Controversial Museum Name

Published on 14 February 2017

Photo: National Library Board

The revamped museum at the former Ford Factory – Syonan Gallery – has had many members of the public questioning its name. Because “Syonan” was the Japanese occupiers’ name for Singapore during World War II, they deem it potentially offensive to those who lived through the Japanese Occupation from 1942 – 1945. The National Library Board (NLB) explained its decision for this name by stating, “The period when Singapore was known as Syonan was a very important part of our history. The new name of the gallery reminds us how brittle our sovereignty can be as Singapore lost not only its freedom, but also its name during the Japanese Occupation. It is a sombre reminder not to take our peace and harmony for granted, and to appreciate the need to defend ourselves.”


Scroll Up