East Asian Peace Museums and Cultural Memory: Japanese–Taiwanese Cultural Memory in Taiwan’s Memorial Museums


With the strengthening of mutual understanding of each other’s history through interchange amongEast Asia’s peace museums, an opportunity presents itself for advanced international dialog among the peace museums of various countries. Using the items on display at the museum onTaiwan’sGreenIslandcommemorating the White Terror and the theme pavilion at the Kaohsiung War andPeaceMemorial Park, this paper investigates the phenomenon of the cultural memory ofTaiwanandJapan. Having experienced World War Two, the generation which grew up in the period of Japanese colonial rule (1895–1945) offers us a profound dialog in the memorial museum setting between contemporary peace consciousness and the cultural memory of the past.

Keywords: memorial museum, cultural memory, peace consciousness, postcolonialism, identity, memorialization


1. Foreword

The social and political movements of the mid 1980s setTaiwanon the path of democratization that it was to follow thereafter. In the process of democratization, historical memory associated with such postwar events as the February 28 Incident of 1947 and the White Terror (1949–1987) has given rise to the process of memorialization of historical events following the war. Already established inTaiwanare the February 28MemorialMuseum(1997 inTaipei), theGreenIslandHumanRightsCulturePark(2001 inTaitung), the February 28NationalMemorialMuseum(28 February2007 inTaipei), and theJingmeiHumanRightsCulturePark(2007 inTaipei). Moreover, theTaiwangovernment plans the opening of two former political prisons on 10 December 2011, merging the human rights parks onGreenIslandand in Jingmei into one national human rights museum.

The international community has three organizations focused on the operation of museums mainly concerned with the ideas of peace and human rights: the International Network of Museums for Peace (INMP), the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (ICSC), and the International Committee of Memorial Museums in Remembrance of the Victims of Public Crimes (ICMEMO). Of the memorial museums in various countries, there are those whose core concern is the modern historical event, memorializing the most recent past. In the course of engaging in international exchange, the various countries’ memorial museums achieve their educational objectives through the intersection between, and consensus surrounding, the ideas of peace and human rights.

InJapan, most of the memorial museums feature the central theme of “peace prayer materials” relating to World War Two. WhileTaiwanhas already established memorial museums commemorating the February 28 Incident and subsequent White Terror, memorial sites relating to World War Two have met with a myriad frustrations. Although separated from the Japanese colonial sphere after the war,Taiwanhas nevertheless been unable to undertake the social project of decolonialization as an independent country, with some observers even holding that after the warTaiwanentered another kind of situation, which they call “recolonization.” During its democratic transition, one of the central themes of discourse has gradually become that of theTaiwanresidents as “subject” of the process. And yet, taking the example of the 2011 remaking of the permanent exhibit at the Taipei February 28 Memorial Museum as an example, in the postwar narrative of the memorial museum concerning World War Two, the February 28 Incident, and the White Terror lies implicit the makeover of the Taiwan resident from “Japanese” to “Chinese,” and the shifts and tensions in the subjective and objective identities of “Taiwanese.” Another example of the discourse surrounding national ethnicity may be found in the string of activities attending the one hundredth anniversary of the Republic of China’s founding.

Taking the example of the cases of activists, the White Terror victims of whom it was said that “they are all Japanese,” this paper examines the cultural memory of the victims. Examples include (1) the Japanese-speaking Taiwanese of whom it was often popularly said that they incorporated the “Japanese spirit,” and (2) the influence of the work of Yanaihara Tadao. In two separate cases of White Terror victims, both Hsu Chao-jung (1928–2008) and Tu Nan-shan (1926–) grew up and were educated in the Taiwan of Japanese colonial rule, while sixty years after the war both have seen the colonial legacy continue to impact on their cultural memory. Cultural memory plays an important part in the organizing of the memorial museum’s exhibiting of narratives, which serve as basis of dialogue as visitors to the memorial museum come to grips with historical memory: they are vital narratives as the memorial museum seeks to communicate with the audience.


