In this paper, I use the method of historical research and text analysis, and research the debate on Taiwan version of "for life? for art?" that occurred from 1931 to 1937. From the research results it is found that after years of controversy, no later than the end of 1936, the high degree of consensus requiring both of the two "art for life" had been obtained, while Taiwanese literature with subjectivity and Taiwanese literature spiritual content with literature nature also was finally established through this debate.
According to Liu Shu-chin’s study, it is indicated that from the early 1920s to 1937 on the eve when the Marco Polo Bridge Incident broke out was an important stage for budding and forming of Taiwan's new literature movement. Many traits were formed in this period, constituting the entire keynote of literary activities during the Japanese occupation. So far it remains more or less to affect the development of current literary activities. Among them, especially the development after 1930 before the outbreak of the incident was most impressive. Although the most significant, this phase had actually encompassed the decline of anti-colonialism movement, and new literary movement that has always been attached to the anti-colonial movement has also been confronted with crisis to run into snags.
However, the crisis was also a turning point. Taiwan’s writer, in this period of cultural turn, brought into full play subjective initiative, tried to put forward a variety of literary innovation programs to seek a breakthrough from suppression, and walked out of thorny road.
To inspire the public, the left and right wings in mainstream anti-colonial camp began to devote themselves pondering "popularization of literature and arts", "popular art", etc. era proposition, and then went deep into the nature of the art, the definition of new literature and other fundamental issues, causing the debate on "for life? for art?" of "left-leaning and right-leaning debate" in essence about literature. As far as the left wing is concerned, its interior had derived dispute as for whether the reading public should be set at "third class," or "fourth class", and disputes as for where the distinctions were regarding the strategic stage goal and ultimate goal, ideology and art, and confrontation stance against political reality. Between it and right wing, arguments on "left as main and right as subordination" and " right as main and left as subordination", how to do "for life" and "for art", the public and the masses, popularity and vulgarity, alliance and struggle, line, front and alignment, etc. were generated. With the outside camp "for art", arguments regarding "teleology" also occurred: whether there was purpose of art? Was it for life? Or for art? "Formalism" theory: did content determine form? Or did form decide content? "Object" theory: Who owned art? Did it belong to the elite? Or did it belong to the public? And so on.
The various camps had proposed literary innovation programs through this Taiwan version of argument on "for life? for art?". Magnificent view of all flowers blooming together was formed, and then one after another ponds of water were diverged, deepened down to enrich the spirit of Taiwanese literature connotation. Via the process of continuous debate, split, combination on line, front and alignment, Taiwan's new literature movement finally was able to construct subjectivity, gradually turned away from the influence of Chinese literature and Japanese literature, transferred to a variety of new possibilities based on native land. After this cultural turn and search for literature innovation, formal period of Taiwan's new literary movement in the 1930s, no later than he end of 1936, already turned away from teleological debate on "for life? for art?" successfully turned to consensus of practice theory and overcoming theory with a combination of both "art for life", which established the independent Taiwanese literature circle, and wrote the most splendid page in the history of Taiwanese literature during the Japanese governance period. Ancestors have been far away, but rich literary cultural heritage left to us would bestow us infinite inspiration thinking forever.