Isaac Meyer

Historian, teacher, podcaster

Tag: China

Episode 257 – The Bookseller

This week, we cover the life and legacy of one of the great bridges between Japan and China — the Christian bookseller of Shanghai, Uchiyama Kanzo.

Sources

Keavaney, Christopher. Beyond Brushtalk: Sino-Japanese Literary Exchange in the Interwar Period.

Shih, Shu-mei. The Lure of the Modern: Writing Modernism in Semicolonial China, 1917-1937.

Minchello, Sharon, ed. Japan’s Competing Modernities: Issues in Culture and Democracy, 1900-1930.

A podcast by Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies on the Lu Xun-Uchiyama Kanzo friendship.

Images

Uchiyama Kanzo in 1953.

To give you an idea of how big a deal Lu Xun was and is in China, here is a People’s Republic of China Party Congress taking place beneath a banner of him. His works remain mandatory reading for most middle and upper schools in China.

Lu Xun (left) and Uchiyama Kanzo, c. 1933.

The location of the Uchiyama Bookstore on Sichuan Road, c. 2018.

A gathering at the Uchiyama Bookstore in 1936. From left to right: Lu Xun,Huang Xinbo, Cao Bai, Bai Wei, and Chen Yanqiao. Courtesyt of the Harvard Yenching Library collection of Sha Fei’s photos.

 

Episode 255 – The Beautiful Island, Part 4

This week, we close out our time with Taiwan with a look at its return to the Republic of China, and at the modern day relationship between the “renegade province” and Japan.

Sources

This fascinating Wall Street Journal article on the legacy of Japanese colonialism, as well as the early days of Republican rule.

Roy, Denny. Taiwan: A Political History.

Morris, Paul, et al. Imaginging Japan in Post-War East Asia

Rubinstein, Murray. Taiwan: A New History.

Images

A commemorative photo of the events of Retrocession Day, as the October 25, 1945 surrender ceremony is sometimes called.

Taiwanese greet troops from the mainland, 1945.

Rioters attack the Monopoly Bureau of the Taiwanese government during the 2-28 Incident.

Today, Taipei’s largest park is known as 2-28 Park, and has a memorial to the events of 1947 inside.

A 2016 documentary, Wansei Back Home, talks about the lives of Wansei (Taiwan-born Japanese) after their repatriation to Japan.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and President Tsai Ing-wen, 2016. The mutual threat of the PRC has drawn Japan and Taiwan closer together in recent years.

 

Episode 254 – The Beautiful Island, Part 3

This week, Japan’s attempt to assimilate Taiwan finds some success, and one big stumbling block: the Musha Incident, the last and largest rebellion against Japanese rule on the island. Plus, the beginnings of Taiwan’s mobilization for war.

Sources

Roy, Denny. Taiwan: A Political History.

Ching, Leo. T.S. Becoming “Japanese”: Colonial Taiwan and the Politics of Identity Formation. 

Rubinstein, Murray A. Taiwan: A New History.

Barclay, Paul D. Outcasts of Empire: Japan’s Rule on Taiwan’s “Savage Border,” 1874-1945.

Images

The flag of Chiang Wei-shui’s Taiwanese People’s Party. The similarities to the flag of the mainland’s Guomindang — the blue and red background, the white sun — were intentional, and likely were a factor in Japanese reluctance to cave into demands from a party that wanted to align itself with Chinese nationalism.

Taiwanese intellectuals in Tokyo petition for the right for a democratically elected assembly in 1924.

Musha village, Ren’ai Township, Taiwan — the location of the Musha Incident.

Musha Primary School, where Seediq warriors attacked Japanese colonists.

A Japanese soldier captures an image of the aftermath of the attack on the Musha Primary School.

It wasn’t just Japanese soldiers who fought the Seediqs during the Musha incident. The Japanese mobilized other aboriginals with grudges against the Seediq, like these men, to help put the insurrection down.

Taiwan Grand Shrine in Taibei, the largest Shinto shrine set up by the Japanese. This image was taken prior to the shrine’s destruction in WWII.

Taiwanese volunteers (though many were pressured to join) in the Imperial Army during the Pacific War.

Episode 253 – The Beautiful Island, Part 2

This week: now that Japan has conquered Taiwan, what are they actually going to do with it?

Sources

Sharpe, M.E. Maritime Taiwan: Historical Encounters with East and West.

Rubinstein, Murray A. Taiwan: A New History.