2. Cultural Memory andMemorialMuseums

WithTaiwan’s memorial museums, historical narratives dealing with postwar events must necessarily evaluate the protagonists being remembered just as they must critique the responsibility of the power-wielders who perpetrated the human rights abuses. Only then will they be able to convey to the audience the true import of the historical lessons and how people’s power brought about the birth of democratization, thereby achieving the memorial museum’s objective of ensuring democracy, respect for human rights, and concern for a peace consciousness. Therefore, the research topics and exhibitions of the future national human rights museum inTaiwancannot do without constructive critique of the subject of human rights in history, as feeling the influence of Japanese imperial and ROC rule. A huge topic still awaiting thorough consideration, the discourse concerning postcolonialism of postwar Taiwan is beyond the scope of this paper – notwithstanding the fact that the constructed narratives of the contemporary memorial museums’ overall exhibits and the way in which the cultural memory of those memorialized is explicated both touch upon the topics of postcolonial discourse and identity.

Leo Ching has pointed to the trilateral identification construct of the past, a construct comprising colonialTaiwan, imperialJapan, and ethnocentricChina, in which he believes that “in the positions of these identities, the traces of their break-ups and dissolutions appear time and again in the cultural politics of postwarJapan, mainlandChinaand postcolonialTaiwan.” (Ching 2006:30) NaturallyTaiwan’s contemporary internal and external environments both differ from the triangular relationship of the past, with the identificational positions of the protagonists who, while ever changing, are still influencingTaiwan’s political culture. This shift in identity must be reflected in the aspect of communication between today’s memorial museum and its audience. In the limited space available, this is what this paper attempts to investigate. Taking the two aforementioned examples, we will analyze and explain how the memorial museum inTaiwanconfronts various questions of how the colonial legacy impacts on the cultural memory of the protagonists.


2.1 Cultural Memory

As one of the contemporary cultural institutions cited by Pierra Nora as a “site of memory” (lieux de mémoire), and having the social and cultural function of communicating with today’s public. The memorial museum collects various significant artifacts, both material and immaterial, becoming the symbolic location of the communities memorial legacy. (Whitehead 2000) International society has produced a prodigious body of research on memory since the late 1980s. Based on the research on collective memory by Maurice Halbwach (1925), German traditional cultural research in the cultural and anthropological arenas gave rise to the concept of “cultural memory,” which regarded culture as a three-faceted construct combining society (relation between the person and society, organization), material (cultural objects and media), and spirit (methods of cultural definition of thought and mind). Thus, “cultural memory” is regarded as an all-encompassing term bringing together “social memory” (with the research of memory having its beginnings in social science), “material and media memory” (focused on literature and media), and “memory of mind and cognition” (professional realm of psychology and neurological science). All three areas lie within the definitional compass of the term “cultural memory.” Some scholars have undertaken investigation of the interaction between material and social phenomena (such as the politics of the memorial site and memory); others have examined the interaction between material and mental phenomena (such as research into history of the mind); while still others have taken on the relation between cognition and social phenomena. (Erll, 2010:4)

Not remaining content with historical research alone, the memorial museum must also take the path of offering referential values by offering works that advance the perspectives of historical significance and cultural memory through research concerning the social memory, material and media memory, and mind and cognitive memory of the memorialized objects. Especially in the case of memorial museums treating transitional justice, at a time when the precipitate of the historical narrative is yet to settle, the cultural memories of the political victims, related parties and eye-witnesses become the living witness narratives of the memorial museum. The fruits of the memorial museum’s research of memory can act as the practical cultural referential framework in the daily life of the spectator. Everything seen and felt by the spectator in the memorial museum in the way of the cultural memory of others is diametrically contrary to the narrative offered by the textbook. Memory as stressed by the memorial museum is not a question of how to “make history reappear,” but such questions as why such memories have been accepted, rejected or forgotten by the social entity, and an exploration of how behavior and thought is formed from memory. Just as with the social entity and how it establishes and selects the images of the past, the question also exists for society at large: how do these images emerge from the past? Within its explication of the historical images that the memorial museum has selected from the cultural memory is implicit the identificational basis for its right to speak in the ongoing dialog with the identificational basis of the recognition and understanding of the audience in its role as subjectivity.


