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Fongyi Academy

  • Publish Date:2023-09-04

Chinese Name: 鳳儀書院 

Address: No. 62, Fengming St., Fengshan Dist., Kaohsiung City

Established: 1814

Official Website:

Did You Know?

Fongyi Academy, located in Fengshan District (鳳山區), Kaohsiung City, is the largest and most complete Qing Dynasty academy still in existence in Taiwan. It has been carefully restored by the Kaohsiung City Cultural Bureau, preserving its original historical appearance. The academy showcases various exhibits, including portraits of historical figures, experiences of the Qing Dynasty imperial examination system, the history of Fongyi Academy, and a model of Fengshan New City, presenting a fresh new look to the public.

During the Qing Dynasty, Fengshan County in Taiwan had two cities, Fengshan Old City and Fengshan New City. The construction of Fongyi Academy was prompted by the Lin Shuangwen Rebellion (林爽文事件) of 1786-1788, which left the old city (now Zuoying) in ruins, along with the Pingshan Academy (屏山書院) that had been located there. Therefore, in 1814, Fongyi Academy was established in the new city (now Fengshan) and became the cultural center of the area. The academy was initially funded and initiated by Wu Xing-cheng (吳性承), the magistrate of Fengshan at the time, and later supported by local gentry. The academy was a privately funded educational institution, distinct from official schools, and served as a major place for cultivating talents for the imperial examination system in the Chinese cultural sphere.


In addition to its educational function, Fongyi Academy also served as a place for worship (with a Wen Chang Temple and a Jing Zi Pavilion), examination halls, and a public granary for storing food during times of famine. It was also used as a location for mediating disputes and compiling local records. In the Lin Gong Incident (林恭事件) of 1853, it even served as a temporary military command center. In 1891, a candidate named Lu De-xiang (盧德祥) carried out a major restoration of the academy, which is the only recorded restoration in historical documents.

During the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945), the colonial government vigorously promoted a new educational system, leading to the decline of traditional academies. Fongyi Academy was subsequently used as a branch of the Japanese Army's Tainan Garrison Hospital, a silkworm breeding facility, and the Fengshan County Government dormitory. After World War II, it was taken over by the Kuomintang government, and the land was leased out for residential use. The residents built additional structures and facilities on the premises.

In the 1950s, people from other regions began to move into Fongyi Academy. According to a survey conducted by the Kaohsiung City Cultural Bureau, the longest-standing resident had been living there since the Japanese colonial period. During that time, Japanese-style dormitories were also built there, but they were destroyed by a typhoon in 1977. These residents either built houses on the vacant land or partitioned spaces within the academy itself. While this concealed the appearance of the academy among the additional structures, it also prevented the main building of the academy from collapsing or being damaged.


Due to the presence of tenants, Fongyi Academy became a large mixed-use complex for a period of time. However, due to its cultural heritage value, it was designated as a historic site by the Ministry of the Interior in 1985. After the Kaohsiung City Cultural Bureau obtained land management rights in 2005, it took three years to relocate the tenants and demolish the additional structures. In 2009, the overall restoration of the academy began and was completed in 2013. During the construction period, lost stone tablets mentioned in historical documents were discovered and placed on display in the academy. Inscriptions possibly made by scholars of the academy during the Qing Dynasty were also found on the walls and have been preserved as exhibits.

Qing Dynasty academies in Taiwan typically exhibit a fusion of Confucianism and Taoism, with religious architecture incorporated into the educational space. The architectural style generally follows the Southern Min style, with wooden structures and swallowtail-shaped roof ridges. The walls are mostly made of red bricks and white plaster, and the interior is simple. Partial color paintings on the beams and rafters present an elegant and noble atmosphere. Fongyi Academy follows this architectural pattern. The existing buildings include a spirit screen, main gate, lecture hall, office, and study halls. Although the original granary and Jing Zi Pavilion (敬字亭) no longer exist, some of their foundations can still be seen, marked with cobblestones.

After the restoration of Fongyi Academy, the Cultural Bureau, together with experts, scholars, and community representatives, brainstormed ideas for its reuse. The direction was set to focus on showcasing the academy's original history, functions, and architectural features, as well as highlighting Fengshan County's history. Additional functions such as lectures and community use were also planned to revitalize this oldest and most complete academy in Taiwan.

(Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Cultural Affairs, Kaohsiung City Government)