The Sino-Japanese War, triggered by the Lu-gou Bridge incident in 1937, had a profound impact not only on the political and social realm but also on the literary world. Colonial literary circles on the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan were required to produce national literatures under literary control policies. Sharing similar political and sociological points of views, and as they both fall into the category of Japanese Empire colonial literature, a great deal of overlap could be observed in the responses to the demands of the colonial government on the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan. However, it is noteworthy that there was a unique literary controversy in the Taiwanese literature circles of the 1940s that could not be found in the Korean peninsula at the same time. This is the controversy surrounding feces realism (糞現實主義) between Japanese writers in Taiwan and Taiwanese writers in 1943, which was criticized by Kudo Yoshimi. Japanese writers who were in Taiwan at the time criticized the literary works written by Taiwanese writers as being merely subordinate to romanticism, overwhelmed by emotions and over emphasizing the negative aspects of reality. However, it was also maintained that the negative aspects of the reality that were dismissed are also part of the reality of Taiwan, and so the Taiwanese themselves should not pretend not deny it.
In the two works discussed in this article, “Night Monkey” of Zhang Wen-huan and “Pomegranate” of Lv He-ruo, the reality of Taiwan, which is different from the reality of ‘Taiwan’ expressed by Japanese writers in Taiwan, is revealed. “Night Monkey” borrows the eyes of a six-year-old narrator and paints the scenes of a farmhouse and a bamboo manufacturing factory in rustic colors. However, when the reader removes the limit of the gaze of the young child’s speaker and reads the events happening in the mountain farmhouse and the die-making manufacturing factory, the life of the ‘colonial’ Taiwanese is clearly revealed. On the other hand, “Pomegranate” is a work aimed at the writers who came from the time when the controversy of feces realism (糞現實主義) was taking place. The content of “Pomegranate” deals with the misfortune and brotherhood of the three Jin-pyeongs who cannot explain the causal relationship. The ‘war dynasties’, ‘Hwangmin’, and ‘war control system’, which dominated the discourse at the time, were concepts that could be established based on ‘state’. In this way, writers such as Zhang Wen-huan and Lv He-ruo placed in their works the realities of the majority of the Taiwanese, which was distant from the ‘present’ reality recognized by poetry writers such as Mitsuru Nishikawa and Hayada Hamada.