2.2 Subjectivity and recall

In the foregoing discussion, the research assumes that there must be an underlying reason, a stimulus that moves people to act. In the past, this course of action was that of a dynamic society – the dynamic model of culture. Why have people tended to this impression of the past to the exclusion of others? The search for the answer to this question leads to the formation of still other assumptions, from which we may possibly draw conclusions concerning an historical consciousness. So it is that when contemplating memory, the researcher comes to the question of history of mind. The purpose of the memorial museum is to allow the research into memory to transcend ideology, and reappearance of the nation-state and the public, such that people physically incorporate memory, internalizing it as a mode of action and revising their impressions of the past. Not only can the quality of memory unrestricted by authority allow memory’s placement in the museum, but it also causes memory to become part of the method determining how and why people in this world take up particular courses of action. (Confino 2010: 80-81) When viewed in this way, the narrative site of the memorial museum and the self’s placement as viewed by the spectator are both placed within a multi-faceted dialog, within an environment of mutual principality, with the memorial museum not only placing and preserving memory, but because of this dialog produced by memory, also influencing people’s action. This is a cultural-political phenomenon of the multi-faceted dialog special to the memorial museum.

In his Postcolonialism, Robert Young pointed out that the postcolonial critique is the product of the onslaught of pluralistic culture. (Young 2001:10) So the memorial museum incorporates the cultural implementation of this postcolonial critique. Young also reminded us that the postcolonialist critique is an activist form of writing, revisiting the political behavior of anticolonial liberation movements as source of inspiration, thereby causing those who had during the colonial period been described as historical objects to now have their role as subjects restored, allowing them in the postcolonial period to tell their stories. Those who as the colonized fought before the war with theJapan imperial government for their freedom and rights and those who fought after the war in a struggle with the ROC government for freedom and human rights are all precious historical actors. Through their recall and regained recall, the memorial museum must protect the voices of the independent autonomous ones, including the actors who participated under assumed names.

With the postcolonial phenomenon still ongoing today, the Taiwangovernment’s plans for the Republic of China 100th anniversary celebrations planned for 2011 represent a process of contention with the narratives pertaining to the changes besettingTaiwan in the twentieth century. The content of those activities which we may call reinvention of a national ethnicity is situated in a process of high tension with the revived memories of the Taiwanese people who personally experienced the White Terror, be they arrivals from China after the war or anonymous participants of the White Terror themselves. Seen in this way, the memory and revival of memory of the memorial museum touches upon the debate over the “full aspect of the movement to preserveTaiwan’s independence,” rendering conspicuous the fact that the memorial museum is caught in an especially contentious cultural-political competition. As the memorial museum tries to convey a peace consciousness, the relating of historical memory produces splits, points of opposition, and all sorts of ongoing situations which will require still more discussion in the future.


3. The memorial museum’s narratives of cultural memory

Whether tangible or intangible, “ineradicable vestiges remain” of the age of Japanese imperial colonization ofTaiwan. These stand as among the more difficult of the subjects having to do with identity following the repatriation toJapanof the colonizers: after World War Two, the imposed identity of the colonized went from being Japanese to being Chinese. For those who were said to be full of the “Japanese spirit,” what exactly is the significance of the “spirit” in “Japanese spirit”? After the war, Taiwanese faced the accusation that they they were defeated soldiers of the Japanese Imperial Army, that they could not speak Chinese, and that during the colonial period they had been subjected to Japanese “enslaving” education. Those born between 1920 and 1930 were between 15 and 25 years old at the end of the war in 1945, with most of them have completed education to at least the middle school level. After the war, since they “couldn’t speak Chinese,” they raced to enroll in study groups to get up to speed in Mandarin, the language of the “motherland.” And yet, “participating in a study group” was shortly to become one of the “crimes” that brought on arrest in the White Terror. Now in their 80s and 90s, this generation was made up of the principal participants and witnesses in the White Terror of the 1950s, so their oral histories and narratives of cultural memory collectively constitute crucial material for the memorial museum of today. Generally speaking, the narratives and objects for display sought out by the memorial museum comprise a selective collection of images which, only through more penetrating acquaintance with and research of a wealth of individual incidents and written materials, may be shown to the public so that they may achieve an understanding of the multifarious bounty of cultural memory.


