Taichung's decades-old Central Bookstore reopens

10/18/2020 06:10 PM
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CNA photo Oct. 18, 2020
CNA photo Oct. 18, 2020

Taipei, Oct. 18 (CNA) Central Bookstore in Taichung, which is almost 100 years old, formally reopened Sunday, with several literary figures attending the ceremony to get a glimpse of the store's former glory.

Culture Minister Lee Yung-te (李永得) said at the opening that the bookstore is not only a cultural heritage but also represents a major milestone in the development of Taiwan's culture.

It is in the collective memory of the Taichung people and many others, he said, adding that it will continue to help foster Taiwan's cultural development, under new ownership.

Established in 1927 on Shifu Road during the period of Japanese colonial rule, the bookstore was affiliated with the Central Club that promoted democracy and self-rule.

It served a hub for upper-class men, students returning from overseas, artists and cultural figures to disseminate information and promote reforms for the development of Taiwanese cultural identity during that period.

In 1948, after the end of the Japanese colonial era, the bookstore was relocated to Taiwan Boulevard, where it continued to be a center for public enlightenment.

CNA photo Oct. 18, 2020
CNA photo Oct. 18, 2020

Due to financial problems, however, the owner was forced to close Central Bookstore in 1988. Seventeen years later, Hsin-Yi Foundation Chairperson Chang Sing-ju (張杏如) bought the building, with the help of Su Jui-pi (蘇睿弼), director of DRF Goodot Village, a Taichung-based non-governmental organization; and Liu Ka-shiang (劉克襄), a renowned writer and chairman of Central News Agency.

After renovation, the bookstore opened last November for a trial period, and it began official operations on Sunday.

At the opening ceremony, Liu said his father used to visit the bookshop three or four times a week as a 17-year-old student at National Taichung Teacher's College.

CNA file photo
CNA file photo

 Liu said he followed in his father's footsteps years later, going the bookstore three or four times a week when he was about the same age and was a student at Taichung Municipal Taichung First Senior High School.

He said it was regrettable that his son could not continue that tradition, as the bookstore was forced to close down in the 1990s and was replaced by bridal shops and motorcycle helmet stores. Now that the bookstore has reopened, Liu said, he hoped young people would discover a new world there.

(By Sabine Cheng and Evelyn Kao)

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