Syonan Gallery renamed after public outcry

Workers in a cherry picker in the process of covering up the signage for the gallery at the Former Ford Factory building last night. The gallery's new name is Surviving the Japanese Occupation: War and its Legacies.
Workers in a cherry picker in the process of covering up the signage for the gallery at the Former Ford Factory building last night. The gallery's new name is Surviving the Japanese Occupation: War and its Legacies.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

The name of the revamped World War II gallery space at the Former Ford Factory building has been changed, following public feedback that it was insensitive and hurtful.

Yesterday evening, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said that Syonan Gallery: War and its Legacies will now be called Surviving the Japanese Occupation: War and its Legacies.

He said people have shared with him how they were hurt by the words "Syonan Gallery".

"This was never our intention, and I am sorry for the pain the name has caused," he said.

Last night, workers updated the gallery's signage along the road and outside the building in Upper Bukit Timah Road.

Singapore was renamed Syonan-to by Japanese invaders in 1942, following the British surrender. It means "Light of the South".

The surprise move was welcomed by netizens, the heritage community and members of the Chinese community whose family members had been targeted by the Japanese during the war.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2017, with the headline 'Syonan Gallery renamed after public outcry'. Print Edition | Subscribe