3.1 The four “motherlands” of Hsu Chao-jung

We now turn to the first of our two example cases, that of the self-immolation of Hsu Chao-jung. Born to a poor family in Pingtung, Hsu was selected for service in the Japanese Imperial Navy in 1943. After the postwar February 28 Incident of 1947, so as to not to be taken for a dangerous element by the government of the time, he enlisted in the Nationalist government’s navy, and was sent to Qingdaoon the Chinese mainland for training. In 1948 he was dispatched to bring back an American naval ship, and in August 1949 was sent to the front in the ChangshanIslandsin Shandong, after which he was fortunate to return safely to Taiwan. In 1955 he was again sent to the USto bring back another war ship. On the return trip he picked up English and Japanese copies of Ten Years of the Taiwan Independence Movement, published by the Republic of Formosa Provisional Government in Tokyo, for which he and nine others were arrested in April 1958, one of the several Taiwan independence political cases within the navy in the late 1950s. Imprisoned onGreenIsland and at Taiyuan Prison for ten years, he was put under surveillance upon release. In 1984 he went toJapan and theUS on business. For his having participated in a demonstration protesting Taiwan’s system of political imprisonment, the permit allowing him to reenter Taiwan was rescinded by the government, after which he made his roundabout way to Canada, which accorded him political refugee status in 1987. In 1989 he went toChina for the first time in search of former comrades and Taiwanese soldiers who had gone to the mainland to fight in the Kuomintang-Communist civil war, beginning a long sojourn in search of Taiwanese soldiers remaining on the mainland.


3.1.1TheKaohsiungWar andPeaceMemorial Park

Once theTaiwangovernment had rescinded the blacklist applying to overseas Taiwanese, Hsu returned toTaiwanin 1991. He fell to running around petitioning on behalf of former Taiwanese soldiers in the Nationalist military and their survivors. In 1995 the ROC Former Nationalist Military Taiwanese Soldier and Survivor Association was established. Busily trying to establish Taiwan’s first war and peace memorial park, he met with many frustrations, one of them being that for a time the Kaohsiung city council was formulating plans to use the park for the building of a monument to the defense of Quemoy in the 1954-55 bombardment of the KMT-CCP Civil War, after which they insisted on removing the word “war” from the park’s name. Fearing for the fate of the War andPeaceMemorial Park, on the night of 20 May 2008 he set himself afire and died next to the park which was still without a name. That was the day on which the Kuomintang, the party responsible for carrying out the White Terror, resumed the mantle of power. The inauguration ceremony was held inKaohsiung. The news of Hsu’s self-immolation appeared on the society pages of the newspapers the next day. His action was a profound protest to express his indignation at the fact that former soldiers were still adrift around the world, unable to return toTaiwan. Following the incident, theKaohsiungcity government and city council came to an agreement to keep the name “War andPeaceMemorial Park.” On 20 May 2009 Hsu Chao-jung’s name was immortalized with the completing of a War Heroes’ Memorial Plaque and a theme pavilion.

Within the park, at various times either Hsu or his comrades have established the “Taiwan Unknown Soldiers’ Memorial Plaque” (10 November 2004, it recognizes soldiers who served in either the Japanese or Nationalist military during the KMT-CCP Civil War) and other memorial plaques. The plaque at the entrance reading “War andPeaceMemorial Park” was established on 28 November 2006 thanks to a gift from the Japan-Taiwan Citizens Cultural Exchange Association and the ROC Former Nationalist Military Taiwanese Soldier and Survivor Association. Hsu’s legacy represents the relationship between the history of a whole generation and the truncation of modern cultural memory, a relationship which is reflected in the lives of the Taiwanese generation whose victimization spans World War Two, the February 28 Incident, and the White Terror. In the World War Two era, Taiwanese had served as soldiers for the Japanese empire, for the Kuomintang, and even the Chinese Communist Party, while after the war long years of martial law prevented them from speaking honestly about their wartime memories. With their experiences obscured, they were in even more difficult straits when it came to distinctions of identity.


3.1.2Taiwanese souls, Japanese spirit

Hsu Chao-jung’s farewell letter to his wife and mother was replete with thoughts of the significance of subjective identity:

As to this time, no, the reason why I am forced to do away with myself is not because somebody put me up to it, nor is it owing to reasons of love, money or some all-consuming hatred. It’s entirely a rational choice based on my view of human life, which is to say I should use my death to promote the war forTaiwan’s national independence and the birth of the peace memorial park.

