2011年1月5日 星期三

Taiwan Jinja 台灣神社

Most old-time residents of Taipei remember that the best known hotel in the city, the Grand Hotel 圓山大飯店, was built in 1952 on the same site where 台灣神社 was once located. This and the Tainan Jinja were the two highest level shrines that honored 北白川宮能久親王, among other major Japanese deities. [Note: The Grand Hotel was rebuilt in 1973 into a yellow and crimson 14-story palace which was damaged by fire in 1995; it underwent extensive renovation and re-opened for business in 1998.]

A huge collection of pictures of 台灣神社 can be found in the Taipics.com website. Two of them are shown below, you can see the torii (gateway to the jinja grounds), the bridge over Keelung River - the 明治橋 (中山Chung Shan Bridge after the war), and the street leading up to it - the 敕使街道 (later the Chung Shan N Road):

To the left of the taxis was the old Yuan-shan Zoo. Notice the bike riders traveled on the left side of the street.

And a bird's eye view of the whole complex is captured in this painting:The shrine complex was further expanded in the 1940s. In 1942, the 台灣護國神社 (Taiwan Gokoku Jinja) was built on the 劍潭 side. This would become the Martyrs' Shrine after the war. The original Jinja seen above was promoted to the palatial status to 台灣神宮 in 1944, and a new hall was constructed next to the old jinja. It was to be dedicated in Dec of the same year; instead, it burned down shortly before on Oct 25, when an airliner crashed near it while trying to land in the Matsuyama 松山Airport. Many would see this as an omen foretelling the downfall of the Japan Empire. It was never rebuilt and Japan surrendered 10 months later. This site is now a radio station.

The imposition of the Shindoism onto [some would argue that this was accepted voluntarily by] the Taiwanese went into high gear in the 1940s and the shrines served as the spiritual centers. Worshiping at the shrines was integrated into school activities. Many had their wedding ceremonies conducted at these shrines. They were also the favorite sites for the touring public. After the war, most jinjas were dismantled. The recent interests in preserving these shrines and artifacts (e.g., stone lions, bronze horses, and stone lanterns - ishidoros) came from the realization that the Japanese did share a common past, however briefly, with the Taiwanese. Marc of Taipics.com has sent this photo of an ishidoro on display at the Flowers Expo (for more, see here) - a remnant of the past except the light bulb, a gratuitous addition:

There are strict rules, etiquette and proper attires for attending ceremonies at Taiwan Jinja:

Some photo records are highly personal. Here we have three generations of Tansui-jin/Danshui-ren celebrating the wedding of Mr Hirokawa and his bride, Miss Harada:

[This photo of 廣川 bride and groom (couple in front center), family and guests was taken on May 20, 1939, at Taiwan Jinja 台灣神社 - kindly provided by Hirokawa's son.]

The groom, Mr Hirokawa, had taught at 淡水公學校 [now Danshui Elementary School]. Among the guests were the School Principal, Mr Matsuda松田 (right-hand side of groom) and the Mayor of Tansui/Danshui, Mr Nakahara中原 (second from right, front row).

15 則留言:

  1. Very interesting. Thank you for taking the time to make this post.

    If you look closely at the left side of the first photo, it appears that the ishidoro in the later photograph remains in the exact same spot as 70+ years ago. I guess they forgot about this one while dismantling the Jinja.


  2. My pleasure.

    I agree, that one has somehow escaped the destruction.

  3. Here are a few more links to share on the Taipei Jenja:


  4. Add: I found the dog statues mentioned in one of the articles using Google Earth. The angle is not the best, but if interested you may find the photos at the bottom of this page:


  5. Add again (sorry~): There are 3 old photos of the dog statues on the taipics page you linked to.


    I've walked past these statues many times and had no idea they were part of the original Japanese Jinja.

  6. Hi Marc,

    Thanks for the links. Indeed the history of Taiwan (not Taipei) Jinja in Yuan-shan is well-known - very interesting details in http://tinyurl.com/4alo5ww that you have provided.

    BTW, 狛犬 (komainu) = a lion-dog, not a dog. It originated from Tang Dynasty stone lions. Guess no one saw a real lion in Japan at that time, plus the komainu was already part of the culture (in chess games), so they imitated the Tang stone lion but called it a dog instead.

  7. Hello Eyedoc, as a last follow-up, I would like to add that I believe the two bronze (copper?) cattle statues that were mentioned in the ( http://tinyurl.com/4zjzzor ) article linked above, are the two that are now located near the front entrance of the Taipei City New Park Exhibition Hall. I posted four Google Earth pics to the bottom of the same: http://taipics.com/ishiroro.php


  8. P.S. On the last link posted above, I superimposed an old 1945 US Army map of the Taiwan Jinja on top of the current Google Earth Grand Hotel image. (not high quality, I can make it nicer if need be). It gives some idea of where the exact location was of the Jinja.

  9. Hi Marc,

    Thanks for the beautifully done composite map. I have also put a link to your ishidoro page.

    You are right, those two bronze cattles were relocated from Taiwan Jinja. The inscriptions and maps on them have been partially erased to mask their origin: One was from Manchuria and the other a local donation.

  10. I've heard that a WWII Japanese command center was built underneath the shrine. Is there anything to this?

    I like the old picture of the taxis and the Yuan-shan Zoo. I never knew there was a zoo there. I'm guessing the taxis are the green cars with the yellow roofs (are those American cars?). You have a date for it?

    My wife can't stand the Grand Hotel. She says it's ugly, that it's the ultimate symbol in Taipei of KMT imperialism. Wonder if you'll post up on it someday. It's a bit out of the realm of Danshui, but not by far. Surely there is some sort of link.

  11. A command center? Not likely. In fact, no. A shrine is a shrine, sacred grounds. You maybe thinking of the caves and tunnels near the NTU campus.

    Yuanshan Zoo was quite popular even after the war. There was also a "Children's Paradise" to its right by the river, complete with swimming pools and rides.

    There was a giant gorilla at the Zoo which was euthanized when the American came to bomb the city. It was later taxidermatized and made into a display. We used to look at it in awe.

    I am not sure about the model and make of the taxis. Probably German-made.

    I was at the Grand Hotel a couple of months ago. Its cavernous front hall looked quite dilapidated. For a while, it was the only luxury hotel in Taipei fit to receive visiting heads of states. The symbolism is long faded; although it still sticks out like a sore thumb. I may post something in the future.

  12. EyeDoc, I posted two photos of a large orangutan at the old Taipei city zoo near the bottom of this page. I wonder if it was the "gorilla" that you mentioned?



  13. Gee Marc,

    I am so surprised to see the gorilla "living" in its cage. I have not seen these pictures before. Thank you very much.

    And the elephants too, they did survive the war.

  14. "caves and tunnels" near the NTU campus? I'd like to know where those were. Were they on the mountain where the mountain where the water reservoir is?

  15. Off 基隆路, beyond 台大農場, at the foot of the hills.