Pro-colonial or Postcolonial? Appropriation of Japanese Colonial Heritage in Present-day Taiwan
Since the end of World War II, the Kuomintang (KMT) (Guomindang) government has erased all traces of Japanese rule from public space, deeming them â€œpoisonousâ€ to the people in Taiwan. This frenzy, often termed â€œde-Japanizationâ€ or qu Ribenhua in Chinese, included the destruction and alteration of Japanese structures. Yet, with democratization in the 1990s, the Japanese past has been revisited, and many Japa-nese structures have been reconstructed and preserved. This paper examines the social phenomenon of preserving Japanese heritage in present-day Taiwan. It mainly investigates religious/ spiritual architecture, such as Shinto shrines and martial arts halls (Butokuden), war monuments and Japanese statues and busts. A close investigation of these monuments finds that many of them are not restored and preserved in their original form but in a deformed/ transformed one. This finding leads the paper to conclude that the phenomenon is a postcolonial endeavour, rather than being â€œpro-colonialâ€, and that the preservation of Japanese heritage contributes to the construction and consolidation of a Taiwan-centric historiography in which Taiwan is imagined as multicultural and hybrid.
Volume (Year): 40 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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