Liu Xing-qin: a cartoonist with many novel ideas

Chinese Name
: 劉興欽

Born: April 13, 1934

Birthplace: Hsinchu County (Northern Taiwan)

Liu Xing-qin, born in Hsinchu County in 1934, is a Taiwanese cartoonist who is considered a national treasure. In the early 1950s, Taiwanese primary school students loved to read comic strips printed in Hong Kong. Most of these books were about absurdities, such as ghosts and monsters. In 1954, Taiwan’s education authorities asked the schools to prevent children from reading comics with superstitious content. Liu, who was a teacher at the time, decided to draw a 16-page comic book titled “Seeking the Immortals” in an attempt to modify the incorrect mindset of the students. He didn’t expect this book to become very popular after it was published.

After the success of his first comic book, Liu continued to teach in school while drawing comics. Based on his mother and himself, he created comic books centered around two characters “Great Auntie (大嬸婆)” and “Brother A-san (阿三哥),” which became the most widely known cartoon characters in Taiwan at the time. “Great Auntie” in the cartoon series is an ordinary Hakka woman, hard-working, unpretentious, and kind. This familiar figure was created by Liu at the age of 21 with his mother as the prototype. With a humorous style, he cleverly introduced the customs and humanities of Hakkas to people all over Taiwan. His series have been serialized in newspapers and magazines at home and abroad, and have gained popularity. After decades, the comic books have had a far-reaching effect in spreading publicity for Hakka culture. As a result, Hsinchu’s Neiwan township proposed using Great Auntie as a tourism ambassador to promote the local tourism industry. Liu immediately agreed.

In 1991, Liu moved to the United States where he actively participated in Hakka community activities, such as lectures, teaching, television interviews, and drew Hakka folk paintings to show Hakka people’s true colors. Liu also continued to create another series “Great Auntie in the U.S.A” while he lived in America. Based on his childhood memories, he completed hundreds of the folk paintings of Hakka ancestors. In 2002, Liu donated more than 20,000 comics and invention manuscripts to the National Chiao Tung University’s Library as collections. He felt that the Hakka people in the United States have a sense of crisis that their culture will be assimilated into the cultures of other ethnic groups, so in 2007 Liu founded the “Great Auntie Creative School,” which aims to promote Hakka culture in the United States. It has received enthusiastic support from overseas Taiwanese people.

In 2017, with the assistance of the Hsinchu County Government, the Liu Xing-qin Comic Museum was established in Neiwan Elementary School. He hopes that this place will not just be a sightseeing spot, but a space that can show more works of Taiwan’s new generation of cartoonists, making this museum a bastion of comic art.

Liu has spared no effort in making contributions to Hakka culture and has provided his own creations to government agencies and fellow Hakka people for free. Liu is not only a master of comics, an inventor, an inheritor of ancestors’ assets, but also a sower of Hakka culture. He won the Hakka Contribution Award in 2008 for his outstanding achievements.