… Thinking about it, it’s ironic in the exteme. Although I was born as a human being, I was given to four “motherlands,” so I had as a national obligation to do my military service and to pay taxes. As forCanada, I enjoyed my rights but had no military or tax obligations. So I, who had these four nationalities, could sadly do no more than place my Canadian ID and passport at my breast as I became a Taiwanese ghost, and make my way to the gates of hell where I would report on the heartlessness ofTaiwan. (Hsueh Hong-fu 2009:384)


Hsu Chao-jung believed that a life where one had four “motherlands” represented the fact that the reality of life and its difficulties could not be erased from one’s consciousness of self. He was firm in the belief that his was an entirely “rational choice based on [his] view of human life,” which, when placed beside the life struggle that he experienced for the seventeen years (from 1991 to 2008) that he spent in Taiwan after his return, meant that his rational choice was based his “bold” life beliefs. Life beliefs and actions such as these are beyond the understanding ofTaiwansociety, so he chose to “use [his] death to promote the war forTaiwan’s national independence and the birth of the peace memorial park.” So what might visitors to the War andPeaceMemorial ParkinKaohsiung’s Cijin District make of the significance of the life of someone of the older generation who pushed for the establishment of such a park? May he be taken as representative of the Japanese-speaking generation who were imbued with the “Japanese spirit”? In his writing, where he introduces two Taiwanese former soldiers adrift inChina, he touches on the Japanese spirit:

During the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), of the Taiwanese military veterans of the Japanese and Nationalist militaries still stranded inChina, nearly all of them were targets of the Red Guards, especially those Taiwanese like Chen Li-fen who fully evidenced the “Japanese spirit.” Theirs was a tragic lot, banished as they were to the furthest reaches ofChina.

I’ll say it again: it was especially people like Chen Li-fen and Luo Teng-hui, who, having been educated under the Japanese and having served as Japanese imperial soldiers, thereafter only to be left utterly helpless to cast off their Japanese spirit, who were all the more a thorn in the side of the Red Guards, who were treated so wretchedly, couldn’t be extended sympathy or concern. (Hsu Chao-jung 2006: 108, 118)


In June 1998, on the occasion of US President Bill Clinton’s visit to China, he spoke in such tragic terms of Taiwan’s old military veterans at the Kaohsiung Municipal Culture Center, where he was holding a “Protect Taiwan, Oppose Chinese Takeover” protest hunger strike: “Under the fiercely burning sun and with utmost vigor, we, the last of the ‘Taiwan souls’ with our ‘Japanese spirit,’ rise to the challenge with our corporal pain.” (Hsu Chao-jung 2006:147–148) Expressing the collective protest of his comrades in terms of readiness to meet death on the battlefield, in his mother’s eyes, “[a]lthough he is Taiwanese, in terms of spirit one feels that he is Japanese. He was good to all and all alike.” (Hsueh Hong-fu 2009:375) According to Hsu’s understanding of “Japanese spirit,” in the face of adversity like that experienced by such comrades as Chen Li-fen and Luo Teng-hui, such spirit represented their ability to overcome difficulties. A Taiwanese who has long lived inJapan sees it this way: “I feel that with this man, his Japanese spirit was one of public-spirited selflessness, very upright…. Mr Hsu fully manifests the Japanese spirit in all respects, from punctuality and keeping his word to his pursuit of justice….” (Hsueh Hong-fu 2009:413) Describing the spirit of those Taiwanese who experienced the Japanese colonial period in terms of a “Japanese spirit” shows how Taiwanese in the postcolonial process are described by others or themselves as “the objective subjects of history.” Looking at the “subject,” the expression of the life of Hsu Chao-jung today, we believe that the direct meaning is that Taiwanese, as self-governing, free agents existing in the world, must struggle in the pursuit of justice and fairness. For him, the spirit of the “Taiwan souls” refers to those of disparate identities asTaiwan soldiers during and after World War Two living an absurd life up to the present and now fighting their last struggle. With the emotional legacy of colonialism, what is being expressed within the bodies of those who were colonized is one of the driving forces of the many different “new subjects” of postcolonialism. The so-called “Japanese spirit” may only be sought in the spiritual aspect of the cultural memory of those who were colonized, from which place issues the “subject” of significance of self.


3.2 Tu Nan-shan’s translation of The Life of Jesus

Our discussion now turns to an analysis of the example case of The Life of Jesus, an item on display at the Human Rights Park on Green Island: how do visitors to the museum understand White Terror victim Tu Nan-shan, and his translating of Yanaihara Tadao’s The Life of Jesus while incarcerated atGreenIsland?


