a stronghold of the South Sea. Therefore, various knowledge of the South Sea was accumulated under the leadership of Japan from a very early period. Especially in the late 1930s, Taiwan became a base for the Japanese military advancement of the South Sea, so that it is largely discussed to produce strategic materials using the resources and raw materials of Southeast Asia. At that time, the Taiwanese government general proactively prepared for the conquest to the South Sea by rapidly gathering information during the warfare. The Southern Discourse, composed of these collected data, shows a complete ethnography of the groups in the South Sea, including Philippines, French Indochina, Thailand, the Dutch East Indies, the British Malay Peninsula, Java, Myanmar and Singapore, in the form of social and natural knowledge (i.e., race, natural environment, geography, history, industry), the interaction history with Japan, and travel stories. Especially after the Sino-Japanese War in 1937 and the Pacific War in 1941, the publication of the South Discourse had abundantly increased related to the national policies of the establishment of the South Co-prosperity Sphere.
In the end of the Japanese colonial period, the Taiwanese magazine “Nanfang” had produced various southern discourses in response to the invasion of the South Sea since 1941. Based on the highly detailed anthropological information, it had served in the war for the rich resources and the industrial value of the South Sea, the colonial repression, the liberation of each ethnic groups, and the revival of the East Asia. In addition, the Pacific Islands near the equator are mainly described as undeveloped land awaiting pioneering and filled with the mysterious, untapped people.
The description above in the “Nanfang” magazine are originated from the foundation of colonialism. According to the progress of the war, it emphasized the resistance to the west and the Asian identity, which reveals that its purpose is to assist the war. The statement of the inexhaustible resources and the uncivilized aboriginal people were effective in elucidating the necessity of conquest and occupation and articulating the Japanese Great East War. In conclusion, the cultural discourse of the anthropological ethnic group published in the “Nanfang” was basically the nature of the discourse for the war mobilization.