Online ISSN : 2436-0678
Deifying Japanese Spirits of the Dead in Taiwan
A Study of the Intersection between Post-coloniality and Post-imperiality
Yuko Mio
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2024 Volume 3 Pages 1-15


This study examines the quaint phenomenon where the Taiwanese people worship the spirits of their former Japanese colonizers as gods (henceforth referred to as “Japanese gods”). Japanese gods have received little attention in the study of religion in Taiwan. They are rarely featured in books that list Taiwan’s temples and gods and in local chorography. Furthermore, there are only a handful of research papers on Japanese gods. This study investigates the phenomenon of deifying Japanese spirits from three aspects. First, it extracts common features of 36 different Japanese gods from the 49 identified temples. The research group organized by the author is the first to clarify the complete picture of Japanese gods after conducting comprehensive field research. Second, the reason why the Japanese are enshrined as gods in Taiwan is studied by comparing the abovementioned characteristics with those of the gods in Taiwanese folk beliefs. Finally, Japanese gods are analyzed in relation to Japanese colonial rule. The belief that enshrines the Japanese spirits is an arena where the post-coloniality of Taiwanese people and the post-imperiality of Japanese people intersect and negotiate with each other’s diverse assessments and recognition of Japan.

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© 2024 Keio University Faculty of Letters, Department of Asian History
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