Ghost Island (Guǐ Dǎo 鬼島) is a nuanced term that often arises in relation to sociopolitical discussions of Taiwan. The term originated centuries ago, when it was used primarily by Chinese people who saw Taiwan as a forlorn place of exile. More recently the phrase has become self-deprecatory, succinctly expressing the anxieties of a new generation of Taiwanese fatalistic about the nation's grim economic prospects, stifling workplace culture, ambiguous political status, and uncertain future. From my perspective there is also a spiritual reading of the phrase, for Taiwanese folk religion and even secular customs are preoccupied with wandering souls returning from the afterworld to cause mischief and disturb terrestrial affairs. Beneath this banner I shall document the haunted mythologies and obscure customs animating the soul of the nation.
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