13. Sinicization, Japanization, and Taiwanification at the Stone Gate battlefield

The Relics of Modern Japan's First Foreign War in Colonial and Postcolonial Taiwan, 1874-2015

13. Sinicization, Japanization, and Taiwanification at the Stone Gate battlefield

Sources: Left: Photograph by Lin Yu-ju, courtesy of the photographer. Right: Photograph by the curator, June 2015.

The 1936 Saigō tower and the Loyal Spirits Monument  have undergone significant change in the postwar era. In 1953, the the new government changed the tower’s lettering to a phrase extolling the “retrocession” of Taiwan to Chinese rule. They implemented this repurposing during the height of Kuomintang efforts to “Sinicize” the island. In a different turn, the red-painted graffiti Taiwan minzu (Taiwanese people) had been added by 2005. This assertion of Taiwanese ethnicity on a Kuomintang monument is not surprising in the climate of the early 2000s, which saw the first non- Kuomintang administrations in power since Japanese rule. By 2014, these red letters had been sandblasted off the monument, though traces remain visible. The “monument to loyal soldiers” on the right survived for some time into the postwar era (see frame 12), but has long since been toppled and apparently lost forever.