3.2.1Yanaihara Tadao’s The Life of Jesus

Two books were published this year in Taiwanhaving to do with Yanaihara and his work: A Biography of Yanaihara Tadao, by Yanaihara Isaku (translated by Li Ming-chun), and Yanaihara Tadao and His ‘Taiwan Under Japanese Imperialism’, by Ho Yi-lin. Ho points out that not only is Taiwan Under Japanese Imperialism a classic work though which one may know Japanese-colonial Taiwan, but especially relates to the relationship between Yanaihara and Taiwan. Never did he suspect in the slightest that his Life of Jesus would save the life of Tu Nan-shan. While at the labor camp on Green Island, the New Life Correction Center, Tu worked in the mountains growing vegetables, on the one hand, while translating Yanaihara’s Life of Jesus, on the other. Sometimes he would take the place of a fellow prisoner to do the late-night shift at the prison ward, where he would try to work out the true meaning of the Life of Jesus with the help of an oil lamp.

When interviewed, Tu said that he had spent nine years in prison, during which time he devoted heart and soul to the work’s translation. According to his telling, those nine years on GreenIslandwere heaven on earth. Though he may say so, when visitors to the exhibition area of the former New Life Correction Center see his original manuscript on display there, they may have a hard time imagining the process by which the Chinese translation of the book was done, where Tu, of the Japanese-speaking generation, used the Japanese term to look up its English equivalent, and then the English term to look up the Chinese. Far from being done under ordinary conditions, rather it was with the limited time available to him in prison, a struggle of body and mind in a brutal environment, with the end product being the communication between the god of the heart and God. How is the memorial museum display to explain this story of The Life of Jesus and Tu Nan-shan? Obviously the showing of the original manuscript is not explanation enough, for we must enter the inner worlds of Tu Nan-shan, of Yanaihara’s faith-based exegesis, and of the author’s inner being. (Yanaihara Isaku 2011) The discussion here brings us to the awareness of the memorial museum’s difficulty in explaining the background behind a particular literary artifact, but we also see its immense power. Resolving the difficulty of explaining is perhaps not narrowly confined to the methods of display, so the memorial museum must go through some self-discovery as undertakes penetrating research into the latent power of the artifact.

As for the matter of using The Life of Jesus as a museum display object to communicate a message to the public, what of the ordinary descriptive explanation, the penetrating description and effective display methods? Where are the limits? To integrate them into the display, whether to use them or not, is the first question, after which we must decide the overall course of presentation. Who is the Japanese author? What sort of society produced the nonchurch faith in Japan? How was it that a book of annotated gospels like this should have such an influence on Tu Nan-shan? What are the significant reference points of the book? Who among the Taiwanese were influenced by Yanaihara, and what was their contribution to Taiwan? What factors continue to come into play in Taiwan Under Japanese Imperialism‘s successor critical works? If we go on with such questions, they are: what are the parameters for display by the memorial museum of this artifact, The Life of Jesus? What are the display methods that will provide a thorough exegesis? How to delineate boundaries and define the relationship between this particular display and the organization of the rest of the exhibit? Continuing with a string of questions like this is to invite a debate between the knowledge established through the items shown by the memorial museum and cultural practicalities.


3.2.2Influence of Taiwan Under Japanese Imperialism

Whatever influence Taiwan Under Japanese Imperialism may have had upon later generations caught up in the vicissitudes of intellectual sociology may have little bearing on the matter of a memorial museum putting The Life of Christ on display, but in Taiwan Under Japanese Imperialism’s treatment of the relationship between sugar policy and industry during the colonial period did have a close bearing on colonial Taiwan’s education, society, politics, and social movements, with so many Taiwanese leaders of a broad spectrum of social movements having played roles in the social and political liberation movements during the Japanese colonial period, only to go on to pay a dear sacrifice in the February 28 Incident and the White Terror after the war. The attempts on the part of the memorial museum to comprehend the significance of such trends of resistance and liberation making their appearance in this way should constitute the core of the museum’s presentation concerning the incidents and cultural memory.