Barclay, Paul D. Outcasts of Empire: Japan’s Rule on Taiwan’s “Savage Border,” 1874-1945.

Tsurumi, E. Patricia. “Education and Assimilation in Taiwan under Japanese Rule, 1895-1945.” Modern Asian Studies 13, No. 4

Ts’ai, Hui-yu Caroline. “The Hoko System in Taiwan, 1895-1945: Structure and Functions.” The Journal of the College of Liberal Arts of National Chung-Hsing University, Vol. 23.

Images

Kodama Gentaro, the military bureaucrat who was the first governor general with a tenure longer than a year or so.

Sakuma Samata, like his predecessor Kodama, was a military man. Under his rule, uprisings against the government grew stronger in character — he was eventually recalled after suffering a wound during one of those uprisings.

Lo Fu-hsing, the Hakka-Han-Dutch rebel who was executed by the Japanese in 1913, was honored by the Republic of China on Taiwan with a postage stamp.

A memorial for the Tapani Incident in modern Tainan.

Captured rebels in the wake of the Tapani Incident.

Den Kenjiro, the first civilian governor-general of Taiwan, took office in 1919.

A girl’s school in Taiwan. From their origins as relatively marginal parts of colonial policy, schools like this one would become increasingly central to the assimilation-oriented policies of the government-general.

An aboriginal school under Japanese rule.

Episode 252 – The Beautiful Island, Part 1

This week, we start a history of the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. How did Japan come to conquer the island, and what did its conquest entail for the Japanese and for the inhabitants?

Sources

Alsford, Nikki. Transitions to Modernity in Taiwan

Cheung, Sui-Wai, editor. Colonial Administration and Land Reform in East Asia.

Teng, Emma. Taiwan’s Imagined Geography. 

Morris, Andrew D. Japanese Taiwan: Colonial Rule and its Contested Legacy.

Images

A map of Taiwan for reference. I will do my best to give some geographical references when talking about specific places as well, to help you stay oriented!

Today’s fort Anping is built on the original site of the Dutch Fort Zeelandia settlement.

A sketch of Fort Zeelandia during the Dutch occupation.

Recently restored by Sebastian Airton, this 1849 print by Kuniyoshi depicts the half-Japanese, half-Chinese warlord ruler of Taiwan Koxinga as he fights off a giant tiger.

Even after subduing the island, the Qing faced rebellions in Taiwan. This print is of a force sent in the late 1700s to suppress one such rebellion.

Liu Mingchuan, Taiwan’s first governor-general.

French soldiers in Keelung during the Sino-French War (1884-87). The French advance would never make it beyond Keelung itself.

A Japanese print of a Japanese officer being ambushed by a native. Prints like these served a propaganda purpose of depicting the Taiwanese resistance as equipped with antiquated weapons and reliant on dishonorable ambush tactics — which, to be fair, was often the case.

Another propaganda print from the occupation campaign.

Episode 142 – Nanjing, Part 1

NOTE: Though there is substantial photographic evidence of the massacre, I am not going to post it directly on the site. If you want to see what things looked like on the ground, you can do so via websites like this one, curated by Yale University. However, I know not everybody wants to see those images, so I will not post those images directly.

On a related note, this episode contains graphic discussion of murder and rape. Listener discretion is advised.

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This week, we look at the events of the Nanjing Massacre. Just what happened in China’s capital city in December, 1937?

 

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Yoshida, Takashi. The Making of the Rape of Nanking.

Lu, Suping. They Were In Nanjing: The Nanjing Massacre as Witnessed by American and British Nationals.

Fogel, Joshua. The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiography.

Images

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Chinese defenders of the National Revolutionary Army (Chiang Kaishek’s elite forces) defending Shanghai, 1937. The Battle of Shanghai was supposed to be a Japanese walkover, but ended up lasting more than a month.

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General Matsui Iwane, commander of the forces which entered Nanjing. Ironically, he was chosen for his position because of his supposed Pan-Asianist views and rapport with the Chinese.

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Matsui entering Nanjing, December 13, 1937.

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Prince Asaka Yasuhiko, the nominal commander of the Central China Area Army. A fascist to the core, Asaka was sent to China to get him out of the way.

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The rough area of the Nanjing Safety Zone about 2 sq. miles total.

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Refugees waiting for aid in the Nanjing Safety Zone. Courtesy of Yale University.

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Chinese children huddled in the safety zone. Courtesy of Yale University.

