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

The Temple Regulation Movement: Island-wide Accomplishments

The experience of successful resistance to temple restructuring in Jilong was not shared by Taiwanese communities everywhere. A few examples of the from the southern half of Taiwan indicate that colonial officials in some regions met their goal of complete suppression, or came close to it. In Gangshan County (then called Okayama), near to Gaoxiong, the government abolished all Taiwanese temples in 1939 and diverted their resources to the county shrine, which in turn established a number of new Shinto institutions. In the city of Tainan, the municipal government closed all temples and used the resources to fund educational projects. Nevertheless, implementation of the policy varied widely across Taiwan's prefectures, ranging from a high of ninety-three percent in Taidong in the southeast, to over fifty percent in both Tainan and Gaoxiong prefectures, but only seven percent in Taibei. Of the northern cities, neither Jilong nor Danshui witnessed a single closure. The reasons for this vast disparity are unclear; perhaps colonial authorities saw temples in the south as a greater threat to their rule, or thought it would prove too disruptive in the urban north, where most Japanese lived. It is also possible that many of these instances of restructuring occurred in name only. In any event, the successes—from a Japanese perspective—were of short duration even where they occurred.

The map above indicates the differential rates at which the colonial government was able to implement the policies of the Temple Regulation Movement in various cities and counties across Taiwan.

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