The Cabinet-level Hakka Affairs Council and the Taoyuan City Government jointly organized the first Hakka World Exposition, the 2023 Hakka Expo. With the theme of “Travel to Tomorrow (天光日个客家),” the event was held in Taoyuan City in northern Taiwan from August 11 to October 15, 2023.
The Expo mainly comprised two exhibition halls, the World Pavilion and the Taiwan Pavilion. They were in the main exhibition areas at the Taoyuan Sports Park Station of the Taoyuan Airport MRT. In addition, there were eight secondary pavilions and 17 satellite exhibition areas around the city.
The Expo also featured a wide range of Hakka-themed markets, art installations, large-scale light sculptures, and engaging performances throughout the event.
For more photos, please watch the following video of the 2023 Hakka Expo in Taiwan.
The meaning of the Hakka Expo
The Hakka Expo held immense cultural significance, highlighting the Hakka people’s enduring heritage. It was a testament to the importance of preserving and celebrating Hakka culture, deeply rooted in Taiwan. Known for their migratory history and distinct traditions, the Hakka people have played an integral role in forming Taiwan’s multi-ethnic society. The Expo aimed to recognize this historical significance and to promote the value of cultural diversity in Taiwan.
One of the main objectives of the Expo was to raise awareness of Hakka culture. By showcasing its arts, crafts, music, dance, language, and culinary traditions, the Expo aimed to bring Hakka culture to the forefront. This event educated local and international audiences about the Hakka people and their contributions to Taiwan’s unique cultural tapestry.
As well as highlighting the rich and diverse local culture, the event showcased the government’s efforts to develop Taiwan as an international hub for Hakka revitalization. It is hoped that other cities and counties will host the Expo, making it a global event.
The organization of the Hakka Expo
With a budget of NT$1.5 billion (US$46 million), the Expo was an initiative under the 2017 Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program (前瞻基礎建設計畫), as Taiwan’s Hakka culture is considered a shared national asset.
To organize the first-ever World Hakka Exposition, the Hakka Affairs Council worked closely with the Taoyuan City Government for over two years. Take the World Pavilion, for instance. The Taoyuan City Government established a team of 10 Hakka experts and scholars two years before the event to research and write about Hakka culture worldwide.
With some 30 expert consultations, the stories of the Hakka from their hometowns in the eight regions and 20 countries worldwide were compiled. The Expo enabled visitors to gain further insight into the vast sea of Hakka culture through light, shadow, musical experience, immersion, physical exhibits, and the application of science and technology.
Held in the city with the country’s largest Hakka population, the Expo was initially expected to attract around 6 million visitors and more than NT$3 billion (US$93 million) in direct consumption, with a total economic output of NT$20 billion (US$63 million). It turned out that more than 10 million people visited the event during the two months.
The Taiwan Pavilion
With the theme of “Roots and Prosperity-Better with Hakka (扎根與共榮：有客當靚),” the exhibition showcased how Hakkas have adapted, enriched, and shared their people’s development and co-prosperity in Taiwan through art, education, history and industrial economy.
Regional pavilions hosted by 14 counties or cities also traced the Hakka people’s migration within Taiwan and the preservation of their traditions. Meticulously arranged, they offered visitors a glimpse into the colorful and diverse life of the Hakka people.
The World Pavilion
Themed “Local and Diverse (在地與多元),” four exhibition zones portrayed how the global Hakka diaspora came into being and how unique cultures emerged through blending in local elements. In the World Pavilion, visitors had an immersive experience that employed technological applications to highlight Hakka culture’s local and diverse aspects.
With a 360-degree spherical projection, theatrical lighting design elements, and large-scale circular bamboo art installations, visitors were able to enjoy the culture and life stories of the Hakka people worldwide. Visitors were immersed in subtle celestial lighting and a theatrical atmosphere by integrating innovative technology and interactive elements with traditional Hakka culture, history, and products.
Part of the World Pavilion was designed by the “Play Design Lab,” which won the prestigious “MUSE Design Awards” in the category of “Interior Design/Exhibits, Pavilions & Exhibitions.” The International Awards Associate (IAA) in the United States presented the award. It symbolizes international recognition of the Expo’s visual design and technological applications. It highlighted the Taoyuan City Government’s commitment to promoting technology and the arts, a commitment that is recognized on the world stage.