Manchukuo | Wikipedia audio article
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Manchukuo | Wikipedia audio article

October 10, 2019


Manchukuo (traditional Chinese: 滿洲國;
pinyin: Mǎnzhōuguó; Japanese: 満州国; rōmaji: Manshūkoku; “State of Manchuria”;
in other Axis languages: Italian: Manciukuò and German: Mandschukuo) was a puppet state
of the Empire of Japan in Northeast China and Inner Mongolia from 1932 until 1945. It
was founded as a republic, but in 1934 it became a constitutional monarchy. It had limited
international recognition and was under the de facto control of Japan.
The area, collectively known as Manchuria, was the homeland of the Manchus, including
the emperors of the Qing dynasty. In 1931, the region was seized by Japan following the
Mukden Incident and a pro-Japanese government was installed one year later with Puyi, the
last Qing emperor, as the nominal regent and later emperor. Manchukuo’s government was
dissolved in 1945 after the surrender of Imperial Japan at the end of World War II. The territories
formally claimed by the puppet state were first seized in the Soviet invasion of Manchuria
in August 1945, and then formally transferred to Chinese administration in the following
year.Manchus formed a minority in Manchukuo, whose largest ethnic group were Han Chinese.
The population of Koreans increased during the Manchukuo period, and there were also
Japanese, Mongols, White Army Russians and other minorities. The Mongol regions of western
Manchukuo were ruled under a slightly different system in acknowledgement of the Mongolian
traditions there. The southern part of the Liaodong Peninsula was ruled by Japan as the
Kwantung Leased Territory.==Overview=====Terminology===
“Manchuria” is a transcription of the Japanese reading of the Chinese word “滿洲” which
means Manchuria, which in Japanese is Manshū, which in turn dates from the 19th century.
The name Manzhou was coined and given to the Jurchen people by Hong Taiji in 1635 as a
new name for their ethnic group. However, the name “Manchuria” was never used by the
Manchus or the Qing dynasty itself to refer to their homeland, the name itself holding
imperialistic connotation.According to the Japanese scholar Junko Miyawaki-Okada, the
Japanese geographer Takahashi Kageyasu (高橋景保) was the first to use the term 满洲 (Manshū)
as a place name in 1809 in the Nippon Henkai Ryakuzu (日本辺海略図), and it was from
that work where Westerners adopted the name. According to Mark C. Elliott, Katsuragawa
Hoshū’s 1794 work, the Hokusa bunryaku (北槎聞略), was where 满洲 (Manshū) first appeared
as a place name, in two maps included in the work: “Ashia zenzu” and “Chikyū hankyū sōzu”
which were also created by Katsuragawa. 满洲 (Manshū) then began to appear as a place
names in more maps created by Japanese like Kondi Jūzō, Takahashi Kageyasu, Baba Sadayoshi
and Yamada Ren. These maps were brought to Europe by Philipp von Siebold, a German in
Dutch service. According to Nakami Tatsuo, Siebold was the
one who brought the usage of the term Manchuria to Europeans, after borrowing it from the
Japanese, who were the first to use it in a geographic manner in the eighteenth century,
while neither the Manchu nor Chinese languages had a term in their own language equivalent
to “Manchuria” as a geographic place name. According to Bill Sewell, it was Europeans
who first started using Manchuria as a name to refer to the location and it is “not a
genuine geographic term”. The historian Gavan McCormack agreed with Robert H. G. Lee’s statement
that “The term Manchuria or Man-chou is a modern creation used mainly by westerners
and Japanese”, with McCormack writing that the term Manchuria is imperialistic in nature
and has no “precise meaning”, since the Japanese deliberately promoted the use of “Manchuria”
as a geographic name to promote its separation from China while they were setting up their
puppet state of Manchukuo. Ordinary Manchus largely spurned Manchukuo which claimed to
be established for their cause, and few Manchus were successfully employed by the Manchukuo
regime.In mainland China, Manchukuo is known as “Puppet/False/Pretend Manchukuo” (伪满洲国),
stressing the Japanese influence on the state’s existence and the illegitimacy of the state.===Administrative divisions===During its short-lived existence, Manchukuo
was divided into between five (in 1932) and 19 (in 1941) provinces, one special ward of
Beiman (Chinese: 北滿特別區) and two Special cities which were Xinjing (Chinese:
新京特別市) and Harbin (Chinese: 哈爾濱特別市). Each province was divided into between four
(Xing’an dong) and 24 (Fengtian) prefectures. Beiman lasted less than 3 years (1 July 1933
– 1 January 1936) and Harbin was later incorporated into Binjiang province. Longjiang also existed
as a province in the 1932 before being divided into Heihe, Longjiang and Sanjiang in 1934.
