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July edition of the Taipei Pictorial Interviews Award Winning Author Akira Higashiyama

Akira Higashiyama, Taiwanese born author and winner of the Naoki Prize, a leading award for popular fiction for his work “Ryu”, is sharing his creative journey as well as his childhood memories of Taipei in the July edition of the “Taipei Pictorial” by the Department of Information and Tourism.
“Ryu,” hailed as the best work in the last twenty years is based on a high schooler witnessing the death of his grandfather in the 1970s of Taiwan. The thriller centres on the high schooler’s journey of finding out the truth behind the murder in the time of the strict and unstable Taiwan.
Akira Higashiyama was born in Taipei and moved to Japan with his parents when he was five. For a short time after, he returned to Taipei for elementary school and he often draws on his childhood memories in Taipei as inspiration for his books. The main character in “Ryu” was based on Higashiyama’s father while “Ryu” tells of the culture and times of Taipei through family stories. Interestingly, several peculiar instances in “Ryu” were in fact authentic memories of Higashiyama. These stories served in a foreign light to Japanese readers allow them to experience the streets of Xiamen and the enthusiastic noises of Zhonghua Square.
During the interview with Higashiyama for the Taipei Pictorial, Higashiyama revealed that he lived near Guanzhou St. when he was little and his grandfather often brought him to the Taipei Botanical Garden to exercise. The coconut trees in the Botanical Garden, the bright, red lotus flowers in the ponds, and the intersecting shadows on the field all played out to be the classic summer scene in Taipei for Higashiyama. Additionally, the red bricked buildings in the Bopiliao Historical Block, the smoke-filled Longshan Temple and the Huaxi St. Nightmarket are all ingrained in the memories of Higashiyama. Although he has lived in Japan for several years now, Higashiyama’s Mandarin still remains fluent, perhaps because he often frequents Taipei and eats Taiwanese stir-fried food with Taiwan Beer. For Higashiyama, Taipei is not only a beautiful childhood memory, but also a perfect scene for life.
Head of Media Relations and Publications Division Pei-jun Hsieh remarks that, other than the interview with Akira Higashiyama, the Taipei Pictorial also has other interesting stories. For instance, the Cover Story is centred on the River City and invites readers to visit the rivers of Taipei to beat the summer heat. The Special Report focuses on Eid al-Fitr, the religious holiday that marks the end of Ramadan and further introduces the traditions of Muslims as well as showcase Taipei as a Muslim-friendly city.
The July edition of the Taipei Pictorial will be distributed to each station of the Taipei Metro, Taipei City Government Citizen Service Division on the first floor of Taipei City Hall, 12 District offices in Taipei City, Household Registration Offices and Health Centres, Taipei City Revenue Services, Taipei Public Libraries, Taipei City Hospital, visitor centres all over the country and visitor centres in each National Park for free. The electronic version of the pictorial is estimated to be available on the website of the Department of Information and Tourism (www.tpedoit.gov.taipei)(Chinese) under the “Reading Taipei” tab and the Taipei Travels website (www.travel.taipei)(Chinese) under “Publications”. The “Taipei Pictorial” app is also available for QR Code scanning. Call 1999 (02-27208889 for non-Taipei callers) #7564 or #7570 for more information.