The self-portraits of the tortured modern art icon, in particular, were refashioned by the artists in China and Japan to establishing the new techniques and expression that suited the ‘Eastern modern’. The language of van Gogh was translated into the Neo-Realist and Proletarian Art among the Chinese art groups when the tension between the Sino-Japanese relations gradually built up around the January 28 Incident (1932) in Shanghai. Focusing on the art of Tan Ting-pho (Chen Chengpo, 1895-1947) who was born in Japanese-occupied Taiwan, educated in Japan and worked with the avant-garde art groups in China at the time of turbulence, this paper seeks to question how he and the fellow-artists represented their ideal of modern art through the alternative attributes to van Gogh? How did Tan Ting-pho and other Taiwanese artists who worked and lived in China situate themselves, especially after the Japanese attacked Shanghai in 1932? Based on the discoveries of Tan Ting-pho’s sketches and archive, this study aims to look into the adaptations of van Gogh’s portraits and to discuss how such bloodless interpretations later triggered the censorship in art.