Andong and Jinzhou provinces separated themselves from Fengtian while Binjiang and Jiandao from
Jilin separated themselves in the same year.===National symbols===
Aside from the national flag, the orchid, reportedly Puyi’s favorite flower, became
the royal flower of the country, similar to the chrysanthemum in Japan. The sorghum flower
also became a national flower by decree in April 1933. “Five Races Under One Union” was
used as a national motto.==History=====Background===
The Japanese had their own motive for deliberately spreading the usage of the term Manchuria.
The historian Norman Smith wrote that “The term “Manchuria” is controversial”. Professor
Mariko Asano Tamanoi said that she “should use the term in quotation marks”, when referring
to Manchuria. Herbert Giles wrote that “Manchuria” was unknown to the Manchus themselves as a
geographical expression. In his doctoral thesis of 2012, Professor Chad D. Garcia noted that
usage of the term “Manchuria” was out of favor in “current scholarly practice” and preferred
the term “the northeast”.The Qing dynasty, which replaced the Shun and Ming dynasties
in China, was founded by Manchus from Manchuria (modern Northeast China). The Manchu emperors
separated their homeland in Jilin and Heilongjiang from the Han Liaoning province with the Willow
Palisade. This ethnic division continued until the Qing dynasty encouraged massive immigration
of Han in the 19th century during Chuang Guandong to prevent the Russians from seizing the area
from the Qing. After conquering the Ming, the Qing identified their state as “China”
(中國, Zhongguo; “Central Realm”) and referred to it as “Dulimbai Gurun” in Manchu. The Qing
equated the lands of the Qing state (including present day Manchuria, Xinjiang, Mongolia,
Tibet and other areas) as “China” in both the Chinese and Manchu languages, defining
China as a multi-ethnic state, rejecting the idea that China only meant Han areas, proclaiming
that both Han and non-Han peoples were part of “China”, using “China” to refer to the
Qing in official documents, international treaties, and foreign affairs, and the “Chinese
language” (Dulimbai gurun i bithe) referred to Chinese, Manchu, and Mongol languages,
and the term “Chinese people” (中國人 Zhongguo ren; Manchu: Dulimbai gurun i niyalma) referred
to all Han, Manchus, and Mongol subjects of the Qing. The lands in Manchuria were explicitly
stated by the Qing to belong to “China” (Zhongguo, Dulimbai gurun) in Qing edicts and in the
Treaty of Nerchinsk.During the Qing dynasty, the area of Manchuria was known as the “three
eastern provinces” (三東省; Sān dōng shěng) since 1683 when Jilin and Heilongjiang
were separated even though it was not until 1907 that they were turned into actual provinces.
The area of Manchuria was then converted into three provinces by the late Qing government
in 1907. Since then, the “Three Northeast Provinces” (traditional Chinese: 東北三省;
simplified Chinese: 东北三省; pinyin: Dōngběi Sānshěng) was officially used
by the Qing government in China to refer to this region, and the post of Viceroy of Three
Northeast Provinces was established to take charge of these provinces.As the power of
the court in Beijing weakened, many outlying areas either broke free (such as Kashgar)
or fell under the control of Imperialist powers. In the 19th century, Imperial Russia was most
interested in the northern lands of the Qing Empire. In 1858, Russia gained control over
a huge tract of land called Outer Manchuria thanks to the Supplementary Treaty of Beijing
that ended the Second Opium War. But Russia was not satisfied and, as the Qing Dynasty
continued to weaken, they made further efforts to take control of the rest of Manchuria.
Inner Manchuria came under strong Russian influence in the 1890s with the building of
the Chinese Eastern Railway through Harbin to Vladivostok.The far right wing Japanese
ultra-nationalist Black Dragon Society supported Sun Yat-sen’s activities against the Manchus,
believing that overthrowing the Qing would help the Japanese take over the Manchu homeland
and that Han Chinese would not oppose the take over. The far right wing Japanese ultranationalist
Gen’yōsha leader Tōyama Mitsuru believed that the Japanese could easily take over Manchuria
and Sun Yat-sen and other anti-Qing revolutionaries would not resist and help the Japanese take
over and enlargen the opium trade in China while the Qing was trying to destroy the opium
trade. The Japanese Black Dragons supported Sun Yat-sen and anti-Manchu revolutionaries
until the Qing collapsed. Toyama supported anti-Manchu, anti-Qing revolutionary activities
including by Sun Yat-sen and supported Japanese taking over Manchuria. The anti-Qing Tongmenghui
was founded and based in exile in Japan where many anti-Qing revolutionaries gathered.
