Historically, Taiwan was colonized by the Dutch, Spanish, Han, Manchu, Japanese, and Chinese. The rise and fall of different political entities on the island have left behind traces of governance in varying degrees. Despite the freedom and democracy in today’s Taiwan, the ideologies embedded in historical remains continue to influence our sense of self and perception of Taiwan.
This project aims to document Chinese Martyrs’ Shrines, formerly Japanese Shinto shrines, and their relations to all kinds of communities, ethnicities in Taiwan. It attempts to underscore the conflicts in the arena: between the dead and the living, between the sacred and the secular, and between national history and democratic values. The relational tensions between Chinese Martyrs’ Shrines and Taiwanese people, as well as the contemporary significance of Chinese Martyrs’ Shrine in the context of transitional justice, will be thus explored.
On a personal level, I wonder what it means to be a Taiwanese today? How does one’s national consciousness come into being? What is the relationship between the historical figures memorized in Chinese Martyrs’ Shrines and I? How long does it take to be acknowledged as a Taiwanese? What are the values contained in the idea of Taiwanese, and how do they shape me as a person, and our future?