Inscribing the Legacy of Japanese Imperialism in The Garden of Evening Mists
This chapter interrogates the strategies of remembering and forgetting traumatic memories of Japanese occupation described in Tan’s The Garden of Evening Mists. It also examines how the female protagonist Teoh Yun Ling remembers her days spent in a secret Japanese prison camp when she is losing herself to dementia. Tan borrows from the techniques of building a Japanese garden, shakkei, to demonstrate how the heroine borrows language from flowers to recount her culpable past. When Yun Ling comes to realize that her Yugiri is not just a haven but also trauma in disguise and the inscription of the legacy of Japanese imperialism, she will soon recuperate from the suffering caused by her traumatic memories and regain what she has lost in the act of violence.