The Japanese had been trying to unite anti-Manchu groups made out of Han people to take down
the Qing. Japanese were the ones who helped Sun Yat-sen unite all anti-Qing, anti-Manchu
revolutionary groups together and there were Japanese like Tōten Miyazaki inside of the
anti-Manchu Tongmenghui revolutionary alliance. The Black Dragon Society hosted the Tongmenghui
in its first meeting. The Black Dragon Society had very intimate relations with Sun Yat-sen
and promoted pan-Asianism and Sun sometimes passed himself off as Japanese. That had connections
with Sun for a long time. Japanese groups like the Black Dragon Society had a large
impact on Sun Yat-sen. According to an American military historian, Japanese military officers
were part of the Black Dragon Society. The Yakuza and Black Dragon Society helped arrange
in Tokyo for Sun Yat-sen to hold the first Kuomintang meetings, and were hoping to flood
China with opium and overthrow the Qing and deceive Chinese into overthrowing the Qing
to Japan’s benefit. After the revolution was successful, the Japanese Black Dragons started
infiltrating China and spreading opium and anti-Communist sentiment. The Black Dragons
pushed for the takeover of Manchuria by Japan in 1932. Sun Yat-sen was married to a Japanese,
Kaoru Otsuki.===Origins===As a direct result of the Russo-Japanese War
(1904–05), Japanese influence replaced Russia’s in Inner Manchuria. During the war with Russia,
Japan had mobilized one million soldiers to fight in Manchuria, meaning that one in eight
families in Japan had a member fighting the war. During the Russo-Japanese War, the losses
were heavy with Japan losing a half-million dead or wounded. From the time of the Russian-Japanese
war onward, many Japanese people came to have a proprietary attitude to Manchuria, taking
the viewpoint that a land where so much Japanese blood had been lost in some way now belonged
to them. In 1906, Japan laid the South Manchurian Railway to Port Arthur (Japanese: Ryojun).
Under the terms of the Treaty of Portsmouth, the Kwantung Army had the right to occupy
southern Manchuria while the region fell into the Japanese economic sphere of influence.
The Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railroad company had a market capitalization of 200
million yen, making it Asia’s largest corporation, which went beyond just running the former
Russian railroad network in southern Manchuria to owning the ports, mines, hotels, telephone
lines, and sundry other businesses, dominating the economy of Manchuria. With the growth
of the South Manchuria Railroad (Mantetsu) company went growth in number of Japanese
living in Manchuria from 16,612 Japanese civilians in 1906 to 233,749 in 1930. The majority of
blue collar employees for the Mantetsu were Chinese, and the Japanese employees were mostly
white collar, meaning most of the Japanese living in Manchuria were middle-class people
who saw themselves as an elite. Between World War I and World War II Manchuria became a
political and military battleground between Russia, Japan, and China. Japan moved into
Outer Manchuria as a result of the chaos following the Russian Revolution of 1917. A combination
of Soviet military successes and American economic pressure forced the Japanese to withdraw
from the area, however, and Outer Manchuria returned to Soviet control by 1925.During
the Warlord Era in China, the warlord Marshal Zhang Zuolin established himself in Inner
Manchuria with Japanese backing. Later, the Japanese Kwantung Army found him too independent,
so he was assassinated in 1928. In assassinating Marshal Zhang, the “Old Marshal” the Kwantung
Army generals expected Manchuria to descend into anarchy, providing the pretext for seizing
the region. Marshal Zhang was killed when the bridge his train was riding across was
blown up while three Chinese men were murdered and explosive equipment placed on their corpses
to make it appear that they were the killers, but the plot was foiled when Zhang’s son Zhang
Xueliang, the “Young Marshal” succeeded him without incident while the cabinet in Tokyo
refused to send additional troops to Manchuria. Given that the Kwantung Army had assassinated
his father, the “Young Marshal”—who unlike his father was a Chinese nationalist—had
strong reasons to dislike Japan’s privileged position in Manchuria. Marshal Zhang knew
his forces were too weak to expel the Kwantung Army, but his relations with the Japanese
were unfriendly right from the start. After the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in
