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CAI Zhizhong: This is my life

CAI Zhizhong: This is my life

By Ruban SaundersPublished 6 months ago 8 min read

When cartoons became popular in Taiwan in 1957, Tsai decided to become a professional cartoonist. This ambition followed him throughout his life, "I love painting very much, I am very good at painting, as long as I do not restrain me, I will paint for a lifetime".

"I like to be alone."

Sitting in a corner of the sofa, he is usually showing some special, bovine nose thick mouth, a broad forehead, and slightly more white hair in the messy long hair. The first comic book author from Taiwan to introduce the mainland, a Minnan accent is very gentle, some pronunciation is not clear, and the manner of speaking is very serious.

Mention him, people will see light, and then a clap thigh very excited chanting: "CAI Zhizhong ah, know know, I have seen his comics" six ancestral altars ", "drunken man", "vegetable root Tan" Li!" Of course, some people will mention the popular animation "Old Master Zi", "Oolong Yuan" and so on. People who have an impression, as long as a little hint, will list a long list of his works.

In 1989, CAI Zhizhong came to the mainland for the first time and gradually attracted attention. Over the years, the cartoonist from Taiwan, Taiwan, seems to have gotten to know people pretty well, spreading his life story around and making people laugh and talk. However, in the camera, CAI Zhizhong swallowed his modest smile and became somewhat serious. Watching him from a few steps away, the strangeness in the air was overwhelming.

"I'm not a homesick person."

CAI Zhizhong's story always starts in that small village.

Sanjia Village, Hutan Township, Changhua County, Taiwan, is a medium-sized village with about one hundred households. It has simple folk customs and still has ancient customs. The CAI family, to which CAI Zhizhong belongs, has lived and bred in Taiwan for more than 300 years.

On February 2, 1948, CAI Zhizhong was born. Parents do not want CAI Zhizhong to play a great role in this stage of life, just ask him to grow up without trouble.

CAI Zhizhong's family is not wealthy -- but in the village, it is a good family. His father works in a public unit, as the secretary of the "village representative association" of the Hutan Township office, and has a fixed income every month. In addition, there is a nine-cent large dry field, that can grow some sweet potatoes, and peanuts, and supplement the lack of food.

In rural Taiwan in the 1950s, reading was just a literacy tool for the villagers, and the way to become good at learning was not as practical as taking over the job from the father. "In our village, every child knows what they are going to do. A blacksmith's child helps his father with the iron, and a three-year-old sister carries a one-year-old on her back and leads a two-year-old. It is not unusual." However, CAI Zhizhong was terrified, "My father is a clerk of the township government office, I can not aspire to be a clerk of the township government office, it is impossible."

"Nothing" CAI Zhizhong still found himself like painting, four and a half years old determined to draw movie signs. The reason for his decision was that when he went to Changhua Town, he was passed by a master who specialized in drawing movie boards. The painting scene at that time made him lose his mind. Compared with the eldest brother's children, who "want to be a great president and a proud policeman," this is the highest ideal he can think of. Of course, that ambition changed when he was nine years old. In 1957, when cartoons began to become popular in Taiwan, Tsai set his sights on becoming a professional cartoonist. This ambition followed him throughout his life, "I love painting very much, I am very good at painting, as long as I do not restrain me, I will paint for a lifetime".

At home, CAI Zhizhong talks to his mother the most, and "90% of my personality comes from my mother". In a pamphlet about CAI Zhizhong's first half of life, it was written: 'The hard-working mother was usually cooking, cooking, or raising pigs. CAI Zhizhong would always follow her, from the kitchen to the yard, from the yard to the pigpen, and then from the pigpen to the kitchen, his mouth has been constantly saying: "mother listen to me tell you a story, mother listen to me tell you a story."

One day after many years, when he recalled his mother, CAI Zhizhong's tone was calm and vaguely mixed with feelings of nostalgia. When he was in the mood, he would lower his voice and imitate what his mother had said to him when he was a child: "Wow, so powerful, so dirty, how can I wash my hands without chopping them off?"

In the eyes of his parents tend to be clever, but also likes the unrestrained imagination of CAI Zhizhong or misses leaving his hometown, and going to the big city to realize his dream of comics.

