Skip to main content

Judicial Yuan of the Republic of China, Taipei (Formerly God of War Temple)

When the Japanese established their rule in Taiwan, they set about the task of transforming the face of the city. Architecture had a political and social function. The Japanese constructed edifices that symbolised modernity, power, and efficiency. Their architecture reflected the Japanese desire to emulate the West, its technology, institutions, and way of life. As I mentioned in a previous post, Western-style buildings also had an important psychological function: They showed that Japan  was equal to the West. Western-style buildings were to the Japanese what skyscrapers are to us nowadays - symbols of power, technological and social progress, and of status in the global community.


The Judicial Yuan (司法院),  completed in 1934

Upon their capture of Taipei the Japanese found a city built according to traditional Chinese patterns. There were gates, city walls, yamens (offices of imperial administrators), temples, and so on. While in some areas this kind of buildings remained untouched, in other areas, especially in the government district, the Japanese tore most of them down and created an entirely new colonial capital. 

An example of this urban restructuring was the High Court. Nowadays, this is the seat of the Judicial Yuan (司法院). It is located right next to the Office of the President, and opposite Jieshou Park. 

Until the 1920s, instead of the High Court you would have seen a completely different type of construction: the Temple of the Chinese God of War, Guangong. Nowadays few people realise that prior to the Japanese colonial era a great part of the government district was full of Qing Dynasty buildings. Where the Office of the President now stands, there was an ancestral hall (宗祠); Taipei First Girls High School was a Temple of Confucius (文廟); National Taiwan Museum was a Tianhou Temple (天后宮); Zhongshan Hall was the seat of the Qing Taiwan Provincial Yamen (布政使司) etc. (see Zhuang Yongming: Old Taipei Streets [莊永明: 台北古街]. Taipei 2012, p. 2).




The Temple of Guangong was demolished by the Japanese in 1929, and the new building was completed in 1934. The structure was designed by Japanese architect Ide Kaoru (1879-1944), who also designed other famous landmarks of Taipei, such as National Taiwan University and Zhongshan Hall. The High Court was built with reinforced concrete bricks, a new technique that had already been used for the Office of the governor-general. The style of the construction is a singular mix of Byzantine, Arabic, and Renaissance elements. Remarkable is the octagonal tower, a feature of Japanese imperial architecture. After its completion, the High Court was, along with the Office of the govenor-general, one of the tallest buildings in Taipei, a sort of skyscraper of that time (note).

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Rumours About Chinese Actress Fan Bingbing's Arrest Spread Online

Rumours about the arrest of Chinese model and actress Fan Bingbing on charges of tax evasion have spread on Chinese media.
As Apple Daily reports, celebrity Fan Bingbing and her younger brother Fan Chengcheng have allegedly been detained for taking part in a tax evasion scheme alongside her manager, Mu Xiaoguang.
Mu has also allegedly been charged with destroying incriminating evidence.

On May 28 TV anchor Cui Yongyuan posted on Weibo a contract that showed Fan Bingbing being paid $1.56 million (RMB10 million) for four days’ work on director Feng Xiaogang's film “Cell Phone 2.” 

Later Cui released another contract worth $7.8 million (RMB50 million) for the same work. He alleged that Fan had declared to tax authorities only the first contract, thus avoiding to pay taxes on the second, larger amount. 

Double-contracts for the purpose of tax evasion are known in China as "yin-yang contracts". 

Although the Chinese government censored Cui's posts, in early June China's t…

Why Liberals Should Embrace Fair Trade, Debate Role Of Tariffs

On the latest episode of Last Week Tonight, comedian John Oliver made fun of Donald Trump's tariffs and mocked him for not understanding how free trade works.  
Oliver noted that tariffs are paid by importers and typically passed along to US consumers, leading to higher prices. Tariffs could cost the US hundreds of thousands of jobs, Oliver argued. 
Trade deficits "aren't actually always bad, and many economists believe, for very complex reasons involving savings rates and the dollar's special status as the world's reserve currency, that America's trade balance might be more or less where it should be," he said.
Oliver argued that "the overwhelming consensus among economists is that trade between countries generally speaking can create jobs, lower costs, and be a net benefit to both nations." 
But is John Oliver right?

We shall argue that although Trump's tariffs lack a clear strategy and are therefore not the right path for the US, tariffs…

Taipei Walking Tours - A Guide To Taipei In 6 Days

Taiwan is one of the most underrated tourist destinations in Asia. With about 10.74 million tourists in 2017, it lags behind Asian neighbours like Thailand (35 million), Hong Kong (58 million), Japan (28.7 million), or Indonesia (14 million).
Nevertheless, Taiwan is a great place to visit due to its amazing food, fascinating history, traditional Chinese culture, friendly atmosphere, safety, and natural attractions. Moreover, Taiwan has a very convenient visa policy. Citizens of many countries, including the United States and most European Union members, can travel to Taiwan without a visa and stay there for up to 90 days. You can literally buy a plane ticket and go to Taiwan without doing any paperwork.    
If you travel to Taiwan, your first destination will probably be the capital and largest city: Taipei.




Taipei is the political and economic centre of the island, with lots of attractions ranging from modern skyscrapers and shopping centres to night markets, colonial Japanese architect…