1931, Japanese militarists moved forward to separate the region from Chinese control and
to create a Japanese-aligned puppet state. To create an air of legitimacy, the last Emperor
of China, Puyi, was invited to come with his followers and act as the head of state for
Manchuria. One of his faithful companions was Zheng Xiaoxu, a Qing reformist and loyalist.On
18 February 1932 the Manchu State (Manchukuo, Pinyin: Mǎnzhōuguó) was proclaimed and
recognized by Japan on 15 September 1932 through the Japan–Manchukuo Protocol, after the
assassination of Japanese Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi. The city of Changchun, renamed Hsinking
(Pinyin: Xinjing) (新京, “New Capital”), became the capital of the new entity. Chinese
in Manchuria organized volunteer armies to oppose the Japanese and the new state required
a war lasting several years to pacify the country.The Japanese initially installed Puyi
as Head of State in 1932, and two years later he was declared Emperor of Manchukuo with
the era name of Kangde (康德,”Tranquility and Virtue”; Wade-Giles: Kangte). Manchukuo
thus became the Great Manchurian Empire, sometimes termed Manchutikuo (滿州帝國,Pinyin:
Mǎnzhōu Dìguó). Zheng Xiaoxu served as Manchukuo’s first prime minister until 1935,
when Zhang Jinghui succeeded him. Puyi was nothing more than a figurehead and real authority
rested in the hands of the Japanese military officials. An imperial palace was specially
built for the emperor. The Manchu ministers all served as front-men for their Japanese
vice-ministers, who made all decisions.In this manner, Japan formally detached Manchukuo
from China in the course of the 1930s. With Japanese investment and rich natural resources,
the area became an industrial powerhouse. Manchukuo had its own issued banknotes and
postage stamps. Several independent banks were founded as well.The conquest of Manchuria
proved to be extremely popular with the Japanese people who saw the conquest as providing a
much needed economic “lifeline” to their economy which had been badly hurt by the Great Depression.
The very image of a “lifeline” suggested that Manchuria—which was rich in natural resources—was
essential for Japan to recover from the Great Depression, which explains why the conquest
was so popular at the time and later why the Japanese people were so completely hostile
towards any suggestion of letting Manchuria go. At the time, censorship in Japan was nowhere
near as stringent as it later become, and the American historian Louise Young noted:
“Had they wished, it would have been possible in 1931 and 1932 for journalists and editors
to express anti-war sentiments”. The popularity of the conquest meant that newspapers such
as the Asahi which initially opposed the war swiftly changed to supporting the war as the
best way of improving sales.In 1935, Manchukuo bought the Chinese Eastern Railway from the
Soviet Union.===Diplomatic recognition===China did not recognize Manchukuo but the
two sides established official ties for trade, communications and transportation. In 1933,
the League of Nations adopted the Lytton Report, declaring that Manchuria remained rightfully
part of China, leading Japan to resign its membership. The Manchukuo case persuaded the
United States to articulate the so-called Stimson Doctrine, under which international
recognition was withheld from changes in the international system created by force of arms.In
spite of the League’s approach, the new state was diplomatically recognized by El Salvador
(3 March 1934) and the Dominican Republic (1934), Costa Rica (23 September 1934), Italy
(29 November 1937), Spain (2 December 1937), Germany (12 May 1938) and Hungary (9 January
1939). The Soviet Union extended de facto recognition on 23 March 1935, but explicitly
noted that this did not mean de jure recognition. However, upon signing the Soviet–Japanese
Neutrality Pact on 13 April 1941, the Soviet Union recognized Manchukuo de jure in exchange
for Japan recognizing the integrity of the neighboring Mongolian People’s Republic. The
USSR did maintain five consulates-general in Manchukuo initially, although in 1936–37
these were reduced to just two: one in Harbin and another in Manzhouli. Manchukuo opened
consulates in Blagoveshchensk (September 1932) and in Chita (February 1933).It is commonly
believed that the Holy See established diplomatic relations with Manchukuo in 1934, but the
Holy See never did so. This belief is partly due to the erroneous reference in Bernardo
Bertolucci’s 1987 film The Last Emperor that the Holy See diplomatically recognized Manchukuo.
