Monday, September 24, 2007

Japanese War Dead Shrine in Taichung

My friend Jim over at Sponge Bear went up to Taoyuan the other day and stopped by the very well-preserved Shinto shrine there. The shrine was preserved only because the local government lacked the funds to remake it as a Confucian temple. Interest in these Japanese-period buildings has blossomed since the 1980s, as Taiwanese have begun to explore, understand, and reconceptualize their lost past. Jim reminded me that my son and I had stopped at one of Taichung's few remaining Shinto shrines the other day as well. Here are the pictures...

The Shrine is located on Jianxing Rd not far from the intersection of Beitun Rd. Probably many of you in Taichung can recall driving by it: a large religious institution with great green roofs. There are interred the bones of Japanese who died in Taiwan, and there is a memorial to the Taiwanese who died fighting for Japan in WWII, with a dedication written by none other than former President Lee Teng-hui. Lee, like many in his generation, identifies more with Japan than China.

The original shrine is still there.

The shrine is undergoing some kind of renovation, and if you look closely, you can see the entire building is mounted on jacks.

Bones of the Japanese dead interred here.

In one of the buildings funeral ceremonies were taking place. These plaques belong to different families.








6 comments:

Karl said...

Now that just hurts the feelings of the Chinese people...

Anonymous said...

In US, the Confederate Army and Civil War Union solidiers are paid tribunes in monuments in South, such as Georgia, South Carolina, ..
same thing, Taiwan paid tribunes to Ally Solidiers ( Chinese, US solidiers) as well as Axis solidiers, (Japanese, Taiwanese.)
There is no doubt in my mind, that Japan paid financial tribune to this installation thru trade partners. Japan believes that there is a crack for them to rise, as US needs Japan to counter China.

Kaminoge said...

This explains why every Japanese tour group that passes through Taichung always makes a stop at Baojue Temple.

Mark said...

I wonder how many war criminals are housed there.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder how many war criminals are housed there." Well, let's see. There are those Japanese war criminals that dropped the only atomic bombs ever used in human history.... oh wait... No, that wasn't Japan was it. I forget these things.

Michael Turton said...

The people who dropped the atomic bombs were not war criminals. Whereas probably all of the Japanese soldiers interred here are, for the same reasons modern American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan arguably are.