Skip to navigation – Site map
Special feature

Transcending Victimhood: Japan in the public historical museums of Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China

Edward Vickers
p. 3


This article looks at how the major national (or pseudo-national) historical museums in China and Taiwan interpret and display very different “new rememberings” of Japan. The main focus is on the permanent exhibitions of the modern history wing of the National Museum of China (NMC; formerly the Museum of the Chinese Revolution), which finally reopened in 2011 after almost a decade of refurbishment, and of the National Museum of Taiwan History (NMTH), which opened in the same year. It discusses how museum portrayals of Japan reflect divergent public discourses on national identity. Through examining the relationship between museums and the apparatus of the Chinese state (ROC and PRC), the first section locates the NMC and NMTH in their bureaucratic and political contexts. A typology of approaches to the construction of national identity is then offered, considering the implications of different conceptions of identity for portrayals of Japan and its relationship with China or Taiwan. The remainder of the article looks in turn at the NMC and NMTH, outlining the history of each before examining how Japan is represented in their permanent exhibitions. It concludes by considering what can be learnt from this about the evolving relationship between official historical discourse and the broader political context on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Top of page


Electronic reference

Edward Vickers, « Transcending Victimhood: Japan in the public historical museums of Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China », China Perspectives [Online], 2013/4 | 2013, Online since 01 December 2016, connection on 27 May 2017. URL :

Top of page

About the author

Edward Vickers

Edward Vickers is Associate Professor in Comparative Education at the Department of Education of Kyushu University.Kyushu University, 6-19-1 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8581, Japan (

By this author

Top of page


© All rights reserved

Top of page