Bishop Auguste Ernest Pierre Gaspais was appointed as “representative ad tempus of the Holy See
and of the Catholic missions of Manchukuo to the government of Manchukuo” by the Congregation
De Propaganda Fide (a purely religious body responsible for missions) and not by the Secretariat
of State responsible for diplomatic relations with states. In the 1940s the Vatican established
full diplomatic relations with Japan, but it resisted Japanese and Italian pressure
to recognize Manchukuo and the Nanjing regime.After the outbreak of World War II, the state was
recognized by Slovakia (1 June 1940), Vichy France (12 July 1940), Romania (1 December
1940), Bulgaria (10 May 1941), Finland (18 July 1941), Denmark (August 1941), Croatia
(2 August 1941)—all controlled or influenced by Japan’s ally Germany — as well as by
Wang Jingwei’s Reorganized National Government of the Republic of China (30 November 1940),
Thailand (5 August 1941) and the Philippines (1943) — all under the control or influence
of Japan.===World War II and aftermath===
Before World War II, the Japanese colonized Manchukuo and used it as a base from which
to invade China. The Manchu General Tong Linge was killed in action by the Japanese in the
Battle of Beiping–Tianjin, which marked the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese
War. In the summer of 1939 a border dispute between Manchukuo and the Mongolian People’s
Republic resulted in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol. During this battle, a combined Soviet-Mongolian
force defeated the Japanese Kwantung Army (Kantōgun) supported by limited Manchukuoan
forces.On 8 August 1945, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, in accordance with
the agreement at the Yalta Conference, and invaded Manchukuo from outer Manchuria and
Outer Mongolia. During the Soviet offensive, the Manchukuo Imperial Army, on paper a 200,000-man
force, performed poorly and whole units surrendered to the Soviets without firing a single shot;
there were even cases of armed riots and mutinies against the Japanese forces. Emperor Kangde
had hoped to escape to Japan to surrender to the Americans, but the Soviets captured
him and eventually extradited him to the communist government in China, where the authorities
had him imprisoned as a war criminal along with all other captured Manchukuo officials.From
1945 to 1948, Manchuria (Inner Manchuria) served as a base area for the People’s Liberation
Army in the Chinese Civil War against the National Revolutionary Army. The Chinese Communists
used Manchuria as a staging ground until the final Nationalist retreat to Taiwan in 1949.
Many Manchukuo army and Japanese Kantōgun personnel served with the communist troops
during the Chinese Civil War against the Nationalist forces. Most of the 1.5 million Japanese who
had been left in Manchukuo at the end of World War II were sent back to their homeland in
1946–1948 by U.S. Navy ships in the operation now known as the Japanese repatriation from
Huludao.==Politics==Historians generally consider Manchukuo a
puppet state of Imperial Japan because of the Japanese military’s strong presence and
strict control of the government administration. Chinese historians generally refer to the
state as Wei Manzhouguo (“false state of Manchuria”). Some historians see Manchukuo as an effort
at building a glorified Japanese state in mainland Asia that deteriorated due to the
pressures of war.The independence of Manchuria was proclaimed on 18 February 1932, and it
was renamed Manchukuo. The Japanese military commander appointed Puyi as regent (reign
name Datong) for the time being, stating that he would become Emperor of Manchukuo but could
not reign using the title of Emperor of the Great Qing Empire as he once held. Manchukuo
was proclaimed a monarchy on 1 March 1934, with Puyi assuming the throne under the reign
name of Emperor Kang-de. Puyi was assisted in his executive duties by a Privy Council
(Chinese: 參議府), and a General Affairs State Council (Chinese: 國務院). This State
Council was the center of political power, and consisted of several cabinet ministers,
each assisted by a Japanese vice-minister. The commanding officer of the Kwantung Army
in Manchukuo was also the Japanese ambassador to Manchukuo. He functioned in a manner similar
to that of a British resident officer in British overseas protectorates, with the power to
veto decisions by the emperor. The Kwangtung Army leadership placed Japanese vice ministers
in his cabinet, while all Chinese advisors gradually resigned or were dismissed.
The Legislative Council (Chinese: 立法院) was largely a ceremonial body, existing to
rubber-stamp decisions issued by the State Council. The only authorized political party
was the government-sponsored Concordia Association, although various émigré groups were permitted
their own political associations. The American historian Louise Young noted
that one of the most striking aspects of Manchukuo was that many of the young Japanese civil
servants who went to work in Manchukuo were on the left, or at least had once been. In
the 1920s, much of the younger intelligentsia in Japan had rejected their parents’ values,
and had become active in various left-wing movements. Starting with the Peace Preservation
Law of 1925, which made the very act of thinking about “altering the kokutai” a crime, the
government had embarked on a sustained campaign to stomp out all left-wing thought in Japan.
