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The near-completed Syonan Jinja in 1942
|Date established||May 7, 1942|
|Destroyed||August 15, 1945|
|Glossary of Shinto|
Syonan Jinja (昭南神社 Shōnan Jinja, lit. "Shōnan Shrine") was a former Shinto shrine at MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore. Built by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore in World War II, the shrine was destroyed when the British forces re-occupied Singapore. The National Heritage Board declared the site a Historic Site in 2002, although no plans have been made public to develop or to protect the site.
The Syonan Jinja (Light of the South Shrine) was envisioned to be a shrine that commemorated the many Japanese soldiers and military personnel who fell in the Japanese conquest of Singapore. Major Yasuji Tamura, the commander of the Japanese 5th Division’s Engineers Regiment and the man in-charge of the design and the construction of the Syonan Jinja, planned that the shrine would be the best Shinto shrine in the whole of the southern areas of Asia (under Japanese occupation). It was also to be the second-greatest shrine of the Shinto faith after the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan.
Just before Japan officially surrendered on 15 August in 1945, they burnt and destroyed the shrine to the ground in fear of its desecration by the returning British forces.
The ruins of Syonan Jinja (down to a few remaining support structures and broken pieces and chunks) can still be found in the dense tropical forest of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, in which includes the MacRitchie Reservoir. The remnants of the old shrine were designated as a historical site by the National Heritage Board (NHB) in 2002. However, the historical site remains highly inaccessible to the public, being located on a steep hillside and being quite far from the nearest jungle trail (Tenterang Trail).
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