Tainan Japanese Shrine

Taiwan Japanese Shrine (Jinja) Notes

[Courtesy of EyeDoc http://danshuihistory.blogspot.com ]

Jinja神社, loosely translated, is a village of gods, 100% Shindo. The Japanese emperors trace their origin back to the creators of the world, i.e., they are descendants of the gods. Shindo is essentially a way of preserving the "mandate from Heaven", common claim of rulers in Asia.

The establishment of 神社s in Taiwan served two purposes: (1) to show who the boss was and (2) to indoctrinate the conquered that the emperor was the supreme being who therefore must be obeyed. By the 1920s, 神社s were erected everywhere. The one in Danshui was started a little late in 1939; although another smaller but not officially sanctioned one was in existence since 1906.

The officially sanctioned 神社s were far larger and better constructed of course. After 1945, in an effort to erase the presence of Japan in Taiwan, symbols of the Japanese rule, i.e., the 神社s therefore must be destroyed. Most have been altered ranging from minimal defacing to only remnants of old structures.

The one in Taoyuan has escaped demolition possibly because the immediate post-war chief of Taoyuan county was a teacher of Japanese language in the colonial era who had the discretion of how (not) to convert it to a Martyrs' Memorial.

The rest including the one in Danshui did not fare so well. Most have been re-built as MMs:

嘉義: only some stone lions, ishidoros and a small building are preserved.

旗山: now a Confucian temple.

YiLan: the torii was re-labeled 忠烈門, and the main hall re-built as an MM.

The shrine on 中華南路 in Taipei had long disappeared which was adjacent to the red brick building, the latter started out as a market place. The one in 芝山 is now a library of sorts. The one on 南海路 was rebuilt into 南海 Academy, only a small part of the original bridge can still be seen.

The Grand Hotel was built on the site where the Taiwan Jinja once was. Only some stone lions are still there. Part of this jinja was destroyed when an airplane crashed into it while attempting to land in the now Song-shan airport (in 1944, I think).

The Shindo shrine in Tainan was based on the Koxinga Temple built by 沈葆禎 [Governor of Taiwan] in 1874. In 1896, it was converted into the first jinja in Taiwan although it still honored Koxinga and his Japanese mother. After the war, it was reverted to the now 延平郡王祠.

The Tainan Shrine is no more. Part of it is now 公十一parking garage. And the rest is on the grounds of 忠義國小. This shrine honored 北白川宮能久親王, who in 1895 led the Royal Guards in invading Taiwan. He died from either injuries or cholera soon after Tainan surrendered.

It was located west of present Confucius Temple on No 2 忠義路二段. Across the street is the underground parking garage where the original jinja hall was located. Inside the gate of the elementary school, on the left there is still an old Japanese house which was the original jinja 休憩所 (rest place).

Additional Photo Links by Scott Cog:

Shito Shrines Around Taiwan

Past and Present Composites

Old Tainan


Kitashirakawa-no-miya temple


Recostructed in Chinese style after 1945