Ethnographic Research

Ethnographic Research


The Bunun are one of the indigenous groups of Taiwan that have a rich history of living in the high-mountains. The region of Laipunuk (Nei Ben Lu) was once a group of mountain villages and among the last frontier areas to be annexed into Imperial Japan in Taiwan.

The remoteness of the region, coupled with the late arrival of Japanese forces, afforded the Bunun children of that time to have a lifestyle, where they participated in and observed their indigenous way of life.

Interview set up at the Bunun Educational and Cultural Foundation in Taidong, Taiwan

This research is an oral ethnography of Langus Istanda, born in 1920, remembering the arrival of the Japanese police and experienced the forced extradition of her family from their region.

Langus Istanda’s childhood memories include stories of games, adventures, a safe and comfortable environment, and a sense of wonder for the modernity of the Japanese culture. She remembers the forced relocations and the period of illness and death of friends and relatives.

Original oral history of Langus Istanda – an ethnographic narrative


As European powers contacted and influenced ethnolinguistic Austronesian-speaking groups in Southeast Asia, vocal folk songs were influenced by percussion instruments. In contrast, Taiwan aborigines held on to acappella traditions, and vocal music retained rich and complicated style and content.

Acappella styles range from the most primitive to the most complicated of all modern vocal music. With songs for nearly every occasion of life, content includes those for religious ceremonies, worship, nature, work, and recreation.

Indigenous Music of Taiwan - Part 1

Indigenous Music of Taiwan - Part 2


Crossing a stream near Shou, Laipunuk

Crossing a landslide near Madaipulan, Laipunuk

Bunun youth at Takivahlas, Laipunuk

Please visit my Taiwan photo journal page to read more about this ethnographic research.