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John Rabe, the Nazi Party member who led the Safety Zone committee. Rabe was chosen because of the close relations between Germany and Japan, which might facilitate Japanese respect for the zone.

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Minnie Vautrin, an American who taught at Ginling College and who tried to protect Chinese women on its campus.

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Vautrin with her students, c. 1934. She is sitting in the second row, ninth from the right.

Episode 36 – The Great War

We’re back for the start of 2014, and to kick the year off right we’re looking at this year’s most significant anniversary: 1914. We’ll be talking about the effects of World War I in Japan, and the ways in which it marked a turning point for Japanese policies in Asia.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Drea, Edward. Japan’s Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1853-1945.

Humphreys, Leonard. The Way of the Heavenly Sword: The Imperial Japanese Army in the 1920s.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Pyle, Kenneth. The Making of Modern Japan.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

Japanese marines coming ashore during their assault on Tsingtao, a German-held territory in China.

Japanese marines coming ashore during their assault on Tsingtao, a German-held territory in China.

A lithograph depicting the occupation of Blagoveshchensk by the Imperial Army during the Siberian Intervention.

A lithograph depicting the occupation of Blagoveshchensk by the Imperial Army during the Siberian Intervention.

A Japanese propaganda poster from the Siberian intervention. The caption reads: "Our air, naval, and land forces close in, mopping up the enemies of the White Army."

A Japanese propaganda poster from the Siberian intervention. The caption reads: “Our air, naval, and land forces close in, mopping up the enemies of the White Army.”

A soldier from the White Army.

A soldier from the White Army.

The May 4th protesters in Beijing, marching through Tiananmen Square. Incidentally, 70 years later another group of Chinese students would choose May 4th, 1989 as a date to begin protests against their own government in the name of democracy.

The May 4th protesters in Beijing, marching through Tiananmen Square. Incidentally, 70 years later another group of Chinese students would choose May 4th, 1989 as a date to begin protests against their own government in the name of democracy.

Chinese students from Tsinghua burn Japanese goods during the May 4th Movement.

Chinese students from Tsinghua burn Japanese goods during the May 4th Movement.

Hara Kei (sometimes referred to as Hara Takashi), protege of Ito Hirobumi and one of the members of the second generation of Japanese leadership.

Hara Kei (sometimes referred to as Hara Takashi), protege of Ito Hirobumi and one of the members of the second generation of Japanese leadership.

Katsura Taro, protege of Yamagata Aritomo and another member of the second generation of Japanese leaders.

Katsura Taro, protege of Yamagata Aritomo and another member of the second generation of Japanese leaders.

Terauchi Masatake, the Prime Minister who ordered Japanese intervention in Siberia.

Terauchi Masatake, the Prime Minister who ordered Japanese intervention in Siberia.

 

Episode 16 – And Then the War Came

We’ve arrived, finally, at the Pacific War — this week, we’ll be charting the course Japan took to war, briefly summarizing the course of said war, and then discussing how the war ended. This topic can be rather dark — after all, we’re talking about a war that killed millions — but it’s an important one for understanding the course Japan is on today, and the background in this episode will be important in future shows on the fall of the Japanese Empire.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Drea, Edward. Japan’s Imperial Army: It’s Rise and Fall, 1853-1945.

Frank, Richard. Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire.

Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi. Racing the Enemy. 

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Pyle, Kenneth. Japan Rising.

Pyle, Kenneth. The Making of Modern Japan. (Historians are not the most original lot).

The complete text of the Potsdam Declaration is available here.

The complete list of messages related to surrender (from the original Japanese note indicating willingness to surrender to President Truman’s announcement of said surrender) is available here.

Media (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

A captured Japanese soldier surrounded by Soviet Troops in the wake of the Battle of Nomonhan (Khalkhin Gol) in 1939. The defeat of the Japanese Army by the Soviets helped drive the momentum towards an attack on the western Allies rather than the Soviets.

A captured Japanese soldier surrounded by Soviet Troops in the wake of the Battle of Nomonhan (Khalkhin Gol) in 1939. The defeat of the Japanese Army by the Soviets helped drive the momentum towards an attack on the western Allies rather than the Soviets.

Secretary of State Cordell Hull. Hull's final memorandum to Japan in November, 1941 was worded in an ambiguous way which convinced Japanese planners that the US was intent on forcing more concessions than Japan was prepared to give. This was the final impetus towards war.

Secretary of State Cordell Hull. Hull’s final memorandum to Japan in November, 1941 was worded in an ambiguous way which convinced Japanese planners that the US was intent on forcing more concessions than Japan was prepared to give. This was the final impetus towards war.

