2021 Taipei International Book Exhibition
Readers in Korea and Taiwan live contemporaneous lives. They walk down the streets of Seoul and Taipei in similar outfits and listen to the same music. Lounging in cafes, they sip on coffee while reading the same books. Notwithstanding the two and a half hours needed to traverse the distance between us, our lives flow concurrently. Having endured the similar adversities of colonialism, division, and authoritarianism, even our concerns overlap. There are generations. The generation that painstakingly achieved economic development has waned; slower economic development and low growth riddle our youth with new worries, pushing their dreams of a peaceful, normal life out of reach. There is gender. As stereotypical, Confucianist gender roles and relations are rapidly dismantled, we now find the need to reimagine gender altogether.

Generation X, Y, Z, and millennial Koreans now seek out Taiwan, armed with stories created by nurturing different thoughts in the same spatiotemporal setting. As visitors in Taiwan, which was the first country in the world to allow same-sex marriage and is currently helmed by exemplary female leadership in the COVID-19 era, we look forward to discussing Korea’s effort made thus far to reimagine gender beyond just male and female. It goes without saying that we are not the same. But Korea and Taiwan have honored their differences while achieving mutual growth. By enjoying the same things as different people, we build a foundation for friendship. This friendship stayed foremost in our minds as we prepared our guest of honor program for the Taipei International Book Exhibition. We hope to deepen our friendship while sharing our concerns through books.

Written by Joo Iroo, executive director of the Seoul International Book Fair
2021 台北國際書展