Japanese War Memorial in Alor Setar


By Contested Histories Initiative

In 1941, Japan occupied Malaysia in the context of World War II. That same year, they built a stone monument in Alor Setar to honour three Japanese soldiers who were killed while securing the city’s bridge to cut off Allied troops. The restoration of the memorial in 2019, officiated by the State Tourism Department and funded by the Japanese authorities, sparked anger from many Chinese Malaysians following the use of the word ‘heroes,’ which glorified the Japanese soldiers who were part of the Japanese Occupation of Malaya from 1941-1945. Three days after its launch, the state government removed the information board bearing the term. While the detractors demanded the demolition of the memorial, the state government refused, citing city tourism as the main factor. This case analyses the dynamics and contestations that provoked the restoration of the neglected monument.

For the case study click here.