Friday, April 24, 2009

A Few Posts on Keelung III – The Monument to Prince Kitashirakawa






Before moving on to other things a couple of posts about a recent trip to Keelung in Taiwan to get out of the way. Today the small monument to the Japanese Prince Kitashirakawa. It’s hidden just slightly back from the road that runs around the base of the old Ershawan Fort.


Kitshirakawa (1847-1895) was the 2nd head of a collateral branch of the Japanese imperial family and a professional soldier who had been trained in Germany. After the outbreak of the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, he was transferred to the elite IJA 1st Division and participated in the Taiwan Expedition of 1874. During the invasion, he contracted malaria and died outside of Tainan. This meant that Prince Kitashirakawa was the first member of the Japanese imperial family known to have died outside of Japan, and the first (in modern times) to have died in war.


The monument itself was erected in 1933 by the Japanese to commemorate their “conquest of Taiwan”. It has been restored now and has some pretty complete guides placed alongside to explain its history. It seems (understandably perhaps being in an obscure location and being Japanese) rarely visited now but remains in a small garden. To be honest I stumbled across it walking from the French Cemetery mentioned the other day back into town.




A Few Posts on Keelung I - The Keelung Harbour Integrated Administration Building

A Few Posts on Keelung II – The Cimetière Française de Kilung
A Few Posts on Keelung VI - Ershawan Fort



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