Togo Shigenori (born Park Moo-duk), the Korean-Japanese Foreign Minister who had been one of the last objectors to war with the US. Eventually he would return to the post of Foreign Minister in 1945, and become a member of the pro-peace faction of the Big Six.

Togo Shigenori (born Park Moo-duk), the Korean-Japanese Foreign Minister who had been one of the last objectors to war with the US. Eventually he would return to the post of Foreign Minister in 1945, and become a member of the pro-peace faction of the Big Six.

View from an under-carriage camera mounted on a Japanese attack plane of the raid on Pearl Harbor.

View from an under-carriage camera mounted on a Japanese attack plane of the raid on Pearl Harbor.

The USS Arizona on fire in Pearl Harbor.

The USS Arizona on fire in Pearl Harbor.

British General Sir Arthur Percival, surrounded by Japanese troops and under a flag of truce, going to negotiate the surrender of Singapore to Japan. The Battle of Singapore was the largest defeat of British land forces in history.

British General Sir Arthur Percival, surrounded by Japanese troops and under a flag of truce, going to negotiate the surrender of Singapore to Japan. The Battle of Singapore was the largest defeat of British land forces in history.

Japanese casualties (in the foreground) and American troops (in the background) during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942. Guadalcanal would mark the first time the Japanese were forced to fall back in the face of the Allied advance. It would not be the last.

Japanese casualties (in the foreground) and American troops (in the background) during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942. Guadalcanal would mark the first time the Japanese were forced to fall back in the face of the Allied advance. It would not be the last.

The American aircraft carrier USS Enterprise fighting off Japanese planes in 1942. The Enterprise was one of the carriers which had been a target of the Pearl Harbor attack, but had been out on a training mission with two other carriers at the time of the attack.

The American aircraft carrier USS Enterprise fighting off Japanese planes in 1942. The Enterprise was one of the carriers which had been a target of the Pearl Harbor attack, but had been out on a training mission with two other carriers at the time of the attack.

American troops advancing behind a Sherman battle tank during the Battle of Saipan in Summer, 1944. The loss of Saipan made it clear that Japan had lost the war, but fighting would continue for over one year afterwards.

American troops advancing behind a Sherman battle tank during the Battle of Saipan in Summer, 1944. The loss of Saipan made it clear that Japan had lost the war, but fighting would continue for over one year afterwards.

Downtown Tokyo the day after the firebombing (the river is the Sumida-gawa in downtown Tokyo).

Downtown Tokyo the day after the firebombing (the river is the Sumida-gawa in downtown Tokyo).

Civilian casualties in downtown Tokyo.

Civilian casualties in downtown Tokyo.

The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima, approx. 7 km away from the center of the blast.

The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima, approx. 7 km away from the center of the blast.

An Occupation video from 1946 showing the burn damage to a Japanese woman from Hiroshima. This video is graphic and disturbing, but worth watching if you think you can handle it. Also available from the same period is a video of life in the ruins of Hiroshima in March 1946.

There are several other images of survivors and the devastation of the bomb available on the Wikipedia page for the atomic bombings.

The July 25th order from Thomas Handy to Carl Spaatz, authorizing the use of atomic weapons. If you're having a hard time with the image, the text is available here.

The July 25th order from Thomas Handy to Carl Spaatz, authorizing the use of atomic weapons. If you’re having a hard time with the image, the text is available here.

Soviet Marines occupying Port Arthur in southern Manchuria. The Soviet invasion of Manchuria crushed the remaining Japanese defenders of the territory.

Soviet Marines occupying Port Arthur in southern Manchuria. The Soviet invasion of Manchuria crushed the remaining Japanese defenders of the territory.

Shigemitsu Mamoru, as representative of the Japanese Empire, signing the surrender documents aboard the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945.

Shigemitsu Mamoru, as representative of the Japanese Empire, signing the surrender documents aboard the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945.

American General Douglass MacArthur (who would command the American Occupation of Japan) giving a speech during the surrender ceremony. You may notice that the flag in the background has the incorrect number of stars for 1945 -- that's because it's the one that flew on Commodore Perry's flagship in 1854.

American General Douglass MacArthur (who would command the American Occupation of Japan) giving a speech during the surrender ceremony. You may notice that the flag in the background has the incorrect number of stars for 1945 — that’s because it’s the one that flew on Commodore Perry’s flagship in 1854.

