The Kaohsiung City Government signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Sado City Government on July 27, allowing the bronze portrait sculpture of Teijiro Yamamoto by late Taiwanese sculptor Huang Tu-shui (黃土水) to be returned to Taiwan.
Those present at the signing ceremony included ROC representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and Sado Mayor Ryugo Watanabe (渡邊龍五). Hsieh said that through the collaborative effort of the Taiwan Cultural Center in Tokyo and Taiwanese dancer Motoko Wakabayashi (若林素子), who currently resides in Sado city, the Sado City Government eventually agreed to return the bronze statue to Kaohsiung City. The portrait statue of Teijiro Yamamoto by Huang Tu-shui is a precious gift that symbolizes the friendship between Taiwan and Japan, and the statue is able to return to Taiwan due to the goodwill of the officials and people of both nations, Hsieh added.
Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te pointed out that the return of the sculpture is part of the Reconstruction of Taiwan's Art History Project put forth by the Ministry. In 2020, the bust of Teijiro Yamamoto was delivered to Taiwan for restoration and replication; and now, the return of the bronze statue is considered an important piece of recovering Taiwan’s cultural memory.
According to the Taiwan Cultural Center in Tokyo, the bronze statue will undergo restoration and be stored at the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts. The museum will also make replicas of the sculpture to be exhibited at Mano Park in Sado City, Ciaotou Sugar Refinery in Kaohsiung City, and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts.
Widely regarded as one of the most prominent sculptors of Taiwan's modern era, Huang Tu-shui was the first modern sculptor from Taiwan to study Western sculpture at the Tokyo Fine Arts School in Japan, as well as the first Taiwanese artist whose works were selected—four times altogether—for the Japanese Imperial Art Exhibition. He was favored by the Japanese imperial family and people in political and business circles, who had asked him to make busts or small animal sculptures on commission, including the bronze statue of Teijiro Yamamoto.