However, many of the bright young university graduates active in left-wing movements in
Japan were needed to serve as civil servants in Manchukuo, which Young noted led the Japanese
state to embark upon a contradictory policy of recruiting the same people active in the
movements that it was seeking to crush. To rule Manchukuo, which right from the start
had a very etatist economy, the Japanese state needed university graduates who were fluent
in Mandarin Chinese, and the 1920s-30s, many of the university graduates in Japan who knew
Mandarin were “progressives” involved in left-wing causes. The fact that young Japanese civil
servants in Manchukuo with their degrees in economics, sociology, etc., who had once been
active in left-wing movements helps explains the decidedly leftist thrust of social and
economic policies in Manchukuo with the state playing an increasingly large role in society.
Likewise, much of the debate between Japanese civil servants about the sort of social-economic
policies Japan should follow in Manchukuo in the 1930s was framed in Marxist terms,
with the civil servants arguing over whatever Manchuria prior to September 1931 had a “feudal”
or a “capitalist” economy. The American historian Joshua Fogel wrote about the young servants
of Manchuko: “Tremendous debates transpired on such things as the nature of the Chinese
economy, and the lingua franca of these debates was always Marxism”. To resolve this debate,
various research teams of five or six young civil servants, guarded by detachments from
the Kwantung Army of about 20 or 30 men, went out to do field research in Manchukuo, gathering
material about the life of ordinary people, to determine Manchukuo was in the “feudal”
or “capitalist” stage of development. Starting in 1936, the Manchukuo state launched Five
Year Plans for economic development, which were closely modeled after the Five Year Plans
in the Soviet Union.In Manchukuo, the Japanese were creating a brand new state that was in
theory independent, which meant that there were no limits upon the sort of policies that
the new state could carry out, and many university graduates in Japan, who despite being opposed
to the social system that existed in Japan itself, went to work in Manchukuo, believing
that they could carry out reforms there that might inspire similar reforms in Japan. This
was especially the case since it was impossible to effect any reforms in Japan itself as the
very act of thinking about “altering the kokutai” was a crime, which led many leftist Japanese
university graduates to go work in Manchukuo, where they believed they could achieve the
sort of social revolution that was impossible in Japan. By 1933, the Japanese state had
essentially destroyed both the Japanese Socialist Party and the Japanese Communist Party via
mass arrests and Tenkō with both parties reduced down to mere rumps, which caused many
Japanese student leftists to draw the conclusion that change was impossible in Japan, but still
possible in Manchukuo, where paradoxically the Kwantung Army was sponsoring the sort
of policies that were unacceptable in Japan. Moreover, the Great Depression had made it
very difficult for university graduates in Japan to find work, which made the prospect
of a well-paying job in Manchukuo very attractive to otherwise underemployed Japanese university
graduates. In Manchukuo, the Japanese state was creating an entire state anew, which meant
that Manchukuo had a desperate need for university graduates to work in its newly founded civil
service. In addition, the Pan-Asian rhetoric of Manchukuo and the prospect of Japan helping
ordinary people in Manchuria greatly appealed to the idealistic youth of Japan. Young wrote
about the young Japanese people who went to work in Manchukuo: “The men, and in some cases,
the women, who answered the call of this land of opportunity, brought with them tremendous
drive and ambition. In their efforts to remake their own lives, they remade an empire. They
invested it with their preoccupations of modernity and their dreams of an Utopian future. They
pushed it to embrace an idealist rhetoric of social reform and justified itself in terms
of Chinese nationalist aspiration. They turned it to architectural ostentation and the heady
luxury of colonial consumption. They made it into a project of radical change, experimentation
and possibility”.The Kwantung Army for its part tolerated the talk of social revolution
in Manchukuo as the best way of gaining support from the Han majority of Manchukuo, who did
not want Manchuria to be severed from China. Even more active in going to Manchukuo were
the products of Tenkō (“Changing directions”), a process of brainwashing by the police of
left-wing activists to make them accept that the Emperor was a god after all, whom they
were best to serve. Tenkō was a very successful process that turned young Japanese who once
been ardent liberals or leftists who rejected the idea that the Emperor was a god into fanatical
rightists, who made up for their previous doubts about the divinity of the Emperor with
