The creative backdrop of this project is based on Tainan Art Museum Building 2’s history as the Hsinchu Shrine, with Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa’s life referenced in recounting the history of Imperial Japan in Taiwan, depicting the empire’s rise and its collapse. Adapting the novel, Taiwan West Coast Line, by Mitsuru Nishikawa, which portrays the Japanese invasion of Taiwan from Imperial Japan’s perspective, the project interprets the image of Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa shaped by the colonial regime and examines his loyalty and the sacrifices he had made for the Meiji government later in his life when Taiwan was ceded to Japan in 1895, with him ultimately died in Tainan due to an illness. The subsequent Moon Over the Ruined Castle is a story written by the artist based on the history of the Kaohsiung Shrine (present day Kaohsiung Martyrs’ Shrine), which at one point in time was where Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa and Emperor Sutoku (who, according to legend, turned into an infamous vengeful spirit after he died) were both commemorated.
The story connects the causes and the consequences of the Empire of Japan’s defeat during World War II with legends of the vengeful spirits of the Boshin War, the Japanese invasion of Taiwan, and also from the later years of the Heian period. It also revisits Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa’s life in his earlier years during the end of the Edo period (also referred to as Bakumatsu), when he received support from the remaining partisans of the Tokugawa shogunate (the last feudal Japanese military government) from the northeastern region of Japan and the Ōuetsu Reppan Dōmei (a Japanese military-political coalition). Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa was made the head of the alliance and named Emperor Tōbu, whereby he fought against the new government led by the imperial family in Kyoto and the Satchō Alliance. The story goes into the first half of Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa’s life, when he was thought of as a political taboo after the Empire of Japan was established. Through a self-written story combined with historical archives, myths and legends, photography and video art formats, the project seeks to use the life of Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa as a blueprint for decrypting the historical codes and ciphers that have arisen from the complex entwining histories of pre-war Taiwan and Japan.