Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian History

The Chenghuang Temple: Reopening and Renovation after 1895

Jilong was one of the first places occupied by Japan's military in early June 1895, after just a day or two of armed resistance. The Japanese armed forces, under the leadership of Prince Kitashirakawa no Miya Yoshihisa, commandeered the Chenghuang and Dianji Temples for their barracks. In addition to halting the observance of all religious festivals and closing native temples, the colonial authorities made the premises unusable by Taiwanese residents due to their occupation. Indeed, here and elsewhere Japanese troops damaged the temple buildings or the idols of the resident deities, or both. However, the military occupation and closure did not last long. The Government-General needed the troops elsewhere—resistance proved to be much stronger in the south of the island—and colonial authorities changed their minds about local temples within about a year. The advocacy, even unrest, of Taiwanese seems to have influenced the thinking of Government-General officials. Outbreaks of disease—cholera, plague, malaria—followed the arrival of Japanese rule, and an outcry emerged, in Jilong and elsewhere, to allow the worship of protective deities such as Chenghuang Ye and a number of plague gods. In July 1897, Jilong residents restored the City God idol in their temple and held a festival in his honor, with offerings of melons, chickens, ducks, pigs, and sheep, to restore his protection to their streets and homes.

Continue along this pathway to explore more of Jilong's pre-colonial sacred geography. Or click here to return to the module landing page to choose another itinerary.

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