Skip to main content

Maestro Series VI: Kishu An Forest of Literature

  • Date:2018-10-18
Maestro Series VI: Kishu An Forest of Literature

 Japanese restaurant turned literary forest 


Located alongside the green banks of Xindian River, Kishu An was once a restaurant established in 1917 that served Kanto cuisine and Japanese geisha performances, a dormitory of the post-war government during the 1950s, the publishing stronghold of Taipei during the 1970s, and the childhood home of author Wang Wen-hsing (王文興). 


Many early pictures of Kishu An exist today, as visitors photographed their experiences with the restaurant’s fine dishes and dance performances. Operated by the same clan for three generations, the three-story venue offered among its many attractions, a sunset view of the Xindian River, a selection of fresh river catch, boat rides, and fishing expeditions. 


Those days ended upon the Pacific War's encroachment. Kishu An suspended operations and later served as a makeshift wartime hospital and a post-war detainment center for holding Japanese nationals awaiting repatriation. The family left, the main building went from dormitory to high rise, and the riverside remained a popular recreation destination until pollution and sediment dissuaded crowds and the region was left to be lost to time. 


However, Kishu An featured prominently in many of the literary and poetic works of authors Wang Wen-xing (王文興), Yu Kwang-chung (余光中), Shu Kuo-chih (舒國治), and Wang Sheng-hong (王盛弘). Their fictional and personal depictions of the Japanese-era establishment brought back many common memories and stirred up civic sentiments that eventually paved the way for the revitalization of Kishu An as a literary forest in 2014.