militant enthusiasm. One tenkōsha was Tachibana Shiraki, who once been a Marxist Sinologist
who after his arrest and undergoing Tenkō become a fanatical right-winger. Tachibana
went to Manchukuo in 1932, proclaiming that the theory of the “five races” working together
was the best solution to Asia’s problems and argued in his writings that only Japan could
save China from itself, which was a complete change from his previous policies, where he
criticized Japan for exploiting China. Other left-wing activists like Ōgami Suehiro did
not undergo Tenkō, but still went to work in Manchukuo, believing it was possible to
effect social reforms that would end the “semi-feudal” condition of the Chinese peasants of Manchuko,
and that he could use the Kwantung Army to effect left-wing reforms in Manchukuo. Ōgami
went to work in the “agricultural economy” desk of the Social Research Unit of the South
Manchurian Railroad company, writing up reports about the rural economy of Manchukuo that
were used by the Kwantung Army and the Manchukuo state. Ōgami believed that his studies helped
ordinary people, citing one study he did about water use in rural Manchukuo, where he noted
a correlation between villages that were deprived of water and “banditry” (the codeword for
anti-Japanese guerillas), believing that the policy of improving water supply in villages
was due to his study. The outbreak of the war with China in 1937 caused the state in
Manchukuo to grow even bigger as a policy of “total war” came in, which meant there
was a pressing demand for people with university degrees trained to think “scientifically”.
Fogel wrote that almost all of the university graduates from Japan who arrived in Manchukuo
in the late 1930s were “largely left-wing Socialists and Communists. This was precisely
at the time when Marxism had been all but banned in Japan, when (as Yamada Gōichi put)
if the expression shakai (social) appeared in the title of a book, it was usually confiscated”.Young
also noted—with reference to Lord Acton’s dictum that “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”—that
for many of the idealistic young Japanese civil servants, who believed that they could
effect a “revolution from above” that would make the lives of ordinary people better,
that the absolute power that they enjoyed over millions of people “went to their heads”,
causing them to behave with abusive arrogance towards the very people that they had gone
to Manchukuo to help. Young wrote that it was a “monumental conceit” of the part of
the young idealists to believe that they could use the Kwantung Army to achieve a “revolution
from above”, when it was the Kwantung Army that was using them. The ambitious plans for
land reform in Manchukuo were vetoed by the Kwantung Army for precisely the reason that
it might inspire similar reforms in Japan. The landlords in Japan tended to come from
families who once belonged to the samurai caste, and almost all of the officers in the
Imperial Japanese Army came from samurai families, which made the Kwantung Army very hostile
towards any sort of land reform which might serve as an example for Japanese peasants.
In October 1941, the Soviet spy ring headed by Richard Sorge was uncovered in Tokyo, which
caused the authorities to become paranoid about Soviet espionage, and led to new crackdown
on the left. In November 1941, the Social Research Unit of the South Manchurian Railroad
Company, which was well known as a hotbed of Marxism since the early 1930s, was raided
by the Kenpeitai, who arrested 50 of those working in the Social Research Unit. At least
44 of those working in the Social Research Unit were convicted of violating the Peace
Preservation Law, which made thinking about “altering the kokutai” a crime in 1942–43
and were given long prison sentences, of whom four died due to the harsh conditions of prisons
in Manchukuo. As the men working in the Social Research Unit had played important roles in
Manchukuo’s economic policy and were university graduates from good families, the Japanese
historian Hotta Eri wrote that the Kenpeitai were ordered to “handle them with care”, meaning
no torture of the sort that the Kenpeitai normally employed in its investigations.When
the Japanese surrender was announced on 15 August 1945, Puyi agreed to abdicate.===Head of State======Prime Minister=====Demographics==In 1908, the number of residents was 15,834,000,
which rose to 30,000,000 in 1931 and 43,000,000 for the Manchukuo state. The population balance
remained 123 men to 100 women and the total number in 1941 was 50,000,000. Other statistics
indicate that in Manchukuo the population rose by 18,000,000.In early 1934, the total
population of Manchukuo was estimated as 30,880,000, with 6.1 persons the average family, and 122
men for each 100 women. These numbers included 29,510,000 Chinese (96%, which should have
included the Manchurian population), 590,760 Japanese (2%), 680,000 Koreans (2%), and 98,431
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