How we live now | Taiwan

A house in Taichung

Taiwan’s history unites many cultural influences: These are reflected in Mrs Wu’s house.

A gray concrete house stands on a plot of land. A simple wooden seating area is on the lawn in front of the house. Another table and a two-wheeler are on the terrace.

Mrs Wu's house 


85-year-old Mei Qin Wu lives in this house in the city of Taichung on the south bank of the Dajia River. Her parents built it when she was little. Until 1945, Taiwan was a Japanese colony, so the house was built in a typical Japanese style. This is evident in its roof. The ridge is decorated with sacred animals that are supposed to protect the inhabitants from evil spirits.

But the house also has American influences; like many houses in the community, it was built in reinforced concrete. The interior is decorated in Taiwanese style and in the style of the Hakka people, a group, which included Wu’s husband, which originally immigrated from China. The garden has Feng Shui elements, and the original stone table and stools on the east side are still preserved. In that way, the house reflects the various cultural influences that fusetogether in Taiwan.

Mei Qin Wu used to live off the fruits of her garden, which she also sold at the market, mainly grapes and oranges, while her husband ran a manufacturing business. Two of her four children live with her. In Taiwan, it is still common for many generations to live together.