When the Portuguese sighted the main island of Taiwan in the 16th century they called it ‘Formosa’, meaning beautiful island. Taiwanese culture is a blend of Han Chinese and Japanese cultures, as well as that of the indigenous Taiwanese peoples. Today’s Taiwan is famous for its technological innovations, fashion industry, food, and for its vibrant film and music scene.
Ang Lee is the most well-known Taiwanese-born director, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director for his film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000, and five years later he won the award for Brokeback Mountain. New Wave filmmakers of Taiwan such as Ming-Liang Tsai, along with Hsiao-Hsien Hou and Edward Yang have brought their films to the Berlin, Cannes and Venice Film Festivals. Their films have exposed modern day Taiwan, capturing every little details of the people’s daily lives.
Taiwan has a big collection of children's books, illustrator Jimmy Liao has worked on the finest of these. Taiwanese literature is highly regarded as romantic and nostalgic in the Far East, one of the leading writers, Pai Hsien-Yung has written many books on post war Taipei.
Taiwan is the home of the enormously popular musician Jay Chou. Other well-known Taiwanese pop singers include David Tao, Wang Leehom, and Jolin Tsai.