Linkages in understanding are created when the memorial museum undertakes research into the artifacts and those who produced them. When examined from the perspective of cultural memory, it is not only Yanaihara’s work of scholarship, Taiwan Under Japanese Imperialism, that influenced Taiwan, for his religious spirit also found currency among the Taiwanese. Topics which the memorial museum may touch upon when displaying this work might include everything from details concerning the object itself and how it was produced, to its contemporary background, the influences of the person who wrote it and whatever came about historically as a result of those influences. We have discovered several topics raised by The Life of Christ and Taiwan Under Japanese Imperialism which have yet to be noticed by the memorial museums. In his exegesis on the relation between Japanese and Taiwanese cultural and intellectual history, the Japanese scholar Wakabayashi Masahiro has gone further in establishing the connectedness of Japan-Taiwan cultural and intellectual history:

Taiwan Under Japanese Imperialism is a must-read primer on Taiwan modern history, but that is certainly far from the end of its importance. If one traces the thread left by the existence of scholarship of this book, it may serve as a cross-reference to the cultural and intellectual history of relations between Japan and Taiwan. What’s more, taking the “archeology of knowledge” of Taiwan Under Japanese Imperialism as our point of departure, we should be able to allow Japan-Taiwan relations to rise to a new status. (Ho Yi-lin 2011:11, 16)


The memorial museum in Taiwancan make its contribution to this “new status in Japan-Taiwan relations.” In his foreword to the original edition of Taiwan Under Japanese Rule, Kyo Sekai opens with this quote from Yanaihara’s 1926 work, The Colonized and Colonial Policy: “The liberation of the abused, rising of the silent, and peaceful coalescing of autonomy and independence: in olden times humanity hoped for it, today we hope for it, and tomorrow we will hope for it.” These words showing Yanaihara’s humanitarian concern are also touched on by Ko Chih-ming in the foreword to his Rice and Sugar, Zero Sum, so it can be seen that both Yanaihara’s scholarly practicality and the humanitarian concern of his religious universalism assured him a far-ranging influence. With Taiwan’s great class-based struggles and nationalist movements of the 1920s and 1930s, the liberation of the oppressed and their rising spoken of here were deeply significant not only for the time of Taiwan Under Japanese Imperialism’s publication (it came out in 1929), but also had a huge significance for contemporary-era Taiwan’s pursuit of freedom, democracy, human rights and peaceful liberation.


3.2.3The memorial museum and pacificism

Through the above analysis of the magical power of a single object on display at the Green Island Human Rights Cultural Park, we may understand how the tension inherent in the artifact, through research into memory and its recurrent explication on the part of the memorial museum, conveys to the visitor, who is merely observing from outside, the intangible spirit of the tangible object, thereby apprehending the intangible power through the written manuscript. Aesthetic considerations bridging the distance between artifact and observer, when applied to The Life of Christ, invite such questions as: how significance is produced (the object and its intangible significance), how it should be observed (methods of presentation and assisting recall), who is able to see what (the audience’s processes of understanding and memory), and from whose perspective and on whose behalf the memorial museum is doing the speaking and telling (position of power in the museum’s relating memory), just to mention a few. (Hooper–Greenhill 2000:14). One may take this further to include questions of the ways in which the museum amplifies explication of the object’s temporal background and how it brings out the cultural memory latent in the process of the object’s breakout from private (even hidden) existence to public memorialization. All these make for a host of explications and multiple levels of significance.

If, from our field of vision concerning the influence on Taiwan of Yanaihara Tadao (the man who Tu Nan-shan joins many others in calling the “conscience of Japan”), we view the cultural content of “pacificism” in the peace museums in Japan and Okinawa, not to mention of peace-related museums throughout East Asia, and perhaps even that of many memorial museums around the world, and see how they are able to encourage self-awareness among their viewers, so that the “independent autonomous ones may gather peacefully.” In the course of international exchange, the memorial museum begins to follow the threads of the modern history of neighboring countries, which endows the points of interest of the museum catering to the international sight-seeing trade with another layer of historical and cultural significance. Precisely because the memorial museums are agencies of public culture for each of their countries, matters don’t stop at merely presenting superficial points of interest; we have the cultural topics produced by the memorial museum’s transnational “dark tourism” (Sharpley 2009), each of them intertwined with the audiences – the independent and autonomous ones – of the memorial museum, as they become capable of studying what kinds of historical and cultural memory are featured in each other’s memorial museums. This merits further exchange and mutual study.


