The error on a signboard for the Japanese monument located at the Kedah State Museum has garnered the criticism of netizens for “glorifying” Japanese soldiers.
One particular netizen said that the act of placing a monument in Malaysia is similar to putting up a monument in Pearl Harbour for the Japanese pilots that died there. He added that this monument should be “taken down”.
The word wira (which means heroes), was mistakenly printed due to a translated version from the information provided by the Consulate of Japan. The uproar in the online community was because netizens criticised the government for the wording associated with Japanese soldiers who they deemed as “invaders”.
The signboard has since been taken down, and for the error to be amended. According to The Star, State Youth and Sports, Tourism, Arts and Culture, and Entrepreneurship Development Committee chairman Mohd Asmirul Anuar Aris apologised for the error and highlighted that although the soldiers who lost their lives during World War II are seen as “heroes” to the Japanese, to Malaysians “they are regarded as colonialists“.
The monument was built in 1941, before World War II ended, but was recently rehabilitated. The three Japanese soldiers were said to be those who attempted to blow up the Alor Setar Bridge. However, it is also deemed as a popular tourist site for travellers.
The state of Kedah spans approximately the northern part of the Peninsular and together with Perlis, Perak and Kelantan, also sharing a common border with neighbouring Thailand. The state is known as the “rice bowl of Malaysia” where its rice plains together with Perlis produce more than half of the country’s home grown rice supply, while its capital is Alor Setar.