06 March 2006

Shinto Shrines in Korea

From the Nakdong to the Yalu comes word that a few of the many Shinto shrines built by the Japanese in Korea are still intact.
I was researching a photo exhibit on the history of modern Korean architecture to be held at the Ilmin Museum of Art through April 16 when I came across a rather astonishing photograph of an intact Shinto shrine in Pohang. Having assumed, wrongly it would seem, that all of Korea’s Shinto shrines had been promptly destroyed upon Liberation, I was rather surprised to see some lived on, albeit in functions quite different from those for which they were intended.

As of June 1945, the Japanese had built over 1,000 Shinto shrines in Korea, including 77 jinja and two imperial jingu, including the massive Chosen-jingu, which the Japanese Government-General kindly plopped on the slopes of Namsan [in the middle of Seoul].

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