It was when Taiwan was in a stable period of cultural assimilation during the past forty years of Japanese colonial rule that the country’s first modern art group – Le Moulin Poetry Society – arose in the 1930s, with their poetic protest against the colonial power’s cultural superiority. The name reflected the group’s orientation towards the West while especially strongly influenced by France. Regarding the Surrealists as their absolute role models, Le Moulin poets composed poetry in an uncompromising and aesthetically sophisticated style to confront the turbulent era they lived in. Le Moulin not only tries to record a historical period that paved the way for a new freedom and self-awareness, but also to explore how Asian Modernist writers reinvent Modernism through encountering foreign culture and their contemplation upon identities.
Poet, journalist, and a pioneer in the adoption of modernism in Taiwan's literary world. A native of Tainan, Yang graduated from Tainan 2nd High School (now Tainan 1st High School), and studied at Japan's Tokyo Cultural Academy. He often frequented tea shops in his free time, where he met numerous artists and literary figures. He immersed himself in the Western modernist thinking then running through Japan's literary world, and published numerous poems in the Japanese periodicalsShiki, Kobe Poet, and Poetics. He established the le Moulin poetry society together with Lin Yung-hsiu, Lee Chang-juei, and Chang Liang-tien in March 1933, and jointly published the le Moulin Poetry Magazine together with the other members.
In 1934, after publication of the le Moulin Poetry Magazine ceased, the society's literary output showed signs of declining. Afterwards, Yang heeded his father's final words by applying for work at the newspaper Taiwan-Nichinichi-Shimpo, which hired him as a reporter in December 1935 after he passed a pre-service examination. Yang worked at the newspaper for many years. He joined the Taiwan branch of the Japanese Poetry Society, which was then headed by Nishikawa Mitsuru, in 1938, and established the Taiwan Poetry Association in 1939 (this was reorganized as the Taiwan Literary Association in 1940, and published Literary Taiwan). Yang was imprisoned in the wake of the 228 Incident in 1947.
After his release, Yang served as manager of the Tainan branch of the Taiwan Justice Weekly News, but resigned and stopped writing after the arrest of Lee Chang-juei in 1952. Yang subsequently found work with the Tainan Rotary Club and Tainan Municipal Literature Committee in 1953. He resurfaced in the literary world after coming into contact with poet Yang Tzu-chiao in 1978; he finally received recognition from the literary world during that year, when he was awarded the Taiwan New Literature Special Contribution Prize by the "Salt Field Literary Workshop."
Going by the pen name of Li Yeh-tsang, Li Zhang-rui was a native of Guanmiao, Tainan County. After Li graduated from Guanmiao Public School, his entire family moved into a dormitory at Cheluqian Sugar Mill, where his father worked. Li was a classmate of Yang Chih-chang at Tainan 2nd High School, and subsequently studied at Japan's University of Agriculture. After returning to Taiwan, he lived and worked in Xinhua, Tainan County.
Li read many works of Western literature, such as "Du côté de chez Swann" in Proust's Remembrance of Things Past (translated by Yamauchi Yoshio) and The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe. He later worked for the Chianan Canal Irrigation Association for many years. Following World War II, Because he was implicated in a political incident, Li was unjustly executed without his family receiving an official verdict.
Going by the pen names of Lin Hsiu-er and Nanshan Hsiu, Lin Xiu-er was a native of Madou Township, Tainan County, and a member of the distinguished Lin family of Madou. After attending the Madou Public School and Madou Elementary School, Lin was a classmate of Chang Liang-tien at Tainan 1st High School, where he first began writing. He later attended the English Department at Japan's Keio University, where he studied under Junzaburo Nishiwaki.
Lin's literary output mostly consisted of modern poetry and finely-crafted essays. His works were largely published in the Tainan-Simpo and Taiwan News. While studying in Japan, his writing was published in the university magazine Mita Literature and the magazine Four Seasons,and he later published his work in the Taiwan newspapers Tainan-Simpo, Taiwan News, and Taiwan-Nichinichi-Shimpo. Lin's writing style was similar to that of Japan's "Four Seasons" school, and he expressed his feelings (such as loneliness and feeling of loss) using objects as metaphors. He was skilled at capturing remembered moods in writing, and used symbols of feelings (such as colors, odors, and sounds) to express mental perceptions and psychological states.
Going by the pen names of Chiu Ying-er and Chun Tsui-yeh, Zhang is a native of Rende Township, Tainan County. Because his father worked at the Cheluqian Sugar Mill (now the Rende Sugar Mill), Zhang spent his childhood in a sugar mill dormitory. He attended Tainan 1st High School, where he met Lin Xiu-er. After graduation from high school, he easily gained admission to the Medical School affiliated with the Taiwan Governor-general's Office.
Zhang was invited by Lin Xiu-er to join the le Moulin poetry society while the former was attending medical school. Afterwards, during 1935, Chang also joined the "Taiwan Literary Federation." He further helped issue the literary magazine Apricot Grove with a dozen or so of his medical school classmates, and participated in the "Taipei Buddhist Youth Association." His interests also included sports, including tennis, baseball, and long-distance running. Zhang was implicated in political activities during the 228 Incident, and spent several months in prison. Afterwards, he opened the "Liang-dian Clinic" on Datong Road in Tainan, and is currently retired. His works are not numerous, and mostly consist of essays. He was influenced by the intensely sentimental, nostalgic mood of Japanese writer Sakutaro Hagiwara.