4. Conclusion: the memorial museum and connecting stories

This paper introduces Hsu Chao-jung and Tu Nan-shan, two veterans of the Japanese colonial period, to show how the ways in which the memorial museum tells their stories, and how it communicates to the public peace consciousness are challenging research topics having to do with postcolonialism, identity, human rights and peace. The memorial museum is burdened with the responsibility to tie together the people, events and artifacts that make up the main threads of these stories so as to enable the visitor to understand the events and objects presented by the museum from a variety of perspectives, as well as the huge significance of the cultural memory that they convey. So the memorial museum is tasked with “trying to understand how formation of such identities reconstruct or redefine historical events, and the methods by which individuals imagine the political possibilities.” (Ching:11)

The degree of complexity of the publicly commemorated event transcending borders now goes beyond the past, the most extreme example of this being the 911 event inNew Yorkand its memorialization. The memorial museum’s globalization has laid bare questions that keep coming up from time to time (all the more so for the mobile transnational crowds visiting these globalized museums). What is being commemorated? Why must we commemorate it? In whose name is it being commemorated? Can the past which has already been lost be regained for contemporary society by the act of memorializing? What is being added for the present, and for the future? And, with the memorial museums produced in the course of memorializing, what sort of social and cultural significance is being represented?

This paper takes the position that the memorial museum, which has a responsibility to educate for peace, must provide the space for the meeting of mutually contending voices and the wounds they suffered while living. (Sennett 2006: 16) For the contemporary memorial museum of the 21st century, this idea provides a useful reference point for management philosophy: is the memorializing institution a museum space of mutual conflict and effective expression? Both internally and externally, the terms “mutual conflict and effective expression” signify that the narrative-telling perspective of the memorial museum and the understanding of the audience bring disparate fixed reference points of recognition, so how are the two sides to effectively communicate so as to fully communicate their individual points of view, their clashing voices? In Taiwan, whether memorial museums which have been through the history of the 20th century, not to mention the national human rights museums of the future, all face the problem of having to bring together what was cast asunder, which ties in with the historical narrative of nation and people as subject, as in the cases of cultural memory raised here.

When the history of the relationship between Taiwan and Japan is contemplated from the angle of the international exchange between memorial museums, we see from the two examples raised by this paper that the mutual influence latent in the transnational cultural reciprocity awaits the introduction by the museums in each country of notions of “human rights” and “peace” into international exchange, that they may discover more intimately the individuals, records and objects that run through these stories, and how these threads provide a research basis for promoting even better mutual understanding. (Translated the original Chinese by Lynn Miles Translation)




戶曉輝譯、法拉和帕特森(Patricia Fara and Karalyn Patterson)著,2006。記憶。北京:華夏出版社。





【Leo T. S. CHING, Becoming “Japanese”: ColonialTaiwanand the Politics of Identity Formation. 】













【Memorial Museum, Memory Study and Transitional Justice: From International Experiences toGreenIslandHumanRightsCulturePark. 】



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Memorial Parks and Sites - Potential World Cultural Heritage

Green Island Human Rights Memorial Park bears witness to real human rights abuses that took place in the Asian islands of the Western Pacific during the Cold War era of the 20th century. Taiwan also represents an unusually long-running martial law period. Now it represents the successful third wave of democratization in the second half of the 20th century, one which saw Taiwan become a model for emerging democratic nations. This has great significance for the development of democratic civilizations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Robben Island, South Africa.

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The end of martial law and the beginning of Taiwan’s democratization

It is impossible to calculate the number of Taiwan citizens who were killed during the February 28 Incident of 1947. During the long White Terror period that followed, the blood of innumerable people of integrity, both local Taiwanese and post-war evacuees from the mainland, was shed at the execution grounds of the race track, with more taking their place in the fight for human rights. Four decades later, in February 1987, Cheng Nan-jung, who had been born the year of the February 28 Incident, pushed for justice. As riot police lined the streets, he toured the island giving speeches and holding marches, appealing for a redress of historical wrongs and the release of political prisoners.

15 July 1987 march calling for the lifting of martial law. (photo by Liu Chen-hsiang)

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Amnesty International: a long-time initiator of global rescue efforts

Amnesty International (AI) was founded in the UK in 1961, and grew quickly in the 1970s. The organization won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for its outstanding contributions to world human rights. Secretary-general Martin Ennals visited Taiwan twice in 1969 and 1970 in his search for information on political prisoners, and brought the political prisoner list compiled in the detention center to the outside world. 

From the left, Chen Chu, Tien Chu-Chin, Japanese Professor sent by AI, and Yu Deng-fa. In the mirror was Linda Gail Arrigo, who took this picture in 1979 during the trial of Yu Deng-fa.

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