In dangerous :the undead empire we travel through the remains of Japanese imperial architecture, urban design, industrial zones, former Shinto shrines, and environmental exploitation in Taiwan, South Korea, China and Singapore to tell the stories of how these spaces, structures and artifacts of the empire have been managed to both contain and harness the danger they present to the present. We look at how buildings, roads, squares, shrine spaces, and the things that filled these spaces continue to create realities in Asia today just as they did more than 70 years ago.
: dangerous story | Cultural Heritage No. 52
In 2008, the city government of Seoul prepared to demolish the Japanese art-deco building that had served as city hall since 1926 when Seoul was Keijo, the capital city of Japan's empire in Korea. A new building was needed and the municipal government thought the building still emitted Japanese power. A large number of South Koreans protested and called for preservation of the building as part of South Korea's historical heritage. A great public debate broke out between Koreans who thought the Japanese imperial building dangerous and those who found it harmless. The preservationists won out. The Japanese building was preserved as Cultural Heritage No. 52 and turned into the city library. But the city contracted Yoo Kerl of iArc to design and build a new green glass and steel city hall right behind and above the old building. Yoo Kerl's design evokes a tidal wave about to topple onto the Japanese imperial building and sweep it away. The ongoing debates in South Korea about demolition or preservation of Japanese imperial remains are outgrowths of historical tensions between collaboration and resistance to the Japanese Empire in Korea.