Episode 14 – The Course of Empire

Resuming our regularly scheduled programming, we will be turning this week to Japanese foreign policy from 1895 to 1940. There’s a lot of interesting material on how Japan went so badly off the rails and what pushed it towards war with China and the US — I hope you all find it interesting!

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Pyle, Kenneth. Japan Rising.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Barnhart, Michael A. Japan Prepares for Total War: The Search for Economic Security 1919-1940

Drea, Edward. Japan’s Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1853-1945.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

Note: I briefly considered including images of Japanese atrocities in China (there are a few such images, but not many since for obvious reasons the Japanese suppressed them where possible) but decided against it since I marked this podcast as clean when I put it up. If you’re of an age and mentality to be able to handle it (and many of the images can be very graphic), I would urge you to consider finding them, if for no other reason than as an inoculation against the ideas of those who claim such things never happened. The Wikipedia article on the Nanjing Massacre is a good place to start.

A side-by-side image of the soldiers of each country which intervened in the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. From left to right: Britain, the US, Australia, British India, Germany, France, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Japan

A side-by-side image of the soldiers of each country which intervened in the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. From left to right: Britain, the US, Australia, British India, Germany, France, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Japan

The siege of Port Arthur, one of the more decisive battles of the Russo-Japanese War. Japan eventually took the port city, but at tremendous cost in soldiers. This picture shows the results of a bombardment by Japanese ships blockading the port.

The siege of Port Arthur, one of the more decisive battles of the Russo-Japanese War. Japan eventually took the port city, but at tremendous cost in soldiers. This picture shows the results of a bombardment by Japanese ships blockading the port.

Negotiating the Treaty of Portsmouth in 1905. The left side is the Russian delegation, the right the Japanese.

Negotiating the Treaty of Portsmouth in 1905. The left side is the Russian delegation, the right the Japanese.

The funeral procession of Yuan Shikai, leader of China after the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty. His death resulted in chaos in China, a situation the Japanese exploited to their advantage.

The funeral procession of Yuan Shikai, leader of China after the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty. His death resulted in chaos in China, a situation the Japanese exploited to their advantage.

Zhang Zuolin, the Japanese client-warlord turned Nationalist-supporter. Zuolin was assassinated by a cabal of Japanese officers lead by Lt. Komoto Daisaku in 1928. They hoped to spark an intervention by Japan in Manchuria which would leave Japan in charge of the area.

Zhang Zuolin, the Japanese client-warlord turned Nationalist-supporter. Zuolin was assassinated by a cabal of Japanese officers lead by Lt. Komoto Daisaku in 1928. They hoped to spark an intervention by Japan in Manchuria which would leave Japan in charge of the area.

Zhang Xueliang, son and successor of Zhang Zuolin. His father's death at Japanese hands resulted in Xueliang despising the Japanese and moving into the orbit of Chiang Kai-shek as a result. Eventually, he was deposed by a Japanese invasion in 1931.

Zhang Xueliang, son and successor of Zhang Zuolin. His father’s death at Japanese hands resulted in Xueliang despising the Japanese and moving into the orbit of Chiang Kai-shek as a result. Eventually, he was deposed by a Japanese invasion in 1931.

Japanese "experts" assessing the "railway sabotage" ostensibly performed by Chinese dissidents and used as an excuse to invade Manchuria in 1931. In fact, the bombs had been planted by radical Japanese Army officers who seized the pretext for an invasion.

Japanese “experts” assessing the “railway sabotage” ostensibly performed by Chinese dissidents and used as an excuse to invade Manchuria in 1931. In fact, the bombs had been planted by radical Japanese Army officers who seized the pretext for an invasion.

Japanese troops entering Shenyang (a city in Manchuria) in 1931.

Japanese troops entering Shenyang (a city in Manchuria) in 1931.

Chinese Nationalist troops defending an intersection in downtown Shanghai from the Japanese in 1937, after the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Chinese Nationalist troops defending an intersection in downtown Shanghai from the Japanese in 1937, after the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Chinese troops engaging in urban combat during the battle of Taierzhuang in 1938. Taierzhuang was one of the ambushes which halted the Japanese advance and resulted in the ongoing slog from which, by 1940, there seemed to be no exit for Japan.

Chinese troops engaging in urban combat during the battle of Taierzhuang in 1938. Taierzhuang was one of the ambushes which halted the Japanese advance and resulted in the ongoing slog from which, by 1940, there seemed to be no exit for Japan.

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