In the summer of 1963, CAI Zhizhong dropped out of Changhua Middle School in his second year of junior high school. Jieisha, a manga publishing house in Taipei, wrote to him, inviting him to draw cartoons. Rare opportunity, CAI Zhizhong decided to suspend school north, has always communicated with his father lightly said: that go. Didn't even look up.

CAI Zhizhong, 15, went to Taipei alone with his suitcase, "finally heading to the paradise of freedom".

At that time when communication technology was not developed, letter writing was the most important means of communication. And the first time CAI Zhizhong left home, but never took the initiative to write a letter home, "I am happy." CAI Zhizhong, who works in Taipei, goes back twice a year. He must go back during the Lunar New Year and during the summer vacation. "My parents always talk about why I don't come home, and then they keep urging me".

"I seem to be a person who does not miss home," CAI Zhizhong does not hide this. After leaving home at the age of 15, CAI Zhizhong's visits to his home decreased year by year. Even in the era when the telephone has been popular, CAI Zhizhong still maintains that "he will not call home for three months when he goes abroad, and that is still the case now".

The cartoonist, who has a "phobia of going home", is used to recalling the bits and pieces of his hometown with "picture memory".

"Adjacent to Huatan Township are Xiushui Township and Fenyuan Township, both of which are beautiful names". Huatan Township is indeed a name with a beautiful image and has a very special geographical environment. "The mountains here are covered with red earth, without any impurities, which can be used to burn bricks.

'Being pushed around is a terrible thing'

Plain white shirt, some holes in khakis, bare feet wearing a pair of beige rubber shoes. CAI Zhizhong's dress is very simple but invariable.

CAI Zhizhong was under the spotlight as a little shy, gentle and sincere, and in the media released the bold words "I can use 101 methods, prove Einstein's theory of time is wrong" CAI Zhizhong, is the same person, but there is also a sense of distance.

Mr. Deng Youli, a famous animation producer in Taiwan who has known Tsai for many years, said to the media more than once, "Tsai is a very proud man. Mr. CAI is very proud of himself. I have been hoping to find someone as proud as him and let them talk to each other."

Of course, CAI Zhizhong has a proud capital. His cartoons have been published in 44 countries and regions, in a variety of languages, and more than 40 million copies have been distributed. When CAI Zhizhong drew cartoons at 3 am, more than 15 printing presses around the world were printing his works.

He can play even a hobby. CAI Zhizhong likes to play bridge and is very good at it. "I have won more than 120 bridge championships and was the vice-captain of the Taiwan bridge team. At the table, I would 'trample' my opponent and make his stomach 'explode'." He was proud of himself. When asked about his recent situation, he answered in a confident tone that could not be doubted: "I will go to Tianjin in two days to participate in the Master's bridge tournament, and I will not play if I win the champion."

On September 3, 1998, CAI Zhizhong, 50 years old, stopped all his daily work and closed his mind to study physics and mathematics.

After ten years of isolation, CAI Zhizhong has gained more than 160,000 physical and mathematical drawings and more than 14 million words of research experience. On October 13, 2008, CAI Zhizhong handed over his new work - "Oriental universe tetralogy", and also incidentally threw out the "challenge Einstein" speech. The public outcry, he did not shy away, but decided that "if I will one day in the world, it is probably physics".

"When I talk, people think I'm proud. I'm a quiet man in private." Faded halo, CAI Zhizhong is just an ordinary person. Smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, the ones with the peppermint flavor; Eat only one meal a day, usually rice, cabbage, and fruit; Go to bed early at night, get up at one o 'clock in the morning to work, decades as a day; Since I first came to Beijing in 1989, I have always lived in the same hotel, bought 14 pairs of the same cloth shoes, and bought 30 pieces of the same clothes. I have maintained simple inertia towards life. His mother once said to him, "Don't go where there are many people." He remembered that he preferred to enjoy his own time except for the demands of his work.

CAI Zhizhong has another explanation for the so-called "arrogance": "I have never been a good boy. Being pushed around is a terrible thing. I should give my sovereignty to myself."

His long hair is the most obvious proof of this. 1964 The film "A Hard Day's Night" by the famous British rock band The Beatles (also known as the Beatles) hit Taipei. Lennon and their long hair, like a stone cast in CAI Zhizhong's heart, were infatuated with it. An interesting background is that "in junior high school, you had to shave your head, and the drill instructor checked it regularly, every two weeks."


